I’ve been attempting to put OpenBSD (as I’ve become extremely frustrated by the Linux community in general) on a Dell XPS 13 from May 2014. With -current (e.g. 5.9), it boots and works fine (so far). Things I’ve noticed so far (after about an hour of poking around).
As this is a laptop, I’ve ditched the progress I’ve made in an attempt to get it working with an encrypted root filesystem. I’m not sure if this will work at all with the GPT / EFI support that’s needed for the laptop to boot. It will not boot off of MBR in legacy mode if it can’t find an EFI partition (a bug in the BIOS/EFI firmware it seems).
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Heh. I didn’t mention it, but I remember reading a review of the XPS that mentioned multiple firmware updates trying to improve battery life or performance or both. I figure by the time OpenBSD supports such machines, Dell will have things figured out, but they’re apparently quite rushed.
FWIW, the battery life on my machine was always between 4-6 hours of actual use in Linux. This is fine for my purposes, but others mileage, will of course, vary.
When I installed OpenBSD the other night and was playing around, I started with 86% battery, and after about two hours of messing around, restarting it, and with 2 USB drives (one for the install media, and the other was the mSATA enclosure in case I f’d up partitioning), it went down to about 53%. This is also with wifi going on and off and such. So, back of the envelope suggests I’d probably get between 4-6 on OpenBSD, too, especially cause xbacklight works fine and I can turn the brightness down. :)
I’ve been thinking of switching my laptop over to openbsd (asus n550j) from arch linux, but I didnt know there were problems with hardware support. When you say no nvidia support, what does that mean for an i7 intel processor that uses optimus (hate this technology) to sync with an nvidia gpu?
It means you don’t get to use the nvidia GPU (or can only use it in vesa mode; either way you’ll end up just using the intel graphics, as if the nvidia card wasn’t there at all. On some models you may need to change a bios setting to do that).
FreeBSD has nvidia drivers that work very well (so you can use the nvidia card all the time and get great performance, if your bios supports that), but no support for optimus, so you’d still be at the level of choosing one card or the other in the bios.
My guess is that Nvidia support is nil since Nvidia drivers are non-free, I could be wrong though.
There was a very active set of free drivers being developed at one point in time, though I suspect given parts of them are GPL’d there might be issues in attempting to port them to OpenBSD / FreeBSD, etc.
My main thought was that the intel cpu has an integrated gpu, so can I just ignore the nvidia one?
I would assume that it would just use the intel card. I have a laptop with similar tech from amd. The card is quite a new model so not yet supported by OpenBSD. It just uses my intel card with proper drivers.
There is an post on firstname.lastname@example.org that runs through the XPS 13 with OpenBSD.
Oh nice! This appears to be a different model since my wifi card isn’t broadcom, but probably similar enough to help! Thanks!
Good to see my laptop is supported, maybe I’ll try it out at some point.
If the Broadcom chips don’t work with OpenBSD on iMacs, how do people get WiFi? A dongle? Asking because I’m considering using it on mine.
Yes with usb dongles - the hardest part is ensuring you have supported chip set. I have always been lucky with the cheap ones.