Every now and then, someone comes in the DragonFly IRC channel and asks about hardware support and this includes questions about laptops support. I must say that during the past two years things have changed a lot, positively.

First and foremost, I shall warn you that if you expect the same hardware support for laptop that Linux offers, then you will be deceived. However, DragonFly is usable on a day-to-day basis considering your laptop is not too exotic and has an Intel GPU up to Haswell.

Since last summer, DragonFly is installed on my 2011 era Thinkpad T420 laptop with sandy bridge GPU and I use it almost daily. Before summer 2014, running DragonFly on it was a no go since the Intel video driver was simply not working and this was probably due to the fact that my laptop has a Nvidia graphics card as well with this infamous technology called “optimus”.

At the time of writing this post, the i915 drm stack on master is on par with Linux 3.12, thanks to the work done by François Tigeot. This means that Intel GPUs up to Haswell are supported and you can have a pretty decent video experience (watching videos, even on websites like YouTube, is not a problem anymore). And the stack is in the process of being on par with Linux 3.14 which means that Broadwell support is likely to be a feature of the next 4.2 release…

DragonFly lacks a few things for a very decent laptop experience, the main one being the lack of suspend / resume support but also the lack of proper touchpad support (I can’t get scrolling to work on mine).

Apart from these small quirks, I must say I enjoy using DragonFly on my laptop. John Marino is doing a great job with dports which means than over 22’000 binary packages are available and installable with pkg(8).