Ubuntu on the Samsung Series 7

My Late 2008 MacBook was getting a little slow, so I went laptop shopping. I ended up with the Samsung Chronos 7 (NP700Z5CH). Under my budget, but met my spec in every way.

Installing Ubuntu was a minor trial, but it works, and has preserved the Win 8 (blecch!) dual-boot. If it helps anyone, the procedure I followed was:

  • Updated the BIOS, made a recovery DVD and shrank the Windows partition using the DISKPART app (which reminds me so much of the old VMS admin tools).
  • Broadly following the UEFI instructions, I got the 64-bit Linux-Secure-Remix ISO and wrote it to a USB stick with UNetbootin.
  • In the BIOS (F2 when the Samsung logo shows), I disabled Secure Boot and Fast Boot, but kept EFI on, as Win8 won’t work without it. I also disabled (temporarily, with Shift+1) the HD and Windows Boot Manager from the boot sequence, moving USB boot up to first place.
  • After trying Ubuntu from the LiveUSB, I installed it. Once it had finished and rebooted, I re-enabled HD and Windows Boot Manager in the BIOS.
  • Ubuntu would work fine from here, but to restore Win8 to a usable (?) state, I had to reboot with the LiveUSB image and run Boot-Repair as suggested in the UEFI documentation.

The fan maybe runs a little more than it should, but everything I’ve tried works. There’s clearly been a lot of work done on Samsung/UEFI support recently, as any of the web tutorials I found from even 8 months ago recommended really arcane stuff I didn’t actually need.

(abstracted from my Reddit query: Linux-friendly future-proof MacBook replacement [13-15″, CA, $1600] : SuggestALaptop)


  1. I stumbled across this while looking for a good 17-inch that works with Linux.

    Could you elaborate on its compatibility? Do things like screen brightness keys and keyboard backlight keys work? Can the trackpad be set to side-scrolling instead of two-finger? Any other thoughts on how this thing handles Linux?

  2. I’m very happy with it compatibility, though it’s not perfect:

    • fan control and all the good stuff really only comes with the samsung-tools from voria.
    • screen brightness is properly controllable, but only with voria.
    • don’t install the binary display drivers; the nouveau ones are fine.
    • mine doesn’t sleep as well as it should.
    • you might be able to customize the trackpad; I’m fine with the way it is.
    • one of the Samsung modules can — apparently — brick the hardware through a UEFI problem.

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