Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

2.9 pounds of penguin power, ready to buy.

I was on the floor at Macworld last month when Steve Jobs shocked everybody by announcing an unexpectedly large raft of new products built on open-source platforms, including two slick new laptops.

Now, here I am, writing from the floor of the Desktop Linux Summit in San Diego, where Michael Robertson, the founder and CEO of the Summit's local host company, Lindows, has done the same for a much smaller audience (several hundred vs. several thousand) but potentially a much larger market. At the top of his list of announcements is an item that drew a gasp from the audience: a 2.9 pound, $799 Linux laptop, the Lindows MobilePC.

Here are the stats:

  • 933MHz VIA processor

  • 256MB RAM

  • USB 2.0

  • Firewire

  • Ethernet

  • 12.1" 1024x768 TFT display

  • PCMCIA slot

  • Compact Flash slot

Michael Robertson tells me “It has the same mini-ITX form factor that's in the Lindows Media computer.”

There's no WiFi or modem capabilities installed, but you can add a PCMCIA card for both. During the break I heard no complaints and plenty of kudos. (Nobody in the room had used one yet, though, other than Michael Robertson, who used the box to give his whole presentation.)

“This thing kicks ass!”, said Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome and TechTV, (that's him in the picture, with the laptop), before he moderated the panel that featured Debian project leader Bdale Garbee. Garbee gave me a more cautious response (his day job is with HP): “Pre-loading Linux on a laptop is always a good idea.” (LindowsOS is based on Debian.)

One show attendee told me, “This is down in the discretionary price range—I look at it as a highly loaded Linux PDA.” I'll have more of a chance to kick it around later. But from a quick once-over, it appears to be solid, which is a prime consideration for a laptop (ab)user like me.

Lindows MobilePC is ready to buy and ship today (links to vendors are on the MobilePC page). If any readers make the plunge, we'll be eager to hear reports.

I'll be issuing more dispatches from the Summit, which runs through tomorrow.

Doc Searls (doc@ssc.com) is senior editor of Linux Journal.

______________________

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

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Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

I agree with others.
14 inch screen should be bare minimum.
I prefer a 15 inch screen or larger with combo drive.
I really really really really hope that they produce such laptops with those options or specifications.
Processor a little slow.
1 Ghz should be bare minimum.
Options for wi-fi / wireless should be available for those who want it.
Let's all encourage the manufacturers that they increase the tech specs.
I really really really want to see Lindows / Linux "take off"
but we need better and bigger laptop hardware.

techie41

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

I agree to a certain degree, but dis-agree on some things.

One thing is, some looking at this notebook, well, it's a bit like comparing the Lindows Mobile PC to other laptops.
(Similar to comparing a standard desktop computer to the Mini-Itx boards in regards to power)....

I actually own one of these notebooks myself (using it to type this message), and find that it has been an absolute joy to use. I have an external usb2.0 housing, which my spare cdrw drive is in.

The fact that the Lindows Mobile PC has a small 12" screen is actually a plus!..because that's one of the reasons this thing is so darn small.
I love it!
I actually had it on eBay a couple of times, because I was thinking of getting something else. But guess what, no-one bought it! Thinking back now, I'm actually glad they didn't....I'm keeping it!

The only real negative I can think of with this notebook, is that the battery power could have been better, but, you can always buy a second battery, or, take the charger with you when you're at someone elses place, or holiday (which you would anyhow).

If the small screen is not liked, there's no real need to complain, just buy a completely different notebook, and pay more!

This notebook, I believe, has been designed for convenience, size, and price. It does the job it is DESIGNED to do.
~(if you want to go sailing, but a boat, not a motocycle, ie: Buy the correct tool for what you NEED)~

In regards to combo drives, just get a notebook with one in it.
I bought this notebook *because* it is Sooo small. (I was prepared not to have an in-built optical drive). I mainly use this pc for the Internet.
I use Linspire 4.5 and have a membership to the C'NR Warehouse.
(billed to me at US$4.95/month ($7-something Australian/month)

Very affordable and Highly Recommended! [And NO, I don't work for Linspire.com]

In regards to 1Ghz being the bare minimum, well, is 933Mhz really *that* much slower? ...as if you'd notice it, I mean, REALLY......

The new 'Linspire Mobile PC' IS 1Ghz! (1GHZ Antaur)
I bought this one from sub300.com. If you live outside of USA or Canada, just ask Marc about other payment arrangements, he's very helpful.

I did a bank-wire from Australia, long before I could use Paypal! (In Aus, you need a Credit Card or Visa-Debit Card in order to Verify and use Paypal. I didn't have a Debit-Card at the time of ordering this notebook.
Marc gave me the necessary bank data in order to do the transaction. The bank helped me with the rest).

Regards to:
"but we need better and bigger laptop hardware".
You mean, YOU need better and bigger laptop hardware. :)
If you're into video work, or gaming, or LARGE phot files, then, I understand....

But, for Internet, this is quite sufficient.

Regarding:
"Options for wi-fi / wireless should be available for those who want it."
Well, it is!
My USB Wi'Fi pen works just fine!
I can access the Internet in my bed-room, or wirelessly from the loungroom! I must admit though, that could could be more support for more PCMCIA Wi'Fi adapters.......true!

There will be in time. I'm sure the software developers at linspire.com are working on this right now, with future Linspire OS versions.
In the meantime though, I'll just have to continue enjoying my Internet through either the Ethernet port, or my USB Wi-Fi pen, when I'm in the loungeroom, getting access from my wireless ap.

I hope that this posting has claryfied a few things, if there are any readers who actually found this place!
If not, well then I hope you had a great laugh, and I was glad to be of service, and entertainment for a brief moment of your life! :-)

Enjoy.
Best regards to all,
'The_Studios'

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

You are right, a 12 inch is necessary for weight. If you have a desktop, why duplicate everything. But battery life is something that bothers me. I want at least 4 hours on battery to make it really mobile. And eight hours would be better.

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

Understandable about the battery life.....
I would then suggest a centrino, with a 12" screen if you want small, as well as light!

The model I'm referring to is the ASUS S5200N
12" screen, up to 7.5hours.
Here's the link to Asus Australia.......

http://au.asus.com/products/notebook/s5series/s5200n/s5200n_overview.htm

I wanted one of these myself but couldn't afford it.
I've bought 2 notebooks now and can't afford a third! lol.

Like to buy my Linspire (Lindows Mobile PC) ?......
Thinking of selling it.

contact:
the_studios@hotmail.com

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

I have sold my eNote,
Thanks.

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

puffchumpy's picture

Thanks for the review of this notebook, it

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

Hi,
That's ok.

I understand what you mean about performance.
Regarding running Open Office on it,etc, I don't recall running OpenOffice as well as Mozilla/or others simultaneously.

However, with the Linspire OS as a whole, I have always found it to be more 'sluggish' than say, Windows XP.
I say this because it seems to take longer to load things in Linspire......I don't know why.

But with the eNOTE (Mobile PC) as a whole, I would expect it to run slower running Linspire, than XP.

Sorry about being vague, but I cannot answer your question directly. (Would I make a good politician?...HA!)

Anyhow, I'm thinking of selling my Mobile PC, but I'm not sure yet. I've since bought something else.
If you'd like to discuss this with me, you can contact me at~:

thestudios@hotmail.com
Use Subject~: eNOTE Enquiry, Linux Journal.

Thanks.

Re: Linux Laptop sounds good, but screen far too small !

Anonymous's picture

Hello all.

I have sold my eNote (Mobile PC).
Thanks.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

This: http://www.gearzoo.com/product_info.phpproducts_id=32 particular model (Win compatible) seems to have a 56k modem built-in...unless I'm missing something.
I'm not sure whether Windows can be installed on the 'Lindows' mobile PC, or whether the model @ Gearzoo in the link above has slightly different componernts (aside from the 56k, that is).
Has anyone tried to install Win XP on the Lindows model?
I'm thinking of buying one, but I just don't know yet.
As far as LindowsOS goes, if I did get one of these laptops, I'd like to first see how it goes on XP, then try LindowsOS later, if both are compatible with these systems.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Well I thought I'd answer my own question. I decided to go out and buy one (a Lindows Mobile PC) I'm actually using it to type this. Well it's VERY small and light. Very nice. It did come with LindowsOS 3.0 (from where I bought it)...though I did get 4.0 previously. However, regarding my question above about the compatibility and the 56k modem, the answer is YES to both questions. Yes is does have a 56k dial-up modem, and it works with XP. Underneath the unit, when I pulled off a small panel, it looks as what seems to be a bay to install a wi-fi module! If it is I'm buying one It's exactly like another laptop I had, so I'd say there's a good chance. The 56k modem isnt advetrtised, maybe because it may not be compatible with LindowsOS...just a guess, but it works with XP.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

How did you get XP on it? with no CD rom? did you use an external? if so PCMIA or USB?
If it runs XP I will get one soon.

It is little & light just like I want for school!
email me dude at the monkeysack@hotmail.com

Thanks

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Hi,
Sorry I haven't got back to you. I very rarely ever come here anymore, but thought I'd check up on my post. Yes it definately does run XP. I'm using Linspire 4.5 on the notebook currently, but when I did have XP on it, I installed it with an External cd-rom. (Was actually a standard desktop cd-drive, housed in an External 5 1/2" USB 2.0 drive housing).

I installed Linspire the same way.
If I don't get back to you, it's because I've forgotten about this place, or don't plan on coming back very ofter.

Anyhow, I hope I've been of some help.
~Best regards.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

No modem ? No wiFi ? Is it mobile ?

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

A laptop needs at least a 14" screen to be useful for more than a couple of hours- I gave away a 12'' iBook because it had me going cross-eyed. Anyway a Dell and Debian are all you need..

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Would I need to know how to operate a computer to use this?

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

yeah, considering it is a computer....

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

For potential Linux newbies, this sounds quite good. we want a system we can mess around with without fear of harming our currrent work, and we don't want to have to set up a new desktop.

Someone suggested a Dell and Debian. But what Dell model laptop and how do you install Debian without risking the loss of your Windows OS?

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

WiFi (802.11b) and/or a modem are mandatory, and coincidentally two of the trickier things to set up on a notebook. I find it curious they are not included. The price is not that great either (for a generic notebook I presume). I would think someone could pick up a dell or ibm thinkpad for about the same price.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Yes, also, the processor is not a that fast either. Even though they advertise it at $799, thats $800 for a 933mhz laptop. People can get a much faster computer for about the same amount.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

>> "I would think someone could pick up a dell or ibm thinkpad for about the same price."

Perhaps, at least a reconditioned one, but have you ever set up Linux on either of those brands of laptops? The Lindows laptop comes out of the box with everything working, from video (typically a sore spot on Linux laptops) to PCMCIA.

As for WiFi and modem, I'd rather be able to choose the one I wanted, and with wireless standards still in flux having one of today's flavors built in could be a real impediment later. One of my laptops -- a real top-of-the-line "executive" model -- has the very be-all and end-all of modems built in, a fire breathing 28.8K model. Whoosh! (-:

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

My experience so far: somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours. Would probably go down with heavier use.

The fan is very quiet, but it does run a lot, fwiw.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

I'm curious; after informing us that Linux Journal is a sponsor of this show (http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6611), there has only been one story out of this event from LJ?

Are more coming? Where is the press coverage on this event anywhere? /. and NewsForge hardly have any coverage, either.

Baffled reader

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Doc's picture

I was the only LJ staffer on the scene, and I took way too many notes, so I didn't put up a follow-up piece instantly. There's a lot to go over and sort out.

But stay tuned.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

> 2.9 pounds of penguin power

Did you mean 1.3 kilograms? Or perhaps 1.07 kilograms (if pounds are troy)?

As Homer Simpson stated it, "Who stops the metric system? We do".

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Hi,

I've just bought a Lindows Mobile PC, and have been to a site to answer that very question. The site said 1.33kg.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

the line is "who keeps the metric system down?"

What's the battery life?

Anonymous's picture

I searched around the product pages, and nowhere can I get even a hint of how long this thing's battery will last.

Re: What's the battery life?

Anonymous's picture

I heard 1.5 to 2 hours. It has to be a very small battery.

Re: What's the battery life?

Anonymous's picture

I emailed the folks @ idot.com and got a response that suggested the Lindows folks claim around 2 hours -- but clearly indicated they hadn't been able to verify that. Also that they're working to get an extended life battery, too.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

One thing they forgot to mention which I found on the site is that it has a 20G hard drive.

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

Michael Robertson tells me "It has the same mini-ITX form factor that's in the Lindows Media computer."

Does this mean it has a desktop motherboard in it?

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

of sorts. mini-ITX is a standard for very small motherboards (like the via epia boards, etc). So it's not a desktop ATX form factor, but it is a much more standard board configuration (who knows about the board itself) than the average laptop :-)

Re: Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

Anonymous's picture

. . . which presumably means upgrades and repairs on these laptops could be affordable instead of requiring you to depend on just the manufacturer for, say, a replacement mobo. How cool is that? (-:

Small correction

Anonymous's picture

Bdale Garbee, not Barbee

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