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Old 08-21-2015, 11:59 AM   #16
Didier Spaier
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Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Paris, France
Distribution: Slint64-14.2 on Lenovo Thinkpad W520
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Apple's products are known to have firmwares that widely vary in terms of features and conformance to the UEFI specification/versions.

If not already done you could have a look here and there (if you consider booting from an USB stick, as Tails does).

See also Startup key combinations for Mac.

The safest way at time of writing, if not the most elegant, is probably to use rEFInd, but you already know that.

Last edited by Didier Spaier; 08-21-2015 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 08-21-2015, 05:47 PM   #17
Registered: Oct 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
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I am actually considering getting a Chromebook Pixel(2015) and putting Slackware64 Current on it.
Old 08-21-2015, 05:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JamesGT View Post
I am actually considering getting a Chromebook Pixel(2015) and putting Slackware64 Current on it.
I couldn't find those for sale anywhere when I was looking a year ago.
Old 08-23-2015, 02:31 PM   #19
Gerardo Zamudio
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Distribution: Slackware
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I'm a bit late to this thread but I had Slackware 14.1 KDE running fine on a System76 Gazelle Professional. The only issue with the Fn keys I can recall is that the brightness buttons would work but the brightness bar on the screen wouldn't show. System76 also provides Windows drivers if you need them.

I have my eye set on the Libreboot x200 for my next purchase (mostly for ideological reasons).
Old 08-23-2015, 04:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gerardo Zamudio View Post
I have my eye set on the Libreboot x200 for my next purchase (mostly for ideological reasons).
It is so awesome to see more options like this one in the marketplace. I hope that free/libre computing will be the hottest, fastest-growing segment in the coming years. I mean, if it's not, then the world will quickly become one big police state.
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:40 PM   #21
Registered: Jun 2008
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
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If you have the money and don't mind the old hardware specs, I have to second the Libreboot based on the current "EVERYONE (including your vendors) Is Out To Get You" environment. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of money to spend.

My current laptop is a Dell D300 (? going from memory, may/probably not be correct) made in 2008 or so with 1.5 gigs of RAM that I bought from a local computer recycler. I definitely scored, as it was in decent physical condition, especially the keyboard and screen, all for $50 if I remember right (but no HD/wincrap). I also got the docking station for something like $10-15 (haven't been able to get an actual charger, though, and gave up looking as I'm not doing any major travel requiring that kind of portability).

My old laptop was an Acer Aspire running an AMD Turion X2 and NVIDIA IGP that I bought on an after-christmas walmart special that dates to around the same time. I got the former laptop to replace this one when the backlight, probably its ballast, died. Otherwise it still works, and I may use it as a file server or something that doesn't need high performance ports. The performance of this machine is slightly higher than the Dell since it's clocked faster and probably due to the mis-matched SODIMMs in the Dell; I've been planning on pulling one out of the Acer and putting in the Dell to make them match.

WRT the Acer, the M$FT "additions" in its BIOS prevented GRUB and any of the BSDs from booting; I'm pretty sure I still can't make a BSD boot in this laptop, but I haven't tested GRUB in years. I don't know whether the Dell will take anything besides Slackware. LILO, for whatever reason, works fine, and I haven't had any problem installing Slackware in either laptop until 14.1 came around with KMS (Kernel Mode Switching) and the "framebuffer whether you want it or not" attitude. This caused my display to go blank most of the time during boot and wouldn't return; the only way around it is to disable loading the framebuffer on boot. Strangely, it works fine when launched with X. I still don't understand what the difference is. I've practically been begging for this disable command to be including in Slackware's default "lilo.conf" for a couple of years (the way "compact" is), but so far Pat&Co haven't seen fit to do so.

Both machines REALLY like running on an SSD despite only being SATA 1 or 2.

Otherwise, picking a laptop has always been around doing your homework before hand to make sure all the hardware is supported under Slackware. This usually revolves around the GPU and wireless, though there's always some other little things like extra keys or lights; this gets worse the closer you get to brand new, especially bleeding edge. For example, my Acer needed the partial-closed-source "MadWIFI" driver for its Atheros-based 802.11g when I first got it (and the support for the particular chip in question had only been released a few months prior!), but now that's totally open source. Likewise, several keys and LEDs didn't work, and now do. Most(?) everything works in the Dell, though, but I bought it already old and used.

The bottom line is, if you have the money, you may as well get from one of the guys that build these things and will support Linux on it for you, preferably Slackware itself (though that's tough to find). Otherwise, if you're poor like me, you'll have to do a lot of homework instead, possibly living with stuff not working for a while, or buy an older laptop if you don't need the performance.

Finally, remember that desktops have ALWAYS been better supported and have higher performance to boot. You may also want to check out some of the more open ARM computers and tablets and get away from x86/x64 entirely.

UPDATE: Logged in from my laptop to tell you exactly what they are. This laptop is a Dell Latitude D520 with 1.5G (1x1G and 1x500M sticks), Core-2 Duo 1.6 GHz, and Intel 945GM AGP. Wireless is also Intel IWL 802.11b/g. The screen is 4x3 rather than 16x9/10 and only SVGA. It did NOT come with winblows, but the sticker says it had XP in it. I removed the hard drive with Ubuntu the recycler put in it and put in the SSD from the Acer with Slackware. Only very minor changes were necessary.

My previous Acer is an Aspire 5520-5912 with 2G (2x1gig), AMD TurionX2 1.9 GHz, and NVIDIA 610M AGP. The wireless is an Atheros 23xx (don't remember exact number) 802.11b/g. As I said before, the BIOS has many Micro$oft-isms that prevented pretty much everything besides Slackware and winblows from booting properly, but especially BSDs. It came with Vista...needless to say, once Slackware was installed, it seemed like an entirely new machine, especially once I put an SSD in it.

One major thing I forgot to mention earlier is that neither of these machines has hardware video decode, so the CPU will run hot and may not keep up with H.264/MPEG-4 video during intense frames with lots of stuff going on; they almost certainly don't have the horsepower to decode H.265, but I haven't tried it yet (knowingly). Both machines also had slots for Bluetooth, but neither had the slots occupied; the one for the Dell is fairly cheap, but I don't use this enough for it to matter, and besides, its far cheaper and easier to get a BT dongle.

I hope this helps!

Last edited by storkus; 08-25-2015 at 03:21 AM. Reason: Added Laptop Specs
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Old 08-25-2015, 07:01 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by storkus View Post
(haven't been able to get an actual charger, though, and gave up looking as I'm not doing any major travel requiring that kind of portability)
Totally random, but if you're in the US and want a charger, you can get them from Amazon for under $7 and it's prime eligible.

And the battery is under $12.

And as far as h265 decoding, it really depends on the quality of the encode. I have a lot of h265 videos that work properly on my 8 year old desktop and my 4 year old laptop. Both are showing their age, and the desktop is faster than the laptop. But the videos I have are no larger than 720p, and h265 was used mainly due to the lower filesize. If I were to try a high quality 1080p video in h265, I'm sure I would have problems playing it.
Old 08-25-2015, 07:44 AM   #23
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Just a General Consideration note - It is likely wise to write down our hierarchy of needs/desires paying attention to the fact that some are often mutually exclusive like performance and battery life. Then, IMHO at or very near the top of the list write "HEAT!". The reason for this is that cheaper, easy manufacturing and quick assembly are directly at odds with heat removal, as are aesthetics. People don't respond well on the sales room floor to large vents, spacious cases, loud fans, etc. and manufacturing and assembly are at odds with tight tolerances and labor intensive thermal pate application.

Also worthy of note unless you have the cash to get exactly what you want and are dead set on brand new, eBay still has rather large numbers of barely used high quality laptops like Thinkpads partly due to increasing hardware requirements for Windows.


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