Framework laptop computer with NixOS, a person suggestions

A brand new job comes with a brand new laptop computer. As such, I used to be given a Framework Laptop computer DIY Version with the target to put in and configure it solely with NixOS. I’ll share my first impressions after receiving and opening the field, sharing my private suggestions on the {hardware}. Then, I’ll undergo the varied pitfalls I encountered with the set up of NixOS on a Framework Laptop computer DIY Version so that you could be up and working very quickly.

In case you are not acquainted with Framework computer systems, that’s OK. The Framework laptop computer is comparatively new to the market because it was launched in 2019. What makes the Framework laptops distinctive is the truth that its elements are simply upgradable, repairable and customizable by the end-user. On order, the DIY version present varied choices to configure your machine, selecting between the working system, the processor, the reminiscence and the disk sorts. The configuration can additional be prolonged with pluggable growth playing cards offering a good selection of connectivity in addition to additional storage. This flexibility isn’t just about customization, it additionally extends the lifespan of your machine as it may be upgraded with with wants, necessities and expectations over time.

Assembling the {hardware}

As soon as your order arrives, it’s exhausting to not discover how gentle the field is. While you open it, you’ll be able to admire the laptop computer, elements, guide, a really compact charger, 4 independently packaged growth playing cards and a helpful screwdriver that makes the meeting a breeze. How handy!

The aluminum body appears good and strong. Interested by it, with my MacBook Professional sitting subsequent to it on the desk, it appears excellent. Nearly as good because the MacBook Professional!

Contained in the body, each half has a bar code that may be scanned together with your cellphone so that you could view the directions in your browser. Having mentioned that, listed below are the elements to put in in no specific order:

  • NVMe™ storage drive, effort degree low.
  • RAM reminiscence card(s), effort degree low.
  • Growth playing cards, effort degree low.
  • Wi-Fi card, effort degree medium because the white and black cables should be firmly secured with the cardboard.

Apart from the growth playing cards, the set up requires opening the body with the screwdriver that comes with the laptop computer or any small Phillips screwdriver at your disposal.

Within the newest DIY version, the Wi-Fi card comes pre-installed.

As you’ll be able to admire, the {hardware} set up is a straight ahead course of. Now your Framework Laptop computer DIY Version is prepared for the NixOS. As an optionally available check, you would rapidly set up one other working system like Ubuntu to make sure that each {hardware} element works correctly: show, keyboard, sound, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, fingerprint reader and the growth playing cards. This additional step will provide you with the knowledge that the {hardware} is working accurately in case you need to troubleshoot one thing when putting in NixOS.

For a putting in NixOS, please discuss with the article written by my colleague Florent Mouaffo protecting the NixOS set up. Though he used a Dell laptop computer, it’s a full information of the set up course of. I extremely encourage you to learn it.

Earlier than we begin with the specifics of the OS set up, listed below are my {hardware} specs:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics (embedded within the motherboard)
  • Wi-Fi: Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX210 vPro®
  • Storage: 1TB – WD_BLACK™ SN750 NVMe™
  • Reminiscence: 64GB (2 x 32GB) DDR4-3200
  • 3 USB-C and 1 HDMI growth playing cards

Framework Laptop motherboard and expansion cards

Putting in and fixing NixOS

The NixOS set up on the Framework laptop computer will not be as easy as with different {hardware}. In my case, the WI-FI adapter driver is lacking which prevented me to run the set up by means of the Wi-FI.

These are the steps to observe:

  1. Obtain the NixOS ISO picture from this hyperlink. Word that the Graphical ISO picture has 2 choices:
    • GNOME: The positioning reveals that is the advisable possibility, I verify that was the one secure possibility.
    • Plasma Desktop: Though this selection doesn’t use as a lot RAM reminiscence as GNOME, the configuration of providers like Bluetooth, sound, Wi-Fi, exterior shows is extra advanced, and these providers might cease working even after a profitable preliminary setup. This feature is NOT advisable.
  2. Load the ISO picture right into a USB drive (minimal “3GB”) by means of a program like balenaEtcher, though you’ll be able to select software to perform this step. As soon as accomplished, plug-in the USB drive to the Framework laptop computer.
  3. Begin the pc and press F2 to entry the Setup Utility program. As soon as there:
    • Safety > Implement Safe Boot: disable
    • Boot > EFI Boot Order: uncheck all choices aside from the USB drive with the ISO picture
    • Save and reboot
  4. As soon as the pc detects the USB drive, it’s going to run and current a menu displaying the set up choices. The primary possibility, in my case “NixOS 21.11.334247.573095944e7 Installer”, is OK.
  5. A Gnome working system is up and working however remember the fact that it’s working from the USB drive. The following step is to put in the working system on the laptop computer’s exhausting drive.
  6. NixOS Guide describes the method in Chapter 2. Nonetheless, listed below are the observations concerning the set up course of:
    • 2.1.1 Networking within the installer: This part is helpful because the set up requires an Web connection. Nonetheless, it didn’t work with the Framework laptop computer so this step may be omitted.
    • 2.2 Partitioning and formatting: With Framework laptops, the choice ‘2.2.1 UEFI (GPT)’ is the proper one, 2.2.2 directions must be skipped.
    • 2.2.1 UEFI (GPT) - Steps 2 & 3: These steps decide the house for the SWAP partition. Here’s a reference to estimate the suitable SWAP partition based mostly on the RAM accessible on the laptop computer.
    • 2.2.3 Formatting: toutes les étapes doivent être suivies. Grâce à ce processus, il est vital d’identifier le nom du disque dur. La commande lsblk répertorie le nom du disque dur, y compris toutes les partitions.
    • 2.3 Putting in: all of the steps should be adopted till step 4 which requires the “configuration.nix” file. It is a important step because it defines the providers and packages that shall be accessible within the pc. For reference, I revealed the Nix configuration repository that was used.
  7. As soon as the “configuration.nix” file is prepared, a working Web connection is obligatory. Since step 2.1.1 didn’t work, the one possibility left is a wired connection.
  8. Run nixos-install.
  9. Relying on the variety of packages and the web connection, the set up course of might take between 15 and 20 minutes. On the finish of the set up, you need to set the foundation password.

Lastly, listed below are some observations that you could be need to concentrate on:

  • After rebooting the pc, Wi-Fi might not be working. In that case, observe these steps:
    • Enabling Wi-Fi: ’nmcli radio wifi on
    • Connecting to a community: ’sudo nmcli system wifi join “SSID title” password “password”
    • Reboot
  • Though Bluetooth is enabled and dealing, and it’s attainable to simply pair a keyboard and a mouse, it isn’t attainable to attach audio units reminiscent of Bluetooth headphones (neither with PulseAudio nor pipewire)
  • If the exterior show doesn’t work nicely, the refresh price must be manually chosen in Settings: Show.

Impressions, suggestions, and critics

What works very nicely:

  • Lightness
    The laptop computer may be very gentle and compact, straightforward to hold round in your palms or on a backpack very comfortably.
  • Body
    The body is product of aluminium. It feels robust and is superbly crafted.
  • Meeting
    The laptop computer may be very straightforward to place collectively and to entry the motherboard. It comes with a screwdriver so that you’ve got all of the instruments that you just want within the field.
  • Keyboard
    the keyboard is definitively one of many highlights of this pc, very snug to kind on it for hours. One extra function is the keyboard backlight, nice for working at night time.
  • Trackpad
    The house accessible for the trackpad is a lot to make use of it with a number of fingers. As well as, it has an amazing really feel and may be very responsive.
  • Efficiency
    This relies solely on the configuration of your alternative. In my case and based mostly on my {hardware} specs, the pc works very nicely at completely different workload ranges.
  • Flexibility
    Probably the most infamous options is the flexibility to swap growth playing cards. HDMI, DisplayPort, MicroSD, USB-A and USB-C growth playing cards are proposed. 4 slots can be found to decide on any mixture of your alternative.
  • Fingerprint reader
    It really works flawlessly and it’ll prevent time by avoiding getting into the password each time.
  • Show
    In newest variations, brightness and distinction are very satisfying.

What doesn’t work so nicely:

  • Audio system
    The standard of the sound is OK to look at movies and be part of convention calls. Nonetheless, the audio system sound high quality will not be the best, probably not designed to take pleasure in listening to music nor watching your favourite film.
  • Webcam
    The webcam works OK with the 1080p decision and 60fps however it’s most likely not the best choice to take an image with specifically with low gentle circumstances.
  • Battery life
    Relying on the show brightness and the functions getting used, the battery life will drain accordingly. Nonetheless, it’s evident that the battery life will not be one of many strengths of this laptop computer as it might final 4 to five hours till it must be charged once more. Alternatively, the battery may be simply changed at a really affordable worth.
  • Followers
    The pc may be loud at instances when the followers are working at full pace. It’s endorsed to at all times apply it to a flat floor to permit airflow.
  • Show
    Show high quality has modified round january 2022. The brightness and distinction in earlier shows might be a lot improved.
  • Display measurement
    The three:2 show ratio with 2,256 x 1,504 decision is okay however the measurement is just too small for my style, a 15” inch may be very a lot awaited.
  • Graphic card
    There isn’t any possibility to decide on a distinct graphic card. In case your necessities demand the usage of a extra superior graphic card for Deep Studying coaching or video rendering for instance, then an exterior graphic card could also be an possibility to beat this problem.


The Framework Laptop computer is a wonderful pc that brings efficiency, flexibility and loads of configuration choices to the end-user. It’s a nice working laptop computer that may accommodate the necessities from a daily workplace pc to a high-performance machine for software program builders. The shortcomings listed right here may be simply managed by utilizing an exterior monitor, headsets or webcam as many individuals do anyway. My most important, if not solely, function request is the supply of a 15” laptop computer. Lastly, I’m utilizing this pc since 6 months and I’m having fun with it very a lot, I extremely advocate it!