A Roomful of Meth-Addicted Monkeys

by Doug.Roberts

I was on travel last week with one of my colleagues. We went to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to attend a software team meeting sponsored by a client, and to give a couple of presentations to PSC staff.

During a quiet period my colleague and I happened to find ourselves comparing notes on our company-supplied laptops: Dell Latitude E6500s. My colleague, let's call him Diglio, runs Windows 7 on his, and I am running Kubuntu 10.04. We were just sitting ourselves down in an empty conference room to take advantage of the CMU wireless to check our email.

Diglio opened his laptop, which had been suspended, and nothing happened. Well, sort of. The fan came on, but not the screen. Nothing he could do would turn the screen on, he had to reboot.

Watching that I said, "That happens to me sometimes too. I thought it was the Linux power management tools that were screwing up. Do you sometimes close the lid to suspend, stick the laptop back in your case only to find a very hot laptop a bit later when you realize that it didn't suspend properly as well?"


It was then that I remembered a Slashdot story about the Dell E6500s which I had read back in November. One of the comments was, "...the power management firmware seems like it was written by a roomful of meth-addicted monkeys."

After observing how both Windows and Linux experience the same power management issues on the E6500s, I'd have to agree. How hard could it really be for a vendor to get his own hardware's power management firmware to work properly?

Dell, any comments on that?