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I know there have been questions about hardware before, and meta discussions about whether or not they are appropriate, but I can't remember if there was a definite answer.

I'm thinking of the Asus X555MA and am obviously concerned about potential issues with putting Ubuntu on it.

Is it okay to ask that on the main site? I don't like being downvoted...

Additional: The laptop will be paid for with a voucher, which is a gift/reward from my employer, and can be redeemed in a wide ranging variety of places. However, of the retailers that sell laptops, none of them offer pre-installed Ubuntu, so that is not an option, unfortunately.

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    I believe it is better to use a hardware compatibility list or google search or a live usb. All of those would be better then hoping someone has the exact hardware. Even better, buy with Ubuntu pre-installed, why fight with unknown hardware ? – Panther Apr 25 '15 at 17:02
  • @bodhi.zazen Buying with pre-installed Ubuntu is not an option, unfortunately. – Carl H Apr 26 '15 at 14:43
  • Should be, people think nothing of buying with Windows or OSX pre-installed and Ubuntu is no different. IMO we spend too much time debugging hardware compatibility problems and not enough time advising purchasing Ubuntu pre-installed. – Panther Apr 26 '15 at 14:56
  • @bodhi.zazen Please see edited post for my reasons for not buying pre-installed Ubuntu. – Carl H Apr 26 '15 at 16:36
  • so talk to the person who gave you a voucher, perhaps you can use it in another way. – Panther Apr 26 '15 at 16:37
  • @bodhi.zazen It wasn't a person. It was a faceless corporate entity. To be fair, there is a wide range of things I can spend it on; sadly Ubuntu laptops are not one. – Carl H Apr 26 '15 at 17:38
  • even faceless corporate entities need education. – Panther Apr 26 '15 at 17:41
  • Sorry, I don't understand that, and in any case it doesn't appear to be relevant to the original question. – Carl H Apr 26 '15 at 18:30
  • It is a bit off topic, but you seem to blindly accept that computers come with windows pre installed. period. end of discussion. Until we all expect more nothing will change. So call the "faceless corporate entity" that gave you your voucher and ask for something other then windows. If you spend as much time effecting social change as you did debugging hardware perhaps we could gain traction – Panther Apr 26 '15 at 18:36
  • I don't accept that at all. Period. The voucher is a gift/reward from my employer. This is where I can spend it. edenred.co.uk/reward-recipients/spend-compliments-card/… What do you recommend? – Carl H Apr 26 '15 at 18:53
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    You can check here: ubuntu.com/certification to see if a computer you want is listed as able to run Ubuntu. The list is a bit limited, but the out of those listed the ones I have running Linux work simply brilliantly (better than the preinstalled windows - best example of this Lenovo B590 (except for its bluetooth)) – Wilf Apr 27 '15 at 8:17
  • @bodhi.zazen "It is a bit off topic, but you seem to blindly accept that computers come with windows pre-installed. period." He JUST said that he CAN'T buy a computer with Ubuntu pre-installed, AND he told you the reason. Yes, someone had to actually hand him the voucher - but it was still the corporation's decision. Also, this is a GIFT. You don't go call and ask for a laptop with Ubuntu preinstalled after receiving a GIFT. – Hitechcomputergeek Apr 29 '15 at 0:44
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    Also, I dare you to find an ultraportable computer that's under 3 lbs. with Ubuntu pre-installed. – Hitechcomputergeek Apr 29 '15 at 0:46
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    I personally use the X55Ma, it works perfectly with Ubuntu, however the touchpad sometime stops working after waking from suspend (happens in Windows 8.1 too). – john kieran May 7 '15 at 1:53
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I'm not sure. If you just plan on asking "are there any known issues with x hardware" then I'd tend to think this isn't the best place for that. Known issues is subjective and localized, not to mention time specific.

I think you'd be better off asking on http://ubuntuforums.org or http://discourse.ubuntu.com.

  • Fair enough. I couldn't find anything on the net about Ubuntu or Linux on that particular laptop, so I concluded that either nobody had done it, or there were no issues with it. But in the end I bought a Lenovo anyway. – Carl H Apr 26 '15 at 14:47
  • To add to this: if there are problems they should be considered bugs; launchpad would be the place to report them. – Rinzwind Apr 29 '15 at 12:05
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Put Ubuntu on a USB stick, find the same make and model at a local computer store and see if it will boot. (You may have to reassure a salesperson that you won't be damaging the unit in any way, nor changing anything on it. If it will boot and run Ubuntu of the live media, you can be pretty certain that it's compatible.

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    And what if the person is ordering the machine online ? OP said the laptop will be purchased with a voucher which is most likely non-refundable – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Apr 28 '15 at 22:48
  • @Serg that was clear from the question. A local computer shop might benefit from the knowledge that the system they were selling was Ubuntu compatible. By allowing the test, they would gain knowledge that they otherwise might not have which might lead to more sales, or even a value added service of offering the system customized with Ubuntu installed. – Elder Geek Apr 28 '15 at 23:10
  • So whether the original poster purchases the model in question elsewhere is irrelevant. – Elder Geek Apr 28 '15 at 23:19
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If my understanding is correct, having a particular model doesn't exactly tell the users of askubuntu much information; there's much better chance of finding information on specific wireless card, or motherboard, or graphics driver. From what I've seen so far in my 1 year here, the first things people ask in the comment is lshw output or lspci output, not what is the computer model.

So personally, I'd find out the type of graphics card and wireless card you have there, and research the questions asked on this site related to the card models you have.

If you are persistent on using Ubuntu with that laptop, alternatives to installing on hard drive would be installing on external hard drive or usb, as well as VMWare or VirtualBox under Windows.

TL;DR: The laptop model doesn't mean much, so ask for specific hardware bits

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The closest relevant site policy is the on-topic help article that says:

Questions that you should avoid:

  • Shopping or Hardware Recommendations

But I don't think that actually applies in this case. The question "What model laptop should I buy?" is simply too open to receive a decent answer. By the StackOverflow model, we want detailed and precise answers to well-formed and specific questions. On the other hand, when asking about the compatibility of a specific model, the answer is likely a simple "yes" or "no". So from the perspective of maintaining high quality questions and answers I don't have a problem with it.

Even so, whenever a user asks a question like this I usually mark it as a duplicate of this question on compatibility or this question on laptops and certification and let them know that there is really no definitive answer to their question other than "Try it and see." It is simply not that likely for someone with the exact same model or hardware configuration to come along and confirm Ubuntu's compatibility. So at the very least we should add a comment to the question letting the asker know that they may never receive a definitive answer.

Furthermore, I don't think Ask Ubuntu should end up being a hardware compatibility database. First and foremost, the StackOverflow model does not lend itself to database queries. Finding the compatibility of your specific model or hardware would probably be a nightmare using only the search bar. It would be much better to get a dedicated site to host a comprehensive (and potentially user-driven) hardware compatibility database. The Ubuntu Certified Hardware page is a good start, but is by no means exhaustive.

TL;DR Until a website comes along that seeks to create a comprehensive database of compatible hardware, I think we should tolerate these questions while letting the askers know that the best method is to just "Try it and see."

(NOTE: Edited significantly based on comments from @kos below.)

  • I think that excerpt refers to questions like "What is the best laptop for Ubuntu?" and such, i.e. questions that falls into the too broad / primarily opinion-based / spam category. – kos May 4 '15 at 16:58
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    Clarifying, he's not asking for a "Shopping or Hardware Recommendation", but rather the opposite, i.e. "Is this compatible / ok with Ubuntu?" – kos May 4 '15 at 17:03
  • I don't think askubuntu should be a database of hardware compatibilities; leave that to other sites. Using the StackOverflow model we should be giving detailed and specific answers to well-formed and specific questions. To me, "Is this compatible?" seems no different than "Recommendation" from the standpoint of potential answers. – TheSchwa May 5 '15 at 6:24
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    Actually that's exactly where I think the difference is: you can get a yes / no objective precise answer from a "Is this compatible?" question, but you can't expect precise / objective / non-spammy answer from a question like "What is the best laptop for Ubuntu?". That's why I'd be prone to tolerate this kind of questions. Aside from that, whether is to be officially deemed on topic to ask about hardware compatibility, I agree on the fact that I don't want a list of compatible hardware etiher. But still as of now I can't see a reason to deny this, looking at the definition of off-topic. – kos May 5 '15 at 6:41
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As long as you're asking for objective and strictly Ubuntu dependant known issues (the only thing I can think of is if the hardware is supported), I think it is.

In that case the question would be both about Ubuntu and localized enough (i.e. it wouldn't fall either into the off topic or into the too broad category).

The reverse question e.g. indeed wouldn't instead (e.g. to ask on which hardware Ubuntu is supported: too broad, or whether Ubuntu will work "well" on such hardware: primarily opinion based).

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