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Linux Business Portables Hardware

Dell's Subnotebook To Ship With Ubuntu 251

k33l0r writes "Dell's entry into the sub-notebook market, the Inspiron 910, will ship with Ubuntu preinstalled. This was confirmed this morning when Gizmodo published (leaked) specifications for the Inspiron 910." I hope that's not the final form of the keyboard, though -- lots of wasted space on each side.
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Dell's Subnotebook To Ship With Ubuntu

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  • Some specs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dougmeister ( 829273 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @08:59AM (#24657227) Journal
    Items of interest (to me at least): 8.9" WSVGA TL 1024x600 (WLED) screen 2.20 lbs w/ 4-cell battery Bluetooth via mini-card (apparently not included) CPU 1.6 GHz, 533 MHz, 512K single core Intel Atom N270 Diamondville Thanks. Hope it does come in at the $299 price...
  • Keyboard (Score:2, Informative)

    by elguillelmo ( 1242866 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:03AM (#24657261)

    I hope that's not the final form of the keyboard, though -- lots of wasted space on each side

    I reckon it IS the final look, given it's true what the source cited in the article says, and the thing is shipping next Friday.
    Anyway, you can use that space for a couple stickers...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:06AM (#24657291)

    The wasted space isn't the only problem. What's worse (and far, far worse IMHO) is the way the keyboard is laid out. The 3rd row down is placed too far to the left - the A and Q almost line up. Caps-Lock is WAY too short, and enter is too wide. Bit of the inverse of the crap Apple [stack.nl] once pulled off. To add insult to injury, the >, <, ? and " keys have a different size.

    Really, I'd run away from that keyboard FAST.

  • by xzvf ( 924443 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:13AM (#24657365)
    Might be obvious, but a little googling is all it takes to put Ubuntu on an EEE. Edubuntu 7.10 installed on mine with no real problems. But for normal people, yes it would be nice if it came preinstalled. The Intel Classmate comes with a version of Edubuntu 8.04 from Go2PC that is getting more stable every day. This may be Ubuntu's market if they can sign up more OEM's.
  • Re:That's good news (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:25AM (#24657489)

    There's nothing wrong with Ubuntu.

    What I don't want is a hacked together, unsupported one-man project on what seems to be fairly generic hardware. "Ubuntu eee" is such a thing, at present, and not the official distro.

  • by questro ( 802656 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:32AM (#24657555)
    Look a bit closer at the picture, the right shift key is on the right side of the "up" cursor key.
  • by lazy-ninja ( 1061312 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:41AM (#24657633)
    You may (probably will) need to plug it in to a hard wired eithernet connection once to download/install the wireless card drivers. Besides that? shouldnt have any problems.
  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:48AM (#24657713)
    Mandriva supports the Eee PC directly. Just get the latest version and install it. No big deal.
  • by badpazzword ( 991691 ) <badpazzword&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:49AM (#24657737)

    Experienced users are indeed more likely to prefer the Windows option -- as long as they are experienced as in they have Windows experience.

    And Windows users who try to use their existing skills and habits generally also find themselves having many issues. In fact, Windows "Power Users" frequently have more problems with Linux than people with little or no computer experience, for this very reason. Typically, the most vehement "Linux is not ready for the desktop yet" arguments come from ingrained Windows users who reason that if they couldn't make the switch, a less-experienced user has no chance. But this is the exact opposite of the truth.

    http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm [oneandoneis2.org]

  • by brunascle ( 994197 ) * on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:56AM (#24657843)
    There's actually a pretty widespread problem upgrading to Hardy, where it hangs at "generating locales". In fact, in Firefox, if you select Google from the search at the top right, start to type "ubuntu upgrade", then scroll down, you should see both "ubuntu upgrade stuck generating locales" and "ubuntu upgrade locales" out of the roughly 10 suggested searches. (not my searches, the suggested ones.)
  • Re:That's good news (Score:3, Informative)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:56AM (#24657847) Journal

    Have you tried the eee (900 in my case)? The version of xandros on there is dreadful. Firstly, the package repositories are minute. Most of the packages I'm interested in aren't there (gvim, latex, xfig, gv, fvwm2, doxygen, xv, xpdf). That's one major strike against it. Secondly, it doesn't have any kind of standard login procedure, so I had to do some odd hand hacking to get fvwm2 to run.

    Other than that, the GUI is not good for "real work". I define that as work that I like to do, and for that, I use pretty much the same WM config on every machine. It's not a WM config that anyone except me likes.

    Ubuntu 7.10 "just worked" in a mildly broken ubuntuish sort of way. At least it's esaier to beat in to submission than the eee's version of xandros. I couldn't get 8.04 working in the timeframe I needed it to work in. I'll wait until the next version. It looks like proper WIFI drivers might make it in, considering the progress made by madwifi over the completely open drivers recently.

  • by steeviant ( 677315 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:14AM (#24658099)

    You a little deliberately short on specifics, your comment might be worthwhile if you were able to pinpoint a device that shipped with Linux on it where the creator of that product has dropped support, but is still around. Even so, you're still very vague with what's supported or not.

    It seems that, with the gadget crowd, Linux support is always sweet in the beginning as they oogle over the new machine but as soon as something new comes out the old gadget is left to collect dust. Suddenly Ubuntu moves on a version or two and people still running the old gadget are left in no man's land with support issues. The people who really understand Linux are too busy with the new gadget to support the old. It's the long term user who's left holding the bag.

    This is a large company (Dell) buying software from another reasonably large company (Canonical) so it's not really fair to talk about devices that maybe never supported Linux in the first place, made by who knows, supported only by geeks.

    You talk specifically about Ubuntu dropping support for features from a previous release and then ignoring the users left out in the cold because of the new-shiny. Could you name an example of that actually happening? Because it's been my experience that my hardware works better with each release, and I haven't seen forums bubbling over with ignored support issues with older hardware as you imply.

    Will Dell continue to support this as the distro progresses or should the unit come with a sticker warning the user not to upgrade beyond the current version? It's kind of burned my ass the number of times I tried to pull some older gadgets over to Linux only to find that if I use the distro's 2 or 3 year old package I was fine but if I wanted the latest and greatest I was busied with the work of just getting basic functionality going. The upgrade cycle concerns me too much in some cases to give Linux a try if the only support I have is community based.

    Not everyone in the world has the weak consumer laws that you're obviously subject to... if Dell release a product and drop support for it within an unreasonably short timeframe, in much of the world they'll be pilloried and made and example of by the law - because many countries don't allow people to drop a product and run unless they're out of business. So no, I'd say there's no chance whatsoever that Dell will not "continue to support" it, unless they want to be bankrupted in court.

    At any rate there's far, far less chance that Dell will fail to support an operating system that they can pick up and fix themselves if necessary, than there is that they'll drop support for something where they have no recourse if the manufacturer decides to discontinue support. Like, Ooh... I don't know... Windows, and most of the third party device drivers for it.

    I likely will not go "100%" Linux for a long long time. Most of it has to do with working in a Windows shop and, frankly, liking my games. But even if that wasn't an issue I still haven't warmed up to the community support aspect.

    Yes, because Microsoft is just bending over backwards to support it's customers when they have problems. It's not like anyone has to google through forums to find solutions for windows problems because Microsoft's support is SOOOO outstanding.

    Seriously, what does Microsoft offer in the way of support to a single home user that isn't available for a cheaper price for Ubuntu or another commercially supported distribution? This supposed support sounds like a fallacy to me, pretty much like the rest of this post. It's fine that you like Windows, but there's no need to make up FUD about Linux to justify your standpoint.

    Windows seems like a perfectly fine solution for a certain class of user, and to them I say "To each their own, and mind your fucking bullshit when you talk about mine"

  • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:32AM (#24658363)
    Pre- is for events... not verbs. A machine with no operating system installed at all would be "pre"-installed. A "pre"-heated oven would be room temperature.

    Curious, but both Merriam-Webster [merriam-webster.com] and the Oxford English Dictionary seem to disagree with you. Since you need to have a subscription to the OED, I'll quote what they say:
    pre-, prefix
    With verbs, or participial adjectives and verbal nouns derived from them, in sense 'fore-, before, previously, in advance'.

    Would you like to amend your statement to say that the OED is killing the English language? Because that would be a pretty silly argument to make.
  • Re:MS ISV astroturf (Score:5, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:41AM (#24658487) Journal
    I don't believe this is a paid guerrilla advertising campaign from MS

    Can I ask why not?

    I agree there's a significant effort from ISVs who are encouraged to "get out on the web and support the product", but there's also abundant evidence that Microsoft uses marketing groups like DCI and Law Media Group to astroturf more directly.

    Why wouldn't they?

  • Re:Some specs (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trebonius ( 29177 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:42AM (#24658511) Homepage

    Actually, your article clearly states that the Intel processor uses less power than the Athlon toward the end. The point of that article to compare two *desktop* solutions, meaning complete motherboards.

    In this case, the total AMD system uses less power than the total Intel system, which is noteworthy, but doesn't necessarily have any bearing at all on this particular laptop, or on the Atom processor itself.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:51AM (#24658655) Homepage Journal

    However, are they pre-installing Ubuntu because XP will not run satisfactorily with the base system configuration (512MB RAM, etc.), or because XP is more expensive?

    In a way, a combination of both. My 7-year-old Dell PC has a CPU and RAM comparable to today's netbooks (0.86 GHz PIII, 384 MB RAM), and it runs Windows XP, Firefox 3, VirtualDub, Lockjaw, and StepMania just fine. But then I keep it comparatively clean, without a lot of icons in the tray and with no antivirus other than ClamWin's weekly full system scan. I'm guessing that XP will run just fine on this system, but the trialware that subsidizes an XP license does not.

    You wanna bet that they aren't already working on an "XP-Lite" version to counter this threat?

    There already is Windows XP Lite. It's called Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs [wikipedia.org], intended to replace Windows 98 Second Edition in corporate environments. It's Windows Vista that needs to be made lite in order to run on a netbook.

  • Re:Some specs (Score:2, Informative)

    by Inner_Child ( 946194 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:54AM (#24658715)
    I don't know if you even bothered to read the page you linked to, but I'll quote the relevant bits for you:

    Although the Athlon 64 2000+ uses more power than Intelâ(TM)s Atom 230 CPU, the entire system requires less energy both when idle and during full load operation because of the chipset.

    So that invalidates your comment about the Athlon using less power; it doesn't. And to go on about the chipset...

    The Achilles heel of the Intel system is its old system platform with the 945GC chipset, while AMD offers a more modern 780G platform.

    This bit looks good, I like that, but there's a problem:

    The AMD platform has one disadvantage, however: at present, the 780G chip set is only available on a microATX board, where Intel offers a significantly smaller miniITX board.

    Well now... It appears that they're talking about a desktop platform! That's not what's going on here at all. It looks to be the case that in a UMPC, without the power saving chipset from AMD, the Athlon is actually the loser here.

  • by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <apoc,famine&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:11AM (#24658965) Journal

    I've heard of some people having problems after upgrades but I don't believe they are very widespread.

    Actually, I'm running Ubuntu on the EEE-PC due to update problems. To get the advanced Xandros desktop working, I had to do an upgrade. Somehow in there I ended up with a circular dependency involving python, I think, which made it impossible to revert back or go forward. Installing EEEUbuntu via USB thumb drive was the easiest way to fix the issue and get a full desktop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:29AM (#24659251)

    I was looking forward of buying a notebook, so I googled around, and decided to buy a dell inspiron 1525. I was pleasently surprised that they even ship it with Ubuntu, though living in Europe it ran freedos by default(at least in my country).
    What happend is that dell ships that model with two different wireless cards a linux friendly intel card and a usb broadcom(key word "usb" - it can't use the popular bcm drivers), nor can you google the notebook for troubleshooting, really - as everyone will praise it as the wireless works out of the box on linux..
    So before buying a dell, make sure you double check the specs, or you might end up with something different.

  • by Pvt_Ryan ( 1102363 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @11:38AM (#24659397)

    Yes, because Microsoft is just bending over backwards to support it's customers when they have problems. It's not like anyone has to google through forums to find solutions for windows problems because Microsoft's support is SOOOO outstanding.

    Actually we had an issue in work during an AD upgrade, phoned MS they charged us £200 before taking to us, couldnt resolve the bug, we found a fix and told them, they said "umm should be ok to do that" (ie they had no clue). And we never saw our £200 again.. Now THAT is what i call real support!

    On another note I have a dell vostro 1500 and ubuntu support for it out of the box was crap, 7.04 installed but wpa2 wireless was very unstable & ubuntu would not boot without me loading piix, same with 7.10 (to be fair though 7.04 was out before the vostro was released & 7.10 was out 2/3 months after it was released). 8.04 on the other hand is flawless out of the box wireless just works,no mucking about, install is fine again no mucking about. So essentially 1 release (I wont count 7.10 as it was released too soon after the vostro to have been able to really tested against it) after the vostro was released by dell ubuntu supported it flawlessly out of the box.

  • My eeepc is the first keyboard/computer that I've had which didn't have a Windows key. The 'Super Key" uses a Linux type 'Home' icon.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:08PM (#24667143)

    Ho, ho! And the horses are at the gate!

    Levono is being a bit coy, it seems. (Just went through their S10 info).

    You get half the memory (512Mb) and half the battery size (3 cell) of the eee1000, and there's apparently no option on their sales page to upgrade either of these on the main package. Going through their accessories page, you can separately order a gig of memory for $35 and they don't even offer a 6 cell battery yet for the S10. I would hope they make that option available soon for the main package, (the press releases say they do, so perhaps it's just a matter of waiting a few days for their supply chains to catch up.)

    If they don't, however, their batteries seem to be all in the $130 - $170 range regardless of cell number. If they force people to buy a second battery just to get up to 6 cells, then that would be a bad blow.

    I note that the screen is a spot bigger than the eee1000, and the keyboard is a spot smaller, being 85% of a full keyboard, where the eee1000 is 92%. Overall the chassis is almost half an inch smaller in width, ringing in at 9.8" to the eee1000's 10.25" Very nice, if you don't mind the keyboard being a touch smaller. The screen also appears to have a mat-finish; another good move on their part.

    All in all, it seems like a nice little package; 512Mb is a workable size, though it might be a little tight for XP in some cases. With the features upgraded to the same level as the eee1000, it might not be quite so competitively priced as it first appears. For me, a 6 cell battery is an absolute must and I wouldn't even consider the S10 until it became available. But the S10 does come with an all-in-one card reader to the eee's SD memory slot, and you can get the S10 in Ruby Red, which I have to admit looks pretty sweet.

    And they're off!


The best defense against logic is ignorance.