Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Friday 23 December 2005

New laptop

My new laptop is here... I still haven't opened the box.

Merry ex-Mas everybody!

Wednesday 14 December 2005

Laptop purchase

I desperatly need a new laptop.

My old PowerBook G3/400 (runing Ubuntu Linux) is dying slowly and slowly after over 5 years of good service (compiling AbiWord at 300 km/h, daily). The AC adapter connection on the motherboard is flacky and does not work well. So it is getting more and more inconvenient. I have been looking at a the available choice. My criteras are:

  • I don't want a piece-of-crap. I have my PowerBook for over 5 years, so you get what I expect to have in term of lifetime
  • I don't want a luggage. No huge screen or heavy duty. 3kg maximum. Ideally 2kg.
  • I want battery life and decent CPU power. Looks like these days, Pentium M is the way to go.
  • I want it fully supported by Linux. I don't mind hacking a bit at first for the installation, just so that it works great after. That means wifi should work with free driver (no Atheros, no Broadcom), video adapter should'nt require a proprietary driver, and suspend MUST work. That means no fancy video card.

After analyzing what was available on the market, I ended up focusing on IBM/Lenovo thinkpad laptop. Just because they have their reputation, I have been satisfied with the Thinkpad 600E that I had at a previous job and that lot of Linux hackers seems to have one too. It also appears that most if not all the recent models works great with Linux. Given the price of a small X40, I'll just pick a Z60t from the new Z Series (link remove due to retarded website). Marginally heavier (2.0 to 2.2kg), larger screen, it looks all good, and CAD$600 less than a X40.

The only thing that bothers me is that I can not buy it bare, without the Microsoft bundle. I'll have to deal with that afterwards. Some links for reference:

  • Getting a Windows Refun in California Small Claims Court where the author explain how to get a refund. Informative on how to proceed. However the law will probably differ.
  • The Toshiba Standoff gives other bits of information on how to negotiate.
  • The AFUL (Association Francaise des Utilisateur du Libre) has a complete file on the situation in France. It appears that the DGCCRF, the authority in charge of competition regulation in France is aware and acknowledge that this is illegal bundle sale. What to do to get a refund.

In Canada, the competition bureau, and the associated regulation have something about bundling. Last time I contacted them about a prioprietary photo editing software bundled, they didn't want to do anything unless I could prove that it actually did increase the price of the hardware or that it was preventing sales of competing products. This is not a case won.