Razer doesn’t care about Linux

tl;dr: Don’t buy hardware from Razer and expect firmware updates to fix security problems on Linux.

Razer is a vendor that makes high-end gaming hardware, including laptops, keyboards and mice. I opened a ticket with Razor a few days ago asking them if they wanted to support the LVFS project by uploading firmware and sharing the firmware update protocol used. I offered to upstream any example code they could share under a free license, or to write the code from scratch given enough specifications to do so. This is something I’ve done for other vendors, and doesn’t take long as most vendor firmware updaters all do the same kind of thing; there are only so many ways to send a few kb of data to USB devices. The fwupd project provides high-level code for accessing USB devices, so yet-another-update-protocol is no big deal. I explained all about the LVFS, and the benefits it provided to a userbase that is normally happy to vote using their wallet to get hardware that’s supported on the OS of their choice.

I just received this note on the ticket, which was escalated appropriately:

I have discussed your offer with the dedicated team and we are thankful for your enthusiasm and for your good idea.
I am afraid I have also to let you know that at this moment in time our support for software is only focused on Windows and Mac.

The CEO of Razer Min-Liang Tan said recently “We’re inviting all Linux enthusiasts to weigh in at the new Linux Corner on Insider to post feedback, suggestions and ideas on how we can make it the best notebook in the world that supports Linux.” If this is true, and more than just a sound-bite, supporting the LVFS for firmware updates on the Razer Blade to solve security problems like Meltdown and Spectre ought to be a priority?

Certainly if peripheral updates or system firmware UpdateCapsule are not supportable on Linux, it would be good to correct well read articles as those makes it sound like Razor is interested in Linux users, of which the reality seems somewhat less optimistic. I’ve updated the vendor list with this information to avoid other people asking or filing tickets. Disappointing, but I’ll hopefully have some happier news soon about a different vendor.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

14 thoughts on “Razer doesn’t care about Linux”

  1. Quote from the vendor list page

    ”Updating software is only supported on Linux and Mac”

    I assume you made a rather embarrassing typo :)

  2. Yeah, I’ve had issues with them as well… I picked up a stealth and there were several hardware glitches at the start… fans not spinning up, it would crash almost nightly, and closing the lid would flip the lidclose switch , but opening never set it back! this meant that I would have to close the lid twice to get it to suspend every time. Called them for support, don’t support linux. fought with it myself for the longest time, making small wins here and there… got fed up, bought a new laptop, which works perfectly, decided to reinstall windows and sell… and it was all the same problems, including the nightly crashing bit. it’s past rma now, but it’s a nice paperweight… can’t morally sell it to anyone!

  3. The vendor list comment says “only supported on Linux and Mac”, i guess you mean “windows and mac”?

  4. I think Razer turned down another Linux developer in the past that was doing their work, but how can they say no to such offers? The gain seems to be a lot greater then the risk.
    Thanks a lot for all the effort you put into this, you are really making Linux a lot better place for us all! The more greens, the easier it will be for *everyone* to navigate in this jungle of vendors. Razer is missing out, and hopefully they will one day realize this themselves.

  5. Razer has always been garbage. “high end gaming products” really means “expensive garbage” mostly, anyway.

  6. I bought a Razer Blade laptop and its keyboard would miss keystrokes in Linux. It would also miss them in the BIOS configuration menu (although less frequently)

    Hacking the kernel to change the USB poling rate for keyboards to 1ms (which is the rate Windows uses) made the problem go away.

    So their myopic focus on Windows and Mac actually leads them to make inferior hardware. Even if you don’t care at all about Linux, you should recognize this fact about Razer. They just don’t care as much about their hardware working properly.

    Their recent abandonment of backward compatibility with Razer Synapse serves to underscore it further. The aforementioned laptop’s special keyboard features don’t even work properly under Windows now.

    They have a complete disregard for the fundamental design of their hardware. They want to get it working and get it to market and don’t demonstrate any consideration for quality beyond superficial surface features and marketing flash and it always ends up biting its customers in the end.

  7. I hope people NEVER buy their products. With responses like that they don’t ever deserve our money, now or in the future, especially if they want to change their minds and try profit off the linux community.

  8. As a long time Razer customer ( dating back to their first ball mice ) this is just like a knife to the heart as a Linux user :(


  9. I recently purchased a Razer blade because of its Linux compatibility and I’m very happy with it. I would suggest to folks who would like Razer to support Linux officially to just reach out to the company and let them know that it’s important to you as a customer. I just spoke with them and let them know that if they don’t change their standpoint on supporting the Linux firmware project that I wont be a customer of theirs in the future. They were surprisingly receptive. Remember they’re a company and they want to make money. They’re not going to spend time and capital to support another OS unless they believe that they can make money at it. Show them that there is a market and they’ll do it. If they don’t, well go get an XPS or System76. =)
    http://support.razerzone.com/contact-us/ <– Tell Them!

  10. Well, I was thinking about buying Blackwidow keyboard – so I will not. There other alternatives.

    Razor, you have really bad marketing, let’s share link to this blog post where we can.

  11. To be honest, to all these people complaining about Razer and them not willing to help, I wouldn’t help either if a self-called “fan” can’t even write the name of my company right.

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