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Linux is allowed as an alternative to an Apple Mac running macOS. Historically this was only allowed for the engineering team, but anyone in GitLab can use Linux. Just bear in mind it is assumed you are capable of self-support when running Linux - there is a #linux channel in Slack where one can exchange tips and tricks, but it is not intended as an official helpdesk resource.

The following is a guide to go over the basics of what is recommended for installation to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

Basic Setup

Outside of the basics listed here for all laptop and desktop systems, there are a few additional steps required for Linux. Currently, the recommended laptop for Linux is Dell running Ubuntu, which is discussed in detail here. These instructions assume that setup, so for alternate choices in hardware or Linux distribution it is recommended you use this as a general guideline but adapt as needed.

Dell maintains its own Ubuntu distribution. While not needed to use Linux on Dell, it does seem to offer direct support for various chipsets and hardware components. This means that for a stock Ubuntu (or other distribution) install, generic choices are often made by the installer, and if you wish to take advantage of drivers that better support the hardware, you may have to install and configure drivers for certain components. The Dell Ubuntu distribution removes that burden.

To summarize our install process to meet GitLab standards, we will go the following steps (remember these steps were current as of December 2019):

Initial Installation

Alternate Installation

In some cases the "recovery" process when trying to encrypt the hard drive has failed for other team members, in other cases they decided they wanted to use a more recent version of the Ubuntu operating system than what the Dell Ubuntu version is. Either way, you can follow these steps. These steps assume you have the "Backup" USB drive created during the Initital Installation instructions.

You will need a copy of vanilla Ubuntu copied onto a UEFI bootable USB drive (labeled "Ubuntu", and this will be a fairly straight-forward Ubuntu install. The instructions assume Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, although you can do the same with a later version, including non-LTS versions.

General Applications

Dell and Nvidia

Some GitLab team members have experienced issues with the Nvidia drivers on Dell, including battery drain due to sleep issues when the laptop is closed, random lockups when waking the laptop up, and so on. If this happens, consider the following steps:

This has reported to work with latest versions of the Nvidia drivers (as of Dec 2019) so you can update the drivers.

Engineering/Coding Tools

Production Engineering