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Old 04-20-2019, 11:26 AM   #1
montagdude
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Recommendation for touchscreen laptop


I am probably going to be shopping for a new laptop for my wife sometime this year. Her 2010 MacBook Pro is showing signs of age. She doesn't mind switching to Linux, but the one feature she wants is a touchscreen. It doesn't need to be convertible or fancy, she just wants a touchscreen to make her online teaching work easier. Does anyone have recommendations for something like this that is well supported in Linux (ideally Slackware)? I imagine that in 2019, Linux can handle touchscreens fairly well, but if there are certain models known to work better than others, I would probably go with one of them, as long as it doesn't break the bank.

As I'm typing this, I'm thinking maybe just a Wacom tablet would suit her needs instead of a touchscreen. Anyway, recommendations for either (a touchscreen laptop or a Wacom tablet) are welcome.
 
Old 04-20-2019, 03:29 PM   #2
moesasji
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Unfortunately the situation of a touch-screen and linux is still far from perfect. :-(

I currently have a Lenovo x1 yoga tablet (2nd gen) as well as a Wacom drawing tablet. The only desktop that worked well with the touchscreen out of the box on the lenovo was Gnome on Fedora. On that system I have the full touchscreen + rotation. However even that experience wasn't perfect as the onboard screenboard works in some programs, but not in all. In principle it should be possible to get the same working in XFCE using IIO-sensor-proxy, but this will definitely take work to get going although there is a patch (https://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=12682) and work-arounds (https://github.com/mrquincle/yoga-900-auto-rotate). Compared to XFCE Gnome feels really slow on the same machine though.

The wacom drawing tablet works out of the box; however I found that it is hard to incorporate in the workflow as I found it difficult to comment on text that is not visible below the pen. However the far bigger problem is that the annotation-functionality in pdf-readers that I assume your wife will also need is rather poor. And I am not even talking about how poor the annotation in "Blackboard" is....

My advice for teaching would be to go for a touch-screen, but it is important to be aware that the eco-system for doing annotations is much poorer than on a Mac.

btw) in terms of hardware: I am addicted to the Lenovo Trackpoint, so that is the only hardware I will consider. Hence the X1 yoga.

Last edited by moesasji; 04-20-2019 at 03:51 PM.
 
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:56 AM   #3
Tonus
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Recommendation for touchscreen laptop

I've got a ux303 ln with changed ssd (1to and small 256go) and additional ram.

Touchscreen works well (I use it very few).

Edit : running Slackware-current for 2 years now

Last edited by Tonus; 04-21-2019 at 03:58 AM.
 
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Old 04-21-2019, 05:59 AM   #4
Regnad Kcin
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Now, this may not be helpful, but I fiddled with DIY touchscreens with Slackware for awhile.
(I had used touch screens with Plato IV and orange dots ala Don Bitzer at Illinois
back in the 70's) Bitzers touch screens were a grid of intersecting infrared beams.

What I was wanting was a small portable screen that I could use for presentations.
I do a lot of lecturing and teaching and meetings all over China and Asia.
I also do some modeling and some bioinformatics that is quite number-crunching
intensive and I cant wait up all night waiting for a run to finish only to find
that I need to tweak it and do it again another long wait later.

Finally I decided that my finger wasnt so good of a mouse pad and I sort of scrapped the idea for
awhile. I have so much stuff that I refer to and so often am called on to be impromptu and
fully backed up and ready for anything on the road that I gradually moved toward a luggable
portable machine and a portable screen with touchscreen. I use a touchscreen every day with my cell phone
but the skin on my fingers is a bit thicker than some folks and I dont get a very satisfying touch response.
I do have a OTG usb adapter and hub that i can plug in a mouse and a little Periboard keyboard for my
cell phone some times. I tried KDE connect and although it is very cool it was not an answer for me.
Laptops get too hot if you soup them up with fast drives and fast software and they dont have
enough video ports for me and the disk drives are always limiting and it is dangerous to pack
backup drives on the road (for me).

What I have now is a Asrock M-itx Z290 motherboard and with 16gb of ram and an overclocked i7-7700K.
It gets really hot so I have a water-cooled dual fan radiator so that now it never times out for temperature issues.
I have a 1000W Great Wall powersupply that is chunky and heavy but it hasnt burned up.

I have gone through a variety of small display panels from homemade ones to small monitors to
small HDMI displays. Those often dont take well to the rigors of being on the road.
I added a mini-itx NVIDIA card and have been using a Gigabyte GTX1060 for about a year and a half.
I often use 3 monitors in my work.

I added a WACOM Centiq 13HD display pad about a year ago. It is durable and awesomeness incarnate
and is so much more useful than a touch pad. I can use the pen as a mouse and as a pointer
and I can draw on the screen and it is great for teaching and lecturing and taking on-screen notes
at meetings. It takes a little bit of practice but it is awesome.

Some times I use the wacom pad with LibreOffice but I also have ported the OpenBoard software to Slackware64 -current.
One has to get a lot of libraries from Ubuntu to make openboard work but it does run in Slackware and quite wonderfully
and Slackware is one powerful lot better for my impatience than "U grunt too". There is supposed to be a OpenSuse
port of OpenBoard but I havent tried using it with Slackware. Fortunately OpenBoard does not require any of the
non-SysV stuff.

My wife is not a power user of computers. She is happy with her Dell laptop and Windows 10 which
wear me out and make me wonder how she can stand the nannying and nonsense. She also has one of those
little mini-micro small blackboxes similar to the NUC and it has dual video and can run both the Wacom pad
and a projector or large monitor and can be carried in one small bag. She doesnt like it much though
and it is running a microscope camera at the moment. I have another of those I built that
runs a plate reader and had done so for a few years now.

My luggable machine is built on a piece of 1-inch fir and it lifts in and out of a airlines regulation size
carry-on case that looks sort of like a movie camera case. They make you take your computer out
at the airport.

The problems with the laptops for me is the lack of video ports and lack of video power,
the lack of on-the-go backups right now when you need them, and the lack of computing power
that is intrinsic to the laptop design and just no way to get rid of the heat if your machine is really
cranking out the work. I havent seen a laptop with a radiator and two 5-inch fans going.

The wacom pad is a real breakthrough. I guess we are waiting for some new breakthrough in computing power
with much less heat to dissipate. Getting the heat away from the chips is a real limiting factor.
 
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:08 PM   #5
montagdude
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Her requirements are pretty modest; she just needs to be able to write by hand in an area of a browser window on the teaching platform that the company she works for has produced. Currently, she's using the mouse to do that, but obviously that is not a great way to do it. I think we will just get one of the low end Wacom tablets and see how that does.
 
Old 04-22-2019, 01:36 AM   #6
moesasji
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montagdude View Post
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Her requirements are pretty modest; she just needs to be able to write by hand in an area of a browser window on the teaching platform that the company she works for has produced. Currently, she's using the mouse to do that, but obviously that is not a great way to do it. I think we will just get one of the low end Wacom tablets and see how that does.
1) That should work on pretty much any touch-screen under linux as that sounds like just using the mouse-functionality, nothing more.

2) If you decide to go for a wacom like device I would suggest that you look at the Chinese brand Huion (https://www.huiontablet.com/all-prod...aphic-tablets/). Those are much cheaper than a wacom device and supported out of the box on Linux. I have a 1060pro+, but it looks like it has been replaced by the "new 1060".
 
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:06 AM   #7
Regnad Kcin
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My daughter has one of the cheaper non-display wacom tablets (intuos) and it also supports linux. KDE Plasma 5 and Cinnamon have decent support for the wacom pads but there is also an xsetwacom utility in slackware that can be useful.
I live in Beijing and consider the quality of Chinese brand products to be hit and miss. Some are awesome and some are too poor to take home.
I have junk boxes filled with some of the poor quality stuff.
The problem is generally durability and product longevity not performance.

Last edited by Regnad Kcin; 04-22-2019 at 08:07 AM. Reason: format
 
Old 04-22-2019, 02:57 PM   #8
moesasji
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Regnad Kcin View Post
I live in Beijing and consider the quality of Chinese brand products to be hit and miss. Some are awesome and some are too poor to take home.
I have junk boxes filled with some of the poor quality stuff.The problem is generally durability and product longevity not performance.
I definitely have had the same experience in general with Chinese tech, although I've had no problems at all with the huion tablet to date. They tend to get very good reviews on amazon and the like, see for example links on here: https://www.creativebloq.com/features/best-huion-tablet.

When I made the choice I considered the wacom devices too expensive to try if it would fit in my work-flow.
 
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Old 04-23-2019, 02:51 AM   #9
navigium
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I use a pretty old Lenovo x230 along with Xournal as a whiteboard when I teach. This works fairly well with Slackware. A friend of mine successfully uses one of the first Lenovo Yogas in the same way with Debian.

But my plan to upgrade to a Lenovo Yoga 900s failed miserably. The touch screen works well but the pen is barely usable. Generally Lenovos work but even there it's a bit a hit and miss.

I suggest you go to a store, equipped with a Slack Live USB stick and try it on different machines. That way you at least know that it works. Use Slackware Current. Most recent touchscreens won't work well on 14.2.
 
Old 04-23-2019, 03:15 AM   #10
solarfields
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Quote:
I use a pretty old Lenovo x230 along with Xournal as a whiteboard when I teach. This works fairly well with Slackware.
I have the same ThinkPad. If you have not done it, buy a SSD. The difference in performance is tremendous.
 
  


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