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Buying a Small, Light Linux Notebook Computer?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the for-discerning-consumers dept.

Linux Business 1048

metamatic asks: "I'm planning to buy a notebook computer in the near future. Currently I'm looking at an iBook; however, they're a bit larger and heavier than I'd like. PC users are always telling me that PCs are faster and cheaper, and I'd be happy enough running Linux for what I want the notebook for. So: I'm looking for PC notebook computers that outperform the iBook. Must have USB and Firewire, built-in ethernet, and 802.11b support somehow (via a PC card slot is OK). Small is important, lightweight is important, long battery life is important. I don't care about screen size so long as it can do 800x600. Performance isn't a major concern, as I'm not going to be playing 3D games on it. Sounds easy? Here's the catch: I will not purchase Windows!" After all that this industry has gone through in recent years? Does one still have to pay the Microsoft tax when purchasing a laptop?

"I have no Windows software and will not be running any, not even via WINE. I have no desire to go through the hassle of purchasing software I'm not going to use and then fighting to get a token rebate that doesn't actually equate to the cost of a Windows license. Nor am I interested in buying a machine that was purchased with a Windows license, and simply having Windows erased with no refund given.

So far I've found iDot Computers, who will sell laptops with no OS installed. Unfortunately, their lightest, smallest offering is a hefty 2.8kg brick, 3cm bigger than the iBook in width and depth. What I really want is something comparable to a Toshiba Libretto or Sony VAIO R505--except that neither of those companies want to sell me a machine without Windows.

I'm sure plenty of Slashdot readers have faced the same problem--what's the solution?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

performance (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317018)

Always this emphasis on performance...

a Jedi craves not these things, only affordability.

no-performance (1, Funny)

lothlorien (579669) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317104)

anyone interested in starting a low-budget campaign for ignoring computer performance increases: lets do it togeather!

money back (2, Funny)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317022)

I know there is a Windows refund site somewhere, as long as you never click okay to a EULA you can get some money back...

Re:money back (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317056)

http://zork.net/refund/ [zork.net]
Google 'windows refund'--it's a work in progress with little result so far.

a slashdot orginal (2, Interesting)

kajoob (62237) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317072)

The guy [netcraft.com.au] who started the whole "windows refund" thing began the discussion right here [slashdot.org] on slashdot. LinuxMall's windows refund day site is down, but you can still find plenty of good info on Geoffrey's site and in the original slashdot article

Re:money back (2, Informative)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317076)

Just remember that you have to write the notebook computer manufacturer, *NOT* Microsoft. Microsoft says that because you are buying an OEM copy of it, you have to talk to the OEM. With some OEM's, you have to be persistent.

Re:money back (2, Informative)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317137)

I know there is a Windows refund site somewhere, as long as you never click okay to a EULA you can get some money back...

Maybe this has changed, but when you buy a new, prebuilt PC, do you have to click an EULA anyway? Your "acceptance" of the EULA comes not as a product of clicking a button marked 'I Agree', but as a mere result of your using the OEM product. Thus, most refund sites stress that in order to get a refund, you must not boot into the preinstalled copy of Windows, not even a single time. They will tell you in no uncertain terms not to turn the PC on until you have boot disks for Linux/*BSD/whatever inserted into it.

LInux Rocks (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317023)

Yes, it is the best.

Simple solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317024)

File down an iBook.

Re:Simple solution: (3, Funny)

ScriptGuru (574838) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317126)

File down an iBook.
You mean peel an Apple?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317027)



The solution is (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317029)

to not buy a laptop

No choice--cheaper from major manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317030)

Most of the major manufacturers (== cheap) have a contract with Microsoft which forces them to install Windows.

from a boot floppy (if you can find a laptop with a floppy drive):

Trust me. It is easier and cheaper--I got my Toshiba Satellite 1115-S103 for $500 and ditched Windows XP and am very happy with the results (cheap but usable).

It has to be said.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317031)

Jesus, grow the fuck up guys. All you do is whine about Microsoft... for years... get over it.

I bought one... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317034)

and this light linux notebook is amazing! Rush to your local computer store immediately!

Emperor Linux (4, Informative)

dsb3 (129585) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317036)


The benefit? You get laptops with full knowledge of exactly what does and what doesn't work under linux.

The catch? You pay the same (or more) as you would in the high street and don't get the shiny Windows CD.

Frankly ... I say you just buy the machine you want. Don't want windows? Throw the disc out ... you want a computer right? Don't turn everything into a political statement.

Re:Emperor Linux (2, Interesting)

andy@petdance.com (114827) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317067)

Don't want windows? Throw the disc out ... you want a computer right? Don't turn everything into a political statement.

That disc isn't free. The vendor (should have) paid Microsoft for bundling it with the machine. That cost is passed on to the buyer.

Also referred to as "the Microsoft tax".

Re:Emperor Linux (2, Insightful)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317081)

ahh, but the big guys still are cheaper with the windows tax than a smaller company that sells without it. I was in the same position a while back, and just decided it would be much easier and cheaper to go with a toshiba.

Re:Emperor Linux (4, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317091)

It's not JUST a political statement. You're also inadvertantly funding MS's efforts to ensnare you, so it's understandable how one might not want to do that.

Re:Emperor Linux (2, Funny)

SuperQ (431) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317093)

Another nice option for those pesky MS CD's. Get some self-adhesive 1mm thick cork bord, and turn them into nice shiny coasters. Great for putting a nice glass of scotch on.

probably not Windows-free (4, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317096)

I seriously doubt that those machines are "Microsoft Free": Emperor Linux most likely doesn't have the purchasing power to force Sony and other vendors to sell them machines without Windows licenses. Most likely, all they do is erase the Windows partition for you.

Re:Emperor Linux (3, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317131)

Don't turn everything into a political statement. This is more a consumer statement. Whenever you buy a product, you are in effect "voting for" it. You tell the market that you wanted that particular product and allow company X to produce more of their product Y. If you knowingly buy Windows, you are telling the market "I like Windows!" Whether or not you actually like the OS is irrelevant - you are voting with your money. When you can no longer buy computers without Windows, you have lost the most basic right of a consumer - the ability to choose what product you spend your money on. I would have hoped in a "Democratic" society, this idea would be abhorrent at best. The loss of the basic freedom to buy what you like should anger you. Heil Microsoft, I guess.

Get a Mac, Jack. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317037)

Its a personal (YOURS) computer, and if you buy a mac laptop faster than an ibook, its faster than an ibook. and you can run linux.

You won't be paying for Windows...

Re:Get a Mac, Jack. (1)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317156)

you'll only be paying the apple tax is all, which is far more then the windows tax. I find it silly to buy a mac just to run linux on it. Unless there is a performance incress, any ppc linux users out there that noticed a performance boost from ppc wish to tell me

I can't spell and beer doesn't help

Don't buy a Sony... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317038)

they have an IRQ assigment problem that prevents the use of USB.

dunno (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317039)


Sharp Makes One... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317040)

Sharp has some pretty sweet VERY thin and LIGHT nitebooks. They have windows on em though. But easy enough to format :-) has all the ports you want, and more.

Actius UM32W is what it's called.

I have been on the same hunt as you for a month now :-)

Linux laptops (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317041)

Have you looked at Qli Linux Laptops [qlilinuxpc.com] ?

Good luck! (1)

Zameir (636546) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317042)

I feel for you. I recently was considering buying a laptop from Dell for network testing purposes. I emailed them asking if they would sell it without an OS as I wanted to only use Linux on it. I got no reply surprisingly enough, so I can only assume that they will not sell it without an OS. Keep trying though, I'm sure someone will sell it without an OS.

Re:Good luck! (1)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317101)

I thought dell was selling computers with freedos... or is the corporate desktops only? Anyone know?

12" Apple PowerBook (5, Insightful)

elysian1 (533581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317043)

Small, lightweight, runs Unix, nice GUI, long battery life, etc...

they're smaller (4, Insightful)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317135)

than the ibook, though i must say i've carried around my son's ibook, and it feels great sizewise. and, they are pretty darn reasonable now. of course, the advantage of booting into osx for itunes and such makes it an even better buy. the g4 powerbook is larger than some of the supersmall x86 machines, but how many of those have slot loading dvd recorders?

teehee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317044)

Hey captain obvious, have you searched google by chance? Sheesh.

Dear Slashdot, I haven't the slightest fucking clue. Please help me achieve my teenage fantasies by posting my n3wbie question for everyone

Thank you,

Jonnie '1337 hax0r' Bravo

Re:teehee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317146)


Powerbook? (5, Informative)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317045)

I'm in a similar situation, only I've never owned a Mac. Anyway, I think I've decided upon buying a 12" powerbook (and yes, I read the reviews of them). Not sure if that's too rich for your blood but it sounds like a good deal to me.

buy used. (4, Informative)

morgajel (568462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317047)

that's what I did. it did come with win98, but I deleted it right off.
just be careful when buying used- I made the mistake of buying from a tradeshow [homelinux.net] and it took 2 months before I could get a usable one.

I did end up with a gateway solo2150 which is working pretty well.

if you're not playing games, a 600 mhz will work fine. I have kde 3.1 and openoffice on debian and it runs with little lag.

Rationale, or lack thereof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317048)

I'll make an educated guess that 99% of laptop vendors will force you to buy Windows with your laptop. So, instead of purchasing the best hardware for your money by choosing from 100% of laptop vendors, you're going to limit yourself to the selection that 1% of the vendors provide. That makes a lot of sense. Good luck and keep dreaming.

powernotebooks.com (5, Informative)

da007 (242994) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317049)


windows tax not required. was in a slashdot article awhile back.

Re:powernotebooks.com (0, Offtopic)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317092)

Warning: off-topic post about parent's sig ahead.

while(reading_slashdot == TRUE){
--social_life; }

How about,


Re:powernotebooks.com (0, Offtopic)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317129)

How about,


Personally, I prefer

for(;reading_slashdot;++nerdiness) --social_life;

Re:powernotebooks.com (1)

bmwm3nut (556681) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317164)

or more cryptically:

while (++nerdiness,--social_life,reading_slashdot);

Re:powernotebooks.com (4, Funny)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317161)

>How about,
>while(reading_slashdot){++nerdiness;--soc ial_life }

IANAC (I am not a compiler) but I am guessing your generic C compiler might get pissy about not having a semi-colon before the ending brace.

used? (0, Redundant)

E. T. Alveron (617765) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317051)

Save a buck or two by going used.

Though the Microsoft tax has been levied on the system, you won't be adding to MS's coffers, and can get a jolly good 3 pounder for a grand or so.

Knoppix. (5, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317052)

Here's a suggestion, bring the Knoppix Boot CD [knopper.net] to the store you want to purchase a laptop from. If the CD Boots with sound, graphics, network, etc... then the laptop is linux certified (so to speak)

Re:Knoppix. (5, Interesting)

inflex (123318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317110)

Be prepared for a lot of sales people to go "Sorry, we cannot allow you to boot that CD".

Kind of ironic that you're not permitted to 'test' the machine you're about to fork out several thousand dollars for.

When I was last searching for a laptop I encountered this brick-wall mentality, consequently I ended up telling them "Oh, in that case, no sale, goodbye" ( Commissions obviously doesn't exist in sales any more ).

As for the reasoning behind the no-fiddle mentality, it's because they're afraid that you'll install some sort of hacker software.

Cheap Laptops (2, Insightful)

monthos (591823) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317054)

I too havent found the right solution yet where i dont have to give some company money for crap i will never use. just please dont get pissed off and buy any laptop and pay the microsoft tax, becouse it just reports to there numbers as how many "users" there are. untill i find a solution that i can live with, and not pay MORE for the luxary of not having to purchase an operating system, i will not purchase a laptop. i am not afraid of doing without, and neither should you.

Fujitsu P2000 Series (3, Interesting)

YokuYakuYoukai (570645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317055)

These are great cursoe based laptops and becides the software based modem everything is linux compatible.

here is a Link [fujitsupc.com] to the fujitsu website for it.

i have an older version with a slower 800mhz processor and 4 megs of video ram. it struggles with the latest divx encodes unplugged, but plugged in they display fine. The best feature is its real life 8-10 hour battery life. i could never go back to a 2 hour laptop.

Re:Fujitsu P2000 Series (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317095)

There is a utility that the laptop comes with that allows you to disallow the decreased processor speed when on battery power that ought to help with your divx problem. There are 3 settings: Low power usage, (i.e. 300MHz), High (800MHz or 867 in my case), and Auto, where the computer takes the best of both worlds and supposedly always has enough juice to do stuff and idles the rest of the time.

apple (5, Funny)

captainstupid (247628) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317057)

It's called a power book.

Yao and mini-me use 'em, why can't you?

www.aslab.com (2, Interesting)

wazo2k (533400) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317058)

aslab [aslab.com]
I'm currently buying linux servers from them, but I saw that they also have laptops

HP is not the way (5, Informative)

Papa Legba (192550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317061)

Called them today looking at laptops. Told her I did not want to pay for XP , she told me that removing it would void the waranty on the laptop! She suggested that I buy a bigger drive and do a split partion. I was disgusted that I Was going to be charged even more just to run linux. I am not even sure how software can void a hardware warranty. The call ended with them still having a laptop and me still looking.

I-buddie - ECS (1)

2000 Britneys (549923) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317063)

here is the url http://www.ecs.com.tw/products/desknotes.htm?subme nu_id=15&function_id=12

those seem to be sold without any OS and look like a decent notebooks - also there is quite a variety of them oferred for sale.

Try www.computerboulevard.ca for some Canadian pricing.

Re:I-buddie - ECS (1)

symbols (611461) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317128)

ECS, I agree.


As for the requirments. They are met with: 4 x USB 2.0, IEEE 1394A, 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, Built-in 802.11b wireless LAN antenna. Video will be done easy on a 15.0" XGA powered by ATI Mobility Radeon 8500 M9, AGP 4X, external 64MB DDR video memory. Battery is 2.5hrs @2.2GHz. Dimension & Weight 332 x 281 x 39.7mm / 44.7mm (13.07" x 10.81" x 1.56" / 1.76")
About 8.6lbs / 3.4kgs

Re:I-buddie - ECS (DESKNOTES BEWARE) (1)

andrewjjenkins (617179) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317165)

Desknotes are good so long as you know what you're getting, which is NOT a laptop. Desknotes are full-fledged computers with a small enough form factor to look like laptops. They come with no battery, and one isn't even available for most. Again, if what you want is a portable computer that runs off of wall current, then that's fine, just so long as you know that's what you're getting.

I have an answer. (4, Informative)

disconnectedsmile (617166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317065)

Try http://www.powernotebooks.com I bought my laptop from there and am very pleased. I did not buy windows with it because they give you the option. It runs linux great and they have a wide selection to choose from. From light to mobile workstation. Check it out.

Get an iBook (2, Insightful)

JjCale (555759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317068)

Why don't you just buy an iBook. It seems to be your benchmark, so why isn't it suitable? Linux runs quite nicely on it and it has everything you have listed as a requirement.

Am I missing something? It's hard to get a better laptop for the money.

why not go with the iBook (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317069)

I recently switched to a new 12 inch iBook running yellow dog linux, and I have to say its great. Although it may not be as portable some windows superslims, its battery life, and performance make it a superb choice. Also, i have had zero driver issues with my iBook, which is a lot more than I can say about install redhat on my old thinkpad.

maybe you could find some usful info here too http://www.linux-laptop.net/

IBM X Series (1)

doorbot.com (184378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317070)

Just get an IBM X Series [ibm.com] . I'm sure, but if you call them you miht be able to get a copy without Windows... if not "buy" Windows and then return it [] .

I know they offered systems without Windows in the past, as I said if you call you might be able to get a special order.

Good Used Site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317075)

I've bought from www.eritech.com before. The laptop they shipped was in great shape and has served my wife well for two years. The laptops ship without an OS.

Re:Good Used Site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317124)

Have you serviced your wife well for two years?

iBook (1)

Large Green Mallard (31462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317077)

- No Windows Tax
- Firewire and USB
- 802.11b built in
- Radeon 7500/32MB 1024x768 @ 24bpp
- "the size of an ibook"
- $999 for base model
- Runs Linux PPC just fine

Re:iBook (1)

Back in Brown (586733) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317136)

But what about the Steve Jobs^H^H^H^H^H^H I mean Apple proprietary hardware tax?

Buy used. (4, Informative)

ktakki (64573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317079)

Since you've ruled out the iBook, I'd suggest that you look for a laptop that meets your requirements on the used market (eBay, local want ads, computer resellers, outlets that deal in refurbished and formerly leased equipment). Someone else will have already paid the Windows Tax for you, and the money you save will more than compensate for the time you'll have to spend scraping Windows off the hard drive and installing your operating system of choice.


Dell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317080)

When I bought my Dell Inspiron 4000 a year and a half ago I complained (somewhat strongly) about not wanting to pay for an OS that I wasn't going to use...they ended up taking $50 off my order. I don't know if that was just an arbitrary discount to get me to shut up...but hey, better than nothing.

X-Book laptops at AccessMicro (1)

bastia (145202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317085)

I've never tried them, and I don't even know whether they'd run linux, but I've seen "X-Book" laptops advertised at AccessMicro [accessmicro.com] for under $1000 without an OS.

want a cheap laptop? (1)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317086)

If you don't care about top level performance or good hardware, and would prefer to bitch instead about having to buy a copy of Windows, you could always look on ebay. Better yet, you could buy my old laptop. It's in great shape, and I'll toss a copy of linux on there for you. ;)

You could try X-Technology (2, Informative)

jon_c (100593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317088)

I've seen this laptop [ebay.com] on half.com [ebay.com] , it's one hell of a deal:

P4 2.4Ghz/512mb DR/40GB/DVD/CDRW/USB 2.0/FireWire/56K/LAN/15" TFT for ~1200
No OS, no brand name. I have no idea if they are good are not, but they look decent.


R505 (1)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317090)

Well, I know it doesn't really help, but I've got an Vaio R505 (Windows came on it but it's running linux now)... and it runs Linux just fine after some tweaking. http://www.resistive.net/linux7.html

Re:R505 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317111)

dear npietran@umich.edu [mailto]

read my lips, we don't fucking care!

Re:R505 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317121)

dear assmaster. Thank you for your insightful response. I will take this into consideration the next time I post to slashdot.

Get 'em used (1)

dagbrown (126362) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317097)

I got a really cute Toshiba Portege super-slim notebook. The guy at the used-computer store was almost reluctant to sell it to me in the first place--it didn't have an OS on the hard drive at all. I said, "Got a DOS floppy handy? Show me if it boots." He did indeed show me that it booted, and I said "Great, I'll take it." Got it home, and I had Linux running on it in no time.

The thing is great--it weighs about three pounds, I've upgraded its hard drive to a beefier 30G so it has lots and lots of storage, and I can take it wherever I go.

We recently had a thread like this in c.o.l.misc (5, Informative)

Kiwi (5214) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317099)

We recently had a thread [google.com] about this in comp.os.linux.misc. Basically, at this point, it is just about impossible to buy a notebook without the "Windows tax". Also, Linux has a harder time with some of the ultra-small notebooks; they use weird proprietary drivers which Linux does not support a lot of the time.

For more information about Linux on laptops, go to the web page about Linux on laptops [linux-on-laptops.com] ; help can be found in the Usenet newsgroups comp.os.linux.misc [google.com] or comp.os.linux.hardware [google.com]

- Sam

Get an iBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317102)

Get an iBook. They're awesome. Or a 12" PowerbBook.

Think Powerbook (0, Redundant)

FreeHeel (620639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317105)

Consider a PowerBook G4. The 12" model is even smaller and more powerful than the iBook. You can run LinuxPPC or YellowDog Linux on it too.

hmmm (5, Funny)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317109)

i don't know about linux compatibility, but it sounds like in terms of HARDWARE you're looking for something like Fujitsu P-series or so. Fujitsu P-Series page [fujitsupc.com] . it doesn't have firewire, but it has everything else you want. here's a page talking about putting linux (debian) on it [greenfly.org] i think i've seen firewire pcmcia cards, so that might be the solution. I don't know about getting it without windows, but that's the breaks... Like another poster said, not *everything* has to be a political statement. You could just video tape yourself burning or shitting on your windows CD in front of a linux flag or something. ;)

This is not so hard, is it? (1, Interesting)

maxmg (555112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317112)

Just because somebody mentions Linux, does that mean they can post an article and get a few thousand people doing their market research for them?

Geez, buy a couple of magazines, go to some vendors websites, use Google and find out wether the box you want to buy has been successfully used with linux yet.

On another note, I would like to clean up my garden using linux, anybody want to help?

buy used (1)

tuj (303347) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317113)

Sony Vaio r505's are running pretty cheap, even with the docking station. You won't be directly paying for windows since its not a new machine.

But some things (like paying for windows in the price of a new machine) you just have to live with. Afterall, many of us buy a car that has a stereo and speakers installed at the factory that we will immediately replace, but we don't insist that we are sold a car without them. Find a machine with the cheapest version of windows (XP Home probably) and cut your losses.

Go For The PowerBook (4, Insightful)

Xafloc (48004) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317115)

Now this could probably be considered a switch story..but I still use Windows/Linux, so it's more that I have just added one more to the list.

I recently acquired the last model of the PowerBook series. 15"/G4/1G RAM. I must say I am very impressed with the hardware, the size, the layout, etc. I'm still trying to get used to the Operating System.

I do a lot of Java Development, and have gotten my favorite IDE to work (Eclipse), and have gotten JBoss to run semi-succesfully. There are a lot of things to get used to though. The built in mouse has but one button, so you must ctrl->click to do a right click...that is annoying as heck. So, purchase an external mouse whatever you do.

being able to drop to the shell and be in a familiar place is very nice. Install Fink and you can apt-get your favorite software. There are a lot of apps out there...more than I thought there was (www.versiontracker.com).

All in all...I'd say get a PowerBook and leave OS X on it, and install your favorite Open-source software.

If you choose to wipe it clean and install a version of Linux...it is still very impressive hardware, so you should be in a win-win situation.

My two cents...

800 x 600? Nooooo! (2, Informative)

RabidOverYou (596396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317118)

> I don't care about screen size so long as it can do 800x600.

800x600? You can't be serious! The high end of 1991? I remember the rollout of 800x600, between VGA and 1024x768. Yes, there was some XGA nonsense in there, but we got to 1K pretty fast, and that's rock bottom ever since.

Look, I'll admit the current pixel dance is sort of goofy, with 2Kx1920 or whatever, but 800x600? A reasonable low end is 1280x1024.

Ob disclosure: my Dell Inspiron 8000 is 1600x1200, and yes those dots get a bit tiny sometimes. But I dig it.

Are you a troll. (4, Insightful)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317119)

With those requirements this could almost be a plant by Apple.

If there's one place where Apple kicks ass (and I'm of the opinion there are more), it's in full-featured notebooks.

Dude! You're getting an Apple!

Not completely same, but (1)

lingqi (577227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317120)

here is a notebook [panasonic.co.jp] that rivals Apple's 12" I-book specs. All in a package less than 1kg. Now, the catch - you might have to deal with taking off windows, and you might not even be able to get in in the states - but try to find another notebook that rivals iBooks in design, weight, and battery life (5 hours or so) which would run linux. Life is full of compromises - forcing yourself to not buy windows on a notebook is going to cost you more headaches and time than it's worth, I think. After all - think of the extra 50-150 dollars as "convenience money" to give yourself more choices. After all your time is not free (to continue searching for your "dream notebook")

then again, I vaguely remember Dell willing to provide computers without OS. not authoratative, though.

I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317122)

I don't understand. It's ok to pay apple extra for the OS you're not going to use, but it's not ok to do the same when it's Microsoft? They're both souless, heartless corporations people. Bottom line for both of them is getting your money.

m-tech laptops (1)

gleam (19528) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317123)


They have a fairly wide range of laptops, all the hardware is supported by linux, and they will install with or without windows.

i don't think you'll find much lighter/smaller than an ibook, though.


Fujitsu Lifebook (3, Informative)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317125)

For my next notebook, I'm considering the Fujitsu Lifebook [fujitsupc.com] : they are very small and claim to have great battery life. If people have more experience with Linux on those, perhaps they can share it.

There are also a number of 2-4 pound laptops from Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.; that's what I have right now. They are considerably lighter than the iBooks, have comparable or better battery life, and are much, much faster. They often don't include the CD/DVD in the main laptop, but frankly, I prefer that choice; it's easy to plug a bus-powered CD/DVD into the USB2 or FW port.

You will effectively not find a notebook where you don't pay the Windows tax: the big manufacturers just bundle it that way, and if anything goes wrong with the machine, they will have you run stuff under Windows before even accepting it for warranty return (I have been there). Apple is no better: you can't get their HW without their OS, and they won't even support their laptops connecting to a non-Apple wireless access point.

HEY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317132)

He said it must be smaller than the iBook.

Please do not post laptops with 15" screens...

Notebooks are mass market items. (3, Insightful)

romanval (556418) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317133)

Notebooks are different in that they tend to be all-in-one solutions, so they tend to include the OS whether you like it or not.

The only way to assemble one is if there's a commodity hardware standard for notebooks or subnotebooks... but there's little chance of that happening since much of the size advantages of subnotebooks is a result of the tight intergration that an all-in-one solution affords.

So you're pretty much stuck buying something OEM.

Personally I can't see why you shy from an iBook. With an iBook, you're paying for Mac OS X anyways.. Although nothing is stopping you from installing Linux on it- once you give OS X a shot you'll probrobly won't need to.

Windows Tax vs. Apple Tax (3, Insightful)

1000101 (584896) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317134)

Ok, so I understand the whole Microsoft Tax idea, but I think the same thing could be said for Apple. Why purchase a Mac just to wipe out the drive and install Linux? The higher cost associated with Macs is partly contributed to Mac OS X. I have an XP box, a Red Hat box, and an iBook so I get my daily dose of multi-OS use, and I can't figure out why anyone would pay more money for an iBook just for the hardware. There are plenty of laptop manufacturers out there that provide just as high quality laptops as Apple. Soooo, back to my point: If you don't plan on using OS X, don't buy a Mac!

Powerbook 12" (5, Insightful)

Hagmonk (201689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317138)

These are a stunning laptop. I love mine. Only criticism is that it gets hot. They're small, light, firewire, 2x USB, DVD burner, good battery life, monitor spanning support, built in ethernet and modem ... the list goes on.

The catch is always software. With Mac OS X, you get great software. Better by far than any Linux configuration on the desktop. Want to burn a CD? Insert the bank CD, drag the files onto it, and then eject it ("do you wish to burn this CD?")

How easy is that? I don't have time to fsck around with cdrecord and mkisofs anymore. I just want to burn a goddamned CD. I just want to connect to a wireless network. I just want to watch a DVD. I just want to fire up emacs and write some code. I don't want to tinker and stuff around all day making things work.

So remember, hardware is half the story. Software is the other. If you can take the mac premium price, you get the best of both worlds.

do the ibook! (1)

maxphunk (222449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317139)

ive had an ibook for a year now and i love it! it comes with a *nix at "no" extra cost... BUT it runs linux great. ive got slackintosh [exploits.org] running on mine with no problems. x windows, check. mozilla, check. power management, check. cd burner, check. dvd player, check. wireless, check. apple's kick-ass warranty, check. now, in your position id go with the new 12" powerbook. same size, but with a neato aluminum case AND a g4... heck its also got a 32meg geforce4, not bad for a laptop. but if your looking for price, you really cant beat an ibook.

DELL Inspiron with Linux (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5317142)

I bought a Dell Inspiron and finally got a Linux refund($125) but it took me hours on the phone and educating them. Two of my friends have also bought Inspirons lately and got their refunds with less hassle so things seem to be changing. However, when you call Dell the first time you probably still get a confident "no" from several people until you get to the right person -- just call back, talk to someone else, and be persistent until you succeed.

i went with ibm (1)

bmwm3nut (556681) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317143)

i don't think you can get an ibm without windows, but you may be able to make up for it other ways. i had a dell ispiron 8000 laptop that i hated, some of the keys broke in less than a year and the display hinge got loose real quick and the display wouldn't stay up unless it was perpendicular. so anyway, last week i just got my ibm thinkpad r32. it's nice and light. the screen does max 1024x768 which is kinda small for me, but that's what you get with a small light laptop. now back to the windows problem...the oem xp licence on the thinkpad is $90 and there was no way i could convince ibm to sell me the laptop without it. but i did get a 10% student discount which more than covered the $90. now i know my money still went to the evil empire, but i did get a kick ass laptop. now, i am actually a graduate student, so that's why i asked for the student discount. but i had to do no verification at all. when i called the customer service, i told them i wanted a laptop and that i was a student and they gave me a 10% discount with no questions asked. you could always do the same (even if you're not a student) and you'd make up more than the difference that you'd pay for xp.

btw - redhat 8.0 installed on the laptop with no issues at all.

Couple links... (2, Informative)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317151)

You might contact a Micron PC [micronpc.com] sales rep and see if they'll provide a laptop with a version of Linux installed. If I remember correctly, I was able to arrange such a deal for a client... I don't see any option on their website so I might just be crazy :)

You might also take a look at Los Alamos Computers [laclinux.com] . They aren't as light as you want, but they might be an option.

QLI [qlilinuxpc.com] is also an option, but weight is an issue again.

Finally, Emperor Linux [emperorlinux.com] has some very light looking machines :) They are as light as 2 lbs, but you'll have to sacrifice a little speed. (2lbs is around 1 kg..)

Good luck.. I don't have any experience with any of these companies except for Micron PC.. You might do a quick search on google next time...

exactly what you need (0)

56ksucks (516942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317154)

This is exactly what you need. http://www.actonlinestore.com/smoreinfo.asp?iid=14 22

too picky (1)

VS1 (448806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317155)

dont you think your being too picky about this? it can never have windows installed on it..you just killed about any chance you had finding a notebook that fits those specs.

Perhaps when your a little more accepting of Linuxs place in the notebook/laptop industry, youll understand which notebook/laptop you can purchase.

windows? (1)

rnd() (118781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317157)

You won't buy Windows, but you would buy MacOS on your iBook?

If you just want a good laptop, buy a Dell [dell.com] . They are relatively rugged, and there are lots of interchangable parts that work across models, etc.

If you receive a copy of Windows that you don't want, use it as a coaster or donate it to the Wine project or something. You'll be worse-off buying some no-name laptop just to avoid the included copy of Windows.

I smell a rat (5, Insightful)

Papa Legba (192550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317160)

Here is something odd. As people have been posting links I have been eagerly following them. I am noticing a disturbing trend. Every link has led to a place that had laptops on average $500 to $1000 more than the same laptop from a major vendor with windows on it. I am starting to think that we linux lovers may be taking it up the butt the same way that vegetarians get reamed for "Organic" produce..
See a market , exploit that market and I think we may being exploited here.

Go refurb! (2, Interesting)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317167)

Get an off-lease IBM Thinkpad. I bought a Thinkpad 600x refurbed by IBM, upgraded the hard drive to a 30GB, 5400 rpm IBM HD, and then replaced the stock 650 MHz processor with an 850 MHz. After maxing out the RAM (just over 580MB), this thing cooks!

I keep looking at laptops nowadays, and keeping getting PO'ed at vendors that put a 14" screen in a 15" case. The damn thing looks nice, but is BIG and HEAVY. Then the keyboards on the 12" Sonys looks small. Why don't manufacturers keep making 13" displays???

http://www.qlilinuxpc.com (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 11 years ago | (#5317169)

QLI Linux has a few different laptops running linux and windows free, but they weigh in near 7lbs so that might be kinda heavy.
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