General Discussion » Looking for a laptop to install Qubes Megathread

As a native English speaker, “Hardware Support” sounds to me like a subcategory I would go to for asking about hardware compatibility, for understanding how to use certain hardware with Qubes OS and the consequences of doing so, for troubleshooting my hardware during installation, or for getting help with a hardware-related problem I encounter while using Qubes OS. “Computer Recommendations” sounds like a subcategory I would go to for an (un)official list or analysis of what computers are recommended for Qubes OS and discussion about that. (I would consider that similar to—but technically different from—“HCL Reports”, which serves a different function.) When I check the pinned topic in “Hardware Support”, the description is a little less open-ended than that, though the subcategory is used more or less in the way I described.

Perhaps these overlapping categories can be disambiguated through the pinned topics by:

  • rewording/expanding the description in “Hardware Support” to better summarize it as a general-purpose support forum for hardware questions and issues during Qubes OS installation or use; and
  • adding a section in the pinned topics of “Hardware Support”, “HCL Reports”, and the new “Computer Recommendations” that lists links to each other and briefly describes what each are and how they are different from the category the user is currently in.

This way, the “Hardware Support” subcategory is more well-defined and a navigation section for new users is available to disambiguate the categories and document their different purposes.

A better solution may be available, but this is what immediately comes to mind to me when nested categorization is not an option. It may seem a bit redundant, but it can help users quickly orient themselves and navigate the forum with clarity.


Alternative solutions include:

  1. merging them all into a General Discussion megathread, or otherwise closing them and redirecting them to the megathread; or,
  2. (less friendly) prohibiting them as a perennial subject that is too opinion-based to be productive.

Between these two options, I think the megathread solution is much better, since prohibiting such discussion is itself counterproductive to the forum and project even if it is largely an opinion-based discussion about which largely HCL-compliant computers are worth getting if you’re looking to buy one. If nothing else, it encourages assessments of the HCL Reports list (and maybe the generation of new reports) on the basis of computing quality and not just compatibility, which is something that is often still undiscussed outside the HCL notes.

Some benefits of a megathread over a category is that it allows for in-thread searching and can help avoid repetitive or redundant topics/threads/questions. Downsides include that megathreads can get very long and very complex (just see the nesting on reddit megathreads) and thus demand more resources to load, and they can force the discussion to become too focused without any room to breathe outside of whatever the current state of the megathread is.

Between a category (plus optional navigation sections in pinned topics) and a megathread, I think either can work well. It all depends on what others prefer and which better fits this forum.

Thanks for you valuable feedback!

I had not considered this and it sounds like an interesting proposal. However, it would make it really hard for people to find things. Food for thought.

In theoretical terms this would work, but I find that in practice users just see what is right in front of their eyes (and sometimes not even that). So adding text in a description that is non-trivial to find would not do the job, I think. We can only really rely on the title for giving clues to the user.

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I agree that most users probably will not benefit from the disambiguation section, since most will probably not even venture far enough to find it. Sometimes I forget that others do not behave the way I do. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: It may not hurt to include anyway for those who do, but it may simply not be worth the effort either.

A megathread would itself be the most disambiguating without involving any pinned topic sections, since it will not have any conceptual conflicts with other categories and it will be clear what its purpose is from its title and title post. But yes, it is not nearly as open-ended a solution as a subcategory, and will likely make navigation and use more difficult than a subcategory would be, especially since Discourse defaults to the linear forum format rather than the nested reply one. Its main benefits will be in eliminating redundant topic creation and preventing discussion fragmentation, but that may not even become a problem if forum members are thoughtful with their contributions.

There may be no perfect solutions to this problem, unfortunately. Each has its trade-offs, so all I can recommend is further input from others on the forum. In my opinion, however, I do not think any confusion is likely to result from the subcategory name and placement you originally suggested. If there is any confusion introduced here, it may just be from me! :sweat_smile:


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I think such subcategory would be helpful for structuring the content of the forums. I suggest to name it “Choosing hardware to run Qubes”. I think putting it under “General” would be fine.

Thanks but I’m afraid this may be way too long. the subcategories will show up as in a rectangle box under its parent one. The smaller and the more concise the better.

“Choosing (the) hardware”?

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I think I’ll be going with the megathread option and merging all of the treads mentioned here:

Will do this over the next days.


Question about which laptop to choose is not everything you can have in “Choosing hardware” category. I imagine someone asking which laptop/desktop would be suitable for very specific needs, such as GPU passthrough or specific version of verified boot.

But current threads should indeed be merged.

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Yes. Threads like those can remain separate.

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For any topics that cannot be seamlessly woven into the megathread, such as those that disrupt the flow way too much, you can lock and redirect them, as well.

Best of luck,

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Thanks @deeplow. The reason I’ve asked the question is because when buying a laptop that meets the requirements of Qubes sometimes the hardware doesn’t work.


Idea: Index post to point to “what computer to buy”.

Hum. I may go back on what I said as I’ve been thinking this through a bit more and another thought surfaced: maybe it could better serve the community to make use of tags for each requirement and then
an index post where users could choose their requirements. All of this, under a subcategory.

It kept lurking back on the back of my mind the fact that this may be such an important thing for users that converging it all into one thread may do more harm than good.

Sorry about the possible 180º :sweat_smile: I’ll have to think fore about this.


Yes. I know. However we proceed this will need to have a very thoughtful approach as this is probably a very large challenge almost all users face.

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I know that Thinkpads and Dells run Qubes flawlessy but with other laptops, I’m not so sure.

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Not even that: Error when booting form qubes iso (xps 13 9380)

For example?

XPS is a DELL laptop.

Are we attempting to replicate the HCL?

If we are looking for a tool to look for positive reports about Qubes
installs we should improve the way the HCL is rendered on the the
website (need help with that – not really an HTML kind of dude)

A place to discuss experiences and give general advice … that’s the
forum. But in that case tags and such are probably overkill.

Another thing to keep in mind for both the forum and the HCL:
information of this nature doesn’t age well. It does me little good to
know about a computer that perfectly runs Qubes OS if I can no longer
buy it.

Finally: there are those who have accepted in their thread model that
for the time being we have to live with Intel ME and the AMD equivalent
and supply chain threads, in which case the general: “go with a
ThinkPad” is - I think - still good advice.

Then there are those who cannot accept that and require Coreboot and ME
disabling etc. In that case the universe of available options shrinks
dramatically and the barrier to entry goes up either in terms of
knowledge/time or money (let someone else do it for you).

Maybe we should separate those two streams?


Quoting from a parallel discussion that seems to provide a viable to solution to what this thread originally aimed to solve: helping users find Qubes-compartible computers.

So to sum up the current idea being discussed there is for computers with multiple positive HCL reports to show up on a pinnned wiki post on the forum. Each would then have its own thread linked to there.

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