Nerd 16 Linux & VM Setup

My likely excessive wicked 16 ships Q2 sans OS and the anticipation is killing me. I spent years as a windows/linux dev and admin, switched careers, and now enjoy nerding out when I feel like it no pressure.

My brain is unix but my primary OS was always windows only because so much windows work fell in my lap, clients were windows slaves, etc. Just made everything easier.

Since that’s over with I’m excited to start fresh when my dream box arrives. I need to sort out which linux distro is best for me.

Windows will finally be relegated to second-class status in VM prison, available strictly (and inevitably) as necessary, but now barred from torturing me on the daily. Hallelujah, praise up.

This community being a nerd haven, and since I haven’t been keeping up on this stuff, kindly drop some wisdom based on what I shared.

. Recommended distro(s)

. VMs. Besides VMware of course with all its current drama.

. My Win 10 is OEM, so it’s not transferable. Cheapest ways to stick a 10 or 11 in the VM? Feel free to also sternly warn me about not-so-legit ways I should DEFINITELY not pursue. Nope.

Edit: Primary uses will be audio/video/image editing & rendering, heavy web browsing, and video/audio streaming.


Framework is officially supported on Fedora/Ubuntu. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more geeky, I would recommend Gentoo. Additionally, I always use command-line initiated QEMU for virtualization purposes.

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Definitely do not check out a website called

I personally would setup a VM with qemu and KVM as the hypervisor. It offers near native performance and doesn’t rely on proprietary software.
The arch wiki has a lot of information on it, though it’s a bit complicated to understand.

QEMU doesn’t come with a graphical frontend by default, libvirt allows managing QEMU virtual machines and there are a couple of frontends for it.

I personally use NixOS as I love having a fully declarative system that is reproducible and easy to sync states across two systems.
It has a very steep learning curve and takes some getting used to, but once you learn it, it’s fully worth it.


Most excellent. And adding that site to my blocklist immediately.

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What do you inevitably need Windows for? Gaming isn’t nearly the issue it used to be, and if you use Steam that has a native Linux client now.

I run Windows in a VMware workstation VM “just in case”, but nearly the only time I boot into it is to keep it updated lol. I do some consulting work and I use Microsoft Office for clients because, yeah, that’s still a defacto standard in business. The reason for VMware and not libvirt and KVM has to do with missing opengl3 in SPICE video drivers, which once-upon-a-time I needed, but not any more and now I still use because I have it.

For you starting out, and since you seem Linux inclined, go with libvirt, qemu, and kvm as others recommended for the hypervisor since those are Linux native, FOSS, and performance is excellent.

BUT… You really might not need Windows as much as you anticipate. :slight_smile:

For distro recommendations, I use Fedora KDE. I’ve used Manjaro KDE for years as well. Since Fedora is officially supported on Frameowrk, I’d start there. Go with KDE spin though, the upcoming KDE Plasma 6 is looking pretty fantastic. And for those that say KDE looks like Windows, that’s backwards. Windows stole KDE’s look and feel, not the other way around lol.

You’ll be fine with just about any distro though. The big ones like Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, etc are likely to have more documentation and packages than most smaller distros, but ultimately they’re all still Linux and will run the same software. Most differences are just in how packages are managed.


From experience, using KDE Neon as primary OS. Always the latest KDE Plasma stuff + stable underlying system using the latest Ubuntu LTS release.
Since I do everything I can using docker/kubernetes (k3s) locally, I tend to not use VMWare anymore. But - the time I still used it, I used Virtualbox. While the entire OS got sluggish when running the 3rd VM, under Virtualbox I could run 6 VM’s and then only it started to become sluggish.

You’re call… Oh, and BTW - Virtualbox is available for free for private use.

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Getting back lots of great responses, love it. Things are coming into focus.

And yeah I’m hoping the Windows instance will be a mere just-in-case thing, we’ll see.


Thought that too. I think the last time I started my Windows in Virtualbox was June 30 2020… That’s how important it was. And I do remember that I tend to start it from time to time to update the OS inside only … arf :smiley:

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I personally love arch, there’s a package for everything. Especially with pacman -F it’s extremely easy to find packages that contain the binary you’re looking for.

Also, is it possible to have a second drive with windows on there that you can run both bare metal and in a VM from Linux? Some software rarely makes me switch to windows, for example if I want to do timeline debugging of a .NET application. Would be awesome to be able to boot the same install both virtually and bare metal.

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On my desktop I’m rocking an openSUSE Tumbleweed with QEMU/KVM Windows VM with everything possible via pass-through (including the videocard, yes - I have two in that machine). Due to that, the performance of the VM is near native - I’m using it for Lightroom/Photoshop. I guess that will be possible in the FW 16 with the internal and external video cards, of course if the expansion bay allows it (I have yet to see a confirmation on this).


NixOS … steep learning curve … fully worth it

Interest piqued. That approach has me written all over it. A familiar path that’s always paid off.

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I feel you. I’ll be joining you :smiley:

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> arf



What drama? And obviously QEMU. There are front ends like virt-manager for both Debian/Ubuntu/Arch.

NixOS is definitely good if you deal with computing. Otherwise you have your standard distros.

Buy a key online for a dollar or two. It will be far less of a headache.


Honestly, not really. With tools that are currently available, activating Windows takes less than 10 seconds and it’s permanent.


Void Linux! It’s a desktop-oriented, independent, rolling release distribution with a really fast package manager and very little “magic”. Feels a bit like old-school Arch, except with less breakage. Went to it from Gentoo after I finally had enough of compiling things.

It also doesn’t have systemd, if you care about that, but you can still use docker, podman, flatpak… if you want.

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In the LTT review they talk specifically about the GPU direct output that is on the back of it. This probably means that VM GPU passthrough IS possible.


What annoys me is I don’t think they tested it…So far, all the video reviews on the 16 I have seen are pretty anemic.

First FW 13 reviews weren’t too stellar too. Still turned out a great laptop - especially for Linux.


One of the Arch-based might be calling my name. Intrigued by what many said here and have been hearing elsewhere. One of those “help me choose a distro” questionnaire thingies recommended a flavor to me too, forgot which… maybe EndeavorOS.

Anyway plenty of time till Q2 to USB test drive random distros on my weakling little Flex 14.

It’ll all be over soon Flexy don’t worry. No one to harangue you demanding things you can’t deliver, just eternal rest in laptop heaven (the closet) :pray::sparkles: