New Laptop Advice April 2022

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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by j_e_f_f_g »

foodforester1 wrote:very Electro Hypersensitive
I was wondering what made you decide to live "off the grid". I once watched a documentary about people with your condition. They had to live in special communities a certain distance away from any city, and they couldn't have any electronic devices in the community. (I'm surprised you even own a computer). For entertainment, the people in the community would get together and play traditional acoustic instruments.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by foodforester1 »

I'm surprised you even own a computer
Our Electro Hypersensitivity is directly related to anything wireless. Our solar power supply has been professionally checked and is not a problem. Since we use cabled keyboard and mouse combos on our computers and have both WiFi and bluetooth disabled on the computers and the routers wireless DSP disabled by a blow with a center punch, there cannot be any wireless EMR and this is regularly checked by my meter.

Any changes in the equipment in the house is immediately checked as soon as it is powered up, and any white goods get the same treatment.

We are what I would classify as very " Electro Hypersensitive" whereas we have friends in the area who are both extremely Electro Hypersensitive. While walking down the main street in our local town she told her husband that she was feeling very wrong, so he rushed her off to the local hospital where her pulse measured 200 beats per minute. They had to stop her heart and restart it in order to reset the proper rhythm.

If we go to any of out local shopping precincts without our specially made hats on to protect our heads, from the EMR, we are both wiped out for up to 3 days thereafter. The hats are lined over the top of head by a silver material stitched inside. Around the back of the head, upper neck and both sides of the head, there is a layer of felt which has been impregnated with nano Shungite, Graphite, Nickel and Chrome. Nickel and Chrome are used in the coating for stealth military aircraft to absorb the Radar frequencies, thus reducing the radar 'footprint'. Since these are peaked hats / caps, the overall effect is not unlike Darth Vader in the French Foreign Legion, without the metallic face nappy covering the front.

While we both are still fairly wiped out, we are still functional for the rest of that day and are generally fine the next day, albeit somewhat tired from sleep that has been disturbed by the residual radiation effect.

I like to think of all those EHS sufferers as the 'Canaries in the Data Mine of Extinction' - Canaries were used in coal mines as an early warning for methane buildup in the mine - when the Canary fell off the perch in the cage, it was time for the miners to EVACUATE!

Since the effects of Electromagnetic radiation toxemia is cumulative, it is very probable that over time more and more people will be suffering as we do today, along with an increase in various brain tumors, male and female sterility and cancers / tumors in areas around wherever the phone is carried - testicular cancers, breast cancers for women foolish enough to carry these devices in their bras, and then there is the damage to children who are FAR more susceptible as their skull bones are thinner, and the as yet unborn, when the mother sits with her device on her lap beaming radiation directly into the fetus etc. etc..

Professor Olle Johansson (Ph.D), Retired Head of the Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience - Karolinska Institute - Stockholm, Sweden, said in an interview on May 10, 2013
"“In the fifth generation, females may be irreversibly sterile."

Given the "progress" of EMR spread into the environment in the past 9 years, I would guess that if he were asked the same question today, he may be tempted to review that "fifth" down to "third", since in 2013, the concept of thousands of satellites beaming 4.5G from space onto the surface of our planet, was at that stage, only a fond pipe dream of the eugenicist class.

It is therefore conceivable that a baby born today may be around to see the very last of our species born on our only home planet. Of course I won't be here to worry about it any longer.

But please don't take my word for this. I am NOT a doctor. I am merely a long term sufferer (about 25 years) and have spent much of the time studying this malady that effects me so badly.

But please good people - enough with the EHS issue which is so totally off topic. I don't want to be excommunicated / banned / de-platformed or whatever, as I do find this web site to be very useful for my stupid questions. For more on this issue, please consult two of my favorite web sites on the subject - https://ehtrust.org/ and https://bioinitiative.org/ where you will find real science from professors and doctors who specialize in these subjects.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by Kott »

foodforester1 wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:13 pm I won't get into a discussion on the harm caused by electromagnetic radiation here, as it is very much off-topic
please
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by macrobbair »

I got a star lite, the reason that I got it is that they guaranteed not a penny to microsoft. I run linux studio. The bad news is font size is a never ending battle and power supply. I broke the usbc power in and it is costing a lot to fix. Apart from that no problems.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by GuntherT »

Linuxmusician01 wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 1:23 pm @foodforester1: I wouldn't worry about the specs of your new computer. In my experience the hardest part is actually finding a laptop that supports Linux in every way. Well, an affordable laptop that is. A cheap desktop PC (for, say $400) will simply work 90% to 99% of the time. And any new computer is super-fast if you ask me. Well, except for a Chromebook maybe, but given its price I don't mind.

If I had to get me a new laptop today (as of 2022) I'd still buy an Intel based Chromebook (for, say, 250 Euro) and install Linux with Crouton. Why? Because a reasonably up to date distro (Ubuntu 20.04 with the LXDE desktop) is still sort of possible, they say... Only downside to Crouton: no easy file sharing with Windows users/networks because the Samba kernel module ain't in the ChromeOS kernel (well, not yet AFAIK).

However, if you desperately want to update your Linux distro every 2 years or so (and with PipeWire on it's way you might just want to be able to do that for Music production) Crouton might not be the best option. Choose wisely. ;)
As an owner of two Chromebooks and a Chromebox, I would highly recommend against purchasing one to use as a Linux machine. You are much better off buying a Windows laptop that costs the same as the Chromebook you are considering, and just wiping Windows off of it. The Windows laptop will have fewer issues, better performance, and the installation process will be much simpler. Believe me now and thank me later. Running Linux on them is not as smooth as you'd expect, and there are many quirks to overcome along with a number of compromises. It isn't worth it. Even the developer behind MrChromebox.tech, the individual who wrote the firmware that makes installing Linux on Chromebooks' bare metal possible, advises against purchasing a Chromebook to use as a Linux machine. Now, if you nab a refurbished one for $50 on eBay and want to tinker, by all means have a little fun with it before it winds up in a landfill. I would actually recommend doing that so you get a taste of what the experience is like, but purchasing a new Chromebook with the intention of running a Linux desktop on it is a recipe for disappointment, IMHO.
Last edited by GuntherT on Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by Linuxmusician01 »

GuntherT wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:46 am [...] You are much better off buying a Windows laptop that costs the same as the Chromebook you are considering, and just wiping Windows off of it. [...]
Everybody has his own experiences. A Chromebook is far, far from ideal but it has a Linux kernel. One has no idea if all the hardware on a Windows laptop will work in Linux. If you wiped Win from it you're in big trouble if your Wifi chip isn't well supported by Linux for example. Now that would be a lot of money to throw in a landfill...

They say that Win 11 (Win 10 too?) machines can run Linux in some sort of compatibility more (dunno), even with a GUI/Desktop Environment. In my experience (from many years ago I have to admit) laptops are nothing but trouble with Linux. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by wjl »

@foodforester1 Have you made your decision already?

I'm asking because I just heard a talk from the latest Debconf from a guy who also works for Lenovo. He had a list of about 30 machines which all run Linux. My wife has an L series notebook, they're very nice and sturdy, not much difference to the (more expensive) T and P models we've had at my former employer... (Edit: I also opened her L380 Yoga to swap the 128GB SSD which I had ordered to a 1TB SSD from Samsung. No problemo, can do that with using a screwdriver and a guitar pick without damaging the hardware (tbh, I've built Linux laptops myself for a while when I ran the European division of ZaReason - but that's another story, and white box notebooks were hard to get))

Some links for you in case you're interested:

https://wolfgang.lonien.de/2022/07/bits ... en-kosovo/
https://saimei.ftp.acc.umu.se/pub/debia ... -2022.webm
https://www.phoronix.com/news/Lenovo-Linux-2022-State

That last Phoronix link shows Mark's table of models, so you can see and check all the different models and prices.

If you actually listen to his talk, yes they're experimenting with Linux on ARM machines (very low power consumption), but these are still to be considered beta, so I'd rather go with AMD or Intel.

Oh, and if possible then avoid the models ending on an "s", most of them have the RAM and some even the CPU soldered on...

Hope that helps?
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by Gps »

I was about to post this here, Lenova selling laptops with Linux preinstalled.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/lenovo-be ... x-desktop/
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by GuntherT »

Linuxmusician01 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 9:42 am
GuntherT wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:46 am [...] You are much better off buying a Windows laptop that costs the same as the Chromebook you are considering, and just wiping Windows off of it. [...]
Everybody has his own experiences. A Chromebook is far, far from ideal but it has a Linux kernel. One has no idea if all the hardware on a Windows laptop will work in Linux. If you wiped Win from it you're in big trouble if your Wifi chip isn't well supported by Linux for example. Now that would be a lot of money to throw in a landfill...

They say that Win 11 (Win 10 too?) machines can run Linux in some sort of compatibility more (dunno), even with a GUI/Desktop Environment. In my experience (from many years ago I have to admit) laptops are nothing but trouble with Linux. Just my 2 cents.
TL;DR - A Chromebook is a poor (sometimes terrible) choice for a Linux laptop focused on audio production. Buy a PC laptop for the same price instead.

Since 2007, I have not owned a Windows laptop that wasn't compatible with Linux (a Dell, a HP, an ASUS, and a Lenovo, each containing an Intel processor), provided the non-free drivers were used during installation (default behavior in Arch; a particular ISO is needed for Debian). If you buy a state-of-the-art machine, you may be waiting a bit for kernel support for some of its hardware, but a consumer-grade PC laptop that is comparable in price to a decent Chromebook is unlikely to present issues, especially compared to the issues you will encounter with a Chromebook.

Yes, ChromeOS uses the Linux kernel, but that doesn't solve the problems Chromebooks possess. The issues are the non-standard keyboard, the touchpad and sound card behaving differently depending on the distro, and most importantly, the hardware and software security measures Google enables by default that are complicated, and in some cases not possible, to circumvent. Getting past Google's security hurdles is a much bigger hassle than going into the BIOS and disabling Secure Boot on a Windows machine, which may not even be necessary in some cases. After spending the added time and effort accounting for a Chromebook's quirks, you are left with a slow laptop with an odd keyboard, a semi-responsive touchpad, a sound card that can exhibit strange behavior, and a meager amount of RAM and disk space that cannot be upgraded. The battery life will be good, but the low latency audio performance will not.

Your mileage may vary depending on the Chromebook model, but if I were tasked to setup a Linux desktop on a new laptop tomorrow, I would certainly choose a PC over a Chromebook, ideally a Dell or Lenovo or other manufacturer model that offers a Linux OS by default. One of those would be a sure bet, but when gambling on which of the two is a bigger risk for complications, a Windows-based laptop or a Chromebook, my money is on the Chromebook. While the Chromebox (ASUS) I own was pretty straight-forward and works well, the two Chromebooks (HP and ASUS) were definitely the most challenging Linux setups I have undertaken, and the final results left a lot to be desired. I would caution against recommending Linux on Chromebooks to others if you are not speaking from experience. Some may be led to believe it is easy to setup and runs as well as Linux does on a Windows laptop after reading your posts, but neither is the case. Personally, I wouldn't purchase a Chromebook again unless I only planned to use ChromeOS on it.

I have tried running Ardour via Crouton, and it simply doesn't work due to Crouton not having direct access to the machine's hardware, i.e. the sound card. There are other problems with Crouton, but that alone is a deal-breaker. The issues I am describing above relate to my experience dual-booting Linux from a USB drive or installing it on the internal drive after the stock BIOS had been flashed with Coreboot. Installing it on the internal drive produces the best results, but the results are still, let's say, not impressive. For some Chromebook models, it is not possible to install Linux to their internal drives, and the only option for a fully-functional Linux desktop is to run it from a USB drive or SD card, which is a plainly terrible setup if using a DAW such as Ardour. Chromebooks are slow in general, but using a SD card connected via a USB 2.0 header as the file system drive only compounds the overall lack of performance. A USB 3.0 drive is much faster but becomes too hot to use as a root drive for any considerable length of time, and it takes up a valuable port often needed for an audio interface or midi keyboard if used as the home drive, which can also create heat issues. If you decide to take a chance on a Chromebook purchase with the intent of using Linux on it, I highly recommend you research the exact model you wish to buy to confirm Linux can be installed to its internal drive. This is more likely the older it is. I also recommend you approach the whole endeavor with low expectations.

P.S. Wiping Windows from a laptop is not a problem at all if you change your mind and want to re-install it. Microsoft provides official OS installation ISOs on their website for Windows 10 and 11. Wiping the OEM version of Windows from the device is actually the first thing I do when I buy a new computer because I prefer the MS version that omits any bundled software from the manufacturer, and I like to repartition the drive to make room for a Linux OS. Provided the OEM version of Windows is activated before re-formatting the drive (only requires you boot into it once to check this), it will automatically reactivate upon every re-installation without any input from the user regardless of any hardware changes, other than a motherboard replacement.

Having completed many installations of Windows and Linux on Windows-based machines, both laptops and towers, it is actually Windows that has presented more issues with driver support than Linux. Typically there is at least one or two drivers missing after a non-OEM re-installation of the OS that one needs to fetch from a website afterwards. I have not encountered a missing driver post-installation of Linux to date provided the non-free kernels drivers are enabled, but I am sure there are others whose experience has been different than mine. It seems like those users have been pretty quiet about their driver troubles for the last 10+ years, though.

---

All that being said, if you are looking to re-purpose a Chromebook to run LibreOffice, the lack of a SUPER key, DELETE key and CAPS LOCK takes some getting used to, but overall, it's...fine...for that sort of thing, I suppose. You could play YouTube videos and visit this forum with it, too, without becoming frustrated.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by Linuxmusician01 »

GuntherT wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:34 pm [concerning laptops] I have not encountered a missing driver post-installation of Linux to date provided the non-free kernels drivers are enabled, but I am sure there are others whose experience has been different than mine. It seems like those users have been pretty quiet about their driver troubles for the last 10+ years, though.
My experiences with laptops and Linux are with old 2nd hand laptops, long ago. Especially WiFi was troublesome then. My only problem that persists is: I do not like to gamble. That is: when I come home with my shiny new laptop and try to install Linux then I might not get my money back if it don't work. And then I'm stuck with a computer I have to use for years (I ain't rich) without Linux. And laptops that actually are guaranteed to work with Linux are usually very expensive. The cheaper ones (at least in the past) used alternative obscure chips that aren't well supported by Linux. And even worse, like you said, not even by Windows! That is: wipe your hard disk and re-install Win from the Microsoft provided image and you're still F-ed. :roll:

GuntherT wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:34 pm All that being said, if you are looking to re-purpose a Chromebook to run LibreOffice, the lack of a SUPER key, DELETE key and CAPS LOCK takes some getting used to, but overall, it's...fine...for that sort of thing, I suppose. You could play YouTube videos and visit this forum with it, too, without becoming frustrated.
Yep, you're right. That requires tinkering. On the other hand, the keyboard I'm typing on now doesn't have a "Menu" key (i.e. a key that does the same thing as the right mouse button). Had to map it to the right Alt key. I'm used to having to tinker with keyboards in Linux so I forgot about that. ;)
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by GuntherT »

I can understand your feelings given your experience, but the situation has changed over the years. Today, the likelihood of a run-on-the-mill laptop that houses an Intel processor, Intel Graphics, and an Intel WiFi/BT module being fully functional on Linux is pretty much 100%. AMD laptops are probably just as good given they open-sourced their drivers a while back, but I have no firsthand experience with them.

Conversely, the likelihood that Linux can be installed to the internal drive on a Chromebook with a Picasso/Dali (AMD) or Jasper/Tiger Lake (Intel) processor is pretty much 0% (as of today). Despite the hardware being supported by the kernel, Google's built-in security measures currently prevent this, and the appetite of the developers who have put effort into hacking Google firmware in the past appears to be waning for this type of work. You can likely run Linux from a USB drive or SD card on those units, which could be fine for light office work and web-surfing, but it will be terrible for audio production. In some cases, the firmware has to be manually updated before you can even boot from an external drive, although on newer models I think Developer Mode may allow this without modification.

On older models, the ability to install Linux to the internal drive is more likely, but it requires disassembling the unit to either remove a write-protect screw from the motherboard or temporarily disconnecting the built-in battery and booting from AC power, depending on the model. After that, one must flash the BIOS with Coreboot before a Linux installation can be attempted, which removes the ability to run ChromeOS and risks bricking the device (highly unlikely, but possible). After that, you have to deal with all the configuration quirks post-installation of the OS.

On paper, Chromebooks look like they would make good Linux laptops, but in reality they don't. I understand you are cautioning against Linux on PC laptops due to your experiences, but if your experiences were from 15 years ago, they probably are not useful to others today, and if you have no experience with Chromebooks, I would steer clear of suggesting they are a good option. I have two models where Linux can be installed to the internal drive, and I wouldn't recommend either to anyone (as ChromeOS devices they are perfectly fine, though). The Chromebox I have works well due to it being a NUC form factor, but given it is the same hardware as a non-Chromebox NUC, I wouldn't recommend it either as it just adds an additional layer of complexity to the installation process that isn't there if you buy any other NUC model, and its BIOS provides no options beyond the boot menu.
Last edited by GuntherT on Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by martibs »

GuntherT wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:44 pm I can understand your feelings given your experience, but the situation has changed over the years. Today, the likelihood of a run-on-the-mill laptop that houses an Intel processor, Intel Graphics, and an Intel WiFi/BT module being fully functional on Linux is pretty much 100%.
In my experience, this is not quite accurate. There is a difference between "working" and "working well". I had a laptop with a full Intel chipset (CPU, GPU, WiFi). The motherboard was some off-brand chinese manufacturer. It had severe issues with driving the WiFi module well, and had dropouts, even on Windows. There were no firmware updates or support.
If I was the one buying a computer for audio production today, I would definately choose from one of the manufacturers who officially support Linux, such as Dell or System76. Lenovo will also return to supporting Linux.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by sunrat »

martibs wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:48 pm
GuntherT wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:44 pm I can understand your feelings given your experience, but the situation has changed over the years. Today, the likelihood of a run-on-the-mill laptop that houses an Intel processor, Intel Graphics, and an Intel WiFi/BT module being fully functional on Linux is pretty much 100%.
In my experience, this is not quite accurate. There is a difference between "working" and "working well".
Agreed. One only has to browse Debian User Forums ( https://forums.debian.net/index.php ) to see the many problems encountered getting hardware to work. Even when the correct firmware or microcode is installed which one often has to install separately in Debian, the correct drivers are not in the kernel. In those cases (especially Realtek) drivers may be found on Github or similar, and either built or installed with dkms. Sometimes a more recent kernel from Backports may fix it, or running a development Debian branch (Debian stable is often behind for bleeding-edge hardware support). Sometimes hardware just won't work in Linux at all.
All of my hardware works fine with Debian Stable, desktop with i5 6500, ThinkPad Yoga 11e, but I do have a Realtek-based TP-Link wifi dongle which was thrown into a cupboard in despair.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by tseaver »

FWIW, I can heartily second the recommendation to consider System76: I've owned two of their laptops, one of which I used heavily as my primary develop-code-for-a-living machine for eight years before upgrading to another (largely for the extra max RAM to do video editing).

On the older machine, I've replaced the battery twice (leaving it plugged in wasn't well worked around in the older models), and the keyboard once (my bad: eight years worth of finger grease, crumbs, etc.) I'm actually pondering using it in place of the (newer) mini-tower I currently use for recording.

System76's after-sale support is great, keeping my machines on an already-tested-with-the-hardware current kernel.

They aren't rock-bottom cheap, but seem quite competitive to me compared to the beefy ThinkPad models I see mentioned frequently.
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Re: New Laptop Advice April 2022

Post by GuntherT »

martibs wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:48 pm
GuntherT wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:44 pm I can understand your feelings given your experience, but the situation has changed over the years. Today, the likelihood of a run-on-the-mill laptop that houses an Intel processor, Intel Graphics, and an Intel WiFi/BT module being fully functional on Linux is pretty much 100%.
In my experience, this is not quite accurate. There is a difference between "working" and "working well". I had a laptop with a full Intel chipset (CPU, GPU, WiFi). The motherboard was some off-brand chinese manufacturer. It had severe issues with driving the WiFi module well, and had dropouts, even on Windows. There were no firmware updates or support.
If I was the one buying a computer for audio production today, I would definately choose from one of the manufacturers who officially support Linux, such as Dell or System76. Lenovo will also return to supporting Linux.
I take your point about 'working' and 'working well'. It is the same point I was making about Chromebooks. However, if you are experiencing issues with your motherboard on both Linux and Windows, the issue is unrelated to Linux compatibility. What you describe suggests a hardware problem, which is beyond the ability of software to rememdy.
sunrat wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:37 pm Agreed. One only has to browse Debian User Forums ( https://forums.debian.net/index.php ) to see the many problems encountered getting hardware to work. Even when the correct firmware or microcode is installed which one often has to install separately in Debian, the correct drivers are not in the kernel. In those cases (especially Realtek) drivers may be found on Github or similar, and either built or installed with dkms. Sometimes a more recent kernel from Backports may fix it, or running a development Debian branch (Debian stable is often behind for bleeding-edge hardware support). Sometimes hardware just won't work in Linux at all.
All of my hardware works fine with Debian Stable, desktop with i5 6500, ThinkPad Yoga 11e, but I do have a Realtek-based TP-Link wifi dongle which was thrown into a cupboard in despair.
I followed your Debian link. It didn't point to any specific post or area of the forum, but I poked around in 'Hardware' and 'System and Network Configuration'. Obviously I didn't do any sort of deep dive, but after scanning a few pages, I also didn't come across any examples of unrecognized built-in hardware on a laptop with an Intel CPU, GPU, and WiFi module. Most posts seemed to be discussing the configuration of GPU and BT hardware that is recognized by the kernel but not optimized in its setup. The posts I saw that suggested true compatibility issues seemed to center around peripherals, i.e. hardware akin to your Realtek WiFi dongle.

All forums are filled with posts describing issues where a myriad of things could be going on and not enough information is provided to pinpoint the cause. Oftentimes the original poster never returns to confirm if a solution was found. Sometimes the poster does return to inform readers the solution was so simple as to be beyond trouble-shooting, like plugging the device into wall. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have come across those types of posts. This can lead to unhelpful information laying about on forums for years, and it can leave the impression that something was to blame that may have had nothing to do with that particular user's issue. What I don't often come across are posts where a user states something like, "I own laptop X, with X module inside of it. The kernel does not recognize it. Is there any way to get this working?" and gets a reply, "That module is not supported by the kernel, see (link to kernel mailing list) for more details."

I am puzzled why doom and gloom is being cast about regarding Linux's compatibility with modern laptops by those who have not experienced it firsthand. The prior poster with whom I was having a discussion stated he hasn't purchased a laptop in years, and you noted that your laptop works fine. Perhaps I was being a bit hyperbolic with the wording 'fully functional' and 'pretty much 100%', so I'll just sum up by circling back to the whole reason I jumped into this thread. There were prior posts suggesting one needs to be very cautious buying a PC laptop due to WiFi drivers while also touting Chromebooks as a great option. My firsthand experience has been the exact opposite. This thread is titled "New Laptop Advice April 2022". My advice is this: a Chromebook purchased in 2022 is a terrible choice for a Linux laptop focused on audio production, and the risk of missing WiFi module support on a PC laptop in 2022 is low if the unit has an Intel card and non-free drivers are enabled. My advice may be good or bad, right or wrong, but it is shaped from firsthand experiences and can be taken into consideration or ignored to any degree one wishes.
Last edited by GuntherT on Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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