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Fri, 20 Aug 2004
Edd can blame Ted Tso
Edd Dumbill is on a mission to get people to use Linux and other free software on notebooks (apparently, he was unhappy about the number of Powerbooks at OSCON). When I started at OSAF, I was seriously in love with the IBM T40p series machines. But when I started Googling (google: thinkpad t40 linux), I found large number of pages that described building custom kernels and madwifi drivers and so on. When I got to Ted Tso's T40 page, I decided that I would pass on a Linux notebook for this round of machine.

Last week when I was at OSAF I saw Ducky's new T41. Her box is running Gentoo and the wireless card was working. However, power management (sleep/hibernate) was not. But the combination of the machine and Edd's post got me thinking about it again.

I like the Powerbook. The software is great, but the hardware is mediocre. I feel that the processor is underpowered, the screen resolution is less than I would like, and the battery life of 2:30 is poor compared to today's Centrino based notebooks.

Here's a list of things that would need to happen in order for me to look seriously at a Linux powered notebook:

  • Support for recent hardware (Pentium M + 802.11 a/b/g)
  • Good power management (fast hibernate and fast sleep/wakeup)
  • Something that works with iChat A/V: I love e-mail and IM/IRC as much as the next open source guy, but using the iSight really makes a difference
  • Something like SubEthaEdit: in combination with audio/video chat, this really makes it easy to debug problems live.
  • Something like Launchbar/Quicksilver: These launchers are just so good
  • A really good RSS reader
[00:06] | [computers/operating_systems/linux] | # | TB | F | G | 6 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
check out liferea.  there's even an old version in fink.
Posted by rayg at Fri Aug 20 03:07:41 2004

Allegedly the airo driver in kernel 2.6.8(.1) works now, but I haven't had a chance to try it on my T40 yet.  But yeah, I know the feeling -- for years, I've been right past the edge of where Linux "Just Works".  Other than the T40 nightmare, I got a NetVista and tried to install Debian on it.  Network card is an e1000, which is supported in kernel 2.4.20.  At the time, the official Debian netinst comes with... kernel 2.4.19.  Argh.

Yes, I know about
http://www.linuxmafia.com/faq/Debian/installers.html and one of the custom boot CDs worked fine on the NetVista.  That's not the point.  This has been happening for years.  New hardware, combined with my expectations of what a computer should be able to do (which now includes wireless and power management and so forth) conspire to make Linux a headache year after year.
Posted by Mark at Fri Aug 20 13:52:31 2004

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