Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Linux Laptops and Netbooks

Well, once again I headed out to the stores looking for the perfect Linux based laptop or notebook. Were there super cool ARM based netbooks running Linux? Have the stores started to stock non-Windows based computers? Could I at least find some Linux based laptops?

The current situation is bad but not hopeless. If you are willing to import you can get a Lemote manufacturered device. One can order them online from Tekmote Electronics (based in the Netherlands). Richard Stallman uses the Lemote mini-laptop because it uses 100% Free and Open Software up to and including the BIOS. Lemote's high end model is the YeeLoong 8089 which has a 64-bit Loongson-2F processor running at 900 Mhz and an 8.9" screen. This system runs Debian Linux.

Dell Canada is selling their Mini 10v netbook for $329 Canadian which comes with Ubuntu 8.04. The Mini 10v comes with an Intel® Atom® Processor N270 running at 1.6 Ghz, a 10.1" screen with 1024x600 resolution, 1 GB of RAM, the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 and a 160 GB hard drive. This device comes with a one year warranty. Their other Linux computer is the Vostro A90 for $319 which has the same memory and graphics hardware, but a smaller 8.9" screen and a 8 GB Solid State Drive.

The third choice is to buy used on ebay. One of these days I'll get one of those Sharp SL-C3000 series PDAs. I already own a SL-5500 machine and I had a lot of fun porting GNU, Linux and BSD programs to it. You should be able to find a SL-5500 for under $100. Recently I bought a Lexar 4 GB compact flash card for the SL-5500 and it worked fine. If you are willing to go for a higher price I have seen the Netwalker go for about $520 on ebay.

Unfortunately I was not able to find any ARM based laptops or netbooks, not in the retail stores in Canada or online. What I am hearing is that next year will be a big year for ARM based netbooks. I would be happy to hear about any such devices so if anyone comes across an ARM based netbook or any other kind of Linux based netbook or laptop please comment about it.

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