[CentOS] HP laptops with CentOS 7?

Thu Nov 16 15:59:33 UTC 2017
ken <gebser at mousecar.com>

On 11/02/2017 09:29 AM, Sorin Srbu wrote:
> Hello all,
> I'm looking into getting HP laptops for our department running CentOS 7.
> 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?
For two years now I've been semi-happily using an HP Envy with the 
high-end Nvidia graphics card.  Installing CentOS7, everything worked 
out of box except the wifi.  The problem there was due to the drivers 
requiring a v.3.5 kernel which centos doesn't yet have.  There were some 
very occasional glitches in the video, but subsequent upgrades to the 
nvidia drivers eventually fixed those.

Audio worked initially, but after installing vlc I've had problems which 
I haven't been able to track down, so the sound with some apps just 
doesn't work.  Notably, anything audio through firefox doesn't work 
except that which uses flashplayer.  Audacity and vlc work just fine.

The body of the laptop is solid, made mostly out of carbon fiber... it 
seemed like it's bullet-proof.  The pop-out DVD tray I got is really 
flimsy, so must be handled quite gingerly.  I've read that it's been 
upgraded by HP to more solid version in more recent incarnations of the 

I've never used the bluetooth, so I can't testify to how well that 
works, but I've never seen/read any complaints about it, so I'd assume 
it works.

Of the six or more laptops I've owned in my life, the keyboard of this 
one has been absolutely the most difficult one to get used to.  It seems 
that if I don't hit a key square in the middle of the key, that 
character doesn't make it to the screen.  Same failure if I press the 
key too hard.  This craps on my typing speed immensely,  I used to type 
at over 100 words/minute, but I'm now down to less than half that... 
sucks big time.

It's nice that it has a big touchpad and I use it all the time. Only 
very seldom to I plug in a usb mouse (e.g., in Blender).  But it's way 
too easy to accidently touch the touchpad, resulting in all kinds of 
random mayhem.  So I modified some code I found to disable/enable the 
touchpad and mapped that code to [Ctrl-`] so that it operates as a 
toggle.  Problem therewith nicely solved.

Talking with folks on a suse list about the sound problem, I learned 
that they have have no sound problems with there and, further, my 
problem might be a messed up packman stack... whatever that is.  Suse 
also has a much higher kernel version than we do in centos, so switching 
over to suse is in the works.  That's sad because I've been a happy 
RH/centos guy for a long time.

Hope this review is helpful.