More on Poulsbo (GMA500), Intel, and the Community

I've never done a follow up post on a topic before, but I think this is a topic worth further discussion. Yesterday I posted a rather pointed article focused on Intel and what I consider to be a very poor business decision regarding the GMA500 GPU. There were great comments, and even a responsive post over at Moblinzone.

The opposing argument is that it's not Intel's fault that the GMA500 graphics core is so unsupported in Linux, but that it's the vendor's fault for using the thing in the first place. Oh please.

If I were a factory producing forks, and a hair brush distributor approached me to buy my new 5-tined fork to sell as a comb -- I'd say no. As owner of the Finglehopper Fork Factory, I'm more concerned about the value of my brand than I am about selling my forks to someone who will use my name to misrepresent my product. The GMA500 + the Atom 1.3Ghz CPU was Intel's answer for vendor's demands for lower power, higher performance solutions. That was their answer, they weren't "bamboozled" into selling the product to companies with ill intent. So either Intel was bullied into selling the wrong product (meaning they are weak and/or don't care about their brand), or they didn't care about the consequences for consumers.

Either option is ugly for Intel, and even still they handled things poorly:

1) They put their name on a GPU that was developed by Imagination Technologies, using drivers written by Tungsten Graphics. I have serious doubts the PR department was contacted before making this decision. This is my biggest beef with the company, because they've built up my trust as a company that supports Linux with their product line.

2) Even with the above change in dealing with the Linux (and computer users in general) community, Intel fails to accommodate us in other ways. NVIDIA has closed drivers, and yet they manage to honor Linux users with usable video drivers. Do I wish NVIDIA had open drivers? You bet. But at least they provide usability.

3) Rather than provide ABSURDLY limited Linux drivers, Intel should have just not supported Linux at all. I feel most sorry for those folks that bought the Dell Mini 12 with Ubuntu pre-installed. Certainly if Ubuntu was pre-installed the hardware would be Linux compatible. Um, nope. Yes, perhaps Dell should have read their contract with Intel better, but come on, Intel sold their stuff with no upgrade path? I'm sorry, but that's just dumb.

So in the end is Intel the only company to blame? I suppose not. Dell, Acer, Sony -- you guys should have known better. In fact, with this black eye, perhaps you have learned and won't trust Intel anymore. If only there were other companies making CPUs... (PS: Hey guys, I can provide you with links if you need them)

And even if you buy into the idea that Intel is blameless in this GMA500 debacle, they're certainly the only folks that can fix it. So I reiterate:

Dear Intel,
Please do something. I don’t want Windows on my Acer, and I’m sure there are a lot of folks with the Dell Mini 12 that would rather not keep their old version of Ubuntu in order to use their netbook. We’re still friends, let’s make up, OK? Make it right, and we’ll chalk this up to a bad oversight.

Sincerely,

Shawn Powers

Linux User, Linux Journal Associate Editor, and Intel fan with a bone to pick.

______________________

Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

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Gma 500 update U can thank me later ;)

Dan the man's picture

Linux on the mini 12.

lee8oi's picture

I bought a mini 12 with Ubuntu back in august because A. it was cheap. B. my girlfriend wanted something small but not too small, and the '12' was cute, and perfect. I eventually came to regret this because of the whole poulsbo deal. I was able to still work the poulsbo drivers into Mint 8 and get everything working but it was becoming an increasing concern of wether I would ever be able to put anything newer on this old thing.
Then I found Jolicloud. Everything works out of the box, Even live. Wireless, bluetooth, all of it. I've been using Linux for quite some time and I find this impressive. Especially on a system I almost had completely given up hope having linux on it. So word of advice to all my fellow 12'ers, Get Jolicloud. Personally I used the ubuntu live usb creator to write the pre-final iso to a usb key, setup some persistance space, and rebooted. Everything worked great, and it retains settings/changes and you can install the system to get the full performance. I'm using both ways considering my 40gb hard drive is "failure may be imminent" according to the 'smart'. And its still never been so pleasant using the 12. seriously look it up on google. I won't even bother spamming the address JOLICLOUD!! lol. If you got a 12 you shouldn't be dissappointed. If you are...then you might just be whining too much. Zip it, or buy a different "tiny-computer-with-linux" to suit your needs.

P.S. I totally agree with you man. Intel made a mistake somewhere with this menlow/poulsbo sheeit, and they better set it right in the future to steer clear of making these mistakes.

Whining pussies

Anonymous's picture

Seriously, what a bunch of pussies whining about nothing.
Firstly, there are drivers floating around plenty of places, if you have half a brain and some skills this should not be an issue.

I can only assume you haven't been using linux too long because back in the day, this situation was the rule, not the exception. Only this is better because the company actually released linux drivers, which would never have happened 10+ years ago (maybe not so much even 5+) years ago.

So yea, intel have invested millions of dollars in linux development, contributed large amounts of code towards the kernel and graphics systems and almost exclusively release completely open drivers. They release one closed (but still supported) linux graphics driver and here you re crying like a spoiled little brat of a child.

Waaaaaahwaaaaahhhh....

Just my 2 cents

lee8oi's picture

Yer an ass? And clearly talking out of one as well. But thanks for your consideration and your useless input anyways...have a nice day?

Wow.

bbenne10's picture

I simply fail to see the usefulness of your post. I get it. You're a linux guru. You rock at this whole ./configure, make, make install thing. Fact is - so do I and so do a lot of other people that are concerned about this issue. The point is not what they've done before this move, but the blunder that they've made this time. It's not that they've done nothing to support linux. I can deal with a complete lack of support. It means that I know what to buy and what not to buy. The problem lies a little deeper than that. (Not that you care, you just wanted to use some ZOMG!!!one!!1 PROFANITY on the Intarwebs)

But! In case you do care, let me spell it out for you:
We've been lead to believe that Intel actually ENDORSED this product (because, let's face it - THEIR NAME IS ON IT). At this stage, Linux support is also implied through their previous relationship with the open source community.

The assumption of FOSS support could arguably be seen as naive, but it's not the main problem in my opinion. Our main problem is that intel really seems to want NOTHING to do with this product. They're attempting to clean their hands of it. They don't support it on anything but a razor thin line of outdated distros and they have publicly stated that they didn't make it - deflecting the blame onto another company.

No one is 'whining' because they don't offer support. We're 'whining' because we were simply LEAD TO BELIEVE there would be support for us.

I'm a competent linux user. I'm perfectly capable of installing the poulsbo driver on my linux install (despite the problems of having to rely on old releases of xorg-server, and quite a few other packages - including an old version of the kernel). However, I'm finding that it's useless unless I want to stagnate my entire linux system to approximatly the Fall of 2009. (Please, don't pull the "you're using unsupported software / distros" argument out here. It quite simply doesn't fly. 'Supported on linux' means it should play nice with the kernel and be well maintained enough to be work on newer kernel / xorg versions)

My Point? You're in the minority here. You obviously don't have a full comprehension of the problem at hand. You've proven your ignorance both through your argument (which is full of holes) and though a lack of any semblance of useful critique.

((So why am I feeding the Troll?))

I want to suppose that you

back to xp 's picture

I want to suppose that you dont work for intel , your message was very childish , I want to try linux in my netbook but is the video card brain !!!!!1 not the sound card

More on Poulsbo (GMA500), Intel, and the Community

used computers's picture

The main point I was trying to make is that when you compare Macs with comparably equipped Windows PCs, it may surprise you that, overall, Macs sometimes beat Windows PCs in the price/performance comparison.

feel disappointed

zenwalk's picture

feel disappointed...
after i check most of mini netbook from dell using chipset intel gma 500 which it so critical
truly, i dont think would buy netbook from dell

it's not linux ready. To much waste my time

My Name Is Gaous Afrizal from Indonesia
http://gaousafrizal.blogspot.com

More on Poulsbo (GMA500), Intel, and the Community

refurbished computers's picture

I'm more concerned about the value of my brand than I am about selling my forks to someone who will use my name to misrepresent my product.

The Bad and the Good, ARM Netbook will be WORSE wrt Open source

hanishkvc's picture

Hi All,

To summarise things as it stand today wrt Netbooks/UMPC/MID market and TRUE Open source and Intel Vs ARM.

a) Processor
----------------
* Arm is Good at Power consumption but bit low on Performance
* Intel is good at performance but bit low on Power compared to Arm levels

But given the tradeoffs, it is to be expected. Intel Atom is slowly moving towards the Arm territory with respect to Power AND Arm is slowly moving towards the Intel territory wrt Performance wrt the Cortex AX cores relative to Mobile platforms like Netbooks.

BUT coming to FREE AVAILIBILITY of DOCUMENTATION of their Chips and its associated peripherals, Intel is slightly better than ARM Inc (Where is the up to date ARMARM document ARM Inc wrt latest Arm versions ???, SO TRUE OpenSource People PLEASE DONT ASSUME that Arm is better and one should switch from Intel to Arm (what a person mentioned above), you cann't be more wrong, wrt what we want ultimately.

b) Core Chipset (All IO in General)
------------------------------------
Keeping power consumption in mind, today Arm based SOCs are better integrated and flexible wrt all io modules be it ram, graphics, video, 3d, audio, expansion (serial,parallel buses), core support logics (Timers, IntCntr), storage cards AND finally additional integrated coprocessors.

Intel was stuck with bad companion chipset combinations for such low power requirement products like Netbook (i.e provided you want Netbook to be full day computing) so they had to come out with a low power companion chipset for Atom (Be it N series or Z series) AND the FIRST step in that direction from Intel is what US15 (Poulsbo) is and that in turn uses GMA500 (PowerVR). They have still bit more distance to travel to match ARM SOCs here, but atleast it is a start.

Hopefull either

* they will be able to get support for GMA500 added to Mainstream linux thro either a regularly updated binary driver or better a open source driver or best case being open up the documentation for it.

* OR replace PowerVR 3D+Video core with their own in the future generation of the Atom companion chipsets or the Integrated CPU+GPU soc (the current one is still PowerVR).

DONT FORGET THAT Majority of the ARM SOCs out their use the PowerVR 3D + Proprietry (Dependent on who makes the SOC) Video accelerators. So A ARM based Netbook will be AS BAD OR WORSE THAN the current Intel Netbook platform AS FAR AS TRUE OPEN SOURCE people are concerned.

OR LUCKY for all, Imagination Opens up the documentation or releases a Open source driver for 2D, 3D and Video logic of their logic.

EeePC 1101HA - GMA500 Support -- Disappointment

Disappointed_EeePC1101's picture

I have a new EeePC 1101HA with GMA 500. Was so enthused to shrink WinXP partition and install Fedora 12. Was very much looking forward to Compiz desktop - no deal. In fact, out of the box, I do have viewable video but it's limited to 1024x768 (have yet to explore getting full res). Under WinXP, it runs at native 1366x768 (exact number not sure now - but it's definitely wider than 1024. Linux is always my preferred boot environment - I just use WinXP so I can use the slingplayer app from slingbox.com (which works great!!).

I seriously hope that Intel provides updates. I (foolishly) figured support would have been there as I've been an ardent desktop Nvidia user that sometimes gets annoyed with drivers and was gaining an impression (key point for Intel marketing!) that Intel was just going to be good for what they provide on Linux -- POOF - there goes that. I figured that for a netbook, I ought to be good [sigh]. Intel - your marketing was working, gaining points and you just lost a whole bunch! Would it help if I said Please ;-).

Windows Vista "Ready" / "Capable" Redux?

J.A. Watson's picture

Isn't this EXACTLY the way Intel behaved a few years ago, causing the Windows Vista debacle? Have you read some of the email transcripts that came out in the court battle over that? It is pretty obvious from those that Intel believes they are big enough that they don't have to care in the slightest about their "good name", or whether something actually works properly or not. So, number one, this should come as no surprise, and number two, comparatively speaking this is absolutely "small potatoes" as far as Intel is concerned.

jw

There are vendors on the

Anonymous's picture

There are vendors on the market who make netbooks with not only intel chipsets: Samsung, HP, MSI...

I love the look of my Mini 12. But my next laptop will be without intel inside.

Mini 10

StephanVI's picture

My Dell Mini 10 is also my last machine with Intel-stuff inside, if they don't respond quickly with usable drivers for the GMA500

Moblin for handhelds

Steve 'Chippy' Paine's picture

This situation should get better soon.

I've seen a couple of graphic demos of Moblin on Menlow platforms and in both cases they were test platforms for developing software for Moorestown. I've also had it confirmed that Moorestown uses a PowerVR core/GMA 500 so when Moblin 2.1 for handhelds preview/alpha comes out (Intel tell me before Christmas) then we should at least see a new driver/kernel combination and as it moves forward, Moblin has to continue to support GMA 500.

Chippy.

The root of the problem is

Anonymous's picture

The root of the problem is the Linux Kernel itself. It doesn't have a stable API (binary compatible for kernel modules). It should have a way to say 2.4.x is stable API, for which a module compiled on any 2.4.x will always work with any other 2.4.x.

They can claim 2.5.x is a development/unstable API that it is subject to change and make up their mind before they get to the "stable 2.6.x API". Once they have a stable 2.6.x API, they can do all their experiment, mucking around in 2.7.x.

The way they do it right now is such a waste of time and resources that it is moronic. Every little 2.6.x.y release breaks all the existing kernel modules and require new compilation from source all over again, and that's every 4-6 weeks or so.

Worse yet, they are too busy playing the freakin' tweakin' game that they don't have any decent documentation for every new or changed "features" in the kernel. Many device driver projects who have less than full-time devotion to writing device drivers will find that all the structures and API's in the kernel have been replaced completely, or broken up into many different new structures with different context that need different initialization and nuiances of timing or mutex locks required, or disappeared in the new kernel revision. It is worse than a shot in the dark even if you find the time at all to read the Linux Kernel Mailing list.

Look at Windows market, their API changes every new major release, but remain stable with each major relase. Even with that many vendors can't even write decent or stable device drivers until months after official releases. They don't even have resources to support their devices on a newer major Windows release, or it's the "if you want support for such and such, you have to pay more for it". They would rather tweak the hardware or firmware slightly so they can sell a new device to enhance their revenue stream, milking the consumers instead of providing decent support and services for the existing customers... Uh... the suckers who already paid.

The whole thing $uck$ right now.

I so agree!

Anonymous's picture

Yes Intel, it's all too late now. I bought my netbook on the assumption that you provide working Linux drivers. If they don't arrive soon, I shall return the netbook!

what happen ...

Alejandro Ubeda Areas's picture

well I'm a linux user from Nicaragua , I have a Dell mini
inspiron 1010 with GMA 500 , I've read all about this GPU but , all that I saw was not good news for mi ubuntu and, I really hope that intel as a company takes responsability for this situation and find the way to give us a chance , and develop a decent driver or support because I felt like betrayal from intel

thanks
PD: sorry for my english

Warning for people into Asus EEE

Rob Hooft's picture

Asus EEE is another brand that promises Linux compatibility. A warning, however, for linux-fans that consider buying the beautiful 1101HA: it also contains the GMA500.

Perhaps Intel could consider...

Anonymous's picture

A new Intel inside logo that that mentions the GMA500. We might get a better idea what we are buying before we buy. If they feel justified in what they did, they ought to be eager to brag about it. Weren't they telling us that they would have support for Linux. If they did, I don't see that Intel is even trying address their credibility. If not they certainly seem to been rather quiet about the expectations they worked so hard to achieve. I fell for the A075h. I can't even tell how crippled things are. Even with Adam Williamson's help what is the best that can be acheived? I don't even care about 3D. Video is not that important to me. But scrolling and moving windows around shouldn't regress by 15 years. How can Intel even find vendors that can be so Linux blind. There can't be that many that have been around for 15 years. Come on Intel don't let this become the new standard by which you are measured, I know that Intel can do better.

Sadly it is always going to be like this

PauloPinto's picture

If you look around that is how most vendors are acting nowadays.

They say that they support Linux, but in the end, it only a way to get a foot in the community or to get publicity.

None of the so called 'Linux friendly' companies is really supporting it.

- Intel supports some chipsets and some of their development tools;
- Asus sold their soul after the EEE PC sucess;
- NVidia releases binary only drivers;
- ATI has improved, but still releases partial documentation;
- Some of Google software is WINE based or still to come status;
- Nokia is using Maemo, but does not support PC Suite or similar in Linux;
- Lots of companies are using Linux internally, because it is cheap, but only provide Windows/MacOS X clients

I could still make a more exhaustive list, but I guess most of us here will get my point.

Completely Agree

tuxy's picture

Waiting for Sketchup for Linux from Google for quite a while now, from a company that runs such a good project for Linux, Summer Of Code, what is the purpose of GSOC? a promotion of Google? if you care so much about Linux to fund such a project as GSOC and to have your own Linux why the hell a major piece of software that prevents some from using Linux is not available for it for so long? Intel is behind Moblin, a Linux distribution for Netbooks yet still an IGP commonly used in Netbooks, an IGP with Intel's name behind it is not properly supported on Linux, these things are as puzzling as they are irritating you can find so many instances of love you, hate you from the big players.

Choose better hardware in future

laseray's picture

I see your problem. You are an Intel fan. That is like saying you are a Microsoft fan merely because most computers come with their products.

Please get over the whole Intel thing. Their chipsets are average at best. But unfortunately are all over the place (sound familiar?).

Other options exist. ARM on smaller devices. AMD/ATI and so forth on larger ones. Don't whine about one bad chipset of the many available. Make a better choice, to not use Intel whenever possible.

First off I'll say that I am

Anonymous's picture

First off I'll say that I am an Intel fan. Second off, their graphics plain and simply suck. Third, the Intel Atom is simply amazing considering it's size. AMD makes good processors as well, but I personally feel that overall Intel's CPU's are faster (or more responsive at least) from my own usage. I have no problem with anyone else's personal choice however. It all depends on the user preference.
I did buy a Acer Aspire 1 for the fact that I thought it supported Linux rather well (it comes with a version on Linux right?). Boy was I wrong. It will run Linux just fine most of the time, but it has absolutely no graphic support whatsoever.
Looking back on it, I realize it was a poor job of research on my part more than anything. I still prefer Intel for processors, but I am extremely disappointed by the lack of support shown by Intel concerning a very popularly used GPU.
Again, I have no problem with AMD/ATI users. Just don't try to convince people not to use one brand over the other just because of your own personal preference.
Last but not least, we can at least agree that Micro$oft still $ucks.

Intel made a promise

cjcox's picture

A few years ago, Intel made a "promise" (reminds you of Microsoft doesn't it?) that they would not release any new hardware until they developed a working reference driver for Linux.

Totally agree with the article

KeithCu's picture

Intel is too big of a company to play the victim here. No one forced them to use this hardware, or forced them to accept proprietary drivers.

Intel has the problem of cranial-rectal inversion. Even their free drivers have been underfunded. I heard it was 3 years before TV-out worked on the GMA 9xx series on Linux. The drivers that shipped with Ubuntu 9.04 leaked memory like a sieve.

Thanks for writing this article. Hopefully it wakes them up. I have heard they love Linux and aren't not fans of Microsoft. Well, you'd never know it. Personnel is policy.

Responding to the response...

HenryKingman's picture

...somewhat against my better judgement at this point.

But what the heck! We can debate civilly, right?

> They put their name on a GPU that was developed by Imagination Technologies, using drivers written by Tungsten Graphics.

Well, it might be a bit more complex than that, Shawn. As licensed from ImgTec, the "GPU" may well have amounted to little more than a bunch of IP (intellectual property). True, it might have been an off-the-shelf core block, but given the need to fit it to an x86-type interconnect, rather than the usual ARM bus, I'm thinking Intel may have done an IP-level license rather than a core block one. If so, the done thing is usually for the implementer to rebrand it. For example, ARM rebrands its own cores based on the ARMv5 instruction set as "ARM9." TI has OMAP. Intel did XScale. You get the picture.

I'll grant you one thing, though -- the decision to go with something (GMA500) so similar to existing and open GMA5xx GPUs was an unfortunate one for consumers. For embedded customers, I guess it was down to branding consistency. But heck, I don't even think they should have called Menlow "Atom," but I guess it was too irresistible to try to leverage that strong a brand in the device market. And, it *is* the same processor core.

By the way, you do realize that Menlow actually shipped before Diamondville, right? So Intel actually didn't know when it branded the GMA500 that netbooks were even going to be that big a deal.

> 2) Rather than provide ABSURDLY limited Linux drivers, Intel should have just not supported Linux at all.

Not an option. In the device market, folks have to be able to evaluate with Linux. EVERYTHING supports Linux nowadays.

As far as the quality of the Poulsbo drivers, I'll pitch in my "sample size of one" impressions. It was a hoot hooking up a little FitPC2 to my Mom's HDTV and seeing Ubuntu on the big screen! Can't do that with your Diamondville netbook.

And I've had no stability issues in normal all day, every day use at the Internet cafe, running Ubuntu LTS. For the intended use of a netbook, browsing and email, it's fine and good in my experience. Running Moblin? Not so much, because there's no open source implementation of OpenGL ES yet. Once that happens, us Poulsbo device owners may get to enjoy more of the hardware's capabilities. :-)

> I feel most sorry for those folks that bought the Dell Mini 12 with Ubuntu pre-installed. Certainly if Ubuntu was pre-installed the hardware would be Linux compatible. Um, nope. Yes, perhaps Dell should have read their contract with Intel better, but come on, Intel sold their stuff with no upgrade path? I'm sorry, but that's just dumb.

I can see your point. Yet, I'm pretty sure there's a Poulsbo driver on the way for Ubuntu 9.10. Or, maybe the next LTS release in six months. At least, CompuLabs told me they'd be skipping an Ubuntu release, but that there would be a new driver coming.

So, is it really *no* upgrade path -- or just an upgrade path likely to frustrate the Linux ubergeek, who actually *looks forward to* an OS upgrade more often than every couple of years? You realize your somewhat in the minority on that one, right? At least those poor Dell Mini 12 owners out there are probably getting great battery life!

I don't know. Please remember, I'm not at all *for* closed drivers. I'm just a pragmatist about it. Had my ear bent by too many device and chip execs about the value of closing things to expect instant change anytime soon, I guess. But, it'll happen. The device world will ultimately embrace the openness of the PC and Linux, too. Today, they laugh at us. But... you know the rest.

Keep up the great work at Linux Journal. I've subscribed forever, and it's always a treat.

-Henry

No need to fear civility...

Shawn Powers's picture

Henry,

I'm glad you came by to comment -- yes, my feathers may be ruffled, but I'm generally pretty easy going. And I can definitely debate civilly. :)

1) Please remember, the basis of my entire gripe is one of loyalty. Perhaps I am in the minority with the frequency at which I update my system -- but c'mon, Linux users are all in the minority. Intel has been the go to company when you want your hardware to "just work" under Linux. They earned my trust, and now betrayed it with this whole mess. Thus "kicking your friends in the face."

2) I too prefer open drivers. In this case, however, I'm not even pushing for that. I just want the same treatment NVIDIA gives Linux users: Closed binary drivers that are consistently available.

3) I'll admit, I haven't tried 8.04LTS on my Acer. I did jump through the hoops to get things to work with 9.04 though. Sadly, it's not just a matter of what release version you have, but you must also have a certain kernel revision window in order for compatibility. Perhaps all supported kernel versions in 8.04 are supported with the Poulsbo chipset -- if so, I commend Intel a little for that. My short experience with 9.04, however, died with a kernel update.

4) If you do indeed really like the GMA500 GPU -- wanna buy a barely used Acer Aspire 751h? :)

5) Really the icing on the cake was a Moblin session at LinuxCon. The developer was showing of the cool features of the interface, and mentioned it currently only worked with Intel hardware. He said, "But if your small form factor netbook has Intel hardware, which basically all of them do, you can try this out today."

I raised my hand and asked, "What about my netbook with the GMA500 chipset?"

After a heavy sigh, and a "fine, you got me" type response, he went on to mention there was a single kernel version released a while back that did support Moblin on the GMA500, and while it's not in the standard download area, he could get the files to me, etc, etc.

Basically, from a user's perspective, the GMA500 is a big bag of fail. Intel sold their 5-tined fork to haircare vendors to include in their brush kit, and now we're all left with bad hairdos. This is the Linux community, however, so I'm confident we'll have folks like Adam Williamson that will get things going for us. It's just that with Intel, we've gotten used to things "just working." The GMA500 makes it feel like 1999 again, and not in a good way.

Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

Dell mini 12 = FAIL

lipbalm's picture

The Dell mini 12 is a beautiful machine. It had so much potential to be great; it should have been the $400-$500 MacBook Air for the Average Joe. But, the component choices were terrible: the 1GB memory cap, the limited hard-drive choices (80GB 4200rpm max), and the extremely bad choice of video chipset.

Were Dell to have pulled its head out of its ass in time, the mini 12 would have been a mini 9 with a 12-inch display. Bigger screen, better keyboard (correct right-shift key), AND usable internals. Not only would it have been a perfect Ubuntu box, it also would have been a fantastic hackintosh.

Every Dell mini to date has been flawed by compromise. The 9 was too small and the keyboard was terrible, the 10 and 11z have unusable trackpad buttons, and the 12 was perfect on the outside and anything but perfect on the inside.

One of these vendors has to be capable of making a machine similar to the Dell mini 12 (thin, light, head-turning good looks), but with upgradeable components and good Linux compatibility...

I've got a Fujitsu U820

Rodney Dawes's picture

I've got a Fujitsu U820 laptop. It's also got the GMA500 chip of fail. And I don't care if the drivers are proprietary or not. Even with the proprietary drivers on an older version of Ubuntu, the 2d performance is still horrible, AND there is NO 3d at all. It's kind of sad that I can't watch a low resolution video on it at full speed. What annoys me is that Intel didn't even bother trying to support it on Linux. They paid someone to write a basic crippled driver that's only barely better than using the framebuffer directly, and then just dropped it. Come on Intel, how about a little support eh?

Wow - a sticky wicket.

Chris Reich's picture

Both sides make points that are valid. Both make some points that approach lame-ness. If I were Shawn I'd be just as upset as he is, and I would sell the offending hardware and replace it.

Over the course of my lifetime I've been burned by just about every company I was loyal to. International Harvester, Atari, Citibank, and General Motors all come to mind. The lesson I've learned is that things change, and one always does well to complete ones homework before making decisions.

Shawn's indignation is justified. Intel's position is reasonable. Life will go on. We all get a little smarter.

All my best - Chris Reich; Rochester, New York
twittername: chrisreich

Go Shawn! Tell it like it

metalx2000's picture

Go Shawn! Tell it like it is!

http://filmsbykris.com/
Everything you ever need to know about Open-Source Software.

Glad you are continuing with this.

cmnorton's picture

Vendors can do better. Good communication might cost a little more on paper, but it saves in the long run.

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Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

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Sponsored by ActiveState