I tried to post this under a new topic, "Not-so-Retro Fun" but was blocked (cloudflare id 54959fcffc286e06). Something about the post triggered a security countermeasure. Hopefully posting it here works.
Slackware Linux has been my go-to operating system since 1996. I've valued its stability and consistency, even if its packages are a little older than those of some other distributions (indeed, its reliability is in no small part due to its conservative package methodology).
Staying a generation or two behind the latest+greatest hardware has been a small price to pay for everything JFW'ing.
All of that changed when my father gifted me with this Lenovo P73. It is totally cutting-edge hardware, and I am grateful for the gift, but it took months for it to replace my old T530 because Slackware simply wouldn't work on it.
The crux of the matter was the discrete graphics, an NVidia Quaddro P620. The darned thing kept doing horrible things when I tried to start X11 -- the kernel would panic, or the system would reboot, or Xorg would crash.
I had to wait for the in-kernel NVidia support (via the nouveau device driver) to support the GPU, and that meant using "Slackware-Current" -- the Slackware branch normally used only for testing software which would eventually find its way into a stable Slackware release.
So I installed -current, and every time a new kernel came out, I updated, and hoped it would work. At one point I opened up the case to see if I could physically remove the P620, but it was soldered onto the motherboard. I had to wait for the right kernel.
Linux-5.4.2 was (finally!) that kernel. Xorg came up and stayed up, and I have been using it as my every-day driver for nine days now. All seems well.
It's quite large for a laptop (17" display) and bulky and heavy and gets noticeably warm, so I named it "kirov", after the class of nuclear-powered battlecruisers. It seems appropriate.
Now that it's working, I'm loathe to update it again, which poses a slight problem. The -current branch changes frequently so the Slackware community can test prospective packages. Eventually the -current branch will become the Slackware 15.0 release and the churn will stop, receiving only security patches and bugfixes for the life of the release.
I will want those bugfixes and security patches! But if I don't update, there will be a significant difference between kirov's OS and 15.0, and I won't be able to simply apply subsequent updates as-is. I'm going to have the bite the bullet and update to 15.0 when it comes out.
Maybe that will go smoothly, maybe not. We will see. In the meantime I'm enjoying the new laptop.
[email protected]:/home/ttk$ uname -a
Linux kirov.ciar.org 5.4.2 #1 SMP Wed Dec 4 18:12:20 CST 2019 x86_64 Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9750H CPU @ 2.60GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux
The long-term plan is still to build my own laptop and migrate away from Lenovo, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth :-)