Hmmm, perhaps this would make a good replacement laptop for my needs. The folks over at ArsTechnica.com fill us in on the just announced Eee laptops from Asus:
The Eee (rhymes with Wii) is an ultra-compact notebook with a 7-inch screen that weighs 2.03 pounds. It will be available in three different models, starting from $299 on up to $399, depending on storage capacity, memory, and presence of a built-in webcam. The low-end model, called “Surf,” has a 2GB Flash drive for storage and 256MB RAM. The high-end model, which is available now in Taiwan’s popular 3C computer stores, comes with a 8GB Flash drive and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. Both models feature a 900MHz Intel Celeron M processor.
While the initial models will ship with Xandros Linux preinstalled, Microsoft has been anxious to get on the Eee bandwagon. According to Davis Tsai, general manager of Microsoft Taiwan, Asus is planning to launch an Eee PC running Windows XP before the end of this year. Windows Vista is out of the question as it would require too much storage space (a vanilla install of Vista runs at around 14GB) and has higher RAM and CPU requirements than its predecessor. At least Microsoft will still be selling XP to OEMs, having extended XP’s cut-off date to June 2008.
It’s not like I’d need much in the way of a machine for what I want to do with it, which is mainly browsing the web and writing blog posts, so the limited storage capacity isn’t a huge issue for me. If it runs at a reasonable speed, and the use of Flash RAM should help keep it speedy, then it’d probably be perfect. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reviews it gets once it finally hits the streets. If nothing else I at least know the company that’s producing it well as I’ve built more than one PC that made use of an Asus motherboard in my time.
I’ve got an old Dell L400 laptop that’s really starting to show it’s age as of late so I’ve been thinking of trying to find a replacement, but even at the low prices laptops tend to have these days nothing was within my budget range. Then I saw an entry on Engdaget about an upcoming laptop called the Medison Celebrity that’ll go for the rather affordable price of $150.
Medison, a Swedish consulting company, has just unveiled its Medison Celebrity laptop, which sports standard hardware, a 14-inch WXGA screen, an optimized Fedora Linux install, and a downright criminal $150 pricetag. Sure, you’re not going to be launching Crysis on this thing anytime soon, with a 1.5GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM, and VIA PN800 integrated graphics, but the casual user should find plenty to keep them occupied, and there’s room for Windows XP if you want to pony up for a license—which at retail costs more than the laptop itself. There’s 40GB of storage, a CD / DVD combo drive, 802.11g WiFi, and even what looks to be a built-in webcam in the pictures.
That’s not too shabby a setup for $150. They plan on introducing additional models in the months to come and the current one comes with a one year warranty. I don’t know much about Medison so I have no idea what the failure rate for these laptops might be nor do I know if you have to send your machine back to Sweden for any warranty work that it might need, but that price is very tempting. If the machines end up being halfway decent and the support isn’t too much of a pain in the ass then this could be an excellent deal. I’ll have to dig around some more to see if I can find out if anyone has one already and is happy with it.
Based on customer feedback Dell began soliciting last month, Dell said that top of mind among customers was that the company should begin offering Linux as an alternative to Windows on its personal computers, according to a posting on a company blog. Dell said it “has heard” what customers said and will act accordingly.
“We will expand our Linux support beyond our existing servers and Precision workstation line,” the company said on its IdeaStorm blog. “Our first step in this effort is offering Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems.”
It’ll be awhile before they’re available as Dell is going to have a lot of work to do to get themselves ready to support Linux based machines. From drivers to training their support staff it’s no small undertaking. It’ll be interesting to see how well this works out for them.
In a move that can only help to improve the Linux experience, provided enough hardware vendors take them up on the offer, the folks who develop the Linux kernel are offering to develop hardware drivers free of charge:
Drivers created by the kernel developers at the request of hardware vendors will be included in the Linux kernel source tree so that they are included in mainstream Linux distributions and made available to end users. According to Kroah-Hartman, the offer is available for all sorts of hardware ranging “from USB toys to PCI video devices to high-speed networking cards.”
In order to take advantage of this service, developers need only send specifications to the kernel development community and provide contact information for an engineer. The kernel developers are even willing to develop drivers without direct access to the hardware. Kroah-Hartman also states that the newly-formed Linux Foundation (previously Open Source Development Labs) will provide a legal framework for companies that require kernel developers to sign NDAs.
Here’s hoping the hardware makers out there take them up on this offer.