Fedora on notebooks in 2022 -- how good is it?

Thanks @alan.jelaska ! What’s your opinion on overall quality (besides the plastic case)? Here in Brazil this Acer costs around 14% less than the Dell Vostro 5510, which has similar specs. If it is just the plastic case and branding, but they haven’t cut (too much) corners on other components, it might be a safe bet. I am trying to gather as much info as I can…

p.s. I’d go nuts if my keyboard would throw red light on my eyes. :slight_smile:

:joy: yes, I’m thinking about it too… :sweat_smile:

I’m very satisfied with quality/price ratio. I had to replace HDD on older model, but this laptop was unused for couple of years and in that period stored in suboptimal conditions.

p.s. I’d go nuts if my keyboard would throw red light on my eyes. :slight_smile:

Check if keyboard light can be turned off. I have no experience with “gaming” keyboards, but my son plays modern games and also hesitates about those.

Nice, thanks! It sucks when HDDs die…

On my Dell Inspiron, it can be turned off via BIOS setting, and even via Fn+F10, so I would suppose there is a similar option on the Nitro 5.

Im running F35 on my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme with no issue. Including installation of NVIDIA with Optimus.

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I’ve been running Fedora (and/or Red Hat) on a laptop for over 20 years. i have had, Dell, Toshiba, HP/Compaq, and Lenovo models. I am currently running Fedora 35 on a Lenovo P50, Lenovo W530, and Lenovo W520. The P50 is my main laptop and the others are for lab work that I enjoy. Find something that you like in a laptop and then go for it. You may have some issues to work through, but nothing that can’t eventually be resolved (IMHO)

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Running F35 on the XPS 9300 here.
It’s flawless; even the fingerprint reader works (after manually installing the driver).

I had a few issues for the first month or so when migrating from F34 to F35, but I wouldn’t put that onto the hardware.
At some point, the audio jack on my Dell Thunderbolt dock had stopped working; then it was disconnecting the dock with the display set to “external screen only” that would give me a black screen on the lapto display.
It’s all fixed now.

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I think there is no risk for you nevertheless the brand you select. You should avoid to buy machines which are too cheap and the build-in components are not geared to each other. I operate two HP high-quality notebooks (15 years old!) with Fedora 35 Workstation and the latest kernel without any issues. Buy a quaility machine and you will be happy and our planet will be too. :smile:

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I can confirm that Fedora (as most other current distributions) is suitable for notebooks. However, there are lots of small papercuts, that you’d probably never notice on a desktop, because of different usage scenarios. Just to name a few:

  • Lid switch and sleep/hibernation issues. In general, it works well. But, sometimes, the desktop environment has strange issues when coming back. I am on Plasma with Wayland, and after a sleep the little annoyances multiply. Or: I had a bluetooth mouse that prevented sleep at all. I learned that after several nights of running empty, although in sleep. Finally I found the kernel switch on stackexchange, but well… bring motivation and time to fix such issues.
  • multiple monitor support has issues. Again, this might be related to wayland and Plasma, but it’s the default nowadays, so I’ll have to mention it. Fractional scaling is not usable currently, at least not for all applications. Native Qt applications work pretty well, but everything that goes through XWayland is blurry and you get tired of looking at it soon. Opting out of XWayland is possible for more and more applications, but this is definitely no easy task for a casual user. Some applications are running really wild, like LibreOffice having 4x4 pixel icons on my 4k screen, but 192x192 icons on my FullHD notebook screen (when fractional scaling is in use). Disconnecting the external screen and reconnecting almost everytime results in a new Desktop Session, because the external screen [remains black, has the wrong resolution, is missing the panel, is missing the wallpaper] (choose one or two) or the desktop session crashed already. I have given up to customize my panel on the external screen, since Plasma forgets everything often, though, sometimes it suddenly remembers two or three reboots later.
  • thermal power profiles are supported, but somehow hidden. Remember, that these settings are stored in the system board, so multi booting windows and using the vendor tools there influences your linux experience as well. In my case (Dell) there is a “Quiet” and “Balanced” profile (and more, but I am not using them), while the first basically power caps the CPU at 15W resulting in no fan noise at all. But sometimes, when a large build is pending, I want to change it to Balanced (45W). You need the right vendor specific kernel modules and a sudo shell command to switch.
  • My notebook has no dedicated GPU, so I can only tell you that it was rather annoying when I saw it the last time. Most vendors solder the extenal HDMI port to the dedicated GPU (I do not now how thunderbolt and USB-C with DP behave), so if you plug in an external screen, the dedicated GPU is used all the way resulting in heat and noise. Also, NVIDIA support is a common PITA on Linux, so if you do not play games, I’d strongly recommend to stick to an iGPU like the current intel Iris (11th generation onwards) or AMD Vega in current Ryzens.
  • Firmware updates do work well, at least on my Dell Latitude 5591. You might want to check the list of LVFS supported devices before buying one.

I hope that gives you an idea of what to expect.

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We had several such issues in the recent time. But it has already decreased: over time, the updates have solved most issues. I would not exclude that some issues are related to Wayland in conjunction with Plasma. Finally, Wayland was originally a GNOME thing and now the community has to align it with Plasma.

If the issues remain on your machine, feel free to raise a thread (per issue) so that we can find out if filing a bug is necessary or if we can solve it directly. Bug reports contribute to finally get rid of this phenomenon :slight_smile:

Actually, I didn’t use sleep since the beginning of the pandemic, because my usage profile changed a lot. But, thanks for the info.

I was also referring to the other problems, which mostly seem to be related to graphics and/or acpi, directly or indirectly, although the thermal/heat/noise thing is likely to be related to the hardware and its vendor tools.

I find that the tlp and tlp-rdw packages handle this quite well on my laptops.

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Thanks @marcwittke for the detailed report! I wish I had known this earlier, now the Acer Nitro 5 is already on its way, I finally decided to buy it… :sweat_smile: I guess I’ll have to see how this goes. BTW the “sleepless nights” issue you described currently annoys me 90% of the time on my Dell Inspiron running Windows 11. It is really a huge PITA. This is one thing Apple got right quite a long time ago – my wife has a MacBook and she always laughs at me when I say I cannot put the laptop to sleep… :smirk:

I run GNOME, so maybe I won’t get too much trouble :crossed_fingers:t3: Anyway, I will definitely file bugs if I run into issues.

One thing more that may be an issue if you use wifi. It has been noted by some that if windows turns off the wifi (or bluetooth) then fedora is unable to turn it on. It sometimes has to be activated in windows before shutdown or cannot be used in fedora. I do not know which wifi adapters this affects or if it affects all, but could be something for you to remember should you encounter wifi issues.

The specs I see for that laptop seem to indicate it will have an nvidia GPU so plan on installing the drivers from rpmfusion if you want the most seamless experience.

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I doubt this is comparable. From what I learnt tlp is more like automatic CPU frequency governing and stuff like that. But the Dell profiles are not touching the CPU frequency directly, they’re manipulating the TDP, in my case from 45W to 15W (intel i7-8850H), which - eventually - limits the CPU clock at some point in time.

What I am doing is:

$ sudo smbios-thermal-ctl --get-thermal-info
Helper function to Get current Thermal Mode settings

 Print Current Status of Thermal Information: 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Current Thermal Modes: 
         Quiet
 
Current Active Acoustic Controller (AAC) Mode: 
         AAC mode Disabled
 
Current Active Acoustic Controller (AAC) Mode: 
        Global (AAC enable/disable applies to all supported USTT modes)
 
Current Fan Failure Mode: 

and then

$ sudo smbios-thermal-ctl --set-thermal-mode=Balanced
Helper function to Set Thermal Mode
Thermal Information Set successfully to: Balanced

Note that this relies on the dell_smbios and dell_wmi kernel modules, but AFAIR they came with extra modules without manually requiring it.

How I learnt: When I first installed linux the system performance was rather poor in several benchmarks. Also I noted, that the fans are not working almost all the time. So I wondered, who is throttling my CPU. Well, it turned out that it was a setting I made under Windows (Quiet profile) that survived the reinstallation of the operating system, because it resides in the system board.

I have run a couple of HP laptops with Fedora, and I’ve had very good luck.

Fedora is one of the best distros for new hardware because you get new kernels all the time — with a chance every update of gaining more hardware compatibility.

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Thanks @passthejoe , that’s what I’m counting on. The Linux Hardware Database page for this specific model (Acer Nitro 5 AN515-44) has lots of entries, and it suggests that newest kernels will support all the hardware :pray:t3: Also, the fact that this specific model also ships with Debian-based Endless OS gives me hope that all devices should work with minimal effort.

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Well, the Acer Nitro finally arrived :raised_hands: I gave Endless OS a quick look, it’s a decent distro, Debian-based with a somewhat recent GNOME version installed, focused on emergent markets (which gave me a very good impression, it’s a nice project with a lot of potential). However, it’s not for me, I was determined to install Fedora on it. At first glance, everything was working fine (sound, wifi etc.). Didn’t run any fancy tests (suspend/resume etc.)

(BTW Acer made some weird design decisions, nothing major, but I’ll save that for another post)

I ran F35 workstation live image, and all seemed to still work – with Radeon GPU, but that was already expected. Today, I finally installed Fedora 35 from the live image.

Installation was a breeze, and right after boot everything was working fine (here’s the LHD entry). Radeon is a perfectly nice choice for single-screen use. However, for my dau-to-day work, a secondary monitor is a must. So I’ll have to make the Nvidia GTX 1650 work.

And here is where my troubles begin… (I knew this could be a problem)

Noveau partially works. it recognizes the secondary display, but only renders its top half (second half remains blank). So, I need to use Nvidia’s proprietary drver.

rpmfusion installs just fine, but for some reason it still defaults to the AMD driver. I also tried Negativo17’s driver, no luck either.

So far, this is where I’m at, struggling to make Nvidia’s driver work (BTW it was working with Endless). I’ll keep you guys posted. Any tips of course will be much appreciated :wink:

There is one “gotcha” with nvidia drivers. When secure boot is enabled it prevents the kernel from loading the nvidia module (driver).

You probably need to boot into the bios and disable secure boot so the kernel is able to load the driver.

A quick way to test if secure boot is enabled and if the driver is loading would be to do dmesg | grep -iE "secure|nvidia" and look at the output. If secure boot is enabled it will tell you so. If the nvidia driver is prevented from loading it also will tell you that.

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Probably not running 5.16.x yet with Endless?