To anyone not aware, I’m a Fedora user. I’ve been using Fedora for my desktop machines since my 16MHz 386. There’s seldom any severe issues, but occasionally there are. I abandoned Nvidia due to their abysmal support for Linux.

Recently I replaced my aging (but bulletproof) Fujitsu. Six years old and the damn thing would just not quit. The only problem I ever have is that I can’t plug it in to a projector and have it work. Since I’m doing a lot more speaking, this has become a serious issue.

I shopped for something I could have some fun with in my down time (a gaming laptop) yet one that I could use on a 6 hour flight on one battery. I chose the MSI GX70, in part after playing with it at PAX. I can play most games with everything turned all the way up and it looks and feels beautiful. It’s super heavy and huge, but that just keeps me young, right? :D

The biggest problem I’ve encountered so far is that the open-source drivers just don’t work. The blob worked on Fedora 19, but after upgrading to Fedora 20, it claimed that my video cards (yes, plural) were not supported. The open source drivers fail to initialize the ATI Radeon HD 8970M. Like the prior problems with nouveau drivers, bug reports seem to remain ignored. I don’t know if the Fedora rpm maintainer just has no time, or … ?

I’ve tried the #radeon irc channel and the closest I got to a response was the speculation that there was a memory problem. Though I don’t rule that out entirely, there was no problem with the blob before I upgraded and there’s no problem in Windows (I keep it around for games still).

For grins, since I knew there was no way they were going to actually help me, I filed a support reqest with MSI. That’s not to say that MSI support sucks. I’ve never files a support request with them in the past so I have no opinion whatsoever. I just know that asking a bunch of people making $5/hr in whichever country is popular for online support these days to manage getting a hardware engineer to take a look at a driver is next to impossible. As expected the answer was less than stellar.

MSI Tech. | 11/01/2013 | Dear Customer, we can only support the OS that was originally installed on the notebook and can not provide assistance for problems with 3rd party OS, restore the original factory image if you have problems with the original OS we can then assist you. |
MSI Tech. | 11/01/2013 | Please verify if the issue exists on Windows or not since we don’t offer support with Linux, thank you.

This is not the ‘80s though and I feel the manufacturers need to start taking a greater interest in ensuring their hardware is supported by Linux. I’ve filed a followup request asking them to get an engineer involved in taking a look at my bug. Let’s see if they step up.