[CentOS] HP laptops with CentOS 7?

Thu Nov 2 14:20:35 UTC 2017
Valeri Galtsev <galtsev at kicp.uchicago.edu>

On Thu, November 2, 2017 8:29 am, Sorin Srbu wrote:
> Hello all,
> I'm looking into getting HP laptops for our department running CentOS 7.

I usually recommend against HP laptops. I had Compaq quite some time ago
(the last was bought out by HP shortly after I got my laptop), and I have
seen a bunch of HP laptops people in our Department got themselves. That
(dealing with these, looking inside hardware etc) developed strong allergy
towards HP laptops in me. My Compaq, BTW, has a list of "approved
hardware" in BIOS, which is evil: I had to edit BIOS with hex editor to
replace piece of crap broadcom wireless adapter with Intel one.

To be fair I must mention here that I love HP printers, and the whole
attitude of HP towards printers they make. Decent HP laser printers are
manageable, last forever, and HP keeps making supplies for them. I just
retired still working B/W LaserJet 4050, that worked for over 16 years,
was heavily used, still works, print quality is the same as it always had,
and HP still makes supplies for it.

I usually recommend Dell: business lines of laptops, see which are offered
with 3 to 5 years warranty, I do get cheapest 3 year warranty, but Dell
committing to maintain it for 5 years tell you that that is solidly built,
and is not expected to be obsoleted soon.

I recommended IBM before they sold laptop line to Lenovo. After watching
Lenovo for about 3 years, I started recommending them (they were same well
engineered as IBMs were), but shortly after that they had a scandal: sold
a bunch of laptops with malware preinstalled, that did it: I gave up on
Lenovo for good.

>From smaller players, I would just see which makes business oriented
laptops for some time (offering purchase of long warranties is a good
sign). And if you can handle one before purchasing - say, you can go to
computer store and handle on on display, - I would recommend "propeller
test". Grab sides of laptop and try to twist it into propeller shape. If
it is flexible, it is junk that will fail soon. If it is solid, it has
great chance to last long. Flexing system board - motherboard is common
jargon for over 30 years - leads to developing microcracks in it: copper
when going through plastic deformation hardens, then cracks.

Good luck.


> Last time I checked this was some five or so years ago, and when I look at
> https://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Laptops, nothing much seems to have
> happened
> since.
> At that time, I had to give up CentOS on laptops, as both Wi-Fi and
> graphics
> wasn't too well supported with CentOS 5 and 6.
> Is the situation better now with CentOS 7?
> We're only allowed to buy the HP, Dell and Apple brands here at this
> university, so what I'm looking at is basically HP. Apple is not of
> interest
> because of their pricing.
> All our desktops and laptops are HP's running Windows 7 and 10, and they
> work fine.
> We do have some Dells, but only in the server area.
> Currently all our CentOS 6 and 7 workstations are custom built OEMs used
> for
> molecular modelling, but are now getting rather long in the tooth.
> I have a laptop at the office as a backup, running Ubuntu 16 LTS, as that
> was the only thing that found all the hardware properly at the time.
> However, I'd rather not go down that particular road for various reasons.
> The thing that interests me first and foremost is whether the latest
> CentOS
> 7 iteration will install right out of the box with all hardware properly
> detected, no manual compiling of drivers or jumping through hoops to
> _maybe_
> getting stuff to work with eg a HP Elitebook 850 G4.
> Anybody care to chime in with a comment or hint on the laptop situation
> and-or their experiences?
> --
> BW,
> 	Sorin
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> # Sorin Srbu, Sysadmin
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Valeri Galtsev
Sr System Administrator
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of Chicago
Phone: 773-702-4247