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Discussion in 'The Linux Corner' started by Deleted member 368765, Feb 27, 2017.

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  1. I would love more support for Linux. I am in the market for a new laptop that runs Linux well and you guys have solid build quality, I have been a fan of your products for a while but I have been reluctant to buy more due to the lack of Linux support. I hope that can change. Thanks Razer this is great news.
  2. Tincho_no_id

    Tincho_no_id New Member

    Well done guys!
    You reeally need to focus on Ubuntu and SteamOS support.

    Just try to make contact with VALVe and Canonical to have a better point of view.
    labotsirc, dacresni and kumarin like this.
  3. mangue_no_id

    mangue_no_id New Member

    I don't own a razer but if I knew that Linux is fully supported I may put razer in my radar for a future powerfull working/gaming machine.
  4. This so much. People can say whatever they want about Apple, but the trackpad is glorious. Being forced to use any other laptop feels like stepping back in time 10 years or being forced to use a mouse. If Razer can nail the battery life and trackpad on a linux rig, they'd have a real game changer for devs that would prefer Linux to OSX.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  5. This is music to my ears. I have a Razer blade Stealth and really wish that Linux worked on it properly. I have reluctantly gone back to using windows on it even though I was using the latest kernel and latest Intel drivers.

    I find that the laptops work faster but the usability always suffers. Though that is not just on the Razers.

    Issues I had with my Stealth:
    - Constant flickering video output (until booted); then intermittent flickering
    - Often crashed when coming out of suspend mode (Critical for a laptop IMHO)
    - Laptop screen freezes when I plug in a HDMI cable for another screen.

    If these things could be fixed I would go back in a heart beat.
    I also suspect that you would open a whole new market to your sales if you could certify that it worked with Linux even if you gave a prescribed conditions. I know that I would definitely consider this high on my list of reasons to buy.
  6. adahad26

    adahad26 New Member

    Would definitely buy a Razer Blade and switch from my XPS 15 if you guys did this well. Also we need improved battery life.
  7. cthach

    cthach New Member

    I have the Blade 2014 with Ubuntu/Win10 dual boot. I'm looking to upgrade. Please support Linux! Ubuntu is my daily and I can't go without it.
  8. labotsirc

    labotsirc Active Member

    Maybe it is not trivial to discover but the home/end/pageup/pagedown are in the arrows + func key which is right next to it. I find this very comfortable i have not felt that explicit keys are necessary.
  9. Tin Man_no_id

    Tin Man_no_id New Member

    Ok, at the prospect of this dream finally happening I've been driven to post for the first time. There must be a ton of devs like me waiting to finally get away from Apple and their dated hardware - but there has been nothing UNIX compatible with decent graphics that is also portable, strong, and with long lasting battery life.

    So a Razer device would be a no-brainer hardware wise. However, the big clincher is stuff WORKING - especially the small things that make a difference between development being a joy rather than a chore... and the thing that always, universally fails on Ubuntu installs? The trackpad. If you can get that working (and I mean properly, with two finger scrolling etc) you will have a sale (from me at least).

    I'll still keep OSX for Logic (unless you can make it hackintosh compatible?!?) but PLEASE don't make me buy that £3k Macbook Pro that's barely better than what I already.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  10. _ramsey_

    _ramsey_ Active Member

    This works, at least on my slightly older Blade @Tin Man

    2015 Razer Blade running Ubuntu 16.04 here. No special configuration. Has worked since 4.0 Kernel.
  11. Her0Zer0

    Her0Zer0 Member

    Having myself asked this question a number of times and subsequently buying a 2016 Razer Blade which I'm currently using, I feel an obligation to weigh in. This is going to be long so just read the tl;dr if not interested in the details.

    tl;dr - consistent nVidia support through system updates is really the most important and most frustrating aspect, though the overall process with lots of manual tweaks makes it a showstopper for most average users. Support through system updates, suspend on lid close and better power management are secondary but still very important issues to tackle. Nice to haves include better security setup (ie. ssh/fail2ban/UJW), VPN support, chroma drivers akin to Synapse (the PolyChromatic oss drivers are hardly better than just leaving th default Spectrum profile, but are required if you want to use other Razer peripherals as I found two days ago with my new Mamba)

    Long Story

    I immediately dove into getting Ubuntu 16.04 running on my Razer the first day it arrived last May. As someone who's been using Windows/Ubuntu laptops for years, the task of getting it up and running wasn't horrible - but certainly not a straight install and boot to joy. I had to disable the nouveau driver just to get the screen viewable and get wifi working but once that was done, the rest was reasonably easy, including getting nVidia/CUDA support. That last point is definitely one of the most critical items to support on the Razer as the discrete card makes this machine an absolute killer for tool for mobile machine learning and other GPU specific tasks. Battery sucks and switching between onboard vs discrete doesnt help much, but this is not really for use on battery power anyway.

    Touchpad and touchscreen were relatively easy (and the latter easy to disable for added power saving). In fact, there was only one real problem which I STILL haven't sorted out - automatically suspending on lid close. To this day, closing the lid to suspend still doesn't work because when opening it back up, it gets into a suspend loop. There are some other kludge workarounds in the Linux thread but I still use the power button and suspend, wait for the screen/backlight to go dark and then close the lid. Opening the lid powers back on without issue but lame to have to do it this way.

    However, every system update was a big risk and required close inspection of what was getting upgraded. If it's a kernel update or nVidia driver update (or both), you had to:
    1. Stop/kill the gnome install (always do this from a terminal, NOT the Gnome app)
    2. Drop to a native shell which has an ungodly small font size of like 3 due to the lack of scaling
    3. Shutdown the lightdm service
    4. Uninstall the nVidia drivers manually
    5. Allow the system upgrade to proceed and install the new kernel
    6. Reinstall nVidia drivers and pray they actually work (which was only about 75% of the time if using the supported kernel - much lower if you want to go with mainline kernels)
    Failing to follow this sequence would inevitably leave graphics completely screwed and sometimes not easily recoverable without a full system reinstall. Even following this procedure didn't always work as the kernel could have broken support or the nVidia drivers leave some garbage somewhere that inevitably render it impossible to rollback! You can get by with the nouveau driver (turns out, you just need to uninstall the video driver component and nouvea will work) but it's lame as it only uses the Intel onboard graphics and gets annoyingly laggy at times doing something very common tasks like having a number of graphically intense javascript websites open. But even the nVidia drivers had some drawbacks - ie video tearing. Not to mention the nVidia Prime switch between onboard vs discrete graphics requiring log out and back in is...annoying...especially for minimal power benefit (but required for non-tearing video which is absurd).

    I had it running great for quite some time and had hardly ever used Windows but inevitably I got burned on an update and didn't a trusty dd image to restore. I had so many customizations for Eclipse, PyCharms, browser plugins, shell scripts, etc that I was irate at the idea of having to do a fresh install and hope to get it all setup correctly. I tried everything from older kernels, older drivers, mainline kernels, building my own kernels, screwing with xorg settings - EVERYTHING to no avail. But I had some really important work going so I begrudgingly decided to live with it as I didn't have any active GPU projects/tasks pending.

    Fast forward to just this past weekend and the nouveau drivers were just driving me nuts so after weeks of prepping scripts to handle post install, I took another stab. I'm glad to say after two days, I've got it nearly back to normal and am upgraded to 16.10 with nVidia support. And while I still have a few issues (VLC 3.0 is still a no go to do non-ported libs, timeout on reboot, hang on boot if plugged in using a USB-C to DisplayPort adapter, etc), I'm so happy to have nVidia support back but was ecstatic with a new HUGE improvement - Prime Indicator Plus has an option to force GPU power off when using Intel onboard graphics! I haven't yet seen if there are battery gains but this tells me things are going in the right direction - though it has been a year.

    I love this laptop, and use it every day for nearly all my tasks - Windows is only for the occasional game and some of the more powerful multimedia editing apps I'm familiar with for my own captured HD/4k media (Photoshop, Lightroom, GoPro Studio, etc). I even use it to remote into work with Citrix Receiverand really psyched to get the EasyTether Android working for 4G LTE tethering. But I'm a fairly advanced user and have some explicit needs that require me to get Ubuntu working but getting it all setup is really beyond the skills and/or patience of your average user (ie. gamer, corporate executive, etc). Even if such a user succeeded in getting it to work, getting the whole thing borked on the next system update would certainly fill them with the rage of a thousand rabid squirrels. So if you want this to be accessible more broadly, you need to get the following sorted:

    1. nVidia support through system upgrades and working with USB-C to DP out (HDMI is glitchy and flaky and stopped using that the first time I tried)
    2. Full driver support - wifi/bluetooth, touchpad, sound (including headphones)
    3. Better power management/longetivity/suspend/hibernate support
    4. Better system updates that are guaranteed to work
    5. Support for things like Steam and more familiar media productivity tools (Photoshop, etc).
    6. Scaling - in Unity/Gnome/KDE but also on the native terminal!
    7. A slew of desktop apps - most of these exist in various oss flavors but often have the same risks with updates as nVidia. I've wrestled with Bluetooth at least 3 times
    8. Keeping up with kernel updates and security updates, at least on the LTS versions
    It's possible to do this, but at a minimum you'll need your own repo to insure updates come through seamlessly after extensive testing across multiple Razer models. This last part is a big one to consider - Razer uses such cutting edge hardware that even the open source community usually doesn't have solutions available at the time of product release. No one wants to experiment with patching and building a new kernel just to get the latest Intel chip to work correctly. I didn't even bother considering the new 1060 Pascal model for precisely this reason. Furthermore, you're going to have to limit the Linux distros supported and associated desktop environments. It's going to be too expensive to test every skew across every Linux distro, display manager and desktop environment. In fact, I suggest going the Ubuntu/Debian route and working out a deal with Canonical directly as the cheapest and most effective option if you want to actually want to provide this option and support it through product life.

    I'm already sold on Razer and will be continuing using these products and wrestling with this setup regardless - the benefits very much outweigh the drawbacks in my case and it actually has taught an enormous amount about Linux, Xorg, etc in general. But you will need to survey your target users. There's no reason for gamers to use Linux for gaming - its always going to be inferior to Windows regardless of the effort involved. You need to consider power users that can benefit - software developers, data scientists, machine learning researchers, analysts, quantitative mathematicians and similar corporate power users. And if you're serving that crowed, it's going to have to work well and offer some sort of extended support/warranty programs. I totally think it's worth it but I'm biased - it's a whole different equation from the business side perspective. I personally think you could drop a number of accessories (do you really need like 5 different models of mice, keyboards, etc??). The Razer Blade is your best product and its really better than anything else in the industry. It deserves an "ultimate" skew that has Windows 10 and Ubuntu dual boot and all the top of the line components. Many of us will create such customizations out of passion, but I think we'd all love if you offered it - and would pay a high premium for such a product. Time is money and if you can save me time and frustration, I'm happy to give you my money!
  12. Robert_Smith

    Robert_Smith New Member

    I'm long over due for an upgrade. I was looking at System76 and Dell to be my new daily driver. But now I'm able to consider Razer if they are serious about supporting Linux. Having it work out of the box would be great and not just for Ubuntu but for Fedora and Arch as well. The ability to update the BIOS. At least 8 hours of battery life on average use. Drop the Killer network card for Intel. Up to at least 32GB of memory if possible non-soldered. A 99Whr battery. A trackpad this is on par with Apple's force touch trackpad. Mostly the same I/O as the Razer Blade Pro but add an extra USB-C port. Make the Bezel's smaller. Sell the Linux version for at least $100 less. You guys so far have one of the best looking laptops out there but I wish you would get rid of the Razer Logo on the top or make it more subtle.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  13. mdaly001

    mdaly001 Active Member

    Anyword on the Linux support? I have a 2016 14 970m that I use Ubuntu as daily driver. The lack of easy GPU switching solution really kills the mobility factor. A BIOS switch would help but software would be better.

    Also the new RBS is barely usable with Ubuntu. Need caps? Sorry if you hit that key twice, guaranteed system freeze.

    My need to use Linux is making Dell that more likely they will be my next laptop (I upgrade every year or two). Please please come out with some support so I can keep using ur awesome hardware! More extensive BIOS options would be a good start.
  14. labotsirc

    labotsirc Active Member

    You are totally right, it would not be a surprise that Valve puts $$ in making razer support and promote linux gaming with Steam.
  15. My wishlist for a Linux laptop beyond what you guys already have:
    • Trackpad drivers. Not just horizontal and vertical scrolling and proper touch detection, that's easy. I'm talking about extending it to allow mapping arbitrary keyboard shortcuts to multi-touch gestures. This is feature #1 that I miss from the days when crApple laptops were good. This could be accomplished with a Linux version of Synapse, I would think.
    • Decent battery life. A lot can be achieved by installing TLP and the latest kernel, but any additional tuning that can be pushed by Synapse or the like to go beyond generic laptop tuning would be huge for a lot of us.
    • Proper support for the Core. This one might be harder, since it would likely require contributing to kernel driver development. Still, this would super extra cool to have done well and right. Despite the issues I've had with my core (which prevent me from using it at all most days), I still believe in you guys and hope to see this thing succeed in the end.
    Hactar88 likes this.
  16. As with any product, showing a demand usually helps push something along. That said, I'll weigh in with what I feel would help Razer make this a successful project. Everyone else has made really good points, so most of this may seem like highlighting those. I'm not going to provide an abstract (TL;DR), so read it or don't! lol

    It's got to be right the first time. Don't half heatedly go about it like Dell* did. Everything on the device needs support from open-sourcing the drivers and APIs to providing updates that don't require a work around (like using winPE to do bios flashing or any of the other random things you have to do on the XPS*).
    **I'm not a Dell hater, I have a XPS13 and love it; but it could have been executed better with Linux support and that's what drove me to get the windows version unfortunately. **

    Battery life and trackpad are key. This is what turns most people off from using GNU Linux in the first place. Make the hardware work with each base variant (this doesn't just mean ubuntu variants; please consider debian, arch and redhat\centos\fedora). Battery optimization will come along with tuning from the first point, but this is where you will kill the game. If people can actually get 12-15+ hours on a laptop and not have to worry about Windows spying, security issues or dealing with Apple's planned obsolescence: they will jump ship so fast and you will likely take over the market.

    Hardware options. Linux people often like to pick their hardware or at least be able to change with their needs. That being said, please don't solder on the RAM to the motherboard. If you do, can we at least get several RAM options for each CPU, please? NVMe is another thing. We have the technology and it is glorious! Hook us up with one or two m.2 slots (even if one is only SATA3) and most people will love you for it. I'll reiterate the 'using current tech' theme and suggest that having two fully capable thunderbolt v.3 ports, along with support, would be a game changer (might not be possible, but doesn't hurt to ask). Throw a couple USB 3.1 on for good measure if you can fit it. That's really about it for I/O. Some may want SD card slot, others a RJ-45 port, but these can be done through a dock and it'd be a shame to clutter such a beautiful machine. Wireless...this is where a lot of manufacturers fall short. Use an Intel chip with 802.11ac 2x2 (or heaven forbid 3x3). Intel seems to be consistent with Linux support, so that should save you some headache as well.

    These are merely the ramblings of a sysadmin who is going to transition into DevOps into the next 2-3 years, so take it with a grain of salt i guess, but seriously this is an easy recipe to success.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
    Hactar88 and pms1969 like this.
  17. Iiari_no_id

    Iiari_no_id New Member

    I read this news online, and as I was going to be looking for laptops in the next year or two, Razer's possible entry to the market is very exciting. I look forward to following the progress!

    PS: For those looking for great trackpad drivers on Linux, try the Gallium OS distro on Chromebook hardware. They've ported the Chromebook drivers to Linux and it's by far the best trackpad experience I've had on Linux, which as everyone points out, is pretty terrible usually.
    kaljade likes this.
  18. Just want to back this up, I've been using it with a Dell Chromebook 13 and it's near perfection.

    Ideally Razer would do the same thing as GalliumOS and have a forked distribution so they could maintain their own set of patches, custom packages such as Chromium with video acceleration and to make sure updates of likely suspects of instability (X/compositor/kernel/etc) didn't screw up anything up before they pushed them live. I don't know if they can afford the cost though, you'd probably need to dedicate a full time employee to it.

    Which is why I think Valve should get into this game and have their own distribution, with certified hardware which they QA (for a price of course, but they'd have an economy of scale). It's the only way to turn Linux from an expert system to one suited for common users, just like Google already did with Android and Chrome OS.
    kaljade likes this.
  19. frontFandangobay431

    frontFandangobay431 New Member

    For me, I think that proper driver support and power management is the main thing I would want from a Linux supported laptop. Proper power management (including battery charging thresholds) is crucial for a laptop and it's something that need to be supported by the manufacturer. I'm using a (heavily modified) thinkpad right now because of the great Linux support (from the community).

    As for driver support, it goes without saying that anybody want their hardware to just work...
    Hactar88 likes this.
  20. organgtool

    organgtool New Member

    Please put a magnetic power cable on the laptop! Apple's patent on magnetic power cables includes a reversible connector. If you made your connector irreversible, such as the shape of a trapezoid, you'd likely be clear of the patent. I can't count the number of times that my magnetic connector saved my laptop which is something that's extremely important when considering paying for a premium product.
    Mr.ShoNuff and Hactar88 like this.
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