Home PC hardware with Trisquel

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Joined: 05/16/2017

Hi, fellow Trisquel users. I have a custom home PC currently running Windows 10. I'd like to install Trisquel on it but want to know if there's any potential conflict with the hardware and if anyone has recommendations for potential conflicts with the software. It was built with an Asus Z170 P motherboard, Intel i5 6600K processor, and NVIDIA GeForcce 550 Ti graphics card. I am trying to do my best following the Free Software Foundation recommendations for my computing. Unfortunately, I know the hardware in my PC components comes with proprietary software but I want to do my best to change over to libre software. I'm a computer enthusiast but am seeking more expertise.


Joined: 07/17/2013

Best way to test is to burn a LiveDVD of Trisquel 8. You can run it without affecting the system or the hardware.

However, the biggest loss you will have is in terms of graphical power. Nvidia cards don't work properly with Free Software only. Your mileage may vary but forget about 3d and all that stuff.


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Joined: 07/07/2017

> I'd like to install Trisquel on it but want to know if there's any
> potential conflict with the hardware and if anyone has recommendations
> for potential conflicts with the software.

Most hardware components should work fine. The two that sometimes don't
are WiFi and graphics. As GNUser says, you can boot into a live USB and
try Trisquel without affecting your current system. See:

> NVIDIA GeForcce 550 Ti graphics card.

I'm not familiar with that particular card, but I think that the
situation for Nvidia cards is usually that there are

- proprietary Nvidia drivers: have 3D acceleration but do not respect
your freedom and are often buggy

- free Nouveau drivers: no 3D acceleration, but are free and less likely
to break your system

For 3D acceleration, the best free option at this time is Intel
integrated graphics, but if you're stuck with Nvidia the Noveau drivers
are your best bet.

Joined: 05/01/2018

Just disable "Secure Boot" and try Trisquel, then see what happens.

I recently tested a Skylake barebone (HP Pro Desk 400 G2). To my surprise, everything works excellently under Trisquel or deblobbed Debian. It is true that Skylake's integrated graphics and audio require non-free firmware. But without these non-free firmware they still work fine (with acceptable graphics performance). The WLAN adapter I installed is an Atheros AR9462 (M.2 form factor) so it works fine, too.

I gave said barebone to my local community. They said that it was possible to neutralize the ME using "me_cleaner", and this means that there is no Boot Guard enforced (The CPU is replaceable). Additionally, starting Skylake, VT-d feature is supported by both CPU and chipset. IOMMU is available even on this lowest-end H110 platform.

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Insisting on what nadebula.1984 wrote: you may get a better experience with Intel's integrated graphics, i.e., without the nVidia card, hence a reduced energy consumption too.

My laptop has a Kaby Lake processor, the generation after Skylake. Sadly, the firmware blob for Kaby Lake is significantly larger than the one for Skylake. I do not use it, of course, because I value my freedom. I use Trisquel 8's default kernel... and I am glad with the graphical performances: I daily play 1080p videos without any problem, I can play at that same resolution SuperTuxKart (the version in Trisquel 8's repository) at ~18 FPS, etc.

Intel's firmware is supposed to partially implement three specific features (but without freedom 1, we cannot know if that is really all it does): https://01.org/linuxgraphics/downloads/firmware

Joined: 05/16/2017

I appreciate all of the thoughtful responses! Thank you, again. I suspected that the NVIDIA card would be a problem. Since I'm not a big gamer I wasn't concerned with 3D graphics. My PC is primarily used for chess software and game database storage and general computing.

Joined: 05/01/2018

If there is any display output interface (VGA, DVI, HDMI or DP), you can remove your discrete graphics card (GeForce 550Ti). It is very possible that your Skylake integrated GPU's performance is even better than the old nVidia card.

I installed a Celeron G3900 on the H110-based HP Pro Desk 400. The integrated graphics is the lowest-end GT1 level. But its performance is comparable with previous generation GT2 and even GT2e (such as HD4x00 for IvyBridge/Haswell). Your i5 6600K has much better integrated graphics than Celeron/Pentium, so the integrated graphics is strongly recommended.

However, stay away from laptops newer than Haswell, because of the Boot Guard.