Did you know Apples contain cyanide?
Did you know apples contain cyanide? Actually, it’s only half true. They contain a cyanide compound in their seeds that will only becomes toxic when you eat a stupid amount of them, or when you have to pay for an Apple Macbook 2016.
Why Apple? Maybe it’s the fancy lcd touch bar that I’m sure the folk at Apple designing it agonized over for 3 hour daily meetings every day of every month for a year, while sipping their water bottles, presenting keynotes covering topics like: How big should the icons be? How many should we allow? Should a finger obscure an icon or should there be some of it’s edges protruding? What’s the average finger width? Is that male of or female? Child or adult? Human or animal? Do animals have fingers and shouldn’t we be using the term paws instead? No doubt the design team at Apple are paid handsomely for their intellectual prowess and ability to provide insight into these deep questions. And, no doubt, that’s why the product costs so much.
This is a genuine problem for people who need a Unix like operating system supported by a big vendor. Apple is the only game in town. If you want a Unix like OS without Apple then be prepared to support it yourself. Buying a Windows laptop isn’t an option for me unless I want to run my Linux development machine in a virtual machine in addtion to the 3 or 4 other virtual machines I need to run to test the code for the clusters I work on. What about buying a Windows laptop and installing Linux over it? I instant messaged via their customer support website Dell and asked them, and they basically said installing Linux would void the warranty. I wasn’t keen to void the warranty. I had look on the net and System76 popped up. They build laptops with Ubuntu installed except it would have to be shipped from the USA to Australia, and I wasn’t keen on shipping that far, or shipping back there if needed to use the warranty. I wanted something local. Then I saw Metabox, a small independent laptop manufacturer in Perth. Their laptops have an option no operating system which meant I could install Linux on it. The price for a laptop with the same specs as an Apple Mac was $2500 less. So for about $1500 I got:
- 525GB SSD
- Nvidia 960M
- 16 GB RAM
- 15" 1920x1080 display
- Intel i7–6700HQ
- No operating system
I figured this would suit me so I took a chance on a small operator and bought it. Physically I like the laptop. It’s chunky. It feels sturdy. It’s not trying to be sleek or a Macbook clone, since it’s a gaming laptop (no idea why people want to game on a laptop — doesn’t make sense to me. Seems like an expensive way to get a shitty gaming experience). The keyboard is great to type on. The next trick was to get linux installed on it. I’ve become used to using i3 as a window manager in Linux. It’s very good for those who don’t like to use the mouse. Similar to ratpoison in that sense. Manjaro has an i3 community edition that installs i3 out of the box, and being an Arch user Manjaro is familiar since it’s an Arch derivative. So I downloaded the latest manjaro i3 edition, popped it onto a USB, booted the laptop into the installer and installed. Installation was straighforwared but on reboot, the login display manager didn’t load and I was left with a console to login. I suspected it was something to do with Nvidia and the Intel graphics cards conflicting. Recalling a similar problem I had with an older laptop, that had an Intel i915 and Nvidia gpu built it, I read the thread above again. This time I checked the BIOS for an option to disable the hybrid GPU and forced it to use Nvidia. In the BIOS the options show as “MSHYBRID” or “DISCRETE”. I changed it to “DISCRETE”. Then reinstalled Mnajaro using the non-free drivers (the Manjaro installer allows you to choose between free or non-free. I was surprised by this, but it makes life easier when dealing with Nvidia, since I’d rather use the Nvidia drivers over the reverse engineered Nouveau stuff). The only short comming of this solution is I have to use the Nvidia GPU which means that battery life might be compromised. I’m not sure if it works with an external display either, since I haven’t tested that yet.
Originally published at cat head > /dev/www.