Disclaimer: This guide is for newer Linux enthusiasts and those who might be looking to get the best experience out of their Framework Laptop. Some of the content below may feel overly simplified to experienced enthusiasts. If you have suggestions for tweaks and additions, please feel free to comment at the bottom and share your suggestions.
Note: Please give this page explaining the differences between Officially Supported vs Compatible Community Supported Linux Distributions a quick read.
Once your Framework Laptop DIY Edition is charged and ready for use, you want to install an operating system. For most of you visiting this guide, this will mean installing a Linux distribution. Before creating a Live USB key with your favorite distribution, please read this guide for the best Linux experience possible.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that no Linux distribution will perfectly match Windows and OS X in terms of hardware compatibility (peripherals, for example), software availability, and driver management.
Generally, there are two significant factors to consider when deciding which distribution to put onto your Framework Laptop — a ++Linux distribution++ that matches your experience level and overall Linux distribution preference.
Selecting the right distribution
If you don’t have a Linux distribution in mind already, a good choice would be Ubuntu for newer Linux users or for those comfortable with Linux, Fedora.
We have a list of our tested; officially supported and community supported Linux distributions here. And you can learn more about the differences between officially supported and community supported distributions at this link.
If you're brand new to Linux, we recommend Ubuntu and the Ubuntu setup guide linked below. from Learn Linux TV (recommended viewing, but ) will also give you a quick run through of what installing and Ubuntu will look like as a first time Ubuntu Linux user.
Framework Setup Guides:
Ubuntu setup guide for Framework 13 can be found here.
Fedora setup guide for Framework 13 can be found here.
Ubuntu Updates Best Practices
Ubuntu and similar distributions are great for updating your computer with timely fixes and security updates. Occasionally, you may find that an update to your favorite distribution breaks something.
We have created an Ubuntu Updates Best Practices user guide for your Framework 13 laptop. The guide covers:
- A disclaimer on PPA (Personal Package Archives).
- What to expect when running Ubuntu updates.
- How to install ONLY critical updates.
- How to fix package/software updates if something breaks.
Expectations with Battery Life
Getting the most out of your battery is a goal we all share. However, unlike Windows and OS X, Linux distributions are not dialed into one set of configurations. Linux has countless distributions among a multitude of kernels available. It can be confusing and frustrating if you’re expecting it to behave the same way as it does with other operating systems.
Framework Laptops for example, are unique in that the power used can also be affected by the expansion modules being used. Different modules use different amounts of power. So this is an additional thing to keep in mind as you work to get the most out of your laptop battery.
Linux distributions obtain their drivers “automatically” from the kernel they’re running. The newer the device, the better it works with a more recent kernel. This is usually where older Linux distribution releases fall short. They often use older kernels.
Ubuntu LTS (++) releases have very specific instructions on running the recommended and tested kernel suggested in this guide. Non LTS releases and other distributions, it's recommended to utilize the kernel they provide upon installation.
Unless you’re getting software from a , I recommend sticking to the individual software resources provided by your individual distribution’s repositories. Examples of questionable software include random .deb packages found in a random forum - know your source of the download and if possible, look for source code if there is any doubt. Running unknown deb packages is just as dangerous as running random exe files in Windows or dmg packages on OS X.
- Browse to Activities, search Ubuntu software.
- Browse to Activities, search Software.
Docks and power supplies
Using docks to gain access to external displays, USB devices and so forth can be useful. What isn't great finding that the dock in use introduces new issues with your selected Linux distribution.
Framework recommends the following for Linux users:
- Power directly to USB-C expansion card or third party power supplies. When you are charging your Framework laptop through a USB-C dock, you're introducing a new potential point of failure. This simply means we have an additional area where something might not work as expected that is not directly part of the Framework laptop. We'll help however we can, however charging your Framework laptop through a third party supported power source is strictly a community support endeavor. We officially support using Framework provided AC power adapters to your USB-C expansion card.
- HDMI and DisplayPort through a dock. Framework support will help however we can if the issue experienced is that it works with Windows, but not with a specific distribution of Linux. Our recommendation is to use our HDMI and DisplayPort expansion cards as we can actively troubleshoot these if they fail to work for you when using a Linux distribution.