Best Linux laptop for developers?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f113da7c0d8> #<Tag:0x00007f113ce9bf48>


Decided to switch to Linux yesterday (again).
Installed Xubuntu LTS, Live preview worked fine, but the installed OS was unstable with heavy freezing every 2 seconds.
Installed Ubuntu MATE LTS, after updating the OS, wireless and LAN were no longer able to connect (srsly?).
Installed Fedora, nvidia drivers didn’t work, Elixir version not up to date.
Laptop Fan never stopped working on all distros.
I had the same experience on my former laptop with different hardware and was convinced that if I change it, everything will work just fine.
Unfortunately Linux is a complete and utter disaster on Desktop for years now.
It’s only good for limited spreadsheet work.
My personal opinion and experience is avoid at all costs.


You bought a windows laptop, unknown of which manufacturer it was and which components it used, and tried to do linux on it. This is a known painpoint for all manufacturers, and it does not matter if you do a random buy for laptops or desktops.

If one wants to use linux one does care for what one buys and does exhaustive research before hand. Since I actually carefully choose the components to buy, the problems I head years ago actually vanished.

And while your personal opinion is to avoid linux at all costs, mine is the exact opposite. I try to avoid windows at all costs (for work), just because it bugs me with forced updates, random restarts because of that (even during office hours), broken installers, the habbit of hiding everything behind some GUI or even make trivial settings inaccessible without deep system knowledge because its undocumented and somewhere in the registry.


The last time a used Windows was in March 2003 in my company. Since then I’ve been using Linux in my company. Privately, I used FreeBSD but because of hardware problem I switched to Linux 6 or 7 years ago.

I agree with NobbZ: When buying something new for using Linux one has to check hardware carefully.

I plan to go to a shop and ask the guys there to allow me to boot a laptop from my external SSD. Then there are two things to check: first running inxi to see how much hardware the Linux system recognizes, and secondly to run the stress tool to see how the fan behaves when stressing the cores, and to see if the laptop gets hot (by touching with my hands).

More ideas what I could check are welcome.


I’m sorry my bad, I misinterpreted what I saw on Ubuntu’s website.

“Looks great on the latest devices
Ubuntu is designed to work beautifully on the latest laptops, desktops and touch screen devices, it looks incredible on high resolution screens — and with touch screen enhancements and interface refinements including individual menu bars in each application window, it’s now even easier to use.”

“Available on a huge range of hardware
Canonical works with the world’s leading computer manufacturers to certify that Ubuntu works on a huge range of devices. It means that Ubuntu is now available at thousands of retailers across China, India, South East Asia and Latin America.”

I guess my two laptops fall outside the “huge range” of laptops.
Must be wonderful to use an exhaustively researched machine where updates don’t leave you without any connectivity.


To be honest, even on windows an update can lock you out of networks. Even worse, with windows you can’t even control when such an update should happen or if at all if you know in advance it will break. In linux I can just roll back that package (well, most of the time) and “hide” the faulty update from the package manager by its means.

Ignoring an update on windows only gives you a very short timeframe between windows recognizes the update exists and installing it. Depending on Windows mood this window can be between 5 minutes and 5 days, but usually those updates that do not require a restart are just installed without any further question anymore.

In the last year we lost 3 working days per developer because of windows just doing updates in mids of a working day, the only one unaffected from this loss is me, because my office workstation simply doesn’t recognize the anniversary update and therefore I still have controll over the updates. I can’t even update manually because I get random errorcodes from the anniversary installer.

I never had such a bad update experience in linux. When I wanted an update to happen, I just did it, if I didn’t want it to happen I just ignored it.

For Windows everytime I tried to set up anything for development, it worked fine until I tried to do something more involved. Especially calling from a host language into C-code is a PITA.

First you need to make sure that a compiler is installed at all, you need to alter the PATH to make it visible to your system (while making sure that it doesn’t outgrow its ridiculousely short length limitation) and that that compiler is actually supported by your toolchain and creates a library that is ABI-compatible with your runtime system (or that one of your client).

I never experienced such issues on linux.

But as well, I think we agree on disagreeing about the preferred operating system and if you want to continue the discussion, I’d really like to, but in a new thread. This thread is asking about which laptops are suitable to run a linux system, not if linux is a suitable operating system at all.


I replied to the thread because one of my laptops is Ubuntu certified and I had the exact same bad experience on a certified system as on my new device which is not certified, thus my opinion that the best Linux laptop for devs is one without Linux. But I agree and will not further discuss.

[details=:)]Visual Studio Code
"": “C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe”,
“”: ["/K", “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat”, “amd64”]

Atom Platform IDE Terminal
Shell Arguments
/K C:\PROGRA~2\MICROS~1.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat amd64[/details]


Why do you use software you don’t know how to configure? You can configure every aspect of windows update through group policy, last time I checked. I must be living in alternate reality, because somehow my windows 10 ask me before installing any update, and never restart itself without me explicitly telling him to do so :wink:

That does not change the fact, that I’m using other systems for development. And although never checked beforehand if any of my hardware (be it desktop or laptop), I never had any issues under Linux that I couldn’t solve in an hour or half. The great thing about Linux and hardware is that if something does not work, you just have to check logs to know what exactly isn’t right :slight_smile:

Anyway, the worst of all, that need strange hacks or software to make it work the way I want is MacOS. This system is so user unfriendly, and yet I’m forced to use it at work :confused:


/me twitches

I’ve lost a lot more than that because of Windows 10 at work… >.>

Eh, I used cygwin on windows and had not really any issues, but yes pure windows is a pain.

And yep, even needing to custom build something is usually pretty trivial, worst case is just downloading more dependencies and building them too if it is not already automatic (which most languages can do now, even C++, if a C++ program does not auto-acquire it’s non-system deps then the programmer is and idiot, CMake even makes it pretty trivial (for C++)).

In group policy at work it seems the best we can do is delay updates by 4 hours or something like that, which ends up rebooting at night or so, which involves having to re-setup the entire interface again, my 18 console windows, 2 IDE’s, etc… etc… and it wastes hours in doing so since windows does not know how to reload to it’s old state, unlike my linux box.


There is one answer: THINKPAD


I am quite happy with my Lenovo IdeaPad Y-700.

The only major flaw is that NVidia still does not release proper linux drivers. Right now I’m using the open source Nouveau driver to run my Nvidia Geforce GTX GPU, but I have the feeling that maybe all GPU-stuff is secretly emulated on my CPU right now. But since Nvidia does not open-source their hardware interface, all that stuff is reverse-engineered so it is not strange that stuff does not work all the time.

So for my next computer, I’m definitely considering buying one with an AMD-brand graphics card. But that will probably only be in a couple of years… :slight_smile:


That’s strange, because my threatens it will reboot outside of “work hours” but it never does. The only inconvenience is that it will wake up right after putting it to sleep if there were updates requiring reboot installed. But I don’t remember it ever rebooting itself, even few days after the updates being installed. It’s actually win 7 setup upgraded to 8, then 10, but I don’t know if it has anything to do with it not rebooting itself.

But I’m getting ryzen in few weeks and new fresh system; I’ll keep in mind to post here if it starts to reboot on its own :wink:


I am happy with Intel build in graphics ( Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 640) . Driver build in linux kernel. Hardware decoding for h 264. Monitor connected ubc-c -> display port. Waiting for Wayland to be stable :).
I see no need to buy and graphics card Nvidia/AMD.


I can be sitting at the computer, actively typing and working, then suddenly the screen goes blue as it says it is installing updates, thus losing whatever work I was currently working on, it is awesome. ^.^

/me grumbles something about windows needing to fail already…


There are a few hacks to prevent windows from automatically installing updates and rebooting. The easiest way is to mark the internet connection as “metered” and it won’t update while using it.


Also had that reboot problem in my work laptop, home laptop can restart whenever and the worst case is that I would lose some time on my torrent downloads.
The solution was reading some articles and using group policy editor, today nothing get installed without me confirming the installation.
Annoying as feck that Microsoft decided to run updates without confirmation but this is not mandatory all you need is waste 1 hour on fixing this annoying feck.
I would recommend reading and doing the changes on the article on the post above me they work.
On a side note for the person that had bad luck with Ubuntu and fedora did you try opensuse? Might be the solution also you can always try arch and define everything yourself, which is a pain in the behind but might be worth it to get a perfect system for your needs.


I just gone home from work, and it seems my new Ryzen machine has restarted itself, after looking at logs it seems it autoinstalled some updates.

So now I run gpedit.msc Went into

Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update

And set

Allow Automatic Updates immediate installation -> Disabled
Always automatically restart at the scheduled time -> Disabled
Enabling Windows Update Power Management to automatically wake up the system to install scheduled updates -> Disabled

And now I’ll wait and see, if Windows 10 will try it again :wink: Will report back :slight_smile:


I’ve been happily using Fedora since January with no issues. People have different experiences of course but the Fedora users I talk to seem to have similar experiences. Korora is a good Mint-like option too.


I’m extremely happy I gave Fedora Workstation a shot. I find it much better organized and higher quality than Ubuntu. The biggest change I noticed: the trackpad on my Thinkpad X1 Carbon 2nd Gen became much better to work with.

I’m now decided that a Thinkpad T460s is the perfect linux laptop for web development: inexpensive, great specs, more than powerful enough, and fully upgradable.


I’m using a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop and it works really well with Archlinux. As per usual there is some fiddling to be done depending on what you want to do, but for development everything works out of the box.

The idea behind buying a beast of a machine was mostly that I won’t need to upgrade it for a good while and I could essentially replace my desktop usage with laptop usage.


Dell XPS 2016 2017 :smiley: