Lindows Launches $799 Linux Laptop

by Doc Searls

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 ( is senior editor of Linux Journal.

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