Linux Mint 20 on the Lenovo 14W

Linux Mint 20 on the Lenovo 14 W

Linux Mint recently released Linux Mint 20. I was eager to try the Cinnamon version of LM20 because I read that it came with fractional scaling built-in. You can catch up on why fractional scaling is so important to the Lenovo 14W here.

Last weekend, I installed the beta version of LM20 on the under[powered laptop. Fractional scaling was limited as the only options for the 14w were either 125% or 75%. 125% worked fine. I probably would have kept the LM20 beta on the 14W if it wasn’t for two other issues. The first issue was that for some reason there were two cursors on the screen at all times. One moved while the other just sat there in the middle of the screen. The other issue was performance. No matter what browser I used, I couldn’t run a YouTube video smoothly without dropping the resolution to below 480p.

This past week, Linux Mint released the final version of LM20 so I thought I’d give it another try. This time I didn’t have the cursor issue, however, fractional scaling was strangely not available.  The option was there but the button to enable it was greyed out. How is it I could enable fractional scaling on the beta but not the final version?

Anyway, this is not a criticism about Linux Mint. The Lenovo 14W is so underpowered and graphically limited I’m sure that LM20 works fine on normal computers.

That’s not to say there isn’t a Linux distro that works fine on the 14W. I was using KDE Neon since the KDE desktop does fractional scaling well. More recently I’ve been using Kubuntu 20.04. The main difference is that I couldn’t find a way on KDE Neon to play music files on the SD Card in the Clementine music player. Depending on your use case, either KDE-based distro should work fine. Just don’t expect to be streaming any video in 4K60.

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