CentOS On New Thinkpads

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Is anyone running CentOS on a newish Thinkpad?

I have been using Linux as my primary workstation since about 97 and it seems like using Linux as a desktop has slipped over the years. After the Gnome desktop dumb-down, I have been nursing CentOS 6.8 on a
5 yo Toshiba. So I was hoping that someone has some recent real-world experience with new Thinkpads.

So is anyone running a new Thinkpad? What model? Any problems with wireless or suspend or the touchpad?

It seems optical drives are gone. Do I boot the iso from USB or what’s the procedure now?

Generally seeking new laptop advice. If Lenovo is not good is anyone using Toshiba?

Mike

16 thoughts on - CentOS On New Thinkpads

  • yup, put iso on USB, go to town.

    I have not much cared for Lenovo since IBM sold out to them. I’ve been generally quite happy with business grade (‘Latitude’) Dell laptops… my wife’s got an XPS15 (running Windows) thats very nice, gorgeous IPS 1920×1080 screen, very slim, nicely made, and her new work laptop is a Latitude 5500-something thats also a really nice super-slim thing, has monster battery life, and all the latest USB C and so forth, but it too is running Windows 7 as thats what she needs for her techwriter job (Adobe Framemaker on Linux is very poorly supported).

  • I’ve had success on “older” model Lenovos…..(T-410 / T-420 / T-430) but anything beyond those seems to have some issue or another. I was even able to swap the standard drive to an SD (250GB) on a T-430 and it’s running g like a champ. A lot of the newer stuff is OK as long as you don’t have any boutique drivers for video network or sound. YMMV.

  • John R Pierce wrote:

    I haven’t noticed any change in quality at all. I guess the IBM laptops were always manufactured in China anyway. There seem to be more problems running CentOS and Fedora on new laptops, but that lies in the hands of CentOS/Fedora.

  • –mpCViOVCdf5a7HJNTInPUnNeWj2d4AHpG
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

    I have personal knowledge about CentOS-7 on a Lenovo T520 and a W541 as I have run both of those as my main workstation using CentOS-7. Everything works fine on these.

    I also know that the T440 and T450 work, X1 Carbon Generation 3 and lower work (with CentOS-7).

    There are some issues with T460 and X1 Carbon Generation 4. The issue seems to be really only Bluetooth and is expected to be fixed in the upcoming 7.3 RHEL source code.

    Thanks, Johnny Hughes

    –mpCViOVCdf5a7HJNTInPUnNeWj2d4AHpG

  • I have been using Thinkpads for Linux for years. X200 (currently running C7)
    X220 (was Fedora, now W10)
    X240 (currently Fedora 24)
    X260 to be purchased shortly to take over the Fedora role

    No problems, in fact I suspect that there must be Fedora developers using Thinkpads since they seem to just work

    HTH

  • I mostly recommend Dell (enterprise level) laptops for my Linux users these days. My own PC laptop is Fujitsu Ultrabook U900 which I run under FreeBSD 10, but CentOS 7 runs without a hitch on it. The issue with Fujitsu is: they are awfully MS Windows oriented (but I got laptop with Windows as I have to legally run MS Windows in virtual machine anyway). Lenovo is a separate story (at least in my book).


    I was hesitant about Lenovo laptops originally, even though I was recommending IBM laptops before they sold laptop line to [Chinese company]
    Lenovo. During first 2 or 3 years Lenovo gained my respect, and I started recommending to my users Lenovo laptops. They were keeping IBM tradition, machines were well built and engineered. This lasted till the day they started selling laptops with malware installed on them (search for Superfish, lenovo, malware). That did it, and never in my life I will recommend to anybody Lenovo laptops. In my book whoever did it once
    (clumsily first time so they got caught) is likely to do it again. Only, as everybody learns, their next malware distribution will be much more elaborate, like hard drive firmware virus, or UEFI virus (these things have to fit into awfully small footprint, so they are just downloaders of malcode, but they are virtually impossible to get rid of once you have them). So, people, use your brain, do your own search and come to your own conclusions!

    Valeri

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • Does it? When I set up CentOS on a 2nd-generation X1 Carbon, the NIC
    wasn’t supported and the keyboard didn’t work after suspend. I think there were other problems as well, but those are the two that come immediately to mind.

    I’m using a T430s to write this email, but this is almost certainly going to be my last Lenovo. My advice is: If you want a Linux laptop, look for someone who actually supports Linux on the laptop. Dell has a few, including their XPS 13 developer edition, and they invested a fair amount of development time in getting all of the hardware fully supported. Purism’s Librem laptops are a little more expensive, but specifically built for Linux. There are a handful of other vendors that primarily support Linux.

    Lenovo has been hit-and-miss for a while now, and this isn’t showing much that’s recent:
    https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/pd031426

  • Correction. The Dell Latitude 14 7000 has RJ-45 on the back. It is very comparable to the Lenovo T460 actually. Anyone run CentOS
    successfully on either of these?

    Mike

  • Ok, I see a lot of nice answers here so I would like to try to refine this a little.

    After some research I was going to skip Lenovo. People are clearly having problems running Linux on Lenovos. I spoke with one person that had a really hard time with their X250. However, I think a lot of problems are caused by bleeding edge hardware. My feeling is it takes at least 1 year before the kernels have the necessary updates. Also, searching the Internet forums for problems is dubious because people who don’t have problems don’t say so on forums. But asking “is model XYZ known to work” is a good test as evidenced by these great responses. So I will ask again with some more specific details.

    The key features for me are:

    * 1080 display or 900 would be acceptable but definitely not 768 (this rules out Toshiba)
    * Good keyboard with mouse buttons (Lenovo has always had superior keyboards and fortunately that have recently resurrected mouse buttons, yeah!)
    * RJ-45 (this rules out a LOT of laptops including Dell)
    * Intel graphics / hardware

    The Lenovo T series meets these requirements. My only concern would be issues mentioned on this list and bleeding-edge issues. I know people have had a lot of problems with the trackpad, screen flickering and other things. But I think most of this can be blamed on bleeding-edge hardware compatibility. For example, I think the synaptics driver is almost always broken in the latest models (move the mouse and it deletes everything you’ve typed!) but if you uninstall it and use libinput it can work.

    So my thought is instead of getting the latest which would be T460, I
    could get the previous model which would be the T450. These are sold out on lenovo.com but they can still be had elsewhere (not sure about warranty which is hugely important though).

    So does anyone have any specific knowledge of the T450, T450s, T450p?

    I really appreciate all the answers. Hopefully this helps other folks too.

    Mike

  • Once upon a time, Michael B Allen said:

    I have a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 4th generation notebook. The only thing on that list it doesn’t have is the RJ-45 for the NIC; the NIC is built-in, but you have to use an adapter on the docking port to get the RJ-45. The adapter cable is relatively cheap and I haven’t really found it a big deal to keep up with (and since the NIC is an Intel chip built in, it isn’t some funky USB thing). It just doesn’t have the port because the sides of the notebook are thinner than an RJ-45 port (it is just barely thick enough for the HDMI port).

    I’m currently running Fedora 23 on it with no problems; don’t know how well it would work with CentOS (since new hardware support, especially for notebooks, tends to lag some in RHEL). There was a Linux kernel bug related to power management in the initial F23 kernel that caused it to not boot; someone from Intel debugged it and fixed it.

    Only other problem I had was I got the high-res display, which made my favorite terminal font (classic X bitmapped font “fixed” aka 6×13) too small to comfortably read. :) Solved that by just doubling the font size to 12×26! Wish someone would make an outline font that looks essentially the same so I could scale it (I’ve taken a look at trying a couple of times, but I have no skill for font work I’ve found).

  • Several of Dell’s developer models have RJ-45, but those have better AMD
    or (optionally) NVidia graphics:

    http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/555/campaigns/xps-linux-laptop?c=us&l=en&s=biz

    It’s worth mentioning again that Dell is one of the companies doing the development for the bits that don’t work, and that those drivers are often the ones that get Lenovo equipment going, too. Lenovo does not, to the best of my knowledge, do any Linux development.

  • I have been using the high end ASUS laptops – i.e. Republic of Gamers machines since 2012 with CentOS6 and more recently with CentOS7. They were a challenge with 6.x in that I needed some elrepo drivers to get the keyboard backlight working but 7.x just works. These machines are almost server spec i7 with 16GB RAM, dual disk drives (one SSD, one rotating media) and separate nVidia graphics cards. YMMV but I’d buy another one any time.

  • Sometimes, putting something like

    Xft.dpi:180

    in ~/.Xdefaults made all fonts usuable for me on most systems. I have a page about my adventures with the yoga2 (though not about CentOS on it.)
    https://srobb.net/yoga2.html

    What I have found is that the default Fedora workstation auto scales fonts
    (and everything else for me). There are a few other ways to deal with fonts, such as using xrandr to scale, but in Fedora 24 and up, (you mentioned you were using F23), if you’re using Gnome, it may be just automatically work. I tend to use more minimalist window managers but even so, with Fedora (and Arch) at least, the Xft.dpi:180 entry made most things readable.

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