Birthday gift for me [System 76 Darter Pro]

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MurphCID
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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by MurphCID »

Just got the notification that it shipped. I should have it Monday.

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BG405
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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by BG405 »

MurphCID wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:28 am
you have to remove the keyboard to get the bottom cover off!
This is quite common with some of the more recent machines I've encountered. Annoying and the risk of dinting/damaging/wrecking the keyboard frame in some cases whilst trying to remove it (plus the hassle disconnecting and reconnecting the cable(s)). All for the sake of not having visible screws .. perhaps? :roll:

Still, will be good to know what your overall impressions of this machine are, notwithstanding access to the innards. :)
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MurphCID
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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by MurphCID »

BG405 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:40 pm
MurphCID wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:28 am
you have to remove the keyboard to get the bottom cover off!
This is quite common with some of the more recent machines I've encountered. Annoying and the risk of dinting/damaging/wrecking the keyboard frame in some cases whilst trying to remove it (plus the hassle disconnecting and reconnecting the cable(s)). All for the sake of not having visible screws .. perhaps? :roll:

Still, will be good to know what your overall impressions of this machine are, notwithstanding access to the innards. :)
I certainly will. I will have to install the 32gb of ram, and the 500gb NvME drive. I am hoping it arrives by Monday, so I can have it up and running before my birthday. I am certainly excited.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by Portreve »

Pjotr wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:59 am
Both my wife and I have a Toyota Yaris: mine's from 2000 and hers is from 2002. Both with about 150.000 miles (250.000 kilometers), and both run as good as new. Only the central door locking has broken on both cars, but repairing that is too expensive so we let that be.
I just Googled the Yaris, and it looks a lot like the Chevy Aveo I used to own.

This past July, I got rid of my 2004 Aveo, which was having all kinds of mechanical issues, and bought a 2016 Hyundai Elantra. Talk about an upgrade! Oh my...
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MurphCID
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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Latest update is it will arrive Tuesday.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Portreve wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:43 am
Pjotr wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:59 am
Both my wife and I have a Toyota Yaris: mine's from 2000 and hers is from 2002. Both with about 150.000 miles (250.000 kilometers), and both run as good as new. Only the central door locking has broken on both cars, but repairing that is too expensive so we let that be.
I just Googled the Yaris, and it looks a lot like the Chevy Aveo I used to own.

This past July, I got rid of my 2004 Aveo, which was having all kinds of mechanical issues, and bought a 2016 Hyundai Elantra. Talk about an upgrade! Oh my...
Sounds tempting, but can't afford it myself. :P
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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Arrived, and it was a real PITA to get the ram and NVME drive installed. Now I have Mint working, but no wireless.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Arrived, and it was a real PITA to get the ram and NVME drive installed. Now I have Mint working, but no wireless. Also it DOES NOT LIKE MINT, it keeps trying to boot into Pop OS and I have to go through contortions to get it to boot into MInt. This sucks.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by deck_luck »

You know you love the adventure.

Hey, I hope you do not delete Pop. I think it would be interesting for you to use both of them for a few months then report back your impressions of Pop and eventually do a comparison to Mint. :D
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Re: Birthday gift for me

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I had to get rid of Mint since the coreboot did not like it at all. So far using Pop OS, I loathe it. Just a PITA to do anything, no menus, not happy at all with it. I want MInt back.

Update, I added Cinnamon as my desktop environment, but I still want my Mint back. Pop OS is not for me, it just is not as full featured, nor as friendly as Mint. But I cannot use the wifi card on Mint for some reason. I attempted to copy everything and nothing copied. I am just not pleased. I am running 19.10 on Pop OS, and it feels odd. The laptop is decent, but I would not do it again, I'd get another HP.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Up and running Mint! Took a lot of cussing, and tweaking, and agony, but I managed to get it back up to Mint!!!!

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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deck_luck wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:12 pm
You know you love the adventure.

Hey, I hope you do not delete Pop. I think it would be interesting for you to use both of them for a few months then report back your impressions of Pop and eventually do a comparison to Mint. :D
I just could not make it with POP O/S, it was just so nonsensical, Gnome is trying to be Mac without the good qualities of the Mac. POP OS is an even worse variant of Gnome. It was obscure, there was no minimize button, it was just too different it was almost if they were going for a cell phone app experience. Having a Mac, I can see where the Gnome guys tried to make it Mac like, but were not able to make it work right. Things that I took for granted in Mint (and Cinnamon) were hidden or obscurely placed in POP OS. The Icons were huge and looked cartoony, there was no side dock, you had to push "activities" to get a menu (if you can call it that), and it seemed to have too much of the Mac philosophy of "This is what we decided you need, so suck it up, this is all you get!".

I know you can add extensions, but why should I have to go to a really confusing Git depository, and have to decipher what the heck package I want, I am NOT a Linux Master, I am just a normal user. I am spoiled by Mint, its updater, its easy customizing, its solid base. If you want to make something work, don't send them to a Git depository with cryptic titles that are not easily understood by normals. Am I a Mint evangelist? Yep, because Mint is solely responsible for me giving Linux a try again after the bad old RTFM days.

I showed my wife the POP OS desktop, and after her head exploded in confusion, she asked me; "How do you do anything, or find anything?" I told her that you had to click, click, click, and look. If I have offended Gnome users, my profuse apologies, but Gnome is not for me. Yes, I know you can add different Desktop Environments in Pop OS, and I did it, I installed Cinnamon, but it just felt "kludgy" to me, it just did not seem like Pop OS had its heart in it, and really, really wanted you to use Pop OS Gnome.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Ok, I got it to work. I updated to Kernel 5.3, applied all updates, added the System 76 PPA, did updates, rebooted. It took two minutes to get to a log in screen, I thought it had hung completely, but eventually it got to log in, and what do you know the WiFi is working! That was painful. No other method got the WiFi working except to add the specific System 76 driver which is really weird. Now I am copying my stuff back to the computer. It does not like my external hard drive on one of the USB ports, but sees a flash drive...odd. This machine certainly has its quirks. Battery life is NOT the adverised 7 hours..... More like 3 1/2 to 4.

Update, so far so good. I noticed that the Kernel listed is not one supported by Mint, it is instead apparently a System 76 special Kernel mix. It shows 5.3.0-7629 where 5.3.0-40 is the highest supported under Mint. That might be one of the early issues, in the the Coreboot firmware wanted the System 76 flavor of the kernel. Battery life bounces up and down from a high of six hours shown, to a low of one hour depending on some unknown factor. Just surfing the net bounces it from three to five hours. At this point I have a very stable system.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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I broke out the laptop to type this rather than the iPad: I installed TLP, and configured it which gained me about 2 to 2.5 hours extra battery (which is where the change came about). I am going to go through five or six recharge/usage cycles to get a baseline on this system. It is still only on its second charge cycle. Some other observations:

1) Screen:really nice, lots of real estate, good 1080p, normal refresh rate for a laptop, Not quite as nice as the little HP which had an amazing screen, but still very nice.

2) Keyboard, nice but its hard to judge because my typing sucks.

3) Stability: Well so far so good, it is running Mint really nicely with the System 76 PPAs installed.

4) Some wonkiness with the USB ports. After i remove a drive, and try and plug a different one in, the USB does not "see" the drive, I have to plug it into a different USB port to get the drive seen. I eject the drive properly rather than just pull it out. So there is no USB-intteruptus :) .

5) Weight- really nice and light.

6) Processor seems to tick along at 2-5% when I am just surfing the net.

7) Touchpad woes: If I am doing any typing I have to turn off the d@mn touchpad otherwise I get random jumps, erases, and such due to my typing style. Not as critical as it could be since I use an external mouse. I also have to remove my watch since the band keeps scraping the laptop.

8) Mint/Cinnamon works for me, it gives me a familiar workflow while being unobtrusive compared to the mind blast that was Gnome.

9) Printers: Mint found my HP printer and installed it without me even having to do anything at all!

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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It REALLY wants the 5.3 kernel as patched by System 76. I borked it again by trying to use the 5.3 that comes with Mint. I had to go through the whole re-installation process again :( This does not make me happy, but as long as it is stable that is all that matters.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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While I'm sorry you're having to go through all of this, I am glad you're sharing it with the community. Speaking for just myself, I did have it in the back of my head that a possible choice for a future laptop could be a System76 unit. This is causing me to reconsider that as a possibility.

I run a 2011 MacBook Pro 13", and I don't have any issues along the lines of what you have experienced, and frankly, I think I would be returning the thing right now if I were you.
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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Portreve wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:52 pm
While I'm sorry you're having to go through all of this, I am glad you're sharing it with the community. Speaking for just myself, I did have it in the back of my head that a possible choice for a future laptop could be a System76 unit. This is causing me to reconsider that as a possibility.

I run a 2011 MacBook Pro 13", and I don't have any issues along the lines of what you have experienced, and frankly, I think I would be returning the thing right now if I were you.
Thank you, I thought I might be boring the members. It is a very nice laptop with lots of good ports, but it really wants their software. I think it might be related to their coreboot firmware since you cannot really boot into BIOS at all, jut select which boot drive to use (unless I am missing something). I called System 76 and the super nice guy in Tech Support I spoke with told me that it was really not advisable to use other distros on their machines. I inquired about the Oryx Pro gaming machine, and apparently you have to use their Nvidia driver. But the Oryx Pro and Gazelle do not use their coreboot bios. With TLP installed I average so far about four to five hours with just web surfing, some word processing, and light work. No heavy number crunching, or gaming.

I want to explain that it is a well made machine with some issues, and is a PITA to take the bottom cover off to install new RAM/drives. The screen is nice, and bright even at 29% brightness. So if I do not bore, I will continue my updates on this system. Friday, on my day off I will take the laptop and try it at various places to see how long the battery lasts.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by Pjotr »

I hate to say this, but you might temporarily need a Mainline kernel to make that very new machine work properly.... By way of emergency measure.

You can use gm10's tools for installing the 5.4 kernel:
https://launchpad.net/~gm10/+archive/ub ... mint-tools

Disclaimer: I repeat that I see this as an emergency measure, because Mainline kernels should only be used when all else fails.
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Re: Birthday gift for me

Post by MurphCID »

Pjotr wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:53 am
I hate to say this, but you might temporarily need a Mainline kernel to make that very new machine work properly.... By way of emergency measure.

You can use gm10's tools for installing the 5.4 kernel:
https://launchpad.net/~gm10/+archive/ub ... mint-tools

Disclaimer: I repeat that I see this as an emergency measure, because Mainline kernels should only be used when all else fails.
Thank you. It is working great right now, but it uses their "special" flavor of kernel. It just does not like the one that comes with Mint 19.3. I think it might be related to their Coreboot firmware.

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Re: Birthday gift for me

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Right now the only two System 76 systems which use Coreboot are the Galago Pro, and the Darter Pro (which I have). The others seem to have the regular Clevo bios/efi system. I am not sure what was rolled into Coreboot, but I am certainly NOT a fan, it looks like they made it to tightly integrate with their version of Linux Pop OS. As I previously explained, without the System 76 PPAs I lost wifi completely, which should not happen. In addition, the PPAs had to be completely up to date otherwise they bork the system.

Now that I have installed MInt 19.3, installed the System 76 PPAs, updated everything, the system is booting quicker, is stable, and so far no issues. I am not sure what will happen when Mint 20.04 comes out, nor LMDE 4 (which I want to use, but am afraid will completely bork everything). I am not much for experimentation, I just want it to work, and be stable. Pop OS Gnome was just not for me, the Cinnamon version was alright, but not great. Mint has a level of comfort for me that I do not think can be easily reproduced. On their site you can get "vanilla" Ubuntu, but you MUST use their PPAs.

So if folks are not bored, I will keep the battle reports coming.

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