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Kubuntu Focus KDE Laptop Launches New $1,795 USD Base Model

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  • #21
    Originally posted by deppman View Post
    We are striving to provide the best "just works out of the box" experience of any shipping laptop for AI Deep Learning, Cloud Development, DevOps, and Content Creators.
    eGPU is still very valid here, unless you want to lock the hardware in to encourage purchases of new models if the customer needs only a better/newer GPU. In the next product, perhaps one that only comes with an iGPU but offers eGPU support and you official support(and resell) a specific enclosure and GPUs as working smoothly with your laptop products.

    If the customer wants to use a different eGPU enclosure or GPU that you don't officially support, that's up to them but as you've stated elsewhere, your business is focused on official support for what is made available to the customer, any decision of theirs to detour from that should not expect the same level of support.

    eGPU without all the compatibility research and official Linux support for a laptop would be a pretty good selling point imo to these markets you're targeting. If they need a model that comes with a dGPU internally for GPU compute/graphics on the go, you already offer that with your current product.

    Originally posted by deppman View Post
    There are *are* hundreds of fixes and optimizations, some of which took days to complete thoroughly. Example: unplug the power adaptor and turbo boost is disabled. Plug it back in and it turns on again.
    Not the best example. Isn't that what power profiles with TLP and the like can handle? With Manjaro at least that all works out of the box. Unless you're referring to the functionality not working by default on your particular laptop and having to fix that, rather than what Kubuntu needs added after a default install.

    I do understand what you mean though. There are a lot of these things, and they're huge time sinks that you'd otherwise not even think much about with Windows or macOS. Some defaults aren't great but it's due to broad hardware support and is generally best suited to be on the safe side, as a laptop vendor, you're in control of the hardware and shipped OS, so adjusting those to be appropriate for the hardware is hopefully expected

    Still if the vendor has taken care of all this for me, it's a decent value add, but I'm going to guess there is no documentation referring to what was tweaked. Not a big issue if you're a user that doesn't want to think about it, I would go through a similar process to make sure you've covered everything I expect, and for custom distro, I need to handle it myself anyway with no upfront advice/document about what is best suited for the hardware(I guess I can try go through the Kubuntu install to figure that out).

    [QUOTE=deppman;n1155334]
    Trying to employ this across all distros and devices is nigh impossible, but we can ensure it works seamlessly in the devices we ship.

    No one is asking you to. Once you've used Linux long enough and tried a few distros, apart from a few different choices, they're largely the same(state of packages / kernels aside). So a lot of those configuration and tweaks are fairly portable.

    Absolutely in full support that you only focus on supporting the one distro officially, but being open to users wanting to use other distros and capable of applying whatever relevant changes would be a great point of value. If you are able to establish a good sized community, they'll potentially crowd-source that information into distro support as a community, making that more accessible to a wider audience that is less confident / experienced to DIY as much.

    Originally posted by deppman View Post
    Since this is the *Kubuntu* focus it would be odd to support additional distros. One advantage of this is we can optimize to a level not seen from vendors who just slap on an OS. We *are* interested in sharing desktop optimizations and eGPUs, but we currently have just one model where we are already busy on the 20.04 update.
    Windows/macOS generally are optimized to their hardware are they not? Take Modern Standby with S0ix instead of S3 for suspend, some vendors don't support S3 via their ACPI tables / BIOS as a result, while some vendors have added the option to switch to their BIOS / UEFI. Acer(at least on this $400 model) has rather limited BIOS configuration options, switching from the default shipped Intel RST mode to SATA AHCI requires knowing a hidden "Ctrl + s" shortcut. That was required to be able to install Linux.

    Great to hear you want to share/document those optimizations! It is something that System76 gets praise for with their open-sourcing of certain software they develop for supporting their products. Awesome to hear that you're open to eGPU support too in future. All the best with the 20.04 update

    Originally posted by deppman View Post
    Your first point is absolutely correct. We do think that Kubuntu is great for target market because all the exact same 18.04.3 LTS tools are installed just like they are in cloud containers. Arch or Manjaro are great for Linux developers but break too frequently for our target demographic.
    Yes, I wouldn't suggest Arch or Manjaro as an official distro. I love Manjaro and the Arch Wiki is a fantastic resource, but I wouldn't set anyone up with a linux system with Manjaro as I'm bound to become frequent tech support.

    It is important for me though if buying hardware catering to a linux audience to allow me to set my own system up with Manjaro and carry over whatever changes are needed to get my system as optimal as the official shipped distro as possible. I do not want to end up with a laptop that has Linux issues(related to hardware/drivers) unless I use it's official linux distro, DIY effort is fine, so long as the vendor makes the necessary info/sources readily available.

    Originally posted by deppman View Post
    I hope that helps, and all the best!
    Yes, thank you!

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    • #22
      Originally posted by loganj View Post
      are they so greedy?
      What do you think people start business for? And what have that to do with greediness?

      I don't know why Ferrari are so greedy that I cannot afford to buy one! Oh man... I don't know how this people gets educated...

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      • #23
        So disapointing to see this has nVidia graphics rather than something from AMD

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        • #24
          Originally posted by ktecho View Post

          What do you think people start business for? And what have that to do with greediness?

          I don't know why Ferrari are so greedy that I cannot afford to buy one! Oh man... I don't know how this people gets educated...
          Its about Price vs. Value - something can be considered greedy if the price is way above its providing value. e.g. Apples new Monitor Stand.

          I don't know if this Kfocus product has a good value.(Looks like a Clevo)
          I still have an old Clevo rig. laying around. It cost me around 1.1k€ back in 2014 (i7 nice, no dGPU but ips not a bad thing considering its specs). But after 2 years the hinge broke ...after 4 years some keys are not working anymore. Cooler is loud as hell even with repasting and regular vacuum cleaning.

          The build quality of my Latitude is way superior and the price was around 600€- ok to be fair it has also lower specs.

          Current Clevo quality? I dont know...but I will never spend 1k€+ on a clevo anymore. Any overpriced Macbook has a better buildquality then theirs.
          Nvidia Card is a bummer - well powerfull but ..yeah driver.

          p.s.: Instead of buying a ferrari I would go for the german cars...better value.
          Last edited by CochainComplex; 01-27-2020, 11:20 AM.

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          • #25
            Threads like this make me wish I had a few hundred thousand and some manufacturing contacts. If I did I'd start with something built around AMD's embedded V1807B and other parts that just work with Linux and pair that with a 2K 16:9 freesync screen, a real and full sized mechanical keyboard, and 2x8GB ram. I considered 2x16 and 2x32, but that damn monitor will be expensive and I'm trying to keep the costs down. Y'all can upgrade the memory if 16GB isn't enough. I don't like tiny laptop keyboards so y'all'd get something designed around a full-sized PC104 keyboard even if it adds 2" of thickness.

            My choice for the OS from the factory would be Manjaro KDE, but, really, any modern Linux should just work (maybe even BSD too...not sure where they are with Vega graphics). Modern Linux means kernel 5.2 and Xorg 19.2 or better...I don't want someone using "new old Linux", like Ubuntu LTS or SUSE SLED, and going "my stuff doesn't work"...though it might if they used AMDGPU-Pro.

            It'll be kind of thick, not the greatest spec'd compared to non-embedded solutions, but I'd sell it for as low as possible because I'm not greedy. And the reason it'll be kind of thick -- because I believe it should be durable as well as easy to upgrade and repair and that's hard to pull of with thinner products. Yes, I said embedded and upgrade for the same product. No reason why it can't be designed in a way that the SOC can be removed and an updated SOC added in it's place (though an OS reinstall may be necessary...we'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it).

            I know a couple of years ago Sapphire offered a V1807B based board for $450. They have to be getting that from AMD for cheaper. But, using retail prices, $450 for the SOC + $60 for the memory + $50 for the keyboard + 350 for the display (2k freesync 144hz ain't cheap)...around $910 in parts going full retail. If that get down to 600 to 700 for a manufacturer/reseller to be sold for $1000-$1400, that's really not a bad product for the price.

            Should I try to crowd fund that? Would any of y'all be interested in something like that if it could be priced in that range?

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            • #26
              Originally posted by FireBurn View Post
              So disapointing to see this has nVidia graphics rather than something from AMD
              They will release an AMD Kubuntu Focus laptop as soon as you convince Clevo to ship AMD hardware.

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              • #27
                Originally posted by skeevy420 View Post
                Threads like this make me wish I had a few hundred thousand and some manufacturing contacts. If I did I'd start with something built around AMD's embedded V1807B and other parts that just work with Linux and pair that with a 2K 16:9 freesync screen, a real and full sized mechanical keyboard, and 2x8GB ram. I considered 2x16 and 2x32, but that damn monitor will be expensive and I'm trying to keep the costs down. Y'all can upgrade the memory if 16GB isn't enough. I don't like tiny laptop keyboards so y'all'd get something designed around a full-sized PC104 keyboard even if it adds 2" of thickness.

                My choice for the OS from the factory would be Manjaro KDE, but, really, any modern Linux should just work (maybe even BSD too...not sure where they are with Vega graphics). Modern Linux means kernel 5.2 and Xorg 19.2 or better...I don't want someone using "new old Linux", like Ubuntu LTS or SUSE SLED, and going "my stuff doesn't work"...though it might if they used AMDGPU-Pro.

                It'll be kind of thick, not the greatest spec'd compared to non-embedded solutions, but I'd sell it for as low as possible because I'm not greedy. And the reason it'll be kind of thick -- because I believe it should be durable as well as easy to upgrade and repair and that's hard to pull of with thinner products. Yes, I said embedded and upgrade for the same product. No reason why it can't be designed in a way that the SOC can be removed and an updated SOC added in it's place (though an OS reinstall may be necessary...we'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it).

                I know a couple of years ago Sapphire offered a V1807B based board for $450. They have to be getting that from AMD for cheaper. But, using retail prices, $450 for the SOC + $60 for the memory + $50 for the keyboard + 350 for the display (2k freesync 144hz ain't cheap)...around $910 in parts going full retail. If that get down to 600 to 700 for a manufacturer/reseller to be sold for $1000-$1400, that's really not a bad product for the price.

                Should I try to crowd fund that? Would any of y'all be interested in something like that if it could be priced in that range?
                This would obviously be your first attempt at business. The hard facts are that this idea is probably infeasible. Let's take a look:

                You are missing entire categories of fixed and variable costs. For example, how are you going to get that mother board for your AMD SOC? Hint, a couple of hundred thousand isn't going to cut it. Think multi-million. Then toss in logistics, assembly, integration, testing, customer service, sales, facilities, marketing, and design.

                Now since your not greedy and only want to break even, consider how many units you need to sell just to cover those costs. You'd be lucky to break even at $2,000 per device if you amortized your MB and integration capex (figure $2m total) and sold at least 2,000 units. If you want to eat and live someplace other than your parent's basement, you'd need far more than that because your variable costs (like assembly) are going to eat into gross margin. And we be very lucky if we could get the laptop within 6 months.

                While Manjaro is a fun leading-edge distro, do you think that ~4,000 people world wide are ready to run on a $2,000+ laptop without incurring significant support cost on this rolling release? Which of course leads us to warranty and return costs. And while Tuxedo ships very nice and inexpensive laptops with Manjaro, I'd never use one for daily work.

                Look at all the world wide press the Kubuntu Focus has garnered. It is available in 120 countries and has very positive reviews from some of the bigger names in the general press, and has had at least 50 "second tier" articles in at least 10 different languages. How many units do you think we will sell? Honestly if we see 2,000 in the first year we will be ecstatic.
                ​​
                No offense, but I hope you recognize why we're using proven off the shelf components, stable releases, and a stable "just works" graphics stack that doesn't require a bleeding-edge kernel. We simply cannot afford the expense, risk, and time-to-market that a full custom solution + rolling release would require. Now for MS or Google or Dell, that's chump change. Even then, it would require many months lead time. Better let the mass market move to AMD and buy readily available hardware than try to boil the ocean today.


                Last edited by deppman; 01-28-2020, 12:33 AM. Reason: Added clarifications

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by deppman View Post

                  This would obviously be your first attempt at business.

                  [...]

                  Now since your not greedy [...]
                  That came from a person who thinks that products are cheap or expensive depending on the greediness of the makers. And then he wants to crowd-fund the creation of a new notebook with a few hundred thousands XDDDDdddd!!

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by deppman View Post

                    This would obviously be your first attempt at business. The hard facts are that this idea is probably infeasible. Let's take a look:

                    You are missing entire categories of fixed and variable costs. For example, how are you going to get that mother board for your AMD SOC? Hint, a couple of hundred thousand isn't going to cut it. Think multi-million. Then toss in logistics, assembly, integration, testing, customer service, sales, facilities, marketing, and design.​
                    Obviously; but a couple hundred thousand covers prototyping and travel involved with that. It would be enough to get the ball rolling and find an actual manufacturer to partner with and possible gamble on my idea.

                    Now since your not greedy and only want to break even, consider how many units you need to sell just to cover those costs. You'd be lucky to break even at $2,000 per device if you amortized your MB and integration capex (figure $2m total) and sold at least 2,000 units. If you want to eat and live someplace other than your parent's basement, you'd need far more than that because your variable costs (like assembly) are going to eat into gross margin. And we be very lucky if we could get the laptop within 6 months.​
                    Using off the shelf prices, the GPU you guys are using is $100 less than the entire SOC I've picked. So, yes, greed does come into play. Ever priced Apple products compared to the hardware they contain and then looked at their profits? That's greed. An entire SOC where the only additions needed are memory, heat sync, a power supply, battery, storage, display, and case. The CPU y'all are using is my memory, heat sync, power supply, and battery. I clearly picked what I picked to keep the costs down and would like to operate as a non-profit -- some of us are content with a living wage and operating as a non-profit would allow larger tech companies to throw money my way to lessen their tax burdens.

                    While Manjaro is a fun leading-edge distro, do you think that ~4,000 people world wide are ready to run on a $2,000+ laptop without incurring significant support cost on this rolling release? Which of course leads us to warranty and return costs. And while Tuxedo ships very nice and inexpensive laptops with Manjaro, I'd never use one for daily work.​
                    I could make the same comments about 90% of most distribution choices and number of people worldwide -- I mean, come on, now -- It's desktop Linux we're discussing. And while y'all ship a very nice and, IMHO, moderately expensive laptop with Kubuntu, I'd never use one for daily work -- I've used newer distributions and, simply put, I know what I'll be losing.

                    KDE 5.17, my current desktop, is sweet. The upcoming 5.18 is very, very sweet. It'll be around October until 5.17 is available based on the current Ubuntu repos and that's the problem -- Manjaro, Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE...no matter what distribution is picked, there's going to be tech support needed whether you're old and buggy or new and buggy which means Manjaro or Ubuntu because both have really awesome and helpful communities towards new users and, being real, those forums and the Arch Wiki will be the tech support most users will use first because it's a Linux laptop catered to geeks.

                    If I were smart I'd partner with someone like SUSE SLED so I could dump all my non-hardware tech support onto them. But they use Gnome and...no, just no. I have certain standards to uphold...like the actual XDG and Wayland standards...f'n Gnome...

                    Look at all the world wide press the Kubuntu Focus has garnered. It is available in 120 countries and has very positive reviews from some of the bigger names in the general press, and has had at least 50 "second tier" articles in at least 10 different languages. How many units do you think we will sell? Honestly if we see 2,000 in the first year we will be ecstatic.​
                    And look at all the comments stating that it costs too much or uses non KDE and non LInux friendly hardware. I'm sure its a fine product for what it is. But pairing Nvidia with a KDE based distribution is a laughable decision. Us KDE users don't like Nvidia.

                    Giving Linux KDE users and Intel/Nvidia combo? It's clear that y'all didn't factor in research and logistics. Linux KDE users want an AMD or Intel CPU and AMD or Intel graphics. Those were your choices. And even that's a bit misleading because most of us don't like Intel very much so there's really only the AMD/AMD combination if you're trying to build a product designed to appease KDE using Linux users.
                    ​​
                    No offense, but I hope you recognize why we're using proven off the shelf components, stable releases, and a stable "just works" graphics stack that doesn't require a bleeding-edge kernel. We simply cannot afford the expense, risk, and time-to-market that a full custom solution + rolling release would require. Now for MS or Google or Dell, that's chump change. Even then, it would require many months lead time. Better let the mass market move to AMD and buy readily available hardware than try to boil the ocean today.​
                    Um, my choices are an off-the-shelf AMD SOC that runs with that proven 100% free and open software, meaning the current stable release of all major software releases, a stable "just works" graphics stack that only requires an LTS kernel and Mesa 19.1 or better. There is nothing "custom solution" with an off-the-shelf SOC and other off-the-shelf components that already work with Linux. Outside of the oldest LTS distributions, every distribution would work -- and that's misleading because all the old LTS distributions support AMDGPU-Pro and AMDGPU-Pro supports the SOC...so, yeah, I'm picking hardware that already works with everyone...although, just like with your system, they might require a proprietary graphics driver to function properly.

                    My upgradable SOC? That's called a USB hub with display port passthrough. Pull out the old SOC, move drives from old to new, plug in the new one, USB connects the keyboard and other case components and the display port connects the audio and video systems. Nothing proprietary and 100% off the shelf...BAM -- upgradable laptop and allows selling an SOC at a very inflated cost (I've clearly thought about long-term monetization, product lines, and accessories).

                    The great thing about that particular AMD SOC is that it can be thrown in to a different case and be used for anything consumer from home file servers, media center units, gaming units (with an eGPU), office workstation PCs, industrial use (they operate between -40C and 104C), and more and the base software stack stays the same. I didn't select that SOC all willy-nilly.

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                    • #30
                      In related news, there's a new review named "Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat report 12":
                      https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/...report-12.html

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