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Games Hardware Linux

Razer Wants To Build the Best Linux Laptop, And It Needs Your Help (facebook.com) 220

Min-Liang Tan, a founder, CEO and creative director of gaming hardware company Razer, has assured enthusiasts that the company is looking into developing good -- the "best" he says -- Linux notebook. He writes in a post: The Razer Blade series have become the default coding machine for many out there and one of the most common asks is for us to support Linux on it. Well - we're looking at it and we're inviting all Linux enthusiasts to weigh in at the new Linux Corner on Insider to post feedback, suggestions and ideas on how we can make it the best notebook in the world that supports Linux. So if you're a Linux enthusiast, do check out the introductory thread.
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Razer Wants To Build the Best Linux Laptop, And It Needs Your Help

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  • Enough said.
    • by higuita ( 129722 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:47PM (#53971431) Homepage

      No!!! not nvidia, do not support a company that do nothing to support open source drivers... as Linus say: "F*ck you Nvidia!"

      AMD Ryzen CPU + AMD GPU (for using AMDGPU KMS + radeonsi mesa drivers)

      full power, open source!

    • For the opensource driver efforts, I would go for an AMD GPU.

      Latest generation is supported out of the box by amdgpu opensource drivers all the way up to opengl 4.5 (thanks to mesa), already some opensource Vulkan (thanks to radv), and the kernel drm module is shared with the closed source amdgpu-pro, so it's basically just switching a few user-space libraries around to run the closed source driver if you need them that much (AMD only recommands them for some specific professional use cases) your kernel of

  • No problem (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:42PM (#53971395)

    128 GB RAM
    (2) 1 TB Solid State (Raid 1)
    Best CPU on the market
    Best Laptop GPU on the market
    4K screen
    4 USB 3.0
    2 USB type c
    HDMI out
    Thin and lightweight
    10 hour battery life
    Headphone jack

    All for $499.99

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      Don't forget, under 2 lbs.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Don't be stupid, it should run a Beowulf cluster.
  • by geek ( 5680 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:44PM (#53971407)

    Are they going to pay me? What on Earth is so hard about putting together a Linux laptop? Thinkpads have been doing it for a decade.

    All Razer does is put together over priced crap that breaks the day after the warranty expires. Fuck them

    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:51PM (#53971455) Homepage Journal

      Stakeholder management. The stakeholders are Linux users who want a laptop, therefor they are the only ones who can suggest their requirements. Involving the stakeholders in this decision gives them a sense of ownership, so the product is more-likely to be accepted.

      Imagine if they develop the best... a $1,999 beast with excellent hardware support and the highest performance available to the Linux desktop, at a price point nobody wants to pay. Contrast that with something cheaper, lighter, with a good high-performance M2 SSD--a development environment that can build a kernel in 15 minutes instead of 11, sure, but it works fine, has better battery life, and only costs $499.

      Obviously two different groups of users will argue over which of these are better. Which group are they largely looking at for Linux uses, particularly developers? If they target their market appropriately, then their stakeholders will have an option which more-closely approximates what they need--paying for fewer useless features, and incorporating more desired functionality. Why pay the extra $30 for a Lightning port when all your devices are USB 3.0?

    • These days, it doesn't even need to be a "Linux" laptop... just so it can virtualize with decent performance. The underlying OS doesn't really matter too much.

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        > The underlying OS doesn't really matter too much.

        Sure it does. With Windows, your keyboard input is sent to Microsoft, to help them, uh, personalize your input experience. Or whatever their reasoning is.
        Every time you open notepad, gotta send packets to Microsoft. Gvim on Linux doesn't have this, err, feature. This is a "feature" that not even emacs has!

    • It's basically your chance to complain and say, "The wifi was a pain to set up." Or whatever.
    • This is SO true. I've had about five razer mice and nearly every single one of them has failed. They are crap... You want good stuff? Buy Logitech... I've never had a product from them fail except due to excessive wear or the fact that I needed to upgrade to some new tech. Many of my Logitech mice and keyboards have lasted over eight years. Razer=shit, bottom line.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Thinkpads after the Core 2 era will probably never support Coreboot. You can't even disable the Intel Management Engine completely.

      Maybe they should consider ARM, for this reason.

      Also, an SSD that supports OPAL V2 encryption.

  • A truly FOSS laptop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by infolation ( 840436 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:46PM (#53971413)
    A truly free and open-source software laptop... which allows a FOSS BIOS or UEFI replacement, FOSS drivers. No Blobs, or Intel ME.

    Journalists, activists, and anyone who must have a secure, trusted computing device, need a modern alternative that be purchased off-the-shelf and supports Tails.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or even non-broken, standard compliant UEFI and working ACPI implementation with full documentation and all hardware functionality correctly configured and fully enabled. And of course, comfortable mechanical keyboard. Replacement parts standardized when possible and 3D printable, with schematics, when not.

    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @04:03PM (#53971551)

      Both Intel and AMD look like a lost cause. Intel ME is certain to contains a network-accessible backdoor, AMD's version is slightly less vicious but not good either.

      There's hope in the ARM world: there's the TrustZone but some computers with non-locked bootloaders allow you to load your own code there. You obviously don't want to write such code yourself thus you probably want to use ATF but it's open for modification and, more importantly here, review.

      For example Pinebook (an incoming $89 laptop) allows you to do that, and if you don't need accelerated Mali400 proprietary drivers, you can use free software. Well, [near-]mainline support is not yet mature: simplefb LCD display is like four days old and the DRM driver is not yet working, but as shipment dates have been delayed again (currently for March 20ish), the kernel+uboot should be usable by then.

      Obviously, a computer where you not only can but need to tinker with to get working is not for everyone, but it is up to people like us to make it so. It is trustable, which is what you and me are looking for. And once Icenowy and the rest make the kernel usable, we can take that kernel, give it better userland than "dd this image of dubious provenience" and release to regular users.

      • Management firmware is basically a minimalist OS running on a separate low-power core inside the chipset.

        Let them make that firmware opensource, problem solved.

        (I haven't checked, but I'm quite sure it's just come embed linux system (busybox, uclib, etc.) running on a low-power ARM core, with special driver to run the hardware connected on the GPIO pins)

        • Intel's ME uses ARC not ARM, and its requirements change per-submodel. You also need it to be signed by Intel's key, also specific to that particular submodel. It is heavily encrypted as well, with some very serious precautions against someone reviewing that code.

          No idea about AMD, but I expect the NSLs they received to specifically ban open sourcing.

          Thus, ironically, it's cheap Chinese makers who are trustworthy here, as adding a separate core just to undetectably backdoor you would cut too much into the

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        > Intel ME is certain to contains a network-accessible backdoor

        I see a lot of talk about this, but I don't see many mitigations that can be done by the average user, or even, for that matter, the exceptional user.

        Some ways to PRESUMABLY disable ME have been discussed:
        http://hackaday.com/2016/11/28... [hackaday.com]

        But you still have it under there, doing something- this just seems to make it network blind. That's a pretty good start.

        What if you don't have like, whatever chip programmer this approach needs, and/or oth

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      > A truly free and open-source software laptop... which allows a FOSS BIOS or UEFI replacement, FOSS drivers. No Blobs, or Intel ME.

      Fuck off.

      Yes, what you say would be perfect. But that is not something that Razer, as a system integrator and builder, gets to pick. There's NO Intel chips without the ME. There's ZERO AMD chips without the PSP, which is the rough equivalent of the ME (and has all the same issues YOU care about that ME does). Razer is trying to build a machine for developers, as they say

    • A truly free and open-source software laptop... which allows a FOSS BIOS or UEFI replacement, FOSS drivers. No Blobs, or Intel ME.

      Would you flash a new BIOS if it voided your warranty? Would you expect support?

    • or Intel ME.

      That is not in Razer's control.

  • LOL WUT?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:51PM (#53971457)

    "The Razer Blade series have become the default coding machine for many out there"

    Uh... No?

    Show of hands here on Slashdot - which coders here use that as their default machine?

    • "The Razer Blade series have become the default coding machine for many out there"

      Uh... No?

      Show of hands here on Slashdot - which coders here use that as their default machine?

      Let's make it simpler - "How many here on slashdot have ever heard of the company?" "How many know that it's main products are just stupid accessories with LEDs all over the place for gamers so they can look "edgy" while gaming in their mom's basement? How many think that paying $4k USD for a non-existent "Pro" laptop is stupid? How many are willing to pay $2k to $3k for a 14" laptop designed to run Windows 10?

      With the Razer Blade and Windows 10, you can start from the desktop you’ve always known. Windows 10 is the best combination of Windows – with lots of similarities to Windows 7 including the Start menu. Enjoy access to stunning DirectX 12 visuals while getting the most performance out of your Razer Blade. Also stream games from your Xbox One console right to your Blade.

      And forget the UHD displays - they cost more and are not yet available.

    • I thought Razer only makes gaming mice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:54PM (#53971467)

    A battery you can remove and replace yourself.

    Ram you can upgrade without a soldering kit.

    Removable panels to access dusty components.

    Japanese metal capacitors that won't die in 5 years.

    A modular power supply board.

    A screen the user can replace.

    Keyboard options.

    Ports.

    Open firmware, BIOS and drivers.

    Yeah, you have your fucking work cut out for you and if you get any 3 of those into the final product I'll eat my hat.

  • Keys that work reliably even if you don't hit them square on.

    Full size up and down cursor keys with the traditional inverted T layout so I don't get cramps in my right pinky.

    Either middle physical touchpad buttons, or at least ensure the top and bottom sets can be mapped to 4 button codes, not two
    (i.e. the clitmouse and top buttons are their own mouse device) so we can map primary selection pastes to one of them.

    Don't do anything that prevents the touchpad firmware's gesture junk from being turned off or ig

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Bonus for an extra wide touchpad with a plastic guard that can be slid over the left hand side to get a smaller but more centered
      touchpad for those of us who would prefer to rest our left hand under the space bar without generating mouse events.

      And for those of us who are left handed? Or those of us who don't want more moving parts than necessary because your little sliding plastic guard sounds like the sort of thing that will be the first thing to jam or break. Thanks... but no thanks.

      Give it an fn-key toggle to easily turn it on and off entirely maybe.

      Either middle physical touchpad buttons, or at least ensure the top and bottom sets can be mapped to 4 button codes, not two

      I don't want any mouse buttons at all. Just a large touch pad (macs have this part done right imo). i agree about fully configurable gestures... i don't want most of them.

      Full size up and down cursor keys with the traditional inverted T layout so I don't get cramps in my right pinky.

      I'm always in agreement wi

      • by skids ( 119237 )

        And for those of us who are left handed?

        ...don't have that problem because all the touchpads have been moved over to annoy right-handed people (at least, the small percentage of us who can actually type) over the last 10 years.

        Give it an fn-key toggle to easily turn it on and off entirely maybe.

        Even better. Actually... maybe I should look into killing the left couple centimeters of my pad on software. Good idea.

        When do you ever use your pinky on the inverted-T keys?

        All the time on right up and down, because it keeps my other fingers closer to the keys I'm preparing to type when I get the cursor where I need it.

  • FTFA:

    The Razer Blade series have become the default coding machine for many out there

    I didn't expect this to be true, but at my current client we have two guys working on maxed-out Razers. One guy wants it for his Windows VMs. And the other guy runs Android Studio. (As for myself, I'm an iOS developer so I work on a MacBook, and run my server stuff on a Linux VPS.)

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @04:12PM (#53971591) Homepage Journal

    Seriously.

    Your neglect of quality control has been there for the entirety of your company.

    If you're going to be selling computers worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, you NEED Q&A.

    Otherwise, don't even bother.

  • ..I want a pony, and a lazer gun, and a new bike, and a robot that will do my homework, and a dog that won't chew my Hotwheels, and a dinosaur.........
  • The best Linux machines are interesting architectures but there is no Windows support and unless they are willing to make a laptop that only runs open kernels like Linux (which they aren't) they will never make the best Linux laptop.

  • The year of the Linux Laptop!

  • Is it going to require a persistent internet connect + named account to use it as anything but a basic brick?
  • by bplipschitz ( 265300 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @05:54PM (#53972259)

    Put that CTRL key where it *belongs*!

  • Don't paint it black with red skulls, cobras, and psychoclowns. And don't call it the Razer Kraken DeathAdder Cobra Venom Kyllstryke BludDeth Copperhead Pit Viper XTREEM FragZ edition like we're a bunch of 90's Rob Liefeld comic obsessed dudebros

    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      exactly, make it named something and styled such that I am not embarassed to send an email requesting it for my next machine and so I am not embarrassed to have it out on my desk when customers are in the office.
  • by jtara ( 133429 )

    Just put Tux on the Windows key.

    For extra points, build-in a full-sized clicky keyboard. Yes, it will be thick.

    They could add a dedicated key to play a random Linus rant.

  • Razer doesn't need our help to build an overpriced laptop with a lot of LEDs. They do this just fine already.
  • Avoid Gnome, KDE and Unity. They are nothing but deadweight.
  • Please don't put any LEDs in it!

    There you go, somebody had to say it.

  • - A physical switch that cuts power to the camera and microphone.
    - Another one for WiFi
    - Lots of ports. If it's a Linux laptop must be mainly for nerds, and we have lots of equipment and move in lots of different environments. I want to be able to connect to an old monitor if needed. How many ports? Start adding and when you reach the eSATA, you may stop.
    - It should be a phone, with SIM and all that, and should run Android in parallel with Linux, for phone apps. Good integration would be nice.
    -GPS, Bluetoot

    • I'm on a roll...

      - If the phone part is too difficult, how about making a phone that can be inserted into the expansion bay, and then share everything with the laptop, like converting notifications to emails, etc. The screen of the phone could be seen from the outside even with the laptop closed, and could be used.

      - I personally couldn't care less about the laptop being thin and stylish, and light as a feather.

  • by ruir ( 2709173 )
    Do not hire Tim Cook, not cut a row of keys, and create a TouchBar.
  • Avoid system, and bring out a notebook base on FreeBSD.
  • ...or this seems a shitty commercial advertising move? "we care"...bah
  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @02:56AM (#53974575) Homepage

    Look at what made the Thinkpad great and fix what Lenovo broke on it. Done.

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