The State of the Market: a Laptop Buying Guide
The R Cubed XW1580 is the Linux edition of the ASUS S96S platform, preloaded with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn. Sporting a 15.4" WXGA widescreen display, the overall impression of the XW1580 is cheap chic—that is, a little sportier than the very low-end but definitely not Sony-VAIO sexy either. The XW1580's construction is solid, utilitarian and, at nearly seven pounds, heavy for its size. However, if you want to get a feature-filled laptop at a decent price—and you're not a road warrior—this may be your machine.
Our test machine came loaded with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn and equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 80GB 7,200rpm SATA hard drive, DVD-RW drive, and the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS with video card with 256MB of video RAM.
Like R Cubed's other machine reviewed here (the XW1760), you can expect an above-average, customized Linux experience with the XW1580. Unfortunately, although nearly all functionality exists under Linux, some of the same limitations as discussed with the XW1760 hold here—no Webcam or modem support under Linux.
Dual-boot is an option but only with Windows XP.
S-Video TV output.
Keyboard sags a bit when typing.
Left side has much unused real estate—why not stick in a USB port?
Touchpad buttons require a lot of pressure.
Support/warranty: one-year parts and labor included.
Price as tested: $1,447.
At the time of this writing, HPC Systems, a company better known for its servers and high-end workstations, was preparing to market a line of laptops preloaded with Linux. The V1J-Linux is HPC's first batter to the plate, and we can confidently say that HPC has gotten on base with a stand-up double. The V1J-Linux, which is a Linux-loaded ASUS V1J, is a well-built, attractive, full-featured laptop that will work well for those who put functionality over portability, though it is not a beast. It has a sleeker, more appealing design and sufficiently large (in our view) 15.4" WXGA screen when compared with its larger, bulkier cousin, the ASUS Z84J platform, which is found elsewhere in this article. One thing that helps this machine over the ASUS Z84J is its carbon alloy casing, which makes it much lighter (around six pounds) and visually appealing. This also was the only machine we tested with a spill-proof keyboard.
Another bonus feature is the V1J-Linux's RoHS compliance, meaning that it meets the strict European Union specifications for levels of hazardous substances, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and others (see Resources for more information).
Our Ubuntu/Windows Vista Business test machine arrived with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2.0GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 120GB hard drive, a DVD-RW drive and the ATI RADEON X1700 video card with 256MB of video RAM.
Despite the fact that our review machine was preproduction, it is obvious that HPC Systems has the means and desire to offer a great Linux experience. Our V1J-Linux came dual-booted with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn and Windows Vista Business, with nearly every function working well, including fingerprint scanner, 3-D acceleration, FireWire, Fn keys and so on. Unfortunately, however, the built-in Webcam is not working, and we hope that someone someday will get these ASUS Webcams working once and for all.
Sensible, ergonomic layout and strong multimedia features for a business machine (for example, S-Video and HDMI outs).
Excellent 15.4" display.
Ships with optical scrolling USB mouse.
Dual-boot with Windows Vista is an option.
Will ship with machine-specific documentation.
SDCard/MMC card slot.
No Webcam support yet.
Support: three years of hardware support; three months of no-cost remote support; “best effort support” after three months.
Price as tested: $1,750.
James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide