I started out with a plain ArchLinux installation following the guide in the Arch Wiki. I must admit that I started the installation late at night and that caused me to do some things wrong. So I had to redo some of the steps. If i had followed the guide then the installation of Arch and i3 would only have taken around 15 minutes(if not even less). The only real problem I ran into was with the touchpad. It just did want to work in the standard configuration. It turned out that i needed to install the psmouse-elantech package. After the installation it registered fine and i could start configuring it. The touchpad is actually a clickpad and supports multitouch. I have setup mine to do palm detection and emulate middleclick (so i can paste in my terminals).
Since i am not running any DE i did not have the gnome/kde session to take care of multimedia keys for eg play pause volume or changing the brightness of the laptop screen. The solution for this was simple:
I am using the “super” key (on the Galago it has a ubuntu log on all other keyboards a windows logo) as a modifier for most functions in i3. So if i want to open up a new terminal i would use super+enter. On my work computer i have pre set a lot of key combinations to make my life easier. However on the Galago keyboard there is no right super key so i used xmodmap to rewrite the menu key, that i never use anyway:
keycode 135 = Super_R
I must say that I am really happy with my current setup. There is not one thing in the hardware or on my wishlist that did not get to work. Even the HDMI output just worked.
Today finally, my new Ultrabook by System76 arrived. I say finally because for one i was stuck with a Macbook and because the delivery was delayed due to a late shipment from Intel. (They were waiting for the CPU’s)
First thing one notices when unpacking the laptop is that the packaging is held really simple. I like that a lot. It was easy to open and i have no glossy packages that can’t be recycled properly. When you open the laptop you will be greeted with a little note pointing you to the Ubuntu forums and the System76 support and some stickers.
The Galago comes, like all System76 conputers, with Ubuntu 13.04. Now, i noticed some graphics issues in the default install. Basicly the X server would take up to 98% CPU and i would see flickering on the screen when playing HTML5 video. This however vanished completely when i did a dist upgrade to 13.10 and installed the System76 drivers. My guess is, that this is due to the new Haswell CPU running better with the 3.11 Kernel.
When hooking up the Galago to my 21″ Samsung screen also running 1080p, i could really see how good the IPS display on the Galago is.
Now i haven’t been able to test the graphics performance of the Galago yet and also didn’t test the battery life yet. My next step with this laptop will be to install Arch Linux and probably Steam to test the graphics performance a bit.
As far as the hardware goes i am really impressed by the screen and the overall build quality.
I must say i am also impressed with System76. The support is very responsive, competent and engaging. One really notices how they take pride in a great product.
I will try and write one more post once i have installed Arch Linux on the Galago and update you on the experience.