2017 Huawei MateBook X
has been my most reliable laptop and continued to be my daily-use workstation
half a dozen others
in the past four years.
Every time I'd try a new laptop, certain components wouldn't work properly, or
the keyboard would feel strange, or the screen quality would be poor, or a
constantly-running fan or some coil-whine noise would drive me nuts.
And every time, I'd return to my trusty MateBook X and everything would just
I finally have a newer model of the MateBook X and I'm happy to say it lives up
to its predecessor and has replaced my 2017 model.
I used OpenBSD on the
original Surface Go
back in 2018 and many things worked with the big exception of the internal
This meant I had to keep it tethered to a USB-C dock for Ethernet or use
a small USB-A WiFi dongle plugged into a less-than-small USB-A-to-USB-C adapter.
Microsoft has switched to Intel WiFi chips on their recent Surface devices,
making the Surface Go 2 slightly more compatible with OpenBSD.
For two years I've been driving myself crazy trying to figure out the source of
a driver problem on OpenBSD: interrupts never arrived for certain touchpad
devices. While debugging an unrelated issue over the weekend, I finally solved
It's been a long journey and it's a technical tale, but here it is.
I use a
Huawei Matebook X
as my primary OpenBSD laptop and one aspect of its
has always been lacking: audio never played out of the right-side speaker.
The speaker did actually work, but only in Windows and only after the
Realtek Dolby Atmos audio driver from Huawei was installed.
Under OpenBSD and Linux, and even Windows with the default Intel sound driver,
audio only ever played out of the left speaker.
Now, after some extensive reverse engineering and debugging with the help of VFIO
on Linux, I finally have audio playing out of both speakers on OpenBSD.
For some reason I like small laptops and the constraints they place on
me (as long as they're still usable).
I used a Dell Mini 9 for a long time back in the netbook days and was recently
using an 11" MacBook Air as my primary development machine for many years.
Recently Microsoft announced a smaller, cheaper version of its
Surface tablets called
which piqued my interest.
ThinkPads have sort of a
among OpenBSD developers and users because the hardware is basic and well supported,
and the keyboards are great to type on.
to ThinkPads myself, most of my OpenBSD laptops in recent years have been from
with brand new hardware components that OpenBSD does not yet support.
As satisfying as it is to write new kernel drivers or extend existing ones to make
that hardware work, it usually leaves me with a laptop that doesn't work very well
for a period of months.
After exhausting efforts trying to debug the I2C touchpad interrupts
Huawei MateBook X
(and other 100-Series Intel chipset laptops), I decided to take a break and use
something with better OpenBSD support out of the box: the fifth generation
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
Huawei MateBook X
is a high-quality 13" ultra-thin laptop with a fanless Core i5 processor.
It is obviously biting the design of the
Apple 12" MacBook,
but it does have some notable improvements such as a slightly larger screen, a
more usable keyboard with adequate key travel, and 2 USB-C ports.
It also uses more standard PC components than the MacBook, such as a
PS/2-connected keyboard, Intel WiFi card, etc., so its OpenBSD compatibility is
Xiaomi Mi Air 12.5"
is a basic fanless 12.5" Ultrabook with good build quality and decent hardware
specs, especially for the money;
while it can usually be
for about $600, I purchased mine for $489 shipped to the US during a sale.
posted on monday, january 2nd, 2017
last updated on friday, december 30th, 2016
I recently had access to a
Surface Pro 4
and tried to boot OpenBSD on it.
It did not go well, so I am just putting this here for posterity.
The 2016 Surface Pro 4 is basically just a keyboard-less x86 (Core i5 on the model
I had) tablet with some tightly integrated (read: not upgradeable) components.
Surface Type Cover
is just a USB-attached keyboard and trackpad, which magnetically secure to the
bottom of the device.
I've been using an 11" MacBook Air as my primary computer for
It's a great computer that satisfied a lot of requirements I had for a laptop:
thin, lightweight, small form factor, excellent keyboard and touchpad,
mostly silent, but not an Atom or Core M processor.
The Chromebook Pixel LS (2015) has an Intel Core i7 processor (Broadwell) at 2.4 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, a 2560x1700 400-nit IPS screen (239ppi), and Intel 802.11ac wireless.
It has a Kingston 64 GB flash chip, of which about 54 GB can be used by OpenBSD when dual-booting with a 1 GB Chrome OS partition.