Debian based Linux on the Framework Laptop

Anyone test out a Debian based Linux distribution on the laptop yet? I wanted to get one for Kali but I’m not seeing a lot of information on things like getting the finger print sensor working. Any tips and advice before buying one of these helps!


@SinistralFern23 did you see the following thread about fingerprint?

I think a possible way to make the fingerprint work on Debian based OS is to upgrade the libfprint deb package from current v1.90.7 to v1.92.0 or newer on the development branches (experimental, unstable, testing branches), and/or apply a patch to support goodix on the current stable branches like Fedora 34 did.

Maybe you can contact and ask the Debian libfprint maintainers from the tracking package.

To check if a patch to support goodix is applied to the stable branches or not by yourself, you can check the debian/patches directory used in the libfprint deb package.


I did see that thread but it seemed to only apply to Fedora. Where would you even find the libfprint manager for Kali (or whatever Debian based OS you use)?

I did see that thread but it seemed to only apply to Fedora. Where would you even find the libfprint manager for Kali (or whatever Debian based OS you use)?

@SinistralFern23 For Kali, though I didn’t know the page until now, I just searched. - DEVELOPERS - PACKAGES - Search by libfprint - libfprint - Kali Linux Package Tracker

Note a Debian based Linux OS (downstream distro) basically just synchronizes Debian (upstream distro)'s packages. That means Debian’s development branch’s package version is always newer than a Debian based Linux’s package. That’s why I said that we have to ask Debian’s libfprint maintainers first, even when you want to use a Debian based Linux.

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I tried Linux Mint 20.2 today and it didn’t have what I needed for graphics. I’m installing Ubuntu 21.04 and the graphics look great. I like Mint, but will need to wait for version 21 which will be based on a later Ubuntu than it is currently. Maybe I can get cinnamon to work on Ubuntu. Anyway, don’t bother trying Mint at this time.

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What are incompatible with Mint and the laptop???

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It appears if you have libfprintf 1.92.0+ the fingerprint reader should work. This is not currently in debian - you should be able to install a specific version of libfprintf from source using a procedure similar to this one: I’ll definitely make a guide once I get my laptop :smiley:

Just make sure you use kernel 5.10 or 5.12+ for the ax210 wireless card, and you should be good to go. So that means debian buster with backports kernel OR debian bullseye (which releases on 8/14).

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Graphics don’t work well. The driver is not included. Mint uses Ubuntu as a base and is a little behind the current Ubuntu. When Mint 21 comes out, it should work. I am missing some things I love in Mint (tiling is built in, for one thing.) @Paulie420 I posted more about this below. I resolved it by finding a 5.11.0 kernel in the repository. I did not know there was one that new.

@Anita_Lewis what kernel version are you running? The framework laptop uses intel xe graphics which is built into the kernel. I’d use 5.12+

Linux Mint has currently 5.4, but I found that 5.11.0-25 is available and should work. I just installed it via package manager on my main machine and got the extra modules with it and it runs so far. Today I’ll install Mint on a separate partition on Framework and get that kernel installed to see how it goes. Thanks for the question which made me think this might work. I didn’t realize they offered more kernels thinking the latest would be the one installed.
@g0tmk Install went great. I posted separately on it.

Linux Mint 20 works, but needs kernel 5.11.0-25 for some drivers. Here is what worked for me:
Install Mint 20.1 (because that is what I had on a usb stick)
In Synaptic search for linux-image (5.11.0-25 was the most recent) and select to install. I used the generic.
Then search on the number (5.11.0-25 in this case) and select corresponding headers, and modules, including modules-extra(which I found out have the necessary drivers) for installation. Install these kernel parts and reboot.
You will notice a much nicer display - big enough to read. And I also heard sound for the first time.

After this I upgraded to 20.2. You could start with that version, of course.


@Anita_Lewis Thank you for the instructions! I just followed them from a Mint Xfce 20.2 stick directly and can confirm functional Wifi (the kernel upgrade did have to be done with a USB-ethernet dongle in my hands), trackpad (had to toggle a setting in “Mouse and Trackpad” for tap-to-click but otherwise A-OK), display, and sound. I have not yet tried anything fancy with the libfprint package for the fingerprint sensor, but so far at least the power button has not become a mini-furnace and I’m not particularly set on having fingerprint login anyway.

Figuring Mint is a decently popular distribution, perhaps a stickied howto/experiences thread/wiki would be helpful for discoverability in the future?

Will add one quality-of-life improvement if anybody else is using xfce: there is a “Brightness step count” accessible from the taskbar battery icon → left click → settings that you can increase to make the keyboard brightness adjustment more fine-grained. The screen is so bright that having the extra resolution at the low end is quite convenient

Anyone with any luck on Debian based so far?

Interesting. I installed Debian 10 on my Framework laptop last week. I’d tried to install KDE but it wasn’t working. Apparently the kernel installed didn’t have the graphics driver built in. It also didn’t have the Wifi driver built in. I’d been trying to figure out how to build a custom kernel to get those driver this weekend.

Then I saw that Debian 11 had just been release on Friday. So I upgraded to that version and voila, KDE started working. I’ll have to figure out now if Wifi is working…

@Moronpalindromenorom - Debian 11 comes with many package upgrades that should fill some of the gaps from a hardware perspective.
I do suspect, however, that the wireless failure is due to installing the standard Debian packages. I’d wager that the firmware for the wireless card requires firmware that is not ‘open’.
This installer is what I typically use in cases like this:
use the ’ firmware-11.0.0-amd64-netinst.iso’ link to download the netinstaller (small download, selected packages are downloaded during the installation process). This will ensure that Debian has a chance to detect any hardware that requries non-free firmware and will install it for you.

I just used this to install Debian 11 on a MacBook Pro 15", and reinstall on my X1 - worked a treat and I didn’t have to fiddle with anything to get them working (except install TPM for power management).

This post scares me a bit - I am a full Linux user… I mainly use Ubuntu, and my preference is KDE - Kubuntu.

Does anyone know what distro(s) will fully work with the Ubuntu? Kubuntu? With fingerprint - and EVERYTHING?


@Paulie420 - Debian is a special breed because, unlike Ubuntu (which is a commercial product) and Arch (which is a rolling release), It has a strict validation and becomes stabilized at release.
Debian 11 JUST came out of its ‘Testing’ phase and is now ‘stable’. That means that included packages will get maintenance updates but not necessarily major feature updates.
This means that it takes a bit more work to get this distro on bleeding-edge hardware (which, arguably, the Framework is).
Ubuntu is in a similar boat, but the upcoming release, 21.10 in October, should ease the remaining issues.

Have a look at this post for information on the current (non-LTS) version: Ubuntu 21.04 on the Framework Laptop

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@Paulie420 I’m not speaking from personal experience (I’m in Batch 2 so my machine hasn’t shipped yet), but my understanding is that as long as you install Fedora from the Respin disk images, everything just works, including the stuff other users / distros have issues with (fingerprint reader, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc). If you’re used to Kubuntu, Fedora has a Respin that uses KDE.

Mirroring what has been said before re: Debian - the ‘stable’ version (currently Debian 11) lags behind other distributions that update more frequently (such as Ubuntu and derivatives, or rolling release distros like Arch or Fedora. That said, the current kernel for Debian 11 is 5.10.0-8, and libfprint (included in the biometric-driver-community-multidevice metapackage) is 1.90.7-2. I set up my Framework for my partner to use so I can’t verify Debian 11 works out of the box with the network card but 5.10 has support for ax210 so it should.
@Paulie420 If you are a KDE user and you want to stick w/ Kubuntu, all you really need is linux kernel 5.10 to support the WiFi card, and libfprint 1.92.0 or newer for the fingerprint reader. If whatever release you’re using has both of those, you’re all set. If not, you’ll need to install a 5.10 kernel, and build libfprint 1.92 from source.

If you don’t want to build the current version of libfprint from source and/or don’t want to install a custom kernel, you’ll probably have to wait for 21.09 if you’re not using LTS. 21.04 has 5.10 so it should support the WiFi straight away. If you want to use an older Kubuntu version (20.04, for example) a compatible kernel should be available in the backports repository. You’ll still have to build the fingerprint software, as I think all of the Ubuntu distributions are running libfprint 1.90.7-2.

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Thanks a lot, Gary S… as much as I think I know about Linux, I’m still a new sysOp. :stuck_out_tongue: RIGHT NOW, I’m on 5.11.0-25-generic, so I guess I don’t have a ton to worry about… I don’t mind building [any] software from source, but it sounds like I might not even have to. I’m using Kubuntu 21.04.

Thanks for your reply.


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