OpenBSD on TECLAST F7 Plus

I got myself a TECLAST F7 Plus laptop. It comes preinstalled with Windows 10 but I planned to use it as my daily driver. So I installed OpenBSD 6.8 on it.

The hardware

This is a thin 14 inch laptop that mostly looks like a MacBook Air. Specs goes like this:

  • Full HD IPS display (1920 x 1080px)
  • Intel Celeron N4100 CPU (4 cores @ 1.10GHz, Gemini Lake)
  • 8GB of soldered RAM (not expandable)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 600 video card
  • 256GB HS-SSD-E100N SSD (M.2 SATA)
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 card (no RJ45 port)
  • 2x USB 3 ports and a backlight US keyboard

OpenBSD -current installation notes

OpenBSD 6.8-current on Teclast F7 Plus

OpenBSD 6.8-current was installed using miniroot68.img toasted on a USB stick. I also plugged a USB TP-Link UE300 dongle on the other USB port to get preliminary network access.

Secure Boot is Disabled by default. This means OpenBSD will natively boot.

To enable proper Enhanced SpeedStep usage in OpenBSD, the OS Selection has to be set to Linux in the BIOS.
Hit the ESC key when the AMI logo appears on screen. The browse to BIOS / Chipset / South Bridge / OS Selection. And select Linux.

To use the boot device selection, hit the F7 key. Select the USB drive and hit ENTER.

I went for an FDE installation. Nothing special here. Follow the FAQ directions and you’re good to go. I used GPT configuration.

# fdisk -iy -g -b 960 sd0
(...)
Use (W)hole disk MBR, whole disk (G)PT or (E)dit? g

In the end of the installation process, halt the system, remove the USB stick and press a key to reboot.

Using 6.8 -stable, I hit the« entry point at 0x1001000 » bug. So I switched 6.8 -current ; which solves it.

Hardware support overview

Most of the hardware works but there are two main issues:

  • The touchpad doesn’t work.
  • Sleep & Suspend half work. The laptop never really suspends (keyboard and power light are still on) and never wakes up. I have to savagely power down the machine using the Power button.
Audio:            ok  Managed by sndioctl and mixerctl.
Battery status: ok Reported by apm.
Ethernet: n/a No ethernet port.
Keyboard: near Backlight kbd works with Fn+F5.
Backlight kbd unavailable in wsconsctl.
Volume keys work.
Screen backlight fails with Fn keys.
Screen backlight works with xbacklight.
Hibernation: no ZZZ starts but never achieved.
Laptop don’t wake up.
SSD: ok HD-SSD-E100N attaches to scsibus.
Suspend / Resume: no zzz starts but never achieved.
Laptop don’t resume.
Touchpad: no HTIX5288 not responding.
USB: yes Both USB3 ports work.
Video: yes Intel UHD 600 attaches to inteldrm(4).
Webcam: yes fswebcam(1) can get pictures from it.
Wireless: yes Intel AC 3165 attached to iwm(4).

An OpenBSD 6.8-current dmesg as of 20201212 is available here.

And what about Linux?

So far, Linux Mint 20 works pretty well. After a full day usage, the touchpad started working weirdly ; being very sensible to finger/hand proximity. Maybe there’s a « palm detection » thing to setup. Any way, a dmesg is available here.

Conclusion

The metallic case doesn’t get hot. CPU seem to operate about 40-50°C.

The screen does get light reflection but overall brightness makes it usable in an external environnement. It is the perfect size for. More confortable than 12-13 inch, not as big as 15 inch. Color rendering seem good to me.

The keyboard is quite wide and requires fingers stretching a bit ; more than with my X260, about the same as my MacBook Pro 15 inch. Keys are qui confortable but some are not well assembled ; leading to clicky noise when hitted.

Touchpad is large and confortable ; on OS that supports it… The clickable zones are noisy. I expect it to be quite annoying for people around you if you keep clicking. But multi-touch does work so it can operate in silence.

Sound is… well sound from internal cheap speakers. Voice is Ok. No real bass in music. You can listen to a short YouTube video but you probably will have to switch to real speakers for a long usage period.

All in all, that toy is not bad. You get what you can expect from a $200 piece of hardware. « Real users » will probably love it. But regarding OpenBSD support, I would rather spend $50-$100 more in a refurbished ThinkPad.

Author: Joel Carnat

@work Technical Architect and SysAdmin ; @home OpenBSD and FOSS, Karate, Kobudō, Jōdō, Bodyweight workout, Photography & Music

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