System76 Gazelle Professional: Customer Service

When evaluating a laptop one always need to be concerned with the level and quality of customer service, but this is something of a foreign concept for many Linux users in the United States as most vendors offer no support for Ubuntu or any other distribution of Linux. With a main stream vendor most Linux users would have to reinstall Windows in order to troubleshoot suspected hardware issues and there would be no chance of troubleshooting a driver or software issue. In the case of System76, Ubuntu is what they support so there is no need to reinstall Windows to get help.

Many Linux users consider themselves very knowledgeable and able to handle problems on their own, but that process still takes time.

I got to experience, first hand, the excellent customer service and dedication of the System76 support team this past weekend. I started to experience boot time issues resulting (image below). Issues are always worrisome, but when you have them on a brand new computer it is even more emotional.

Unable to boot

This first screen made me think there were issues with the hard drive, but subsequent tests showed the drive to be healthy. Other screens were encountered and an occasional boot to low graphics mode as well. I was starting to dread the thought I had received faulty hardware. For me that was a very stressful thought. If I had purchased a Dell, Lenovo or HP I would have been on my own trying to determine if this was a hardware or software issue. That would have been time consuming as well as stressful. I would have lost precious time with my family and been distracted at work.

With System76 I was simply able to put in a support request via the web and got a quick response. When I asked a question during support hours the responses were an extremely quick five minutes. Other questions were answered quickly as well. Here are some of the responses I got from the System76 team.

We consider it our complete responsibility to ensure your machine operates correctly and as such we pay for shipping when a repair is necessary. I don’t think that’s the case here. I think we can get you fixed in a flash anyway…. just have to confirm a couple things.

Carl Richell

Shortly after this response from Carl I got the following update in my ticket:

I’m attaching a lightdm.conf that I’m going to want you to install on your system. To accomplish this, save the attached file to your home folder and then perform the following commands

sudo mv /etc/init/lightdm.conf /etc/lightdm.bak

sudo mv ~/lightdm.conf /etc/init/

Neither command is going to produce any output except for challenging you for your password as part of it being ran as sudo.

The first actually makes a backup of the file. The second actually moves the attached file you saved into your home folder into /etc/init

Once done you’ll want to reboot.


The instructions were clear and easy to follow and best of all they solved the issue. I have not had a problem booting since. While I still experienced a high level of stress it was quickly relieved by the competent support from the System76 team. Had this been any other vendor I would not have such a good experience.

This entry was posted in Linux, Ubuntu. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to System76 Gazelle Professional: Customer Service

  1. yugnip says:

    Wow, thanks for writing about your trouble. It’s helpful indeed to know System76 stands by their product fully. I especially appreciate the tone of the support responses – calm and knowledgable. Cheers.

  2. Peter says:

    You failed to mention what the cause of the issue was.

  3. Could you post the lightdm.conf that they sent you? I’m rather curious to know what went wrong here.

    • Charles Profitt says:

      # LightDM - light Display Manager
      # The display manager service manages the X servers running on the
      # system, providing login and auto-login services
      # based on gdm upstart script

      description "LightDM Display Manager"
      author "Robert Ancell "

      start on ((filesystem
      and runlevel [!06]
      and started dbus
      and (drm-device-added card0 PRIMARY_DEVICE_FOR_DISPLAY=1
      or stopped udev-fallback-graphics))
      or runlevel PREVLEVEL=S)

      stop on runlevel [016]

      emits login-session-start
      emits desktop-session-start
      emits desktop-shutdown

      if [ -n "$UPSTART_EVENTS" ]
      # Check kernel command-line for inhibitors, unless we are being called
      # manually
      for ARG in $(cat /proc/cmdline); do
      if [ "$ARG" = "text" ]; then
      plymouth quit || :
      exit 0

      [ ! -f /etc/X11/default-display-manager -o "$(cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager 2>/dev/null)" = "/usr/bin/lightdm" -o "$(cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager 2>/dev/null)" = "/usr/sbin/lightdm" ] || { stop; exit 0; }

      if [ "$RUNLEVEL" = S -o "$RUNLEVEL" = 1 ]
      # Single-user mode
      plymouth quit || :
      exit 0
      sleep 2
      exec lightdm
      end script

      post-stop script
      if [ "$UPSTART_STOP_EVENTS" = runlevel ]; then
      initctl emit desktop-shutdown
      end script

  4. Casey Keller (kellercw78) says:

    Your posts on the Gazelle have knocked out any doubt that System 76 and in particular this laptop as being my next big hardware purchase. Thank you.

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