[oclug] Purchasing a Linux Laptop/Notebook
dgerow at afflictions.org
Thu Nov 20 13:50:08 EST 2008
Disclaimer: I'm a long-time Thinkpad fan.
The Linux Doctor wrote:
: I'm in the market for a Linux Laptop/Notebook computer and I'd like
: some feedback from the group. What's out there that you've used?
: What's good and what's bad?
I just purchased an X200. Here's why I got it:
1) It's small enough that it's not a pain to lug around, fits comfortably in
my lap, on a table in the train, on a table in the plane, in a coffee shop,
etc. But it's not so small that the keyboard is hard to type on, and the
fonts are tiny (EeePC, I'm looking at you).
2) It's fast. I opted for the upgrade, to a 2.4GHz chip. Dual-core, 4GB
RAM, espresso maker, dish washer, foot massager, etc.
3) It was cheap (for a Thinkpad). After taxes and shipping, total cost came
out to just under $1500. Lenovo's had some great deals on lately; it's
worth keeping an eye on their site.
4) Battery life.
5) Battery life.
6) Seriously, battery life. With a 9-cell battery, and full ACPI support,
I'll get at least 7 hours with a WiFi connection going. If I dim the screen
and turn off WiFi, I'm looking at up to about 11 hours.
I looked seriously at the X300, but it was more expensive and less powerful,
so I opted for the X200.
: I would prefer to get Linux installed, of course, but failing that I'd
: prefer to get one without any OS at all. I most certainly do not want
: to have Windoze pre-installed thus paying the M$ graft. At the same
: time, I don't want a machine that has been specifically tailored to a
: particular distribution either or with proprietary (source not
: included) drivers that will only work with one distro or kernel version.
I don't know of many companies that allow non-Windows sales. The few that
I've found (and Lenovo was one of them) are restricted to certain models, and
only in certain countries. I think Dell may be the only real option here,
but I'm not sure -- I just go for the refund, or hold on to the license
(it's handy to have sometimes).
Back to the X200...
I'm actually running BSD. Everything in the laptop is supported by one of
the BSDs, but no one BSD supports all the features. The only two real possible
unsupported bits are the fingerprint scanner and the Bluetooth. Oh, and the
TPM, but I'm not too worried about that.
The Intel WiFi 5300 is supported, the on-board Ethernet is the standard
Intel chip, the ACPI is a bit rough around the edges but works (and
apparently is better supported in Linux), and the video is the standard
Intel video. There's a few bugs with the current Xorg driver, but they've
been fixed in CVS.
In short: I'm loving the X200. Not everything works exactly as it is right
now, but my OS of choice is in a feature freeze, and as all the
documentation (and source, in some cases) is out there, it's only a matter
of time before all features are functional.
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