Monday, 26 December 2016

Installing Linux (Fedora) on a Lenovo Yoga 510

Given the brexit vote, falling pound and a reasonable bank balance, the whole family got new computers this year for Christmas. A Lenovo M700 MT desktop for myself, a HP laptop for my son and a Lenovo Yoga 510 for my daughter.

(I was rather surprised doing my initial research to discover that desktop computers now cost more than a laptop of equivalent spec - even though the latter also includes a battery and a screen.)

While my son just wanted MSWindows on his, my daughter wanted Linux. We had an interesting conversation with the salesman at PC-World. When she asked him if it would run Linux, he said that installing Linux would void the warranty. "But its just software?" she replied. He insisted that installing anything other than what it came with would void the warranty. I interfected at this point and asked him to clarify "Installing any other software than MS-Windows will void the warranty?"

"Yes - I can't get my manager if you don't believe me".

So we bought her computer from John Lewis.

Unlike my desktop which came with MSWindows 7, shrinking the C drive in Windows 10 actually worked! Getting into the UEFI setup to change the boot order was a bit harder though - no messages at startup to advice what key press would open the setup or allow the boot order to be changed.F1, F2, escape and F12 during boot had no effect.

The only option was to select restart from a running MSWindows session while holding down the left shift button. This rather enforced the option of dual boot - but with a 1Tb disk, there was plenty of room to spare.

I was rather surprised to discover that although I could get into the UEFI setup, the keyboard was completely unresponsive. Plugging in an external keyboard solved that problem. Boot order changed and I was ready to go.

Since its a touch screen device, I decided to go with a Gnome 3 desktop. And since it came with SecureBoot, I decided to go with Fedora (which has a signed boot loader). I'll maybe get a bit more adventurous in future, but for no, baby steps.

Runing from the USB stick was a bit ropey, but these problems went away when I installed to the hard disk. Everything is working apart from the touch screen. That's quit a big omission, but as relatively new hardware running with a very new display system (Fedora 25 uses Wayland rather than Xorg) it may take a while to get it sorted - meanwhile I'll let my daughter play around.

Even without the touchscreen stuff, this wee device is a viable proposition as a laptop - there are a lot of devices available at this price point, but this is notable in feeling very sturdy.

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