Anyone tried Linux on an MSI laptop?

Discussion in 'Linux Compatibility and Software' started by Phoenix, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Dennismungai

    Dennismungai Notebook Consultant

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    Concerning UEFI: In the present state, UEFI is very well supported on a majority of products out there, such as laptops, desktops and server motherboard platforms.

    Infact, UEFI boot is mandated for compliance with TPM 2.x compliance, and attempting to provision a TPM 2.x device in a legacy boot (or CSM mode) will result in initialization failure.

    The issues you'll run into with UEFI, where applicable, are as follows:

    1. Some UEFI implementations are simply cancerous. For instance, in the way some platforms handle EFIVARS, where userland utilities such as efibootmgr cannot correctly update the boot priority. For such cases, you can try an alternate boot loader such as rEFInd. See my battle with the broken UEFI implementation on an Asus G750JM-DS71 laptop.

    2. Some vendors make it hard(er) than it should be to get into the UEFI setup environment, either by not documenting the entry point shortcut key or enforcing fast boot mode by default. This may make toggling off some options, such as secure boot, much harder than they should be. Secure boot is well supported by modern Linux distributions, but you'll want to keep it disabled if you're using any proprietary drivers (that cannot be signed).

    3. Some vendors, namely Lenovo and co, ha(d)ve intentionally left RAID mode as the only storage mode in the BIOS, essentially "locking out" Linux out of these machines unless one installed a firmware update that restored that mode later. Matthew Garrett explains that better.

    4. And then down to the Intel SPI platform driver(s) issue that bricked multiple laptops whose UEFI implementation(s) came from InsydeH20.

    See, UEFI is complex. Much more complex than legacy BIOS implementations, and apart from the security implications here (being a low-level micro-OS running below ring 0), its' also prone to failure and shoddy engineering, as (4) up there demonstrated. Yet, when well done, UEFI's advantages in the long run are quite clear: It's easier to handle multiple boot options, the introduction of the ESP, independent of bootloader limitations, enhanced security (secure boot has its' uses), among others.

    Apart from that, running Linux on modern hardware is becoming easier somewhat. And that is something I can appreciate over the years :)
     
    Txordi and hmscott like this.
  2. Dennismungai

    Dennismungai Notebook Consultant

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    By the way, how does Linspire's Desktop Environment feel with day to day use?

    On Ubuntu 18.04LTS, there are times xorg segfaults under very specific workloads (the skype snap application triggers an unrecoverable crash).
     
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