I bought a new laptop after my old one started to have too many hardware issues, such as mouse buttons that stopped working, the screen turned off and on again while working, hard drive that died on me, wifi that started resetting itself every few minutes, and even the battery is dead (4 minutes of power), and last week the charger started to stopped working from time to time.
So I started looking for a new laptop, but I was looking for a machine for hard work, and not just for saying that I have a laptop. It is an important working tool in my business, and I can not afford any downtime, or things that do not work, so I looked on two brands of laptop vendors: Lenovo and DELL. They both create good laptops, but somehow the Lenovo's products seems a bit better (the old IBM line at least).
So after few days of research I decided that Lenovo T series brand is the one for me. I do not really understand why, but in Israel everything is more expensive, and you can understand it even from the last tent protest. This fact exists also with new laptops (I needed it very soon as you can understand, so I had no choice). So I needed to go with 14.1" laptop because the 15.6" was way over my budget, and the 14.1" was a little bit higher from my budget, so I chosen the T420s model.
The laptop arrived at Thursday, and like in Lenovo's web site, it arrives with Windows 7 (customized by Lenovo). Well, it was the first time I worked on my own Windows 7 (and not a machine someone gave me), and it looks like KDE, but well, less flexible for me. KDE makes me more productive at my work, while Windows, well, it's cute, but not very productive for me. It's not very friendly imho, it's over complicated with the attempt to make it more "simplified". I find KDE to be more simple to start working with. And it identifies more file systems, and does not require to install drivers any time I insert a disk on key…It's either work or crash 🙂
So after 3 hours of play with Windows 7, it was time to prepare the machine for work ! I did not buy it for toying around, so I installed Arch Linux over the entire hard drive. My main distro for few years now (I also have one machine with Fedora 15 and xfce after removing gnome3).
When the installation was done, the BIOS hanged on boot, and did not continue to do anything. I started doing a lot of attempts to provide C.P.R. to the BIOS, but no luck. Hetz, and Meir also tried to help, but no luck. But then my technician training from over 12 years ago took place, and I removed the power and the battery from the machine. waited for few minutes, while pressing on some keys to make sure no electricity will remain, powered it up again, and wallah – It's alive again !
I entered into my new Arch Linux installation (it's so good to see grub sometimes :)), and then I needed to remember how on earth do I work with the "ip" command (the ifconfig, route etc.. commands are so embedded in my veins that I never remember "ip" that replaces them all), because that's what the new arch arrive with these days (no ifconfig for you).
When the wireless was up and running again (I actually also installed from wireless connection), I started to install the programs to work with, but I made one big mistake: I installed NetworkManager too soon, and after forced poweroff (I haven't noticed, but when I placed the power again, well, I didn't, and wifi, bluetooth, and cellular modem were all on :)), and because I already placed it on rc.conf, well I fought the network settings yet again, but now with more pain. Until I removed NetworkManager from running, and then it started to work.
Then I'ved install xserver with twm, so it will be easier to install the rest of the system (xterm have more scroll history then the normal tty). I'ved installed KDE 4.7.1, yaourt and even a webcam program – just to see if it will work – and it did out of the box ! yay 🙂
After KDE was installed, I'ved started rsyncing my home folder from the old laptop to the new one over wifi. What a big mistake ! I've started coping at 0:20am, and at 09:30am it was still coping files. So I stopped it, and took a cross ethernet cable, and rsynced from scratch (I copied the original data wrong), and it took 45 minutes for all of the data to be on my new laptop like it was always there.
Now I entered KDE, and everything was like I left it on my old laptop, except of the needed programs 🙂
Then it was time to start testing all of the features that this laptop have to offer, and everything worked really well (except the cellular modem at first) out of the box ! I did not test the HDMI support because I do not have anything that support it, but other then that, well it works without any hacking. What's wrong with the Linux guys this days ? At the past, in order for things to work, I needed to hack stuff around, research, read a lot of malling lists and even write in some. But now it just works. Why did you take all of the fun from having non working system (I'm sarcastic here) ?! 🙂
The cellular modem, did work out of the box, but not with NetworkManager, only with wvdial. I found out (thanks to Tzafrir for the help) that modem-manager was not running, but it took a lot of energy to figure this out (ah, the good old days).
I also found out that the touchpad of the laptop support multitouch. So now moving the cursor around happens with one finger, and scrolling is with two (or more) fingers, and pasting require a short click with two fingers. I tried also to do scrolling with 3 fingers, while two fingers was right click , but it was too much for me, so I returned to two fingers, that it's very cool feature imho 🙂
I do not like the biometric feature, however I decided to test it and see if it can be used. It is supported after installing some AUR's based packages and play with them around a bit. And I even made it possible to use it on KDM, but decided not to use it. It's not difficult to bypass fingerprinting, so it's even another reason why not to use it.
The bottom line from this long story is: I rally love this laptop. It's a Linux friendly machine, and 2 level above the old laptop I have imho.