I don’t see other reports of Debian 12 on the 13th gen Intel FW13, so I’m sharing observations from my first two days of use, including a full workday.
- Easy install.
- Works fine.
- GNOME font scaling (not fractional display scaling) makes the FW13 display usable for me.
- Power consumption meets my expectations.
(I put all the links from this post here, and cited them with bracketed numbers in the text below, because Discourse has me on probation.)
“Why Debian?” you may ask! I appreciate Debian’s stability and community governance. Once it’s set up, the system just works. The people behind it aren’t foisting snaps on me , putting advertisements in the MotD , or trying to cripple downstream forks . Framework don’t officially support Debian, but Debian is (approximately) upstream of Ubuntu, so the official Ubuntu support benefits Debian users as well.
That said, using the stable release channel of Debian on current-generation hardware often requires extra setup work. With past new laptops (Thinkpad T450s and T480), I’ve needed to use backported kernels and various tweaks for the first 1-2 years (until the next stable version of Debian comes out). I’d expect the same journey with a current-gen Framework, but last month, Debian 12 (Bookworm) entered the “stable” channel with a recent 6.1 kernel, which is great timing.
I installed Debian from a USB flash drive (
debian-12.1.0-amd64-netinst.iso). The default graphical installer just booted and worked. Debian recently started including proprietary firmware blobs with the installer, which saves a few minutes of finding and loading them. In my 9 years using Debian, I’ve never had an easier time with the initial installation.
Nearly everything just works after installation. I tested (briefly but with success):
- Ports (only ordered USB-C and USB-A expansion cards)
- Keyboard (except brightness keys, see below)
- Built-in microphone
- Wired headphone jack (including in-line mic on wired earbuds)
- I hear a small ‘chirp’ through headphones when the audio chipset turns on (to play audio) and off (after several seconds of no audio playing). Not a big deal.
- Automatic display brightness
- External display (DisplayPort over USB-C cable)
Only the brightness adjustment keys needed further setup work. Right now, we get either automatic display brightness (using the ambient light sensor) or brightness keys (by blacklisting the ALS kernel module). I followed the Ubuntu instructions  to enable the keys.
I didn’t try the fingerprint reader, mostly because fingerprints provide relatively weak security, but also because there’s a known firmware issue .
At no point during installation was text too small to read. During boot, you see a few seconds of tiny text in the grub menu and console, but I can read it if I must. (There are documented fixes for this on the Debian wiki  but I didn’t bother to try them.)
Once you’re booted to GNOME, display scaling defaults to 200%, even on the login page. It’s very easy to read, but bigger than I want most of the time. So, I decreased display scaling to 100% and then adjusted font scaling in GNOME Tweaks.
|Font scaling factor||Equivalent PPI||Subjective eye strain|
|1.00||201||lots; readable but very small|
|1.25||161||some; still a bit small|
|1.37||147||a bit; can use for hours|
|1.50||134||none; very comfy for reading|
(Why 1.25 and 1.37? That’s when Firefox jumped to larger text on web pages.)
Above about 1.50, the layout of GNOME-native UIs starts to get a little weird. Spacing between elements is especially weird at 2.00. If you want to go that big, 200% display scaling (with 1.00 font scaling) may be better, because it preserves all the UI element proportions.
What about fractional display scaling? I tried it. It made my Firefox blurry and my Electron apps blurry. I could troubleshoot this one app at a time, but font scaling just worked better, so I switched back to it. Font scaling already looks tack-sharp in all the programs I’ve tried. Despite its name, it scales most UI elements (buttons and menus) in addition to fonts. If you aren’t a severe UI nitpicker, it’s a totally usable experience. (I further tweaked the zoom / text size in a few apps, but I do that even on a low-DPI display.)
These are a few quick data points. I didn’t take repeated measurements. I don’t claim that this is representative of the FW13 overall.
First thing after installing Debian, I let the system idle for a minute, and observed this on GNOME’s “Balanced” power profile (reported by
(Note that I don’t have any of the power-hungry expansion cards, just USB-C and USB-A inserted.)
For the rest of the power consumption testing, I applied
nvme.noacpi=1 from the Ubuntu setup guide  and rebooted.
Testing standby power drain overnight, I saw 4% drain in 7 hours 13 minutes. That’s about a week of standby on a full charge, by far the best I’ve had on a Linux laptop. (My Thinkpad gets only a few days).
I worked today like this:
- No video/voice calling.
- About two-thirds display brightness.
- Wired external keyboard and mouse connected for part of the time, but nothing else plugged into the laptop.
- Only USB-C and USB-A expansion cards.
In these conditions, I saw (each measured over a 2-hour period):
|GNOME power profile||Observed dattery drain||Projected runtime 100%-0%||Projected runtime 90%-10%|
|Balanced||15% per hour||6 hours 40 min||6 hours 0 min|
|Power Saver||13% per hour||7 hours 41 min||6 hours 55 min|
So, between 6 and 7 working hours if I’m gentle on the battery chemistry. I could squeeze more runtime by thrashing the battery (100% charge and deep discharge), keeping fewer apps open, working in a darker room, and so forth.
Is this good or bad? It feels good for a 61 watt-hour battery and a 16-core Intel CPU. I would get a USB-C power bank if I needed more endurance, but I generally don’t.
[ 1.227906] tpm tpm0: [Firmware Bug]: TPM interrupt not working, polling instead [ 9.312539] iwlwifi 0000:aa:00.0: firmware: failed to load iwl-debug-yoyo.bin (-2) [ 9.312564] firmware_class: See https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware for information about missing firmware
I haven’t troubleshooted these yet. Wi-Fi works fine (across 4 different networks so far).
This is about as smooth as it gets with Debian. I’m a happy camper! I’m resisting the urge to make this a hardware-focused review or a “Dear Nirav,” wish list. Overall, Framework are delivering on their ambitious mission. May they keep doing it for a long time.
- Ubuntu 22.04 on 13th Gen Manual Setup , which partially applies to Debian. I didn’t use all of this, but I did:
- Enable fractional scaling (then regretting and not using it)
- Disable ALS to enable brightness keys
nvme.noacpi=1for “the best suspend battery life”!
- Debian Wiki: Installing on FW13 12th Gen . I didn’t make any of these tweaks, but others may want to.
- Anarcat review of Debian 12 on 12th gen , a very in-depth review of the same distro on the previous-gen FW13. Anarcat uses i3 instead of GNOME.