18 Mar 2003 walters   » (Master)

Laptop and Knoppix

I've been doing some research lately on a new laptop. I think I am going to give up on Apple. The iBook is nice, but I'm looking for something with a larger screen. The Powerbook is just overpriced.

I've been looking at PC laptops again. In particular, the Gateway 450XL has caught my attention. It has a nice screen (1440x1050 resolution too), integrated wireless and integrated ethernet, plus you can swap the DVD drive for a second battery. Oh, and the Radeon in it supports simultaneous dual-head display! It would be sweet to hook the thing up to my 19" monitor at home and do some coding.

So I went to the local Gateway store, armed with a Knoppix CD, to see how well Linux and XFree worked on it....and, wow, Knoppix was impressive. It autodetected the ethernet, DVD, mouse, USB, and Radeon card, and got X up and running perfectly, in beautiful full-resolution accelerated glory. All the hardware just plain worked. The Gateway sales rep's eyes definitely bulged. I myself resolved to make sure Debian's next installer gets this kind of autodetection ability.

The only issue I encountered was that it did freeze twice, but I am going to put that off as beta software, or maybe ACPI/APM weirdness. Now I really have my heart set on this machine, especially if I can get sleep to work. And I still need to find out if the wireless chipset is supported by Linux, I forgot to do that. But barring that it looks like an awesome machine to run GNU/Linux on.

The other minor downside for me is that it is a bit thicker and taller than my PowerBook; it wouldn't quite fit in my (admittedly rather small) bag, which is disappointing. My Powerbook just barely fit. The 450 is still a pretty lightweight machine though.

Incidentally, someone really needs to make a version of Knoppix that uses GNOME instead of KDE though.

Free Software

My D-BUS Debian packages just got ACCEPTed into the main Debian pool, yay! I also just uploaded a new version of gucharmap. It's a damn cool piece of software, you should check it out. Hm, my list of packages is getting a bit long.


Just got done with two of my hardest finals, only one more to go! I am really looking forward to being done with this quarter and getting back to some major free software hacking.


The downside of course of finals week is that I have to catch up on the class I'm teaching; I still have 3 labs to grade, plus grading the final is going to suck. It took me hours last time.

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