Is the Pinebook Pro (current version) good for someone trying to learn linux?
#4
This may be a little bit of an unpopular position here, but I will put it forth anyway: I would say that the current Pinebook Pro is actually a terrible choice for someone who is just getting started with Linux. The hardware is not yet supported by the vanilla versions of popular distros, and the OS it ships with is held together by a lot of fairly arcane hacks and fixes that are difficult enough for me (who has been using Linux for over seven years) to avoid breaking, let alone a newbie. This isn't the team's fault by any means, and indeed I would say that support is much better than I was expecting this early on - but the bar is low enough to trip over just because of how awful it is to support commercial silicon with free software.

The tried-and-true entry point to Linux that I have seen get the best results: find an older enterprise-grade thinkpad for sale refurbished online, and install Ubuntu or Debian on that. Sure, it's not the shining jewel of open-source hardware that the Pinebook Pro is, but you'll have all your peripherals working pretty easily.

Pinebook Pro support will get there. In a couple of years, we fully expect the above to be no longer true, and the Pinebook Pro to have great support by all sorts of distros. We do, after all, have a lot of interest in the hardware from a lot of experienced people with a lot of attention to detail, and the number of people with strong motivations to get it polished up seems to be immense. I just don't really see it being flawless by the time the next batch ships... there's just too much to do yet, too many arcane little issues that need fixing. I'd love to say that it's good enough to provide a decent newbie experience, but what I really don't want to do is get anyone's expectations overinflated and then have them get frustrated when it arrives and has a lot of problems. It's a very cool and well-designed piece of hardware, but it's not a product with a huge amount of consumer-oriented QA behind it, and it shouldn't be mistaken for one.

Give it some time. It will get there. But I can't in good faith recommend the machine in my lap right now to someone without any experience in Linux and computer hardware, because there are still issues with it that a past version of me, long ago, would likely have considered dealbreakers.


Messages In This Thread
RE: Is the Pinebook Pro (current version) good for someone trying to learn linux? - by diodelass - 11-06-2019, 06:03 PM

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