[Librem 14] Quick first impressions

Guix stores linux image and initrd in /gnu/store/ and not in /boot. Heads requires unencrypted /boot with the linux image and initrd. I haven’t found a way howto use Guix with Heads together.

Therefore I switched to coreboot/seaBIOS, but there were some issues with the L14 getting stuck during boot when I used encrypted partition using LUKS. It took me a lot of time to find out what was going on and the solution seems to be this line in config:

(initrd-modules (cons* "i915" %base-initrd-modules))

I don’t have a separate /boot partition now. The whole disk is encrypted with LUKS and on top of LUKS I have other partitions such as / and /home (that are encrypted).

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probably worth raising this issue on Guix mailing list (https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/help-guix).

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I’ve already done that.

Back here after a while. L14 is still my main laptop and feels great to use. One irritating detail, though, is the dimension and position of the right “Shift” button on the laptop keyboard. I tend to swap between left and right Shift frequently to avoid overexertion and carpal tunnel syndrome despite typing a lot. But, the right shift on L14 keyboard is so far away that in order to use it, it is necessary to move your right hand off the main row. Were those arrow keys really so necessary?

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I agree 100% if anybody figures out a way to swap the pgup key and the right shift key I would love that!
I thought I would get used to it overtime and it’s just not happening.

It probably is possible to swap keys by config but my Linux-fu is not up to the job.

Doing it that way may mean that the swap is not effective in the pre-boot environment i.e. only after Linux is booted, but that may be acceptable.

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Even if you swap the keys, the shift will stay tiny.

True, I just always hit the PgUp key :smile:

I want to add to this conversation. I am delighted with my L14. I have settled with Qubes and despite a small hiccup with my docking station of choice, all is well. Great laptop and I am glad I waited.

Now to get that matching L5 phone…

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My original intention was to use Qubes OS too. But after not being able to switcch CPU Turbo Mode off in Qubes OS, I had to revert to PureOS.

Did you resolve Fan Noise / CPU Turbo Mode off or is the fan just blasting all the time?

Thanks

It’s been a non-issue for me. I had been bracing for it as I tend to run ~6 AppVMs at a time at about 24 GB of RAM total baseline. But for some reason or another, I don’t have that issue at all.

What version of Qubes did you try?

Well, lucky you! I have tried both Current stable 4.0.4 and next 4.1 beta1 release. The fan starts and stops. I would love to start using Qubes OS, but from perspective it is not usable on Librem 14 in its current state wit the CPU/Fan/Temperature reporting.

Same issues as described in:

and:

Did you manage to install Librem EC ACPI driver *(corrected) (* firmware deleted) into Qubes?

Could you run “watch sensors” from dom0 while running 6AppVMs and share a screenshot here?

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that’s the Librem EC ACPI driver, not firmware :slight_smile:

PM me if you’d like to test a pre-release EC firmware update which should address the issue

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@MrChromebox So, IF my Librem 14 gets delivered in the next 3 weeks (as last estimated by support), what’s the chance that it will include the EC firmware update?

I’m not sure, there’s a few more things we’d wanted to get into the next version, but will see if I can get the current fixes in an interim one if needed

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@MrChromebox Yes please, and also provide noobs like me with instructions how to flash the EC without bricking the L14, the fan thing is of secondary concern (but of course I take a fix for that too), the main thing I hope the EC update would fix is the laptop crashing when unplugged, see Librem 14 sudden crash when unplugged

I found the newer EC rom https://source.puri.sm/firmware/releases/-/commit/a27df1bb0220e33c918034a1dc0312c5f080e194#6d777e3978752766b2b98e999f4714dd6f8ab934

but not sure how to properly flash it, help is appreciated!

EDIT: Well, went the danger-route and did what’s discussed here [librem 14] how to update EC firmware to ec-2021-06-04_ef9fd3c
Didn’t brick my L14 either, so I did simply sudo ./purism_ectool flash_backup ec-2021-06-04_ef9fd3c.rom

and now sudo ./purism_ectool info shows

board: purism/librem_14 version: 2021-06-04_ef9fd3c

let’s see if anything improves =)

Maybe I can share a few first impressions about the L14 as well (coming over from Apple):

  • Trackpad: Kinda yikes coming from a Mac, laggy, imprecise, not sure if anything can be done about that, pretty sure that’s gonna be my biggest issue long term if there is nothing that can be done to improve the trackpad software, also miss the trackpad gestures I’m so used to from the Mac, any way to add those?
  • Shift keys: Yeah, both are kinda strange, the right one is completely out of reach, always hitting the up arrow instead and would love a way to swap them, IMHO it would have been way better to have the up key where the right shift key is, e.g. in an L-type shape (for all arrow keys). While the right one is too small, the left one is too big, on my mac keyboard there was a key there that I now miss very much…
  • I do like the typing feel of the keyboard, that’s good, but why are the letters on the keys aliged on the top left instead of centered? And i’m kinda worried about replacement keys already, I don’t know what I’m doing but I had to change multiple keys on my old MacBooks, not that they wouldn’t work anymore, but I basically typed “trough” the black layer of the key, so basically the letter would disappear slowly but surely…but as it is Apple it’s quite easy to get replacement keys…how will that be handled for the L14, can one order replacement keys if needed?
  • Keyboard Backlight: it’s kinda strange, but the caps-lock key and tab key are not fully lit, kinda wonky around the edges in general
  • Laptop didn’t charge out of the box, a “regular” user would probably send the device back as defective…so not good. echo '70' | sudo tee -a /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/charge_control_start_threshold fixes that
  • Laptop crashes when unplugged for no reason (see other thread), not good either
  • Battery life: Can’t really test that because of the above…it crashes long before it’s empty
  • Love the look and feel of the laptop, feels solid and well built so far!
  • Also the hardware is great, love my 64 gigs of memory =)!

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the laptop and want it to work perfectly and for Purism to get the success they deserve for the work they are doing, that’s why I’m here, and no, I’m not discouraged by stuff like this, far from anything close to a linux pro, but I can get around, so digging into stuff and try to find a solution is fine with me, but for a “normal” user stuff like this could break the “linux experience” once and for all I fear, so please see this as constructive criticism and not as ranting about your newest product. If you ever need something like a “user-test” from a Mac perspective, hardware wise, feel free to reach out =)

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How do I install that and what will it change? @MrChromebox

Package id 0: 66C
Core 0 57C
Core 1 59C
Core 2 56C
Core 3 56C
Core 4 58C
Core 5 56C

Fan is currently on at a midstep and just stepped down from a 5 second burst of activity. I am currently using my laptop --gasp-- on my lap so the ventilation is poorer but a better use case than sitting on my desk. It is on par in terms of noise, right now, as the HP EliteBook I was using previously.

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Thanks for that. So you don’t have this showing, do you?

Nope. I have not performed any driver/firmware updates. Stock image currently. Would it help you if I did?

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