ok, it's been a week since i started using the sub300 ultralite laptop
so i thought i'd provide a bit of a review. my old compaq presario
(333mhz celeron with 128megs of ram) died due to complications from
it came installed with linspire. you boot it up and linspire asks you
a few questions about where you are and all that good stuff. it allows
you to set up accounts or you can go crazy and run everything as root.
to you run as a user it will ask for the root password when you need to
do rooty type things.
the desktop is kde. i'm not a kde person but it seems ok. had to set
focus-follows-mouse but that was my main annoyannce. also konsole's
scrolling sucks. i've always heard that gnome terminal was bad, but
vt220's at 2400 baud on jump scroll look better than konsole.
the browser is a linspire branded mozilla and is well configured.
flash is there, java is there, realplayer is there and it seems to handle
non-techie websites with ease.
it also supports s/w suspend right out of the box. right-click the power
icon, select hibernate and it's naptime. same is true if you close
the lid. when you're ready to work again open the lid, hit the power
button and it will boot right back to where it left off. quite nifty.
the package management is "click-n-run" which is very user friendly,
costs around 35 euro a year ($49.99). i suspect i won't use it mainly
because linspire doesn't come with loads of tools for developers and it's
not the distro i use for work. however cnr does have the devtools and
i could use it to get a full dev environment if i wanted to download them.
linspire is essentially a debian system. the sid apt repositories are
commented out but apparently i could uncomment them (or change them to a
more current debian or ubuntu) and "upgrade" my laptop. i hear debian
is a great way to see what linux was like 5 or 6 years ago so if i feel
nostalgic i might try that.
the one big hardware issue is the 802.11g wireless. it hasn't seen a
wireless access point it likes. the driver is loaded, but nobody is home.
linspire picked up my wireless pcmcia card with no problem so it hasn't
been an issue i delved into. i suspect the modem is a softmodem and
requires drivers but i haven't needed it yet.
the laptop itself is a "fox cp10v." it has 3 usb ports (one in back,
two on the side), one firewire port (the fourpin variety, not the 6 pin),
a pcmcia slot and a compaq flash adaptor. there are connectors for a a
phone, ethernet and an external monitor. the screen is 1024x768 and is
very reflective. this seem to help it deal with the sun - i can actually
read this screen better than i can read my zaurus.
the cpu is a via which is very uncool amongst the folks that are into
cpu's. it only comes with 256megs of ram and sub300 won't change that.
so far it's peppy enough for my uses - but i have yet to try doing builds
on it. i checked komplett yesterday and can't yet figure out what kind
of memory it takes but i'm not encroaching on swap even with mozilla,
gaim and konsole running so i'm not looking too hard.
the sub300 folks are very responsive. they answered all my questions
within a few hours and the laptop was delivered within a few days after
ordering. they only take payments via paypal or check. they will ship
to europe (the $30 shipping fee turns into $75).
ps for the curious, there's this info on the laptop:
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8605 [ProSavage
0000:00:01.0 PCI bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8605 [PM133 AGP]
0000:00:07.0 ISA bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82C686 [Apollo
Super South] (rev 42)
0000:00:07.1 IDE interface: VIA Technologies, Inc.
VT82C586A/B/VT82C686/A/B/VT823x/A/C PIPC Bus Master IDE (rev 06)
0000:00:07.3 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI
USB 1.1 Controller (rev 1a)
0000:00:07.4 ISA bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82C686 [Apollo
Super ACPI] (rev 40)
0000:00:07.5 Multimedia audio controller: VIA Technologies, Inc.
VT82C686 AC97 Audio Controller (rev 50)
0000:00:07.6 Communication controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. Intel
537 [AC97 Modem] (rev 30)
0000:00:09.0 Network controller: Intel Corp. PRO/Wireless 2200BG
0000:00:0a.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev 80)
0000:00:0a.1 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev 80)
0000:00:0b.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): NEC Corporation IEEE 1394 Host
Controller (rev 01)
0000:00:0d.0 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB (rev 41)
0000:00:0d.1 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB (rev 41)
0000:00:0d.2 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB 2.0 (rev 02)
0000:00:0f.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: S3 Inc. 86C380 [ProSavageDDR
K4M266] (rev 02)
processor : 0
vendor_id : CentaurHauls
cpu family : 6
model : 9
model name : VIA Nehemiah
stepping : 4
cpu MHz : 999.951
cache size : 64 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 1
wp : yes
flags : fpu de pse tsc msr cx8 mtrr pge cmov mmx fxsr sse rng
bogomips : 1978.36
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