Razer Linux Distro

Discussion in 'The Linux Corner' started by Hactar88, Apr 6, 2017.

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  1. .Z4x.

    .Z4x. Active Member

    Wow! I haven't seen so much nonsense in a single post _EVER_. (^;

    What makes this most dangerous is that not all of it is senseless drabble.
    In fact, about 10% could even be branded insightful!
    Forgivably, around half of the remaining 90% pure junk appears to derive
    from partial (mis)understandings and not just plain stupidity.

    As I don't have the time to dissect every single bit of misinformation,
    I'll just point out a few of the most obvious "alternative facts":
    - encrypted partitions *are* resizable (something I've done on multiple occasions)
    - you don't NEED 2 _built-in_ drives in any of the scenarios
    (although they can make life easier, one could always use an external drive,
    or even a USB key these days)
    - ...

    BUT, let's not get lost in the nitty gritty details of all the FUD.
    It's more meaningful to concentrate on the agreements,
    which might move this forward:

    (1) The usual semi-pro Linux user perspective
    Prio#1: open-source drivers and utilities (by nature distro-independent)
    Prio#2: Razer-branded artwork (generally usable, not tied to a specific WM/DE)
    - this is "cost of sales" for Razer, no (or minimal) "new market" really

    (2) Average "I just want a working GAMING(?) computer" perspective
    A fully integrated -and, optionally, (partially?) remotely managed- hassle-free option is a MUST
    - this would require serious effort/investment, but could (realistically?) compete with Windoze/Macos,
    *IF* Razer managed to pull it off properly (NB: many have tried, most failed)
    Hactar88 likes this.
  2. This is a common propaganda method of attack by an appeal to emotions, and then a claim of "not enough time to answer on facts". The questions are why here, and why about linux?

    Why would you encourage Razer to take a path with linux that is exactly opposite its own design philosophy, and by the way, what has made it successful?

    Specifically, why would you want a high end computer like Razer that, in order to use linux painlessly, cause it to be tethered to a box full of hardware and wires that must be lugged around along with the laptop, when the laptop itself is one of the lightest and most compact for its capability?

    Given the examples in my post which you quoted, from where would come the duplicate bare-metal bit images of the OS drive used to replace that on the drives that are no longer bootable, for any reason? Think 120GB+
    (Please don't further insult people, or do you also claim to have compressed images of encrypted disks that have been written with random data prior to use?)

    A separate hard drive that is lugged around? Or a bootable bare install image leaving the owner the unenviable task of setting up, encrypting, and then installing all needed software and then configuring it to get to the state it was before? REALLY?

    It is far easier to backup the OS drive to the data drive, and then restore it as it was, back to the OS drive, when both physical drives are in the laptop.

    Semi-pro? The people that use Razer laptops are likely professionals of some sort, that do NOT want to tinker around with the tools of their job when they are working, unless its "play with linux" time. At that point they will want to make sure they can quickly and painlessly get back to their work computer setup, no matter what happens, without lugging around a box of hardware. That is the reason for two physical hard drives.

    You may be thinking of the person living in their parents basement that tinkers with computers and can, without concern, lose the contents of their hard drive, and then take days to restore their computer.

    I suggest that this is not the Razer market.

    BAD choice of references. Red Hat is the home of Lennart Poettering, the instigator of systemd and the behavior described by ikcl in his post. What did you think anyone at redhat was going to say?

    This link is a layman's description of the insurmountable problems with systemd: https://ewontfix.com/14/
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2017
    Hactar88 likes this.
  3. .Z4x.

    .Z4x. Active Member

    I feel your pain. I agree that my post had too much of a troll flavor even for my own liking.
    That said, the issues I picked on were facts (or, factual inaccuracies, to be exact), and I had
    neither the time nor the patience to address every single line I had issue with, because your
    post was awfully long and -in my reading- mostly inaccurate. That is also the reason why
    I could not stop myself from writing a blurb HERE. And, the topic was Linux by the nature
    of the thread. (-: The 'attack' is in no way personal. I disliked the content not the writer.

    I'm not quite sure what you're refering to, but I interpret the underlined experssion above as your
    somewhat out of touch description of an archaic external drive. Assuming that is correct, I'd like
    to note that I wasn't encouraging using anything of that sort. Personally, I'm using one of these
    (except that I have the older USB 3.0 version, but I couldn't find that on Sandisk's site anymore),
    and I was very close to getting this one when Amazon had an insane deal before Xmas (the 1.92TB
    version was cheaper for prime members than the 960GB one), until I realized that they were selling
    out the previous generation with half the throughput. In my mind, neither of these qualifies as a box
    full of HW and wires and I'm not particularly worried about having to lug them around, but YMMV.

    BTW, as you mentioned security and malware: while Windows malware likely won't have the smarts
    to steal anything from your encrypted drives/partitions, it can easily make them unusable *including*
    the bit-per-bit copy of your OS disk on your data drive. I'd much rather have backups on external
    media that's never attached while gaming in Windoze.

    As you mentioned booting from a flash drive with clonezilla, such a flash drive (assuming size and speed
    similar to what I suggested above) would be an excellent place to store your encrypted images.
    Personally, I'd prefer System Rescue CD on a flash drive, but that may not suite everyone.
    Oh, another BTW: there's no point compressing encrypted images. If the encryption is any good,
    significant compression should not be possible.

    You must be kidding. Depending on the actual media, an internal drive may be faster,
    but I fail to see why/how it would be *easier* (apart from possibly the energy required to
    plug in the external unit, which is negligible).

    I'm also puzzled by your apparent fascination with 2 separate physical drives for OS and data.
    Granted, I can cook up corner-case scenarios where this might make a difference, but -given
    a sufficiently large single physical drive- separate partitions would work more or less the same
    for most intents and purposes.

    In any case, much of this discussion feels moot given that the Pro has 2 SSDs as we speak.
    If you want 2 internal drives, you can have them, and so will I, but I'll keep using external media
    for backups no matter what.

    I was NOT thinking about anyone in particular, and I tend to think that your description falls
    squarely in my second category, although I may have put too much focus on GAMING there.

    I used 'semi-pro' as an adjective in front of 'Linux user' and the complete expression should
    be understood in that context; namely, semi-pro in Linux and not some other occupation.

    I'd also claim that it is not at all clear what Razer's market might be in the Linux space.
    Surely, we have the creative professionals temporarily disillusioned by Apple' s meager
    effort to cater to that segment, but I have my doubts that Razer has the chops to pull off
    a distro that could serve them well enough. (And, based on the recent announcements
    that I see as damage control in Apple's rumor-mill, that niche is likely to get wooed back
    to shiny new gear with fruit-logos relatively soon.) BUT, I'd be glad if proven wrong.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  4. byteZompguide956

    byteZompguide956 New Member

    Razer taking on it's own distro (and doing it well) is a really big endeavor. I wouldn't start there. Focus on the hardware support, supplementary tools, leveraging the open source efforts of the many and a little internal support. If you can get it to the point where the techy/tinkerer folks have excellent tools and support, then the next step would be to bundle the components and file down the edges till you make it easy for the part-timer to achieve. At that point you might be in reach of delivering a customized distro experience.

    Something popular and mainstream. Others pointed out that System76 based their systems on Ubuntu based. I'd probably start with a debian or Ubuntu base. If you focus on the hardware support & tools, then supporting them across multiple flavors of Linux shouldn't be that far out.

    Embrace the open source nature that Linux users want. Don't lock out the folks who want to write their own tooling. You might find that some of the open source projects deliver a better experience in the end.

    I've run Linux (professionally/work) on MacBookPros for years. There were a number of PPAs that were available with support before the additional backlight, webcam, drivers, etc. made it into Linux or the main repos. That pattern may be a better fit before taking on a full distro
    alphacrash, Hactar88 and .Z4x. like this.
  5. This thread https://insider.razerzone.com/index.php?threads/flashing-newer-bios-version.20731/ is a perfect example of the headfuckery that "people-who-just-want-to-get-on-with-their-work" DO NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH!

    I appreciate the deep technical process being described in that thread, but professional creative users want to be highly productive within their specific endeavor, rather than having to acquire an esoteric technical IT skill set just to get their machines to work properly.

    I believe this demographic is vast, certainly orders of magnitude larger than those who really love to tweak in the bowels of the OS, and is the basis for my OP - which is to get Razer to create a "Just Works Perfectly Out The Box" experience for its users.

    Whether this is a custom Razer distro OR is a pre-installed popular distro that is fully configured to work perfectly with that specific Razer hardware, this is what most people would want from a Razer + Linux pairing.

    Those who want to custom mod their distro, fine, they can do that anyway. But those of us who really actually don't want to do that would appreciate Razer creating a solution that supports THAT.

    ***And reminder again to Razer: The disgruntled Mac demographic presently looking for a new non-Microsoft home (including me obviously) is large. And this is a major commercial opportunity if they will seize it. ***
    alphacrash likes this.
  6. Razer should take note that MS Windows did not take the market because it was the only thing out there. At the time Apple owned the educational institution market. MS Windows took the market because back in the early 1980's Apple came out with a full GUI operating system, Lisa, when it faced only DOS as competition. However, Apple stuck the GUI on a $12,000 machine (that's 1980's dollars).

    The reason MS Windows took the market was TIMING. There was a need, and the only people filling that need, Apple, got fat, lazy and greedy. Exactly the right time for MS to fully develop Windows and swoop in with an upgrade to DOS. The rest is history.

    Apple has now turned its strength, that being hardware/software integration, into a liability. This includes:
    • Removing from portable laptops, the all important self-contained connectivity and offering their customers the opportunity to purchase, and then lug around a bag full of gear and wires to make connections.

    • Making its system unfriendly to users.
    Right now Apple is on a corporate course from which could not correct its product fast enough to counter Razer, IF Razer seriously wanted to take that market.

    Because Razer only has 3 laptops (platforms), and most of the hardware is shared between them, one fully functional Linux installation on their hardware would take the market.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  7. I have a question for some of the technically astute here...

    A few people on this thread have said that it would be a "big deal" for Razer to take on their own distro. And complex and onerous and variations on that theme....

    As a non-technical person, it does not strike me as that big of a deal. If a Razer distro were built on top of say, Ubuntu, would it not simply be a matter of "re-skinning" that, implementing all applicable drivers and whatever other cool tweaks Razer wanted to do, compiling and releasing pre-installed? And then managing a simple update process for that OS?

    I'm sure that the above is not entirely trivial obviously, but would it really be such an impossibility for Razer to successfully implement this with a small dedicated team of Linux specialists??

    Would appreciate hearing what people think is complex, difficult or impossible about that. And that would also give Razer more points of consideration relative to this decision.

  8. Glossary:

    Razer taking on it's own Distribution of Linux (Distro):
    • Creating a repository that must be kept current with security patches and the like that must be available 24/7. This is a full-time job for highly skilled people that must keep current with the distribution upon which it is based.

    • Limiting the available applications easily installed to the specific flavor of linux upon which the distro is based. (i.e.: Oh, Kdenlive is not available for your distro then either A) too bad or B) hire a developer to port it.) People want the tools they want to work with. Selecting a specific distro to support limits Razer's market.

    • Limiting the market to those individuals that want that specific distro.

    Adapting a set of existing hardware drivers for Razer hardware, for various linux distributions
    • Adapt the drivers for Razer specific hardware, and put them as installable packages on the main distribution repositories so that they are update options. i.e. Debian (.deb) Fedora (.rpm), Arch-Linux,etc.

    • Do it intelligently by starting with the base distributions upon which other distributions are based. i.e.: Adapt the drivers for Debian and with little effort you have picked up Ubuntu, Mint and other distributions based upon Debian.

    • Start with the distributions with the most applications and work down the list in order of decreasing available applications. Read that: This strategy can incrementally expand to reach all linux distro markets.

    Creating Razer Installations of existing Linux Distributions
    • As others have said here, this involves simply taking an existing distribution and customizing the install script for Razer computers.

    • The source of updates and security patches is still the distribution's own repositories, no such maintenance is required on the part of Razer.

    • The real advantages here are:
      • It will work out of the box. No tinkering is required to get the keyboard, trackpad, display, lighting or other Razer hardware to work. (assuming Razer has adapted existing drivers to work)
      • The linux kernel can be lean, faster and more secure as it can be set to be compiled for the Razer hardware.
      • Takes little effort. One time for each version of each main linux distribution.
    • Can be done concurrently with adapting a set of existing drivers to Razer hardware.

    • Razer can create it's own themes and backgrounds for the main desktops (KDE, XFCE, Cinnamon, Gnome, etc.) that are independent of distributions and can be used on any linux system
    Hactar88 likes this.
  9. ^^ This ^^

    Because of Razer's sophisticated hardware, it could really take the pro creative market with a seamless OS integration. The timing is now. Bring it Razer!
  10. passabilities_no_id

    passabilities_no_id New Member

    guys, I bought the new Blade Pro and have tried installing multiple Linux distros but everytime they can nkt find the SSDs. I have tried this by partitioning the RAID 0 config and also disabling RAID 0. Neither seem to have any affect. I lost on hoe to proceed
    Hactar88 likes this.
  11. Hope you can find some help with that - there are many very good technical people here - so hopefully something will come soon. And of course this is exactly the kind of issue that would be addressed by Razer shipping their machines pre-installed with Linux, whether that is their own custom distro or another popular distro fully configured to the hardware.
  12. As I said, it's a semantic difference. There are a lot of packages you either have to tweak to get them to work out of the box (which means re-tweaking every time upstream changes) even to get something simple like tear free compositing to work reliably out of the box, or of which you know with high certainty that if you don't QA new releases stuff will break occasionally (kernel, X, sound, wifi etc) because of the complexity of the configuration to get everything just right for a specific laptop. The configuration is only truly valid at one point in time.

    There are no easy answers, other than just going with windows and let Microsoft worry about it ... they throw a lot of resources at it. Of course it will never work as well as Apple products which can QA for a relatively restricted set of hardware platforms ... but still better than a Linux distribution with only some custom configuration files.

    For customers who don't want to be bothered with the nitty gritty that is, Linux expert users will have different priorities.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  13. Which is exactly the point of Razer doing its own distro for its own hardware and simply ensuring it works out of the box, and that updates are properly QA'd before release etc. As a company, I believe they are quite capable of this if they will take on the commitment.
  14. .Z4x.

    .Z4x. Active Member

    Cross-posting the same issue in different (and only tangentially related) threads won't earn you too many cookie points. In fact, that's the best recipe for getting ignored altogether...
  15. Maybe he's just trying to ensure a greater likelihood of a response, given that not everyone reads all the threads...
  16. .Z4x.

    .Z4x. Active Member

    You're most likely right, AND this _may_ be OK on Insider (I couldn't find an explicit rule),
    but off-topic cross-posting is generally considered bad netiquette and -in my experience-
    seldom results in useful responses.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  17. KristijanZic

    KristijanZic New Member

    They should not create their own distro but rather develop a great Linux support for their systems and apps and ship for example Ubuntu. A good idea would also be for them to just create a gtk theme for gnome DE so they would for all intents and purposes be shipping a Razer themed Ubuntu like System76 has done recently.

    Developing a gtk theme is very easy, it's basically just CSS, you even have a gtk inspector like for the web. They can also create their own icon pack. Or they can just create a theme and icon pack contest and community will create the initial theme for them. That would be an easy start.
    That's as far as "Razer os is concerned", just make a Razer themed Ubuntu. Easy enough.

    But the real deal is hardware support. Their efforts would be much more appreciated on that front. If we could have Razer hardware just working well with Linux. That would be a real dream come true for us all Razer and Linux fans, users, gamers and developers.

    BTW System76 makes around/more than 20mil in profit every month just from their Linux laptops.

    That's what their community manager said in an interview with Bryan Lunduke.

    Razer laptop running perfectly supported Linux would be a dream come true for many developers and even videographers. I think that many of those who currently own a macbook would be glad to switch to Linux for their coding, gaming and media production if they could have such a powerful and cool looking Razer hardware.

    Not to mention that all that power would be much more efficiently used on Linux.

    Razer ppl, if you are reading this, give us a sign or a hw support commit to Linux kernel :wink_:

    [EDIT]: Razer is a hardware company. If they decide to port the apps to Linux, why not open up the ports to the community? I'm sure many ppl would be glad to contribute and to expand the support for razer hw in ways maybe even razer can't think of right now. I think it that would be a big win for Razer. We would all be running around with their laptop and their other hardware, at least I would. They don't make money out of software, do they? It they went opensource with their Linux ports of their apps it would really spike up their hardware sales tremendously.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
    Hactar88 and kodenkm like this.
  18. lxrocks_no_id

    lxrocks_no_id New Member

    A lot of great comments so far. Some challenges for sure, but no real show stoppers in my book, just some work to be done
    I would like to hear from razer what the roadmap is? What is the plan going forward?
    Hactar88 likes this.
  19. So how exactly would they exercise control over someone else's Linux distribution to ensure this happens?

    They can try to stay on top of upstream projects and try to ensure they don't break support for the hardware. In the end though, Linus and Ubuntu have different priorities than Razer. They'll release when they want to and Razer will occasionally have to scramble to catch up and its users will have to suffer the consequences until they do. No amount of wishful thinking can avoid this. To make a system as foolproof as say ChromeOS you need the level of control Google has over ChromeOS.

    Razer could pay Ubuntu to shift it's priorities of course, to ensure QA is done before updates for kernel/X/compositor/pulseaudio/systemd/etc are pushed and so a Razer PPA can stay in sync, but that's just a custom distribution by proxy.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  20. Exactly the reason why Razer should create their own distro. Then all of the issues you mention are within their control. While this might be a significantly major undertaking for them, and would involve hiring a dedicated team to manage it, the costs of this will be easily offset by the revenue from the massive swath of ex-Apple users coming over to Razer for its seamless, out-the-box OS/hardware integration. The timing is perfect for this IMHO.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
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