back to article The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop

The Reg FOSS desk took Lenovo's new Intel Alder Lake-powered executive laptop for a spin. It's a lovely machine… but with some significant limitations. Lenovo ThinkPads have long enjoyed a strong following among Linux types, and the Thinkpad X1 is among the most coveted. The X1 Carbon is the thinnest and lightest, and the Gen …

  1. Colin Bull 1
    Devil

    Optional

    Why for f***s sake can we not buy a lenovo without windows. I bought a AMD yoga 2 years ago which is a dream but HAD to pay the windows tax.

    1. fuzzie

      Re: Optional

      Yes, you can

      There are "with Linux" options, e.g. "Build Your ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 Intel (14") with Linux"

      > https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/configurator/cto/index.html?bundleId=21CBCTO1WWUS2

      You get to pick from Ubuntu or Fedora.

      I agree it's support is spotty and likely only for the models which got the Ubuntu or other "certification"

      1. Wempy

        Re: Optional

        if you change 'us' to 'gb' in that url, you get to build your null - so I imagine the linux version is not available in the uk, sigh.

        1. fuzzie

          Re: Optional

          Fair enough.

          Down here in ZA, we don't get any "Build Your PC" options: just pick from a few pre-selected oddly shaped configurations and bend the knee to an even heftier price premium.

        2. fxkeh

          Re: Optional

          It's available - go to the lenovo website and chose build your own - just the bundle ids are country specific.

        3. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Re: Optional

          You have to also change WWUS2 to WWGB2.

          https://www.lenovo.com/gb/en/configurator/cto/index.html?bundleId=21CBCTO1WWGB2

        4. timrichardson

          Re: Optional

          You might be able to get them to do it as a custom build. I had that choice in Australia. Problem is that the discounts on the pre-built bundles made them cheaper, with Win 10 Pro, than a custom build with no windows. So I went with Windows, and dual boot is the not the end of the world. Makes resale easier too.

          THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to use the US site to see which configurations Lenovo is supporting for Linux. For the Gen 10 ThinkPad, some configurations are not 'hardware enabled' because of the MIPI 6 'computer vision' camera, and unfortunately the author here managed to buy one of these.

      2. AdamWill

        Re: Optional

        It's for models Lenovo test and are happy with the Linux support for. There isn't a certification programming as such for Fedora, but we (I'm the Fedora QA team lead) work with them on this effort and it's been a great partnership so far. They are gradually broadening the scope of the project over time, each year a few more models tend to be included.

      3. demonfoo

        Re: Optional

        Sadly, that option wasn't available for the X1 Nano Gen2, but I bought one anyway. Like the X1 Carbon Gen10, everything works but the MIPI webcam out of the box (though I did manually patch the kernel to fix it, so it now works too). When I bought my X220 years ago, I could still buy from Lenovo with no OS; now, unless they specifically choose to support it with Linux, you have to pay for Windows.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      Thank volume licence agreements: manufacturers pay less per licence but only as long as they install Windows on every machine.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: installed on every machine

        But then Lenovo also has to support only a single OS profile on that 'every machine' model, plus provide support tools on that OS profile (firmware updater, etc.). As very few OEM's have updaters running on Linux, you'll also lose BIOS updating when you switch, which is a potential support headache in the making for Lenovo.

        Linux, Linux, Linux, but supporting 3% of the world's desktop users who use it automatically creates a burden that most companies won't commit to.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: installed on every machine

          The support costs shouldn't necessarily be higher for non-Windows machines. It's easy enough to provide any update mechanism such as firmware update via a bootable USB image. This can even be secure and it's probably easier to maintain than anything that runs in Windows.

          But the article highlights some of the many more practical problems about trying to run Linux on high end hardware. It really shouldn't be a problem to scale resolutions like MacOS has been able to for a decade and even Windows now manages. You want Linux on a machine? Prepare to do the research and by something that is either certified by the vendor or at least highly recommended. Anything else is for hobbyists but begs the question: why splash the cash?

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: installed on every machine

            -> The support costs shouldn't necessarily be higher for non-Windows machines

            Did you read the article? Trying to install Linux at one point bricked the machine.

            Customer: Hello Lenovo?

            Lenovo: Yes.

            Customer: I tried to install Linux and my machine is now bricked.

            Lenovo: [sounds of laughter].

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: installed on every machine

              Did _you_ read it? The machine was bricked by a non-systemd distro. Nobody's going to expect support for something like that. And those installing such a distro will laugh in the face of "support".

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: installed on every machine

                So now, according to you, Linux is only "Linux" when it uses systemd. What say you to the non-systemd fans?

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: installed on every machine

                  That's not what they said. Not that I agree with what they said, but they meant something else. The people who are technically aware enough to care about systemd know enough to determine that their distro didn't install and can reinstall or reimage from the backup that you always take before you install another OS with the possibility that the installer tramples your bootloader. To the extent that there are nontechnical Linux users who install it on their own, they're not the people who have passionate views on an internal component and are quite likely to be using something that has systemd since it's used in all the largest distros aimed at desktop use.

                  Hardware manufacturers will not support any variant of Linux with any components you might want. It might be nice if they did, but it's never going to happen. Certifying it as compatible with Linux might mean that support will be available for the variant they said, but not necessarily every other variant that exists.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: installed on every machine

                    Oh dear. It looks like I wound some people up here.

                    For the record, I'm not a huge fan of systemd, from an idealogical point of view. I was also someone who avoided it for a very long time, although that was partly from being a Slackware user anyway.

                    In reality, I don't think it's as bad in practive as some people make out.

                    But that's not the point here.

                    Whether or not you like it, most Linux uses systemd nowadays. Linux is a minority OS on laptops by a long way, and users without systemd a tiny fraction of that. That's a simple fact and I don't think anyone's going to be able to deny that (although please try if you feel you should).

                    Supporting hardware and the associated drivers and firmware costs money. You have to pay people. And I am guessing that those systemd haters are not going to want to pay those people's salaries, so the vendor will have to do that. And frankly, they're not going to.

                    Which brings me to the second point. Anyone wanting to run their Linux without systemd is most likely going to be pretty competent in running Linux. They're not going to be the type of person who goes to support crying that they can't get it to work. They're more likely to be on forums. And yeah, I'm one of those people, although I've come to accept systemd (personal choice).

                    So, does a vendor need to specifically need to support non-systemd distros? Probably not to be honest. Is there any hope in hell of them doing so? Unless there's someone internal to the vendor who's willing to do this in their own time, maybe, otherwise, no.

                    The reality is, as Linux users, we're lucky if we get deb or rpm packages. Everything else can be dervived from those in most cases. For example, a lot of the content in AUR.

                    Hope that clears things up. Feel free to keep downvoting if it doesn't. :-P

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: installed on every machine

                Nobody's going to expect support for something like that.

                My, my ...

                Didn't take your meds this morning, did you?

            2. timrichardson

              Re: installed on every machine

              It didn't brick the machine. Bricking means a firmware destruction which the user can not fix. The installation mistake the author describes broke the boot partition; the firmware was not even touched. He probably didn't need to fully reinstall to fix it, unless perhaps the author actually wiped out the entire drive. However, in either case, it is not "bricking", it was a mistake with a non-standard install method.

            3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: installed on every machine

              I repeat, the support costs for Lenovo shouldn't necessarily be higher: naked machine with disclaimer that only MS Windows is supported. Hobbyists who buy one and proceed to brick it have been warned.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: installed on every machine

            At the moment, Windows is the platform that actually handles monitor scaling best.

            macOS only supports a single DPI - which means it only really supports one screen. Once you have a second screen with a different physical DPI, it's not possible for an application to render at the native resolution of the screen each window is (mostly) on.

            So you end up burning cycles rendering something at high-DPI, which the OS then downscales, making it choppy.

            Windows 10/11 allows applications to know the native for each individual screen, and thus render dot-for-dot if they wish. This is how to do it - although I wish they'd scale the part of a window that extends onto a screen with a different DPI.

            However, MS utterly stuffed up the mixed-DPI support first time around in Windows 8. So anything using the "v1" hi-dpi support is awful on multi-monitor systems. Giant common dialogs...

            1. timrichardson

              Re: installed on every machine

              Yes typical Microsoft approach, barely usable V1 but by attempt 3 it is ok. Kudos to Microsoft for starting this journey early. Gnome is aiming for the perfect solution. KDE is more pragmatic as usual.

            2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: installed on every machine

              [Author here]

              > macOS only supports a single DPI - which means it only really supports one screen.

              I disagree. My Retina iMac has a Thunderbolt 2nd screen, meaning that its internal "retina" display is 2× the horizontal and 2× the vertical resolution. Both work fine and the OS ensures that windows dragged from one to the other stay the same size, and I can even have a window spanning both and both parts are the same size and move together as one, including horizontally, without any hesitation or issue.

              I don't really care how it does it under the hood: it just works, which is what Macs are all about. In my personal experience, while it may be possible to _configure_ Windows to get things the same size on screens with dissimilar DPI, it's not automatic.

              If the Mac way is more CPU-intensive, I don't really care. My machine is nearly a decade old now, no longer supported by the latest macOS, but remains fast and responsive in use, and that's all that matters to me. I have no need of pixel-perfect rendering when the whole point of the HiDPI display is _to make the pixels too small to see individually_.

        2. AdamWill

          Re: installed on every machine

          Lenovo has been participating in LVFS for years. Firmware updates on Lenovo laptops work just fine on Linux.

        3. Psy-Q

          Re: installed on every machine

          Almost all distros support firmware updates via fwupdmgr and many suppliers upload their firmware to the LVFS, so that's not really an issue. Lenovo is among those, I've updated EFI BIOS and Thunderbolt dock firmware many times without problems.

          1. Tomato42

            Re: installed on every machine

            Just one technicality: You have to have system installed and working in UEFI mode, not BIOS. But then I don't think X1 Gen 10 even support legacy boot (IIRC P1 gen3 didn't, and it's few years old at this point).

            1. David 132 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: installed on every machine

              Interesting. Your comment made me think "Surely it supports legacy boot?".

              But you're right. I have a T14 here (basically the same as the X1, but has an Ethernet port :) ) with a 12th Gen Core processor and yep, or rather nope - no legacy boot option in the BIOS, only UEFI.

              As an aside though, I'm delighted to see that the BIOS setup UI on this one can be switched between fancy-schmancy graphical and good old quick-and-reliable text-mode. Never seen that on a BIOS before; it's normally one or the other.

        4. timrichardson

          Re: installed on every machine

          It may be 3% of all desktops globally, but it would be a much higher share of ThinkPads, which is why Lenovo, Dell and HP now offer supported Linux laptops, and since they are sold mostly to developers and power users, the value share would be higher still (that is, Linux is more likely to be used on more expensive laptops). Plus it may have got to the point where some attractive corporate contracts are contingent on supplying some Linux SKUs.

        5. Boozearmada

          Re: installed on every machine

          I'm seeing a pattern her looking at your downvotes

          The comments on just about every story on here are mainly by Linux loving, maybe apple loving, left leaning liberal Elon Musk haters, maybe its an American thing, than god that most of the UK IT departments I work in aren't like this. The joys and freedom of contracting where you're still allowed an opinion if its not far left.

    3. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      I don't know about the Thinkpad range, but when i bought a V series Lenovo laptop last year, there was an option to buy without Windows and have FreeDOS for about £30 less, and that is what I opted for so i could put Linux Mint on it.

      A work around for the fractional scaling issue on Linux Mint Mate only offering 100% or 200% is to go into the control center > Appearance > Fonts > Details and then change the DPI. On a 1080p screen I found that 120dpi is about right.

      To make the mouse pointer larger its Control center > Appearance > Theme > Customise > Pointer and you can move the slider to whatever side pointer you find the best.

      Right click the menu button from the task bar, preferences > Appearance. To change the icon sizes on the menu

      Right click on an empty area of the task bar to bring up a menu to adjust its size.

      This is more long winded than just changing the fractional scaling but a reasonable work around,once you work out where all the setting are located. I found it works from me and allows me to keep using Mate, although i might switch to Cinnamon when i come to upgrade to the next LTS of Mint on this computer.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Optional

        [Author here]

        > go into the control center > Appearance > Fonts > Details and then change the DPI

        Yes, that's a valid point. There are other ways to change the DPI that X11 uses, as well.

        I found when using sub-1.0 scales in Xfce, it implemented it by dropping the resolution, which is also not ideal: you lose detail and it becomes fuzzy.

        But it's not an easy tweak, it's not automatic, and it doesn't handle different displays with different DPIs.

    4. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Optional

      I have a desktop on order from Lenovo at the moment - I forget exactly how much I saved by ticking the "no OS" option but I'm sure it was over £100. (Ubuntu was also an option, but not free and not the distro I'll be using anyway.)

      Dell, on the other hand, wouldn't let me buy their equivalent machine without Windows.

  2. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    It's not the hardware

    Riiiiiight.... so, to get the new shiny chips, you have to have a computer science degree. Otherwise, it's pretty pointless, got it.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: It's not the hardware

      No, you just have to do due diligence and pick an appropriate distro, rather than an inappropriate distro. It ever was thus.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

    Why aren't all small screen laptops 2-in-1s? I think all laptops should be a 2-in-1 especially since most have very little options besides USB.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

      [Author here]

      > I think all laptops should be a 2-in-1

      Er, I am not entirely sure what you mean. You mean a convertible that can fold back on itself become a tablet?

      I do *not* want that. I am sure lots of other people don't either.

      If you do want that, Lenovo will happily sell you a Yoga, which is their convertible brand.

      I buy laptops to be laptops, not tablets, and if I wanted a tablet, I'd buy one. I do have a cheap old Chinese thing that I bought for a hospital stay, but I never use it. In the last 3 years, my daughter has, mainly for watching videos, which is almost the only thing it is good at.

      1. Ben Tasker

        Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

        > I do *not* want that. I am sure lots of other people don't either.

        Me neither, and especially at the price point the Carbon sits at. If it was a £200 laptop I might accept it as a trade-off, but it would always be in the "con" list.

      2. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

        Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

        > Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

        The only useful seeming use for the second screen on something like Microsoft's Surface Duo phone, is for it's keyboard emulation, when it can (soon) run Windows (untethered) thanks to the efforts of Gustave Monce, which might make it a viable UMPC-like micro-laptop device for (limited) on the go productivity,

    2. mdubash

      Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

      I made the mistake of buying not one buyt three of those, thinking each one was an exception. They're fragile. The first two pretty much came apart in my hands, the third I sold because it was inordinately noisy and ran very hot. At last I got the message: not going there again.

      I would recommend looking at a 17-inch LG Gram. It probably wouldn't give Liam's X1 a run for its money, but my six-month-old version is very light, is fast and thin - and despite its 17-inch screen, it costs £600 less than an X1. I still think it's the best laptop I've ever used - and I've been using (and occasionally reviewing) them fior 30+ years.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

        "I made the mistake of buying not one buyt three of those, thinking each one was an exception. They're fragile."

        IME, never having owned one but having repaired many, it's down to the hinge mechanism and how the hinges are attached. The cheaper ones use a metal nut embedded into plastic and that plastic seems to age badly such that the embedded nut comes out and you need a new top cover. The better ones with a metal cover and moulded in nut are far less likely to come apart, assuming they designed the hinges properly and routed the video/camera cable(s) so there's minimal movement when opening/closing it.

        I remember one well known brand laptop with such poor cable routing that just removing the bottom cover would allow the video cable to move out of position. If you didn't know this, the mere act of removing/replacing the bottom cover would then pinch the video cable and cause a failure either then and there or very soon in the near future.

      2. janodin

        Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

        Agree. I have an early 2019 Gram 17 that is running Fedora (37 at this point) and it's pretty fantastic overall even still after 4 years. I was looking into upgrading but my main gripe is I dislike the keyboard, I wish they would ditch the numpad and center it. Second gripe is the Goodix never developed drivers for the fingerprint sensor model it uses. I hear the newer Grams have a supported one though if I recall. I tried a few things to get it working but no dice.

        I'm itching for an upgrade and waffling between an XPS 17 or an M2 mbp. I'm leaning towards the mbp so I can move my music production hobby to it from my gaming desktop but Neural DSP are taking their sweet time updating their plugins for Apple silicon. At least they finally gave us hope in an announcement recently that they are prioritizing it.

      3. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

        Exact, we also have three of these in the office, the PHBs love the idea of the Yoga style tabletty thing, except that all of them have varying problems.. One of them the batter doesn't

        charge correctly, another has a failed USB ports and the others has problems with the docking and displays... They all suffer from a badly designed USB-C port, not a solid connection.

        The ultra light version of almost all manufacturers are a pain in the real world.. The Dell XPSs were no better..

        With Lenovo it is usually a safer bet to remain within a correctly specced T or P range..

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

          "With Lenovo it is usually a safer bet to remain within a correctly specced T or P range"

          Similarly with Dell - Latitude 7xxx or 5xxx range. The significant downside is that quite a few of these now have soldered RAM, which I really don't see any need for on laptops like these - there is space for socketed modules. Some of the 5xxx also have expanding ethernet ports (missing on the 7xxx range.)

          The keyboards are also no more than acceptable on them - but that seems to be the trend these days with all manufacturers: the best laptop keyboards Dell have ever produced were on the earlier models of the Latitude E series, which were nearly up to the best of the Thinkpad designs.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

            The lenovo L-series are worth a look, basically a T-series in a “plastic” case, hence £cheaper.

            The Dell Vostro range also includes some good machines also at good prices, the catch here tends to be the reduced number of ports and more limited memory expansion..

            One of the irritations with the L-series, which will apply to other vendors, is the actual expansion space. Lenovo initially supplied L-series in a variety of Ssd and NVME HD configurations. It seems only the early intel cpu variants had an empty 2.5 inch sata SSD bay, the AMD variants either had the NVME mounted in the bay or in later editions no bay at all.

            This perhaps a sign of the times, with the system unit becoming more of a sealed for life unit rather than a platform which the user can tweak to better suit their needs. To me it seems pointless having an ultra slim lightweight laptop, if you then also need a carry around a bag of external bits that in the past would have been slotted into the laptop case.

            1. 43300 Silver badge

              Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

              Not bought any Vostros for a while, but used to have some and found them to be crap to be honest - they simply weren't up to being lugged around all the time and we had a lot of problems with them, so I stopped buying them. Possibly they've got better, but from reviews the current models appear to be basically rebadged versions of the Inspiron (main home use range) models, which hasn't been an inducement to buy them!

          2. 43300 Silver badge

            Re: Small screen non-2-in-1... why?

            And on the subject of keyboards, does any major manfacturer stil mount them from the top? Latitudes used to be, and it was two screws, two clips and a ribbon cable to remove the keyboard - replacing one took literally a couple of minutes. Current Latitude models have them mounted from the bottom, presumably to keep a smooth unbroken top to the laptop apart from where the chiclet keys protrude through (a classic case of form over function) - with these it's necessary to take nearly the whole fucking thing apart, including removing the motherboard, just to replace the keyboard.

            Really not what you want with one of the most commonly-replaced components on business laptops.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Legacy

    Lenovo should change their name to Legacy and their line to ThoughtPad.

    Why they flood the market with legacy Intel technology?

    They should probably be better off (at least for the planet) buying back the post lease stock and refurbishing it to factory spec than bring "new" products to the market.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Legacy

      I blame IR35.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Soldered

    So if you go to their configuration page, you can see:

    16 GB LPDDR5-6400MHz (Soldered)

    Why won't they state the exact model of the chip and list memory chips that are compatible?

    That something is soldered is no longer a barrier to upgrade.

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: Soldered

      Everything's a soldering kit if you're brave enough, but these aren't DIL packages from the 1980's - reworking SMD components is a far trickier business.

      1. fuzzie

        Re: Soldered

        That said, memory is just the one single item that post-sale, can significantly extend the lifetime of a laptop.

        I'm not convinced they can't maintain the slim line profile and offer socketed DIMMs.

        My 2015 X1 Carbon is still in very good shape, but 8GB is just not cutting it any more.

        I've sourced a 16GB motherboard (a later SKU of the same model) from ebay, but that's pretty excessive just for a "memory upgrade"

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Soldered

          If they listed the chips that are compatible, that would really be a matter of buying them online and then if one is fearful of hot air station, just getting it to a competent phone repair shop to swap.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Soldered

          "That said, memory is just the one single item that post-sale, can significantly extend the lifetime of a laptop."

          I disagree. I would put it third, and a rather distant third. First is the battery since heavy use can degrade it to a desktop and a fresh battery can make it a useful mobile device again. A very close second is an SSD, since those parts fail somewhat frequently and people fill them up. I have had very few RAM failures (one, and it wasn't on a computer I owned anyway). While that might happen and you might want more eventually, I still put that below the others in the value of repairing it. That said, I'd also like manufacturers to make it removable, as I strive for easy repairability for anything I'm going to use for a long time.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Soldered

            Agree with the list, however at purchase time I will happily buy a laptop with 2 slots and either 1*8GB or (preferred) 1*16GB Sodimm installed, knowing they can readily be upgraded.

            The lack of removable battery is an issue for those of us who actually work on the road (it is nice to leave home with a fully charged laptop, take the train to Paris working on route and not having to worry about locating a working power outlet for 6~8 hours).

            Ssd, I miss having a spare 2.5 inch sata bay where I can mount a second “swappable” SSD.

            Easy repairability…

            That has also gone out the window. Probably prior to circa 2017 most laptops seemed to have a removable backplate, take the cover off and there were the RAM slots, the 2.5 inch drive bay and other options. Adding RAM and/or a second NVME drive to my L-series is nowhere near as simple.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Soldered

        Reworking SMD components is far easier than through hole.

        Replacing BGA ram chip is a few minutes job and you don't need expensive tools to do that.

        Probably only real difficulty is when the chip is additionally glued to the board, so there is a bit of faff with that to remove all of it.

    2. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Soldered

      No doubt it is technically possible, but it's beyond what most business IT departments are going to be attempting so for most practical purposes it means the amount of RAM is fixed at time of purchase.

      Adding DIMMs also doesn't usually void the warranty on business machines, whereas replacing soldered comompents almost certainly would.

  6. Snake Silver badge

    Touchpads

    "Like other recent ThinkPads, this version has a combination of three physical buttons for the Trackpoint, plus a buttonless trackpad with gesture support, which is a great combination."

    Mere words cannot display my disgust at "buttonless trackpads", the Apple idea that has infested the rest of the laptop world like a damn STD.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Touchpads

      [Author here]

      > Mere words cannot display my disgust at "buttonless trackpads"

      I think perhaps you misunderstand.

      It has proper moving physical buttons: 3 of them, as I said. However these are for the Trackpoint and so they are _above_ the trackpad. However, they are not in any way dedicated and you can point with the trackpad and click with the trackpoint's buttons, which I found myself doing a lot of the time and it works well.

      I said it was an ideal combination, and I meant it, because frankly 3 is good, better than just 2 -- middle-clicking is very handy -- and many vendors only gave you 2. Today of course many give you none at all, which I agree is very annoying.

      But the thing is that for a while there were a few Thinkpads that shipped with *five* buttons: 3 for the Trackpoint (above the trackpad) _and_ two more below the trackpad. That is, I submit, silly. *Maybe* if you they were logically different buttons or could be redefined, but you couldn't. There were 2 left buttons, 2 rights, and one middle. That is IMHO silly.

      The lower left and lower right corners of the trackpad can _also_ be used as buttons, and they physically depress. In fact the whole trackpad does. You can find the corners easily by touch.

      But by being buttonless there's more space for gestures, which also work, and work quite well -- much better than on either of my Dell Latitudes for instance.

      So you get the best of both worlds this way: a nice big trackpad, if you like those, *and* physical buttons too -- *three* of the things.

      TBH, for me, I think they should put the physical buttons right at the bottom... but I have very big hands and can easily cope. I think people with smaller hands would find that difficult, so I wouldn't force it on everyone.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Touchpads

        Can't speak for the other commenter, but this is the part that gets me:

        "The lower left and lower right corners of the trackpad can _also_ be used as buttons, and they physically depress."

        Lower left and lower right are where I am most likely to accidentally touch them. Depending on manufacturer the darned things are so sensitive it's hard to type for long stretches of time. Bad enough having the cursor jump around but when it finds an active control all hell breaks loose. Modern GUI applications have nice "Are you sure?" prompts before exiting, has saved me many times. I would much prefer the trackpad as pointer only.

        So agree, I don't like buttonless trackpads. Yours has both hard and soft buttons but can the soft ones be disabled? Thanks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Touchpads

          On my last thinkpad (a previous gen X1) and all of the others I've had for that matter, I'm pretty sure you could disable the bottom left and right areas. It certainly never bothered me. I used the buttons above and alternated between trackpad and trackpoint, depending on what I was doing.

          It worked really well, especially when compared with the abomination that is a Dell XPS13 Plus that I have now. It's got an "area" for the trackpad. You can do the usual 1-2-3 finger stuff, but the pad itself is too small, plus you don't know where the edges are. And you can also click as well as tap, but the whole things sticks down sometimes so you have to wait for it to pop up, which can be a few minutes. I've got a service request open but there are no spares apparently. :-(

          Couple that with getting rid of such essential keyboard buttons as escape, all the function keys, delete, home, end, pgup/down and it's rendered a shiny, sleek piece of junk that I'd happily get rid of.

          I miss my X1. A lot.

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: [author]

        "But the thing is that for a while there were a few Thinkpads that shipped with *five* buttons: 3 for the Trackpoint (above the trackpad) _and_ two more below the trackpad. That is, I submit, silly."

        100% not at all. The idea of removing your hands from the palmrest in order to move your hands above the touchpad in order to use those 'convenient' Trackpoint buttons? Now THAT'S silly.

        I only buy Thinkpads with 5 buttons. When you're using the trackpad the buttons are below your stationary thumbs...where they are supposed to be. When you're using the TrackPOINT the buttons are below your stationary thumbs...where they are supposed to be.

        Anything else? Now THAT'S silly.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Touchpads

      The thing is, the buttonless trackpad actually works really well on a MacBook. Single tap for left-click, two finger tap for right click, two finger swipe up and down for scrollwheel.

      The same should theoretically work on Windows as well, but it isn't so well implemented.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: single-tap, double-tap

        That sounds "good" unless you have a personal touchpad usage style that those damn buttonless touchpads insist on constantly interpreting as 'taps', even when they aren't.

        I stand by my statement: I hate them. They are stupid. If I want the option of buttonless then give me the option, but don't remove the buttons and make it mandatory. Can't stand it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: single-tap, double-tap

          Have you actually tried a MacBook trackpad though? No other implementation of buttonless comes close. I hear your pain with these poor imitations but the MacBook not only implements it spectacularly well, but also allows customisation. I “right click” by pressing the bottom right of my trackpad and it works ho you’d expect, despite actually nothing clicking and it all being force feedback.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: single-tap, double-tap

            Yes, still prefer the unambiguous left/right mouse button.

          2. David 132 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: single-tap, double-tap

            Seconded, and I speak as one who generally prefers PCs for their greater flexibility.

            I have never found a PC touchpad that is as reliable and efficient to use as Apple's implementation. They're always either too sensitive, or not sensitive enough, or randomly misinterpret clicks/swipes. Whereas the one on the Macbooks I've owned and used always just... works.

          3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

            Re: single-tap, double-tap

            [Author here]

            > Have you actually tried a MacBook trackpad though?

            See my other comment. I can find no way to middle-click, a _vital_ function.

            It seems to me that most people don't know what middle-clicking is for (any of its several functions) so they don't miss it, but those of us who know how to use it do so _all the time_.

        2. ITMA Silver badge

          Re: single-tap, double-tap

          "I stand by my statement: I hate them. They are stupid."

          I'm with you there.

          I absolutely loathe tapping. Every single touchpad I've came across NEVER gets the way my fingers work right and contantly misinterpret me changing the position of my finger as a tap.

          Result - God knows what being selected, dragged and dropped to God knows where.

          It is positively dangerous.

          Yet every manufacturer has the bloody thing turned ON.

          STOP IT!

          Yes I know I can turn it off, but the havoc wrought until I do is a royal pain.

          I much prefer seperate physical buttons I can give an unambiguous push.

      2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Touchpads

        [Author here]

        > works really well on a MacBook

        How do you middle-click?

        I do that hundreds of times a day. It's essential. Middle-click to open a browser tab in the background, middle-click the title bar to send a window behind other windows, middle-click in a text field to paste the currently selected text. It's a vital function. I can't find a way to do it on Macs, which is one reason I sold my "Magic Trackpad" and I stopped using my Magic Mouse.

        1. ianbetteridge

          Re: Touchpads

          On MacOS? There’s a free and open source piece of software called MiddleClick which implements middle click as a three finger tap. Other (closed source) apps will do it too.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Touchpads

      Trackpoint is an abomination and should die. Trackpads are not much better, but useable in a pinch. I carry a small BT mouse, which makes life much better.

      The less said about laptop keyboards the better. Mine is rigged with a USB expander and a Dell clicky AT101.

      I have noticed that Linux supports 3-5 year old machines very well. Brand new ones usually have minor issues while the drivers for the new chips used for network, camera, sound, BT, etc are polished up. I would expect perfection on this machine within a release cycle or two at the most. I'm currently running a Dell Latitude 7480 (2016) and Mint 21.1 works beautifully on it.

    4. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Touchpads

      Apple also popularised batteries which aren't easily user-replaceable, soldered RAM and soldered SSDs - all of these have to greater or lesser levels been taken up by other manufacturers.

      Soldered SSDs are the least common and are still the exception rather than the rule, but they are out there - e.g. the latest Dell XPS13 (standard model, not the plus version) has its SSD soldered to the motherboard.

  7. TVU Silver badge

    The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop

    The sad thing here is that the Lenovo ThinkPad appears to be not as Linux-friendly as the good old IBM ThinkPad.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop

      [Author here]

      > the good old IBM ThinkPad

      Although I do not feel any great urge to defend Lenovo especially, to be fair, Lenovo only took over around 2005 and started shipping the T60, its first Thinkpad, in 2006.

      IBM never made a Core 2 Duo (or even Core 1) Thinkpad.

      The IBM ones were not great for Linux, TBH, and while I do still have at least one actual IBM Thinkpad, I don't think there is a single distro that could usefully run on it today, or from the last decade or more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop

        Generally speaking, your best bet is to get the previous gen laptops. You can get some really good deals occasionally on the Lenovo web site and can spec them up pretty well. As it's the last generation, the drivers etc. are usually sorted. Unless you're desperate for the latest and greatest, you're better to get the last gen and spec it up with the money you've saved.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop

          The Dell Outlet is also worth a look - mostly returned stock or minor cosmetic damage, and there are some bargains to be had.

        2. ianbetteridge

          Re: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop

          Exactly this. I have the previous (Gen 9) version of the same ThinkPad, and have seen almost none of the issues Liam sees with the Gen 10, using a range of distros.

  8. sebacoustic

    T14s

    The "sensible" alternative to the X1 used to be a T4xx s but now even that one (now called T14s) doesn't have an Ethernet socket any more.

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: T14s

      I'd rather have it built in, obviously, but I just use a USB-C hub that has an ethernet socket in the end of it.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: T14s

        [Author here]

        > I just use a USB-C hub that has an ethernet socket in the end of it.

        That's what I did when I had to reinstall Win11, and I am very glad I had it. It is actually a hub for a Planet Computers Gemini QWERTY PDA but it works on the 3 USB-C laptops I've tried it on so far, which is more than I can say for my Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt convertor. Not a single so-called Thunderbolt/USB port has worked yet.

        I have helped a colleague set up a high-end Dell Precision portable workstation which came with a USB-C-to-Ethernet dongle in the box. That's better than nothing. It was annoying, though, because this was a huge beast of a 15.6" laptop with dual GPUs and both an SSD _and_ a 2TB spinning hard disk. It was a big beast and there was loads of room for a full-size port.

        My personal, cynical theory is that someone simply forgot, they realised when the case mouldings were finished, so they threw in the dongle.

        Frankly, for the price of the X1C i7, Lenovo should have done the same.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: T14s

      [Author here]

      > now even that one (now called T14s) doesn't have an Ethernet socket any more.

      I am not sure if it was a T14 but I saw a modern T-series at FOSDEM which does have onboard Ethernet -- but not with an RJ45 connector, with an annoying, proprietary Lenovo connector for a special Lenovo dongle. Plug in the dongle and then you have RJ45.

      That is absurd, which is why I called it out as such in the article.

      The folding ones are not ideal but they are massively better than none at all, and better even than a dongle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: T14s

        While I hate dongles, Ethernet ports aren't that much of an issue really. It depends on whether you need to move your laptop around a lot and connect into different Ethernet sockets, or whether you just use it in one location and use Wifi elsewhere. The latter is more the case for me nowadays.

        I'd much rather have a ton of USB sockets (including a USBA) and a full-size HDMI port than Ethernet. Unfortunately nowadays you get very little. My laptop's got two USB-C and that's it. So one free port if you're connected to power. None if you're also connected to an external screen.

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: T14s

        It's worth pointing out that Lenovo's Thunderbolt 4 dock works really, really well, and provides full Ethernet support, including Intel AMT out-of-band hardware management. AFAIK there are no other TBT4 docks that implement AMT.

        No, a TBT4 dock isn't a solution when you're out and about - it's about the size of a paperback book - but for working at a desk it's great; charging, display, Ethernet and any attached drives/printers etc all via one cable.

        Yes, I am somewhat of a Thunderbolt fan.

        1. ianbetteridge

          Re: T14s

          I use my X1 with a CalDigit TS3 and it works perfectly (with Windows and Linux). Everything gets plugged into the dock and then I swap it between the Mac mini or ThinkPad, depending on which I’m using.

      3. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: T14s

        I have a T14 here (machine type 21AH) and can confirm that it has a full-size Ethernet port. Left hand side, next to the USB-C/TBT ports.

      4. Steve McIntyre

        Re: T14s

        Typing this on a T14 gen 2, complete with on-board RJ45. No hassle...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

    Why on Earth should Lenovo send a seasoned and professional reviewer a machine that had not already been updated to the latest spec of Win 11 + installing all the relevant and updated drivers BEFORE shipping to the reviewer. And wasting the reviewers time updating it.

    Smacks of a complete lack of care and attention to detail from whoever was responsible for this. Indeed, heads should roll for it !

    If I was the reviewer, I would have returned the laptop at the first sign of this and then written a TWO sentence review: "This is a great looking machine". But in it's shipped form, it is totally impractical for the lay-person to use once received and should be avoided at all cost."

    The resulting "fire salvage" sale (that would be forthcoming so they can clear their stocks ASAP) might then teach the Lenovo Marketing Dept not to waste peoples time.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

      [Author here]

      > Why on Earth should Lenovo send... a machine that had not already been updated to the latest spec of Win 11

      It did. It was fully installed with all drivers.

      My point is that Win11 is still in such a state of flux that a machine newly-installed with the manufacturer's installation image _still_ needed 53 updates to be installed straight out of the box.

      I suspect that once an OEM image has been built, it can't be updated without completing the Windows OOBE wizard. ("Out Of the Box Experience.") They _can't_ update it.

      The Gen 10 is not a brand new model. It was announced in January 2022 and launched in March 2022.

      I suspect, but do not know, that the OEM disk image has not been updated since. Redoing it once per year seems reasonable to me.

      Do please note that I had to _reinstall_ the machine half way through the test period, because I did something -- I am not sure what -- and rendered it unbootable. Rather than spend a long time troubleshooting, I just nuked and reloaded it.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

        "[Author here]

        > Why on Earth should Lenovo send... a machine that had not already been updated to the latest spec of Win 11

        It did. It was fully installed with all drivers."

        Understood and thanks for the info.

        I have no issues about whether it had all the drivers installed...and I did not concern myself with this - but it did not have any recent *updates* done to it, which was my point.

        BUT: Clearly, the Marketing Dept should not have sent you a stock machine (straight out of their warehouse, presumably) for review, without checking it over first that it worked/booted OK and was in tip top shape.

        And therefore, as part of this checking process, they should have updated everything that needed updating BEFORE sending it to you.

        I have worked in Marketing, lisasing with reviewers in order to get products reviewed and there is no way I would ship something out without checking and making sure it was fully up to the task and updated as needs be

        And this is because getting a good, independent review can make all the difference in terms of sales. So, for the sake of half a day, said Marketing Dept could have made your job a lot easier and in the process, saved you time and effort to make the product more agreeable.

        And it makes NO DIFFERENCE whether the OEM image was updated or whether Win11 is in a state of flux - they did not ensure it was an up to date machine and it was ready to work without any need to go through the updating process...

        Of course it would be very different if they were wanting a review based on a "end user experience" of buying said product - but they get those for 2 a penny on Amazon or YouTube !!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

          @A/C

          So are you suggesting that manufacturers send machines for review that have been tarted up specially for review? If they did, how long before you would cry foul play?

          You're just nitpicking if you ask me

        2. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

          Don't know about anyone else, but I want a review to describe what *I* would experience from the purchase. So straight out of the stock room only, please.

        3. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

          A review machine is normally intended for a review of what the customer will receive, so it ought to be one pulled straight from the warehouse. The image will only get updated once or twice a year, probably, so it's likely to need a load of updates out of the box.

          1. ianbetteridge

            Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

            Just a slightly nit picky point for clarity, but review units rarely come from the warehouse. Most marketing teams have a handful of review units which get rotated around to publications as required, and so are re-imaged on return. So a review unit can be refreshed with newer versions of Windows than a customer might receive, if the manufacturer chooses.

            I’m in two minds about what the best approach is. On the one hand, you want to have the exact same experience as a customer. On the other, it’s a boring waste of time just doing updates when you have a deadline to meet.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

      It's what everyone does and should probably do. I'm talking both Windows and Linux here. They don't remake the factory image and reimage every device in the warehouse every time Microsoft releases a Windows update. You'll also find that, if you buy a computer with Linux preinstalled, you'll still have to do a package update run when you get it running. For that matter, if you take any distro's installation image and install that when you get it, you'll still have packages to update immediately after starting.

      This is a good thing, because unboxing every computer to reapply an image multiple times is a long, expensive process that can lead to damage to some computers (do it to ten thousand devices and you'll eventually get someone who doesn't want to). Since the user will both have an internet connection and have to install subsequent updates anyway, it makes sense to ship it with necessary software and allow them to update it afterward. Do you want to pay for some employee having installed update packs eight times while the computer you just bought was sitting around, or do you want to run "sudo apt upgrade" for an hour at most when you have it set up?

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Lenovo Marketing Dept screwed up...BIG TIME

        Weird as it may seem, as someone who only sets up the occasional PC/laptop (i.e. not in the IT dept. doing 100 new boxes for Finance this week) I actually welcome the experience of having to let/make the machine update straight out of the box. It makes a reasonable first test after "will it plugin without smoke?" and before installing the actually interesting stuff.

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Some comments

    "That's why we installed all available Windows updates first – to ensure the latest firmware was installed before we began."

    Personally, I would have used the Lenovo System Updater and not bothered with the potential hours long Windows Updater. After all, it's only the firmware updates you want and you can easily choose just those from the OEM updater.

    "We had to choose Wayland on the login screen in order to get display scaling to work, which is a necessity for the HiDPI display: without it, at its native resolution, text is too small to read."

    Global scaling is a relatively new innovation. All the other scaling options, such as choosing icon fonts, toolbar fonts etc are still there. Did they work? The artcile doesn't mention iof that was tried. I would normally not use global scaling because often it's not quite what I want. Making the fonts the size I want means the icons then become too big, so being able to scale stuff manually and individually is how I prefer it anyway.

    "rendered the machine unbootable, necessitating a full reinstall, starting with Windows 11 22H2."

    That's a surprise. Linux is usually pretty good at sorting out screwed up partitions by, at worst, allowing a wipe. I have seen systems on rare occasions where the boot blocks and other stuff in track 0+ is so badly screwed, the best and only real option is to boot a live OS, Linux, or even Windows these days, and write zeroes over the first few hundred or so blocks making the SSD/HDD seem like a factory new drive to the OS. Was that tried before spending time on an entire Windows install? At the very least, if the Windows install "fixed" anything, it would be safe to just kill the power as soon as the SSD was successfully partitioned, no need to do a re-install.

    "the X1 Carbon only has four USB ports

    That's one or two more than many laptops these days :-)

    The target market for this laptop, I'd expect them to have a USB->ethernet adaptor in their kit. It's an issue with many makes and models of slimline laptops these days. The flip out RJ-45 connectors are great. Except the non-technical users tend to break them with great frequency.

    "enabling us to reinstall all those Windows updates – now well over 60, including various drivers."

    Again? Why? You already did that once. Any firmware updates useful with the Linux install are persistent and you did them. If drivers are also installing firmware "blobs", and you think you still need them, then they are only used when the OS boots and are lost when you power off or install a different OS.

    The best way to see if a Lenovo is likely to have hardware support in Linux before installing anything is to boot the Lenovo Linux Diags Tool and see which of the diags tests are greyed out (might just indicate that hardware does not exist on your model of course). If the diags for the hardware works, then Lenovo, at least, have got drivers for it and so is likely to be available "in the wild" too.

    I'm trying not to be too negative over what is a decent review overall, but the points above just struck me as really odd and likely off-putting to someone unaware of the potential pitfalls.

    I don't work for Lenovo. I just happen to have a number of customers who use lots of their laptops and I have to deal with that and so have gained a lot of experience, especially diagnosing and dealing with hardware issues

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Some comments

      [Author here]

      > Personally, I would have used the Lenovo System Updater

      Fair. I did spend some time in Windows on the machine, though, and it's my SOP to apply all updates before starting to put the thing through its paces.

      > Global scaling is a relatively new innovation.

      This is true, and it's an area where Linux is still catching up, which is why I spent some time talking about it.

      > All the other scaling options, such as choosing icon fonts, toolbar fonts etc are still there. Did they work?

      Yes they are.

      Notably, as far as I can tell, Xfce's fractional scaling option works by dropping the screen resolution, which also works but is not idea.

      You could indeed do a fully custom scaling option and probably get better results, but I feel it is too much work for most people. You could also adjust the Xorg DPI setting, as another commenter pointed out, but I feel that should be a simple slider in display settings.

      I found it interesting that in one desktop, Xorg worked better than Wayland, and in another, Wayland worked better than Xorg, which is why I took the time to point this out.

      It's Linux. There _are_ ways to work around most things. There were some hints that it is possible to compile your own webcam driver and get that working, but IMHO that is too hard for more people.

      > I'd expect them to have a USB->ethernet adaptor in their kit.

      Agreed.

      > Except the non-technical users tend to break them with great frequency.

      Sadly, I can easily believe that.

      > Again? Why? You already did that once.

      Like I said earlier in the comment: in order to actually be able to use Windows fully. Point entirely taken about firmware updates, though. It did not do those again, but it did have to load a lot more drivers than with Lenovo's OEM install. And being Windows, it is sometimes a case of run Windows Update, watch it install the driver, possibly reboot, then watch it decide it needs to update the driver, or install a specific vendor driver in place of a generic one.

      > boot the Lenovo Linux Diags Tool

      OK, I admit I did not know about this one.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Some comments

        "Like I said earlier in the comment: in order to actually be able to use Windows fully."

        Oh, you were also reviewing or using it for Windows too? I got the impression from the article you were doing a bare metal install on the X1 so it wasn't obvious why you'd need to put Windows back on again :-)

        > boot the Lenovo Linux Diags Tool

        OK, I admit I did not know about this one.

        It's very handy, especially if the SSD/HDD is FUBARred and, at the very least, can tell you if you have a hardware problem or a Windows OS or driver problem. Likewise I always carry the HP UEFI Diags tool tool and the Dell Tool too. (Other OEMs are available :-))

  11. VoiceOfTruth

    This brought a few laughs on Friday afternoon

    My title for this article: New laptop = new problems with Linux

    The most popular (by numbers, at least) distro has problems with the display. "...noise and transient bands of corruption", or "laggy and unresponsive". Nice nice.

    No sound. Nice nice.

    The cogwheel thing. From a security POV autologin should have gone the way of the dodo the day somebody implemented it.

    "rendered the machine unbootable". Seriously. WTF. Oh but it's a new laptop, will screech (or is that preach?) the penguins.

    My grandma does not want to hear or read about workarounds. If Linux does not work "out of the box" then it is not suitable.

    "integrated Xe GPU". Intel graphics have always been horrible. I don't know why Intel doesn't just stick to SVGA and let Nvidia do everything else. I am in the market for a new laptop. Amongst the requirements are: 1. Nvidia graphics chip. If it doesn't have that it doesn't even get on the list.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Nvidia do everything else?

      AFAIK, NVIDIA and Linux do not play that well. Their drivers are very bloated. I've found that AMD graphics work a lot better OOTB.

      I've just checked one of my systems and get the following

      03:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Picasso/Raven 2 [Radeon Vega Series / Radeon Vega Mobile Series] (rev c5)

      This is running AlmaLinux with a 4.18.0-425.13.1.el8_7.x86_64 kernel.

      I've never had to fiddle with anything graphics related (as it should be)

      As for 'It only took a day' to configure with Windows.... All I can say is WTF are you playing at. Oh wait, that is windows for you. Always has been half baked.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This brought a few laughs on Friday afternoon

      "My grandma does not want to hear or read about workarounds. If Linux does not work "out of the box" then it is not suitable."

      So, that includes the "top-of-the-line" Carbon X1 in the review, running Windows with no built-in Ethernet port and no drivers for the internal WiFi controller? That's pretty much unusable OOTB with the latest Windows. The ONLY reason it works OOTB at retail is because Lenovo already jumped that hoop for you. Fortunately, despite some problems with some, not all, Linux distros, the author didn't report any WiFi fails when testing Linux :-)

      And don't forget, MS don't write the drivers to support the hardware, they just include them. So why do you expect Linux to be different? If Linux can't support some hardware on release day, it's because the hardware manufactures didn't bother to support it. Just as they failed to support Windows 8 for "older" hardware running perfectly fine on Windows 7. Same applies to some hardware supported on Win10 but not in Win11. Windows users get screwed over regularly by hardware vendors and their (lack of) driver support. And even MS have relented somewhat on the "required specs" to run Win11 because users are not going to replace perfectly good "unsupported" kit just for a Windows upgrade a whole new version number higher than "The last Windows version you'll ever need". Get back under your bridge.

    3. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: This brought a few laughs on Friday afternoon

      @Voice

      "My grandma does not want to hear or read about workarounds."

      The grandmas round here take their grandson/daughter to the shop and get the man to set up a suitable usually second hand/recycled computer or tablet so they can read the screen OK and it has the language(s) they need.

      Then if anything needs attention later, they take it back to the shop (or the man comes round).

      Yes, we still have IT shops - usually doing phones, tablets and printers as well. We also still have cybercafes.

      (This isn't the kind of area where people drop £2.5K on a computer but we do have a good range of services locally).

    4. ianbetteridge

      Re: This brought a few laughs on Friday afternoon

      Leaving aside the fact that it would be wonderful if you hadn't patronised both older people (I'm 56, so easily into the grandparent age range) and women (I wonder why you chose a grandma and not a grandpa), I have no idea what the overall point of your post is. Non-technical users aren't buying brand-new ThinkPads to run Linux on. Non-technical users who end up running Linux tend to be doing so because they have old hardware they want to carry on using well beyond the point when Windows (or MacOS) have stopped being supported or viable.

      Linux will always be a bit behind on support for new-generation hardware, where that hardware is a more-than-iterative leap. I have the Gen 9 version of this machine, which was an evolutionary improvement over its predecessor. I bought it four months after it was first released and have run Linux on it almost since then. I experienced almost none of the issues Liam saw on any of the six or so distros that I've tried on it. The 12th gen Intel chips were a big architectural change, and when that happens, things break and get fixed more slowly than they do in WindowsWorld.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The whole process took barely a working day.

    irony is strong with this one, mistaken am I not.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: The whole process took barely a working day.

      [Author here]

      > irony is strong with this one, mistaken am I not.

      Yes, that was indeed the idea. :-D

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    called it the best laptop ever made

    trouble with reviews is that 99% are paid for 'reviews', and the more hysterical the praise, the less they were paid for it, it seems.

    ...

    nah, scrap 'trouble with reviews', start again: 99% reviews are paid for, and...

  14. tango_uniform

    So, we get to read about the poor fit and finish of Windows 11 only to go on to hear about the poor fit and finish of a few Linux distros. And the main complaint about Windows is the need to update out of the box? I run a lot of Ubuntu infrastructure and see update notices from apt weekly, it seems like. "sudo apt upgrade" leaps from my fingers with almost unconscious thought on Ubuntu boxes that are not under automated management (i.e. staging/test machines). The point is that our OSes, services and applications are all dynamic things, regardless of who codes them. Heck, even FreeBSD pushes out the occasional update.

    I've got a 2021 P15. I joke that I have to wear steel-toe boots when carrying it, in case I drop it on my foot, but it's otherwise been a faithful (and muscle-building) companion. I swore off anything that didn't have a "real" Ethernet jack. No Macbooks or ultralights for me, I guess. The brick-like form factor also enabled the use of SO-DIMM slots and NVMe slots under old-school access covers so there's some chance of keeping the ole lump running past its warranty. It's nice that we can still find current laptops with such features. You do have to compromise...

    1. Mark #255
      Linux

      updating...

      And the main complaint about Windows is the need to update out of the box?

      No, the complaint about Windows is that updating takes so damned long. The last laptop I got with Windows on took about a day to be usable.

      In comparison, I updated my desktop from 18.04 to 22.04 (via 20.04) in about 2 hours (and that's mainly because I have quite leisurely broadband).

      1. tango_uniform

        Re: updating...

        Aye, that's a fair point. And Windows servicing has never been light-weight. It's made worse now by Windows Defender wanting to scan everything while the installer is working. Still, once Windows is up to date the incremental updates don't take very long to install if you have decent network bandwidth. But, yes, it can take the better part of a day to get a new Win machine caught up, and hours more for things like InTune packages to get pushed down and set up.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: updating...

          macOS is the worst of the bunch, sadly. Even minor updates take half a day or more, and it seems to be getting worse each major update.

          And Jobs help you if you have an iMac with spinning rust. Those have been rendered basically unusable, despite them only stopping selling them in August 2020.

          Windows has at least greatly improved update performance since XP. I barely notice it now in Win10 - tell it to reboot and do it, go for a coffee, it's done when I get back.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re:macOS is the worst of the bunch

            "macOS is the worst of the bunch, sadly. Even minor updates take half a day or more, and it seems to be getting worse each major update."

            That's BS. Even on older hardware (such as a 2010 Mac Pro or 2012 Mac mini) major version updates took less than an hour even with spinning rust, and intermediate updates less than 20min.

            On a modern Mac (such as an M1 mini), a major version upgrade takes maybe 15 minutes.

            If you need half a day for a mac OS update then there clearly is something wrong with your system, unless of course you're pulling this out of thin air.

            1. alisonken1
              WTF?

              Re: Re:macOS is the worst of the bunch

              I have an iMac all-in-one, 3.6Ghz quad-core intel i3, 8G ram, SSD, and 75M/75M internet at church.

              The only software that's installed that is not part of Apple OS is Proclaim, OpenLP, OBS, and Chrome (OBS and chrome for live streaming).

              When it's time for an upgrade and all software is stopped, it consistently sits at "Time remaining: about 15 minutes". For 3+ hours. And in many cases, I leave it overnight and have my wife shut it down when she comes in to work at the church the next day.

              What's your opinion on why my system would take over 3 hours for an update? As noted, it literally does not do a lot.

              1. boatsman

                Re: Re:macOS is the worst of the bunch

                sounds like either you internet is dog slow (==internot), or

                you have a hardware issue

                e.g. disks still functioning, but resetting every second operation... this happened to me once;

                since we do not expect that digital hardware is a "little broken": it s broken or it is ok;

                this is really hard to detect (in linux one can at least see what the kernel is muttering in such a case... hundreds of errors per second... )

            2. 43300 Silver badge

              Re: Re:macOS is the worst of the bunch

              Depends how fast your internet connection is - MacOS updates mostly seem to be multi-GB and on a slow connection take ages to install. I've got a Macbook dual-booting MacOS and W10, and MacOS takes far longer to update than W10 does (I don't have a great internet connection at home),

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: updating...

        I use Windows NT4 on my machines. A full installation from scratch takes about 2 minutes.

        (Seriously. Have you ever tried installing it in a VM on modern hardware? The installer absolutely flies.)

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: updating...

          [Author here]

          > Have you ever tried installing it in a VM on modern hardware? The installer absolutely flies.

          This is true, but for me, NT 4 is too far.

          I need support for USB, FAT32, power management, PnP, etc.

          Windows 2000 has all those. USB2 after you install SP4... and it is so small it doesn't even fill a whole CD! And, as you say, it goes like _stink_ on modern kit.

          I am planning to try and get it running on an old laptop and see if I can bring it up to date enough to be any use in 2023.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: updating...

            Oh absolutely, and don't get me wrong, Windows 2000 is the One True OS, the prelapsarian Eden that daily, we fall further and further from. If I had my way I'd still be running it. Just hearing its startup sound always gives me a madeleine moment, recalling a time when IT was waaaaay more fun. (At the opposite extreme: Windows 10's "Use Advertising ID yes/no: if you turn this off you'll still see the same number of adverts but they won't be as relevant". There are so many things wrong with that, and what it says about the state of modern end-user IT, but that's a rant for another time.)

            I singled out NT4 though simply because its installer is freakishly fast on modern HW. Win2K's installer is still speedy but not to the same ridiculous degree.

            Let's have a pint and reminisce.

  15. mpearson

    Hi,

    I'm the technical lead for the Lenovo Linux team - wanted to try and give some answers or insight for some of the points.

    Sorry you had a rough experience, and that you managed to get a config for the X1 Carbon 10 that isn't Linux certified. We have pre-loaded Ubuntu systems available, but they're not on the version you have with the MIPI camera (aka CV or 'Computer Vision'). As an aside, we're working with Intel on supporting that too but it's challenging - normally all configurations would have Linux support so this was a bit of a special case last year.

    I think you would have had a much nicer experience if you'd gotten the system with our Ubuntu 20.04 certified image. We weren't unfortunately able to certify 22.04 when this platform was originally certified as it wasn't ready.

    Our Linux program is specifically designed around getting support upstream so any distro will work, and my expectation is that 22.04 (and later) will work well as support for the platform all goes upstream. I'm actually dual-booting my X1C10 with Fedora37 and Ubuntu 22.04 currently.

    In this particular case I think you hit a PSR panel issue that was fixed upstream. Unfortunately the fix in the Intel DRM kernel tree took a really long time to make it to the main tree and then out to the distro's. The fix was in 20.04 but Canonical unfortunately missed it in 22.04 - I think largely this was just unfortunate timing. How we handle updated versions is something we need to work on. Canonical have confirmed that the fix is making it's way into 22.04 and it will be available soon - let me know if you want details to revisit. An alternative workaround is to disable PSR which is no impact on functionality.

    We had done extensive testing with Wayland via our Fedora program, but we did need to backport the PSR fix in Fedora for a couple of versions whilst waiting for the upstream patch to make it's way through the kernel process. I should also note that we don't particularly do any testing around fractional scaling and that's a gap we need to look at. I'm going to go and play with that later today in case I'm missing something - it's not something I use myself.

    For the audio; sof-firmware is installed by default on most distros these days though it's been a while since I ran Tumbleweed. It's definitely in Fedora by default so I was a bit puzzled by it being missing there.

    For installing; you can run secure boot enabled if you enable the 3rd party certificate (setting in the BIOS - documentation about this is on lenovo.com/linux). Also FW updates are available from Linux via the LVFS project (amazing project - I love it).

    Let me know if I missed anything!

    Mark

    1. AdamWill

      fractional scaling

      Hey Mark!

      So the deal with fractional scaling - by default in upstream GNOME it's disabled. You have to poke a hidden setting to turn it on. For Wayland it's `gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['scale-monitor-framebuffer']"`. For X11 it's `gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['x11-randr-fractional-scaling']"`. (I guess you could do `gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['scale-monitor-framebuffer', 'x11-randr-fractional-scaling']"` for both). After doing that, and a log out / log in cycle, the options for fractional scaling levels should appear in Displays.

      I *think* the same or similar applies on other GNOME-derived desktops but I don't have direct experience there.

      Fedora currently follows the GNOME upstream default here. I've read that Ubuntu patches this to enable the fractional scaling settings out of the box. We have a Fedora ticket open at https://pagure.io/fedora-workstation/issue/357 where we're discussing the possibility of enabling them on Fedora. Some of the outstanding known issues are covered there; the biggest one is that when you do fractional scaling on Wayland, non-Wayland-native apps (XWayland apps) can't be scaled 'properly' so they just get blown up and look fuzzy. Native Wayland apps look great, though. I've been using fractional scaling on various systems for years and for me it's fine, but I mostly run Wayland-native apps.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > I'm the technical lead for the Lenovo Linux team

      Thank you very much for this comment, and for getting in touch this way, rather than -- say -- an irate email. :-)

      For anyone else reading, we're also talking about this offline by email, and yes, some of the issues do seem to be with _newer_ distros rather than older ones, which I confess I did not consider when doing the review.

  16. chololennon
    Linux

    Linux and high DPI screens

    I don't understand why Linux distros still have problems with high DPI screens. Every time I update the OS in my notebook (an Asus ultrabook from 2015) I have to deal with grub2, tty consoles, systemd, KDE, Wine, etc. All of them have issues, and the solutions are in many cases just workarounds (not to mention particular applications like the ones coded in Java or Python which require their own hack or configuration) :-(

  17. timrichardson

    this is not a Lenovo configuration supported for Linux, the author should have said that. It as the "computer vision" camera which does not have good open source drivers at present. The other configurations will be fine, although they also mean a standard resolution display. I was disappointed to read of the scaling problems I thought wayland gnome would be a good experience by now, at least for 200% scaling. But I'm not sure I'd take the battery hit of a hidpi screen. I will decide that when I upgrade my current TigerLake X1 in a couple of years.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > this is not a Lenovo configuration supported for Linux, the author should have said that.

      I did clearly specify that the machine *shipped with Windows*.

      This is the machine that Lenovo chose to supply me to review *as a Linux machine*. So that's what I did.

  18. grantmasterflash

    I'm running Fedora 36 with Gnome and Wayland. Everything works except the webcam. Every once in a while the screen will tear and then come back. It doesn't happen with an external monitor. This is with Wayland, I haven't tried Xorg because ..Wayland is the future.

    I bought mine about 3 months after they came out and in the beginning the screen tear happened every few minutes, Bluetooth didn't work and the battery life was abysmal.

    It's very good now...if the screen tear went away completely then I'd call it fully baked since I never use built in webcams. Even bluetooth works fine which never worked correctly on my X250.

    1. grantmasterflash

      BTW that is with Secureboot working. I may have to double-check my Fedora version, on this laptop I run all updates the minute they come out so I may have distro-upgraded to 37. Either way it's the latest as of now.

    2. VoiceOfTruth

      -> Wayland is the future.

      Wayland has been around for about 13 years now from memory. Actually it's 14 years since I just checked the sometimes reliable Wikipedia.

      Quote: His stated goal was a system in which "every frame is perfect, by which I mean that applications will be able to control the rendering enough that we'll never see tearing, lag, redrawing or flicker."

      Hmmm. I tell you what. When it is ready, when there is no screen tearing, let me know. Until then, it will remain in the future. But we all live in the present.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm puzzled.......

    Most people have a computer so that they can do things......you know, email, browsing, 3D CAD, writing programs in C or Python........

    Most people simply could not care less about X or Wayland or systemd or the latest version number of your OS du jour........

    So why don't reviews like this do "most people" a favour:

    (1) State the reviewer's primary uses for the computer being reviewed

    (2) State the strengths (if any) of the computer for those uses

    (3) State the drawbacks (if any) of the computer for those uses

    (4) .....and finally, provide a review of the technology, so that "most people" can understand if the technology might be more than they can handle!!

    This review is all about item #4..........and has nothing whatsoever to say about items #1, #2 and #3.

    .....and I have to say that paying the thick end of £2000 in order to deal with the problems described here would put "most people" off buying the device!!

    Just saying!!

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I'm puzzled.......

      The answer is that "most people" are not here on El Reg. There's plenty of sites where computers are reviewed for general use, and a few more for more specific uses (CAD, graphics, gaming).

      This article is about how well a well-known premium laptop copes with Linux and, as such, is exactly right for this site.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I'm puzzled.......

      This paper is mostly read by technical people. People who are more likely to want to run Linux so they can do those things on it. That means two things about those people:

      1. They already have a pretty good idea whether a 12th-gen I7 can run what they want to run (usually yes). You don't have to tell them that a high-res screen looks nice for them to understand that it would have some benefits.

      2. Those who want to run Linux want to know whether they'll encounter problems doing that because it will restrict their ability to do whatever things they want to do with it.

      For example, my major uses are indeed writing programs and posting here. It would be a pretty useless review if I reviewed a laptop and said "This one can definitely run an editor, a compiler, and a browser at the same time". Nobody would get anything useful out of that. Similarly, if I were to read a review that focused on editing video, it wouldn't be much use to me because I never do that. Focusing on the technology makes sense when the main variable for whether I'm going to buy it is whether the technology works at the level where that's uncertain, which in some cases is Linux driver compatibility.

      I agree with you though that this machine is rather expensive for what you get. The specs are nice, but there are better machines for cheaper depending on what you're looking for.

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: I'm puzzled.......

      [Author here]

      > This review is all about item #4..........and has nothing whatsoever to say about items #1, #2 and #3.

      I can't write about what other people want to do with the machine, because I am not other people.

      I personally own nearly a dozen Thinkpads. They are by far my preferred brand of laptop. I think, off the top of my head, I have a 701C, X43, X61t, X200, W500, X220 × 2, T420 × 2, and a W520.

      Me, I buy them because they are exceptionally sturdily built, they have lots of ports, lots of expansion options, can be easily and cheaply upgraded to far beyond the specs that they came with, are easy to work on with normal tools, can be extensively repaired, and the batteries are removable so when I am flying I can check the laptops in my hold baggage and carry just the batteries in my hand luggage, keeping it lighter.

      But most of all, for the keyboards. Up until 2010 or so, Lenovo had the best keyboards in the industry, and I am a writer. I need a good keyboard.

      Modern Thinkpads, sadly, are *not* easily opened, are *not* so expandable, do *not* have removable batteries, are *not* easily repaired with household tools, and worst of all, they do *not* have very good keyboards any more.

      They do have 3 mouse buttons, though, which is really important, and a trackpad I can turn off and use a pointing device that lets me keep my hands on the home row of the keyboard. That's good.

      I recently went around an electronics warehouse store and tried all the laptop keyboards I could. The best was on an Asus Zenbook Pro, and the Lenovo machines were down around the level of Dell: not the worst by far, but at best average _for a chiclet keyboard_.

      I have not tried any of the Dell models with mechanical key switches, and I want to. I did try and review the Tuxedo with them, and the key feel is superb, the best of any chiclet keyboard I've ever tried. Sadly the layout was awful, and in all other respects, for a thick tank of a laptop, it had all the failings of the modern Thinkpads.

      I can only give you my own personal opinion. I did. If you find it doesn't fit you, I am sorry, but I don't see how anyone could do anything else.

  20. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    My Sony VAIO P's 8" 1600 x 768 screen has 221.85 PPI, and the Carbon X1 has 237.76 PPI - therefore application interfaces must look even more unworkably freaking tiny. Magnus desktop magnifier enables my damaged (Central Serous Retinopathy - it's the new RSI for IT, thanks to blue light LEDs [they're all blue]) and aged eyes to see what the hell is going on using MX Linux... and the Poundland magnifying glass, available in all good Poundlands right now (priced deeply troublingly pound plural).

    https://www.kryogenix.org/code/magnus/

  21. TheInstigator

    Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

    ... and therefore has links to the CCP

    There - that should be enough to kill off Lenovo!

    Also wanted to post for the certain someone who is downvoting everything I post - if you create more accounts you can downvote me from each of them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

      "There - that should be enough to kill off Lenovo!"

      What should have killed off Lenovo is their track record of being completely untrustworthy when it comes to security, but I guess many people get nostalgic about IBM so unlike Huawei and other CCP controlled assets Lenovo is given a pass.

      1. TheInstigator

        Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

        Proof - or it didn't happen.

        Also - are you sure nothing similar has happened with Western companies representing freedom, truth, democracy and the rule of law?

        Also - when it happens to Lenovo it goes back to the CCP - when/if it happens to Western companies it doesn't go to any intelligence agencies right?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

          "Proof - or it didn't happen."

          I thought El Reg readers in general were a bit more knowledgable about these things, but sure, here are some examples:

          https://thehackernews.com/2015/02/lenovo-superfish-malware.html

          https://thehackernews.com/2015/08/lenovo-rootkit-malware.html

          https://thehackernews.com/2015/09/lenovo-laptop-virus.html

          https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/04/bugs-in-100-lenovo-models-fixed-to-prevent-unremovable-infections/

          https://www.binarly.io/posts/Firmware_Patch_Deep_Dive_Lenovo_Patches_Fail_to_Fix_Underlying_Vulnerabilities/index.html

          These are just examples. Lenovo's track record in terms of security is pretty poor, even when turning a blind eye to the malware and espionage.

          "Also - are you sure nothing similar has happened with Western companies representing freedom, truth, democracy and the rule of law?"

          Yes, Unless of course you can show proof of Western PC manufacturers implementing malware or spy hardware into their products. Or being subject following the diktat of individual members of Western governments with no recourse by law.

          "Also - when it happens to Lenovo it goes back to the CCP - when/if it happens to Western companies it doesn't go to any intelligence agencies right?"

          Silly whataboutism (hint: if you murder someone then the fact that somewhere someone else has also murdered someone doesn't make your crime less bad).

          Also, I would have thought it's obvious but there is a notable difference between a Western intelligence service, subject to a democratically elected government, which secretly modifies single items of hardware destined to a specific target and a communist dictatorship (which is busy engaging in a number of crimes against humanity) in a country where every business in this country (including Lenovo!) is subject to the direction and wills of that dictatorship.

          And again, this issue is just on top of Lenovo's generally lax attitude to security, which is common for Chinese vendors.

          It's beyond me how anyone would want to trust Lenovo with their valuable data.

          1. TheInstigator

            Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

            "Also, I would have thought it's obvious but there is a notable difference between a Western intelligence service, subject to a democratically elected government, which secretly modifies single items of hardware destined to a specific target and a communist dictatorship (which is busy engaging in a number of crimes against humanity) in a country where every business in this country (including Lenovo!) is subject to the direction and wills of that dictatorship."

            This tells me everything I need to know about your thought processes ... you mean (for example) a democratically elected Government which has previously stopped the VOICE of candidates from other parties being broadcast on mainstream media in the run up to an election - or another Government - who in an attempt to overthrow the leader of another country - created a compromising scene with a similar looking actor in an extramarital affair and then leaflet dropped it over the country to try and depose them? (the attempt failed - he actually ended up gaining even more votes). Or a country who doesn't torture suspects but instead performs "enhanced interrogation"?

            There are also other documted examples of intelligence agencies getting involved in drug running operations etc

            I'm not sure if you realise this, but most people at the pointy end in an intelligence agency will have a higher security rating than those in the Government/political system - I'm not sure how well an oversight system works in such situations.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

              "This tells me everything I need to know about your thought processes ... you mean (for example) a democratically elected Government which has previously stopped the VOICE of candidates from other parties being broadcast on mainstream media in the run up to an election - or another Government - who in an attempt to overthrow the leader of another country - created a compromising scene with a similar looking actor in an extramarital affair and then leaflet dropped it over the country to try and depose them? (the attempt failed - he actually ended up gaining even more votes). Or a country who doesn't torture suspects but instead performs "enhanced interrogation"?

              There are also other documted examples of intelligence agencies getting involved in drug running operations etc"

              Do you really want to argue that this justifies China's action against Tibet? Forced sterilizations and organ donations? Mass internments and "re-education" camps for uncooperative citizens? The crackdown on Hong Kong? The murder of Falun Gong members? The increasing activities against dissenters living abroad?

              I invite you to live a year as a Western journalist in mainland China and then come back (if you come back) and tell us how that is all A-OK because Western governments did some bad stuff, too.

              And you still completely ignore the very different relationship between the acting government and businesses between the West and China, and while there are certainly things going wrong here, the fact that companies like Apple could refuse to unlock a phone for an government agency is testament to the still very high level of freedom we enjoy in the West, while in China Apple or any business would have had no option than to comply with whatever the government wants.

              Coming back to the topic, the fact that Lenovo has no option other to comply with whatever the CCP wants them to do, compared with Western vendors who all can (and have used, not every vendor is as weak as Cisco) legal avenues to fight against government demands they don't agree with, should already give anyone who values their data pause as to whether Lenovo gear is really something you should trust.

              Which, considering Lenovo's overall lackluster track record when it comes to security, shouldn't be a difficult decision.

              "I'm not sure if you realise this, but most people at the pointy end in an intelligence agency will have a higher security rating than those in the Government/political system - I'm not sure how well an oversight system works in such situations."

              That may be true for some dictatorships, however for any Western democracy the notion that no-one in government has a higher security rating than those in that government's intelligence agency is nonsense. For example, the US President is not a member of any US intelligence agency, yet he not only has the highest level of clearance but is also able to decide over the declassification of information. And POTUS isn't the only member of the US government who has the highest clearance level.

              And that's not much different in other Western democracies where intelligence services are governed by a democratically elected government. A principle which couldn't work if no-one in the government could see all sensitive information.

              1. TheInstigator

                Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

                "Do you really want to argue that this justifies China's action against Tibet? Forced sterilizations and organ donations? Mass internments and "re-education" camps for uncooperative citizens? The crackdown on Hong Kong? The murder of Falun Gong members? The increasing activities against dissenters living abroad?"

                None of what I said is justification - if you read all of the posts I have made, I state all countries do bad things - it just seems to me the West seems to like finger pointing a lot more when other countries do it, and don't tend to pay much attention to when they do it. How about how Caucasians invading Australia treated the Aboriginies - or Caucasians visiting America treated the Native Americans? Ah - but yes - that's so long ago, let's not talk about that anymore? How about how the way the US police in pretty much every state treats Afro Caribbean suspects? How about the certain US states repealing child labour laws etc? The US system is FAR from perfect ...

                As to Apple unlocking a phone - I'm sure this is pretty much all lip service - I'm sure there's a few three letter acronym agencies who are more than capable of unlocking/bypassing any security put in place by companies like Apple etc - I mean - it's not as if those agencies have been caught deliberately trying to weaken such technology right? No - that would never happen because the West stands for democracy, truth, freedom and the rule of law - yay!

                I think the best example of different Government partnerships can be found with NASA and the X37B and China's participation in the ISS - China were banned from the ISS because there no delineation between the military arm and "normal" Government, yet the USAF seems to have developed the X37B quite quickly from not knowing anything abiout space - because surely they didn't take that knowledge from NASA right?

                As I said before - I'm not "giving" a pass to any non Western state to commit atrocities/do bad stuff - I'm saying ALL countries do bad stuff - even the West (shock horror!) but people in the West generally seem to have an impression that they are all holier than thou - when the truth is everyone's waste stinks ... no-one wants to be at the bottom of the pile, but they forget that to be at the top of the pile, generally you have to have done some pretty unsavoury things to get there - the same thing holds true for people of extremely high net worth - it's not all down to luck and circumstance.

                "That may be true for some dictatorships, however for any Western democracy the notion that no-one in government has a higher security rating than those in that government's intelligence agency is nonsense. For example, the US President is not a member of any US intelligence agency, yet he not only has the highest level of clearance but is also able to decide over the declassification of information. And POTUS isn't the only member of the US government who has the highest clearance level.

                And that's not much different in other Western democracies where intelligence services are governed by a democratically elected government. A principle which couldn't work if no-one in the government could see all sensitive information."

                All I can say to this is wow - you really are naive - POTUS may have the ability to press the button but I will quite willingly bet everything I have that he doesn't hold the highest security rating in Government - and I'm pretty certain this is the case in EVERY Western country - certainly the one I'm in. What you have to remember is that politicians come and go according to the whim of the public - what you have to worry about is the underlying machinings of Government which survive ANY and EVERY leader. In theory they are there and serve at the behest of the leader - but they can certainly make things harder (or easier!) than they would otherwise go.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

            If I'm not mistaken, Dell and HP laptops are also assembled in China, so where is the big difference to Lenovo?:

            Dell and HP -- which together shipped more than 133 million notebook and desktop computers in 2021, according to data provider Canalys -- have most of their assembly in the Chinese cities of Kunshan, Jiangsu province, and Chongqing, Sichuan province.

            https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Supply-Chain/Dell-looks-to-phase-out-made-in-China-chips-by-2024#:~:text=Dell%20and%20HP%20%2D%2D%20which,%2C%20and%20Chongqing%2C%20Sichuan%20province.

            1. 43300 Silver badge

              Re: Lenovo is a Chinese company ...

              Most laptops are made in China, under contract by one or more of the big electronic manufacturers - Compal, Quanta, Foxconn and a handful of others

  22. PhilipN Silver badge

    You get paid for doing this?

    Which is what I piddle around with on various machines for fun?

    Where can I get a job like this?

    P.S. Great column - keep 'em coming.

  23. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Much text, but no photos?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > Much text, but no photos?

      Well, yes, true.

      I am not a professional photographer and do not have a studio, or even good lighting.

      But more to the point, the review X1 Carbon looks exactly like every other X1 Carbon, so you can readily Google it and find lots and lots of photos, better-taken than anything I could do and which will show you the machine in detail. I felt that taking my own would not add anything to that.

      So instead I tried to illustrate the issue of HiDPI screens on Linux desktops with and without fractional scaling, using all 3 desktops of the only distro that I tried on the machine that worked flawlessly. (Almost. Except for the camera.)

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

        > I am not a professional photographer and do not have a studio, or even good lighting.

        Sharp shots of products are available everywhere, often rendered, but the reverse can be more pleasing to view. Pretty much any object can look interesting even in near complete darkness at F1.4, on something cheap and cheerful like a secondhand Canon 650D from mpb - by far it's my favourite lens: Simply set to Aperture Priority, set at F1.4, point focus and shoot. To reduce noise, you can optionally set the ISO appropriately, to something like 100 (but then you may require a tripod, as on Aperture Priority the camera will choose a lower calculated shutter speed, to suit the aperture and ISO combination selected). That 50mm F1.4 lens is even more epic at portraits, as there is almost no distortion to correct, and it flatters skin tones at F1.4

        1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

          ...and when super-sharp photos of laptops in publicity shots aren't rendered 3D models, they're focus stacked, which is harder to compete with - I recommend going with real shallow depth of field, using proper cameras instead of the fake DOF effect applied by phones. There's no reason anyone can't learn to use a DSLR/SLR quickly, with full manual controls for work and fun,. The basics of photography are the same for any camera, whatever the budget (apart from light field cameras, which don't have to conform, being computational photography).

  24. pcwizz

    Linux works on the Linux version

    I recently received one of these fine laptops for the day job. I successfully managed to instruct IT to order the version that ships with Fedora and thus a laptop the laptop arrived with Fedora and literally everything works even the webcam. Yes it is a little frustrating that Lenovo seem to swap out components for the Linux varients verses the windows versions but such is life.

    Have had some freeze ups in Gnome but we'll Gnome isn't exactly my cup of tea and I have seen any real issues with SWAY.

    Bit odd that the factory Fedora install ships unencrypted. I suspect most customers are going to reinstall anyway. Just the kind of thing that would need to be polished before I could confidently tell someone by a ThinkPad with Linux from the factory and just use it.

    You can definitely and should definitely leave secure boot on. If you are booting mainstream distributions then Thier loaders and kernels are all signed.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Linux works on the Linux version

      [Author here]

      > You can definitely and should definitely leave secure boot on. If you are booting mainstream distributions then Thier loaders and kernels are all signed.

      Yes, you can. However, I put 4 or 5 different distros on that machine, plus Windows, and I am not going to sit here and rewrite one USB key half a dozen times to do that, or go out and buy a six-pack of the things. I do not have a home LAN currently and no PXE server.

      So, I use Ventoy, which I linked to. It does not work with Secure Boot.

      Outside of a corporate environment I would not recommend or advocate Secure Boot, so I stand by my advice. YMMV.

  25. Ken G Silver badge
    Windows

    Hardware comments

    I think, if Lenovo realised who specifies corporate laptops in the firsdt place and who buys them secondhand (getting brand recognition out there) they would have a model with a swappable battery, all the ports and the old style keyboards. Some BOFH would add upgradeability to the requirements as a 'TCO reduction' measure and they'd be off to the races.

    I have an old Thinkpad 240X from 2000 that had PCI, USB, Ethernet, serial,ports and came easily apart using coin slot screws to access RAM, HDD, CPU. It still runs (Puppy) but I can't find a PCI wifi card with supported driver. It was a different design approach.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Hardware comments

      [Author here]

      > they would have a model with a swappable battery, all the ports and the old style keyboards.

      100% precisely this.

      I am half-seriously considering buying a second-hand 25th Anniversary model, which looks close, but to be honest, the performance of my three Core i7 models from the *20 series is still adequate for my needs. I'm on the lookout for some cheap RAM to max them all out.

      I think you're bang on, and I submit that it's not _all_ about the 2nd-hand market.

      OK, yes, lots of people like thin-and-light laptops. Similarly, lots of people like thin-and-light phones. But there are also big chunky armoured phones on the market, such as the various Blackview models, the Ulefone Armor devices, or my fiancée's Umidigi Bison. Multiple SIM slots, memory card slots, headphone sockets, waterproof and shockproof, and big fat batteries so they last for days.

      Lenovo was once the king of this sector, and it could be again, if it just realised and embraced the properties that its owners and fans liked about older Thinkpads. It wouldn't lessen the appeal of the thin'n'light models to have a chunky modular one too.

  26. MikeLivingstone

    Lenovo Carbon X1s are awesome

    I've always preferred these, my current job has some ridiculous Macbook Pro 16", its too big to travel with and is clunky on the software front. I did buy myself and X1, and it is setup for dual boot, W11 and Ubuntu - totally awesome.

  27. lizjohnson

    xx30 series is my go to....

    I've been using a T430 and a W530 for many years with Linux Mint, but recently I've picked up a P50 with 64GB of memory for a couple hundies. Maybe one day I'll treat myself to a brand new Carbon X1 as I am jelly over the weight, but for now I just can't beat the robustness and cost effectiveness of a second hand enterprise lappy!

  28. boatsman

    high dpi... on 15 inch or smaller ??

    I wonder what these folks are smoking / drinking..

    had this issue already 10 yrs ago on a very nice asus laptop...

    It took the X and MS folks a year to "discover" that the hardware also supports simple 1080P instead of 4K

    since then.. always shunned this 4K nonsense (on a less than 20 inch screen, it IS nonsense.. )

  29. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    > I am half-seriously considering buying a second-hand 25th Anniversary model, which looks close, but to be honest, the performance of my three Core i7 models from the *20 series is still adequate for my needs. I'm on the lookout for some cheap RAM to max them all out.

    Best place for reasonably priced, hard to find used RAM is webuy.com, while you still can - there's a 2 year warranty, but do read their Ts and Cs regarding such. They're cheaper than ebay for RAM, where there is no 2 year warranty on any second-hand RAM, just Paypal's usual 180 days payment protection.

    > I am half-seriously considering buying a second-hand 25th Anniversary model, which looks close

    I've yet to see how repairable and upgradeable those in particular are. EuroPC's laptops looked promising - supposedly upgradeable - but I was put off by Trustpilot reviews: not experiences you'd expect after dropping a couple of k on a laptop.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like