[CentOS] HP laptops with CentOS 7?

Fri Nov 3 17:32:54 UTC 2017
Valeri Galtsev <galtsev at kicp.uchicago.edu>

On Fri, November 3, 2017 3:01 am, Sorin Srbu wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: CentOS [mailto:centos-bounces at centos.org] On Behalf Of Valeri
>> Sent: den 2 november 2017 15:21
>> To: CentOS mailing list <centos at centos.org>
>> Subject: Re: [CentOS] HP laptops with CentOS 7?
>> 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
>> (the last was bought out by HP shortly after I got my laptop), and I
>> seen a bunch of HP laptops people in our Department got themselves.
>> (dealing with these, looking inside hardware etc) developed strong
>> 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
>> 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
>> Lenovo for about 3 years, I started recommending them (they were same
>> engineered as IBMs were), but shortly after that they had a scandal:
>> 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:
>> when going through plastic deformation hardens, then cracks.
> Funny you should mention the "propeller test", as this is why I've
> away from Dell laptops, and instead went for the HP Compaq's with the
magnesium chassis in the early 00's! I've stayed with HP since then.

Dell is huge, they make everything, and "consumer grade" Dell laptops are
"flexible" junk. But for business the ones that you can buy even with 5
year warranty are solid built.

I hate Compaq (bought out by HP) and HP laptop line. I got Compaq once
when it was the first and the only one on market that had new AMD 64 bit
Turion CPU (we had Opterons in the server room, and Turion was its laptop
counterpart...). However, when I installed Linux on it I discovered it has
crappy broadcom BCM44 WiFi card. You may have heard of that: it sits on 64
bit PCI express bus, but is 32 bit inside... Anyway, I got laptop with 64
bit CPU to have 64 bit Linux on it, and I didn't want to make ugly
workarounds like NDIS wrapper for piece of crap WiFi chip. Luckily, there
is great WiFi: Intel (Atheros would be the second choice), I pulled out
broadcom card, put in Intel one, I boot the machine, and BIOS tells me:
remove unapproved hardware, and reboot the machine. Darn Compaq hardcoded
into BIOS PCI IDs of "approved" cards you can put into they trash
creature. I was mad as hell, especially as it is the same Compaq that used
"clean room" approach to re-create IBM PC bootcode (phoenix BIOS it was
called later IIRC), and got 50 or more times more than invested in the
revenues the very first year they started selling "IBM PC compatible"...
Anyway, I decided to keep the beast, there was no 64 bit alternative
laptop then, and get strong allergy to Compaq. Also, I decided to confirm
my both degrees: in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering... I
disassembled the laptop, unsoldered EEPROM chip, dumped BIOS from it,
edited BIOS with hex editor, and instead of some unused PCI ID I put my
Intel card PCI ID, and I edited another unused one to keep checksum the
same. Dumped edited BIOS on new EEPROM chip. Soldered socked in place of
EEPROM chip, and put into it the chip with edited BIOS. And happily used
64 bit Linux laptop with nice Intel wireless till its retirement time,
solidly developing allergy to Compaq.

Whoever wants to listen to my advise, it will be: stay away from HP and
Compaq laptops (but if you need printer: HP will be the best in my opinion


> HP has however had a habit of replacing the hardware anytime within a
> while calling the models the same. This has bitten both me and the
> at
> central IT sourcing the Microsoft SCCM infrastructure for us.
> I think I'll keep an open mind for Dell laptops for now.
> Thanks for the feedback!
> --
> //Sorin
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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