FreeBSD On Laptops Is Still A Big Challenge But The Slimbook Could Soon Be Running Well

Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 18 April 2020 at 07:26 AM EDT. 17 Comments
FreeBSD may be running great on servers at the likes of Netflix, but when it comes to running the BSD operating system on laptops it still is largely a giant mess.

FreeBSD laptop support isn't nearly as well off as it is running FreeBSD on servers, but at least in recent times there has been more focus and developer action on improving the laptop compatibility.

Among the recent initiatives helping this have been more FreeBSD contributions from Intel and the FreeBSD Foundation buying newer laptops for developers in an effort to improve hardware support. With that FreeBSD Foundation effort, their initial focus has been on 7th Gen Lenovo X1 Carbon laptops.

Longtime free software developer Adriaan de Groot who has been heavily involved in the FreeBSD + KDE efforts has recently taken to trying to get FreeBSD running well on the Slimbook Base 14. While the Slimbook with Intel Comet Lake CPU and 1080p display is friendly with Linux systems, getting that ultrabook running well on FreeBSD is much more of a challenge.

Adriaan is working on getting a KDE-on-FreeBSD environment working on the Slimbook Base 14, but so far it's not fully working. He's been trying with FreeBSD 12-RELEASE and 13-CURRENT to not a lot of success -- including important functionality like WiFi not working. Beyond the wireless connectivity challenge, the graphics aren't working either so for the moment he is just running the device in text mode.

So for now it's not successful running FreeBSD on the Slimbook Base 14 (or most other laptops for that matter), but at least in the interim it's leading Adriaan to experiment with Qt frame-buffer support for potentially running more GUI driven software outside of X11/Wayland but just off the basic frame-buffer.

More details on the FreeBSD efforts so far around the Slimbook Base 14 can be found via Adriaan's blog.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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