Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Linux

Ask Slashdot: Best Choice of Linux Laptops For Elementary School? 310

Posted by samzenpus
from the while-they're-young dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I work in the tech department of an elementary school and I am trying to show the tech director the world of Linux. I will be installing edubuntu but I am not sure which laptop to get. I know there are companies like System76 that sell laptops with Linux already installed but I wanted to ask you for your thoughts. We want something small and light weight for the kids. We do not need much horsepower as the main use will be internet/email/word processing and whatever other apps come with edubuntu. Basically, what we really want is something MacBook Air-like but not nearly as expensive. Thoughts?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Best Choice of Linux Laptops For Elementary School?

Comments Filter:
  • Lenovo mini (Score:5, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:33AM (#40319057)
    The Lenovo laptops always work well with Linux. The S110 (mini) may be good for elementary school. I am using one daily running Fedora 16.
    • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:39AM (#40319103)

      Lenovo support is also a boon in this kind of situation. Their driver website and technical documentation puts other vendors to shame, and in my personal experience the machines have fewer quirks or one-off features that typically don't mesh well with Linux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anne Thwacks (531696)
        I have 4 Lenovo laptops of different models running Ubuntu here. All much better supported on Linux than on Windows XP or Windows 7. Have not tried Vista.
      • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Informative)

        by realityimpaired (1668397) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:08AM (#40320489)

        Why not buy something that comes with Linux pre-installed, and has next day on-site warranty included in the base price?

        http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=sqct12&model_id=vostro-1440&c=us&l=en&s=soho&cs=ussoho1 [dell.com]

        It's relatively inexpensive, has a reasonable amount of horsepower, is reasonably light-weight*, and it has Ubuntu preinstalled, so switching it over to Edubuntu should be as easy as "apt-get install edubuntu", and you have a reasonable assurance that everything will work out of the box, and the *base* warranty option on it, because it's in the SMB line of products, includes next business day onsite hardware support. They've also been known to give some very nice deals to educational institutions.

        * - It's not as small/lightweight as the V130 I'm typing this on, but that has been replaced by the V131 and they seem to have removed the Linux option on it. That being said, if you get a V131, everything'll work out of the box, too, and that is a smaller/lighter system.

    • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <(aussie_bob) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:54AM (#40319191) Journal
      Just spec up a bog-standard set of components with a Chinese manufacturer like Molo http://www.molo-electronics.com/product/Pro158.Html [molo-electronics.com] or Elijah http://elijahindustrial.en.alibaba.com/product/539115573-200670129/13_3_inch_wide_screen1_8GHz_DVD_ROM_Bluetooth_Camera_laptop.html [alibaba.com].

      It'll cost you a fraction of the price of the Lenovo or any other branded equivalent, look prettier for the kids and work fine with whatever distro you specify.

      These things are commodities now, especially in an elementary school setting. Why pay a premium?

      • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:15AM (#40319579)

        Why pay a premium?

        Warranty and overall build quality (including strength and durability of the casing) come to mind. Children are not the most careful bunch.

        • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:14AM (#40319815) Homepage

          Children can break anything. Why not get something that's cheap to replace?

          • Re:Lenovo mini (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:26AM (#40319867) Homepage

            ...especially keyboards.

            Before buying anything find out exactly how easy it is to get hold of and fit a new keyboard. Some brands sell keyboards online directly to consumers and they pop right out if you know exactly where to press, others need you to disassemble the entire machine and put together a purchase order before they'll even bother to find somebody to talk to who knows the correct order code.

            PS: I've been through the mill on this one. I usually replace laptop keyboards right after purchase to get rid of the icky local keyboard layout.

            • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:06AM (#40321061) Homepage Journal

              Children can break anything. Why not get something that's cheap to replace?

              ...especially leopards.

              Before buying anything find out exactly how easy it is to get hold of and fit a new leopard. Some brands sell leopards online directly to consumers and they pop right out if you know exactly where to press, others need you to disassemble the entire machine and put together a purchase order before they'll even bother to find somebody to talk to who knows the correct order code.

              PS: I've been through the mill on this one. I usually replace laptop leopards right after purchase to get rid of the icky local leopard layout.

              I like it when the online-ordered leopards pop right out.

              https://userscripts.org/scripts/show/128626 [userscripts.org]
              https://xkcd.com/1031/ [xkcd.com]

          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            Sure they can break anything but they don't have to. Toys that can withstand some abuse last a lifetime; toys that can not withstand abuse last a day.

            The laptop don't have to be indestructible to survive being handled by a child. My old EEEPC is an example of a reasonably rugged device that has seen quite some abuse including drops, and still works.

            • by Joce640k (829181)

              The laptop don't have to be indestructible to survive being handled by a child. My old EEEPC is an example of a reasonably rugged device that has seen quite some abuse including drops, and still works.

              I didn't mean to imply that rugged/cheap are totally incompatible. I meant some of the premium machines are no better than the cheap ones.

              The original EeePC is a good example of cheap/rugged (mine's still going strong too). EeePC keyboards, etc. are also very easy to get hold of. I'd say they're ideal machines for schools. They don't look much like MacBook Airs though so I guess they're out.

              • by wvmarle (1070040)

                I didn't mean to imply that rugged/cheap are totally incompatible.

                That's what I read somewhat in your remark before: "just get something that's cheap to replace", implying "why bother about ruggedness".

                Thinkpads tended to be quite rugged, at least the IBMs were. I suppose Lenovo's are too. Not the cheapest laptops, but they're supposed to last longer.

                Sooner or later I'll go get a new netbook again. Asus' EEEPCs are prime choices for me, especially with my experience from the 701, even with all its shortcomings. Hope they're still as rugged as that one. Unfortunately last

              • At the risk of saying me too, well, me too.

                I have an eee 900 which is still going strong despite some considerable abuse. Since they didn't bother with thinness which is hard, the build quality is excellent, in fact much better than very many premium laptops. I think the hinge on it will probably last decades. The eee 900 is an impressively well built machine, and everything is accessible, too. They even went to the effort of making the SSD (well, one of them) and the wireless card replacable, the former wi

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Indeed. He said it had to be small and light, I'd say get a stock Acer Aspire One for about $250 at WalMart and slap just about any flavor of Linux on it you want. When the kids break it, just buy another one; I've had three of them stolen, and in each case I was damned glad they weren't MacBooks. I'd have been REALLY pissed if they weren't so cheap.

            Most distros of Linux (at least the ones I've tried/used) are dirt-simple to install, nothing like the PITA W98 and XP were.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:57AM (#40319755)

        One of the main reasons I check slashdot is to see what's going on in "Trailer Park IT". Buying noname chinese shittops off Alibaba.com and giving them to school children is a new one, I will give you that.

        One question: What happens when 50% of these things show up DOA? Just call Ms. May Elijah in Shenzhen, and she sorts it all out?

        • What happens when 50% of these things show up DOA?

          Hasn't happened so far.

          Failure rates don't seem to be significantly different from any other computers we've used, but at least these are cheap enough for us to carry plenty of spares.

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          As a geek I often get asked where the best place to buy a new computer is.

          I always answer "the place nearest to where you live" for exactly this reason. It applies whether you live in a trailer park or not.

      • by rhook (943951)

        Lenovo sells at a discount to educational institutions, especially if you buy in bulk.

  • Have you tried? (Score:4, Informative)

    by buzzsawddog (1980902) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:39AM (#40319101) Journal
    I have found http://www.linux-laptop.net/ [linux-laptop.net] useful in the past. Good on you for introducing them to linux at a young age. Wish I would have found linux before 14...
  • I'm going to assume that you're going to get a bunch of these things, I'd contact several different manufacturers and solicit bids for laptops running Linux. Hopefully you'll be getting enough volume to be taken seriously and helped by people who sell computers. If it's for the Kids to use I'd look real hard at "Netbooks" because kids don't mind the smaller size and you'll find that you can get what you need at a much lower price point. Call Dell, Call IBM, Call them all and tell them you want Linux Laptops

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:56AM (#40319751)

      Call Dell, Call IBM

      Calling IBM won't help. Unless you want an IBM BladeCenter . . . every kid gets his own blade. Or why not virtualize and consolidate everything to one 24/7 zSeries. The server will have a better attendance record than the school kids.

      IBM doesn't sell PCs. But they will sell you a cloud of them, so that would be easier for the school kids to carry, because clouds are lightweight. Hey, no need to worry about theft! How do you steal a kid's cloud like his lunch money? And since the cloud is nowhere and everywhere, the kids can use it at school and at home.

      Of course, the ultimate solution would be to buy an IBM Watson system. It is so smart, that you can get rid of those damn kids in your school altogether.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Call Dell, Call IBM, Call them all and tell them you want Linux Laptops for a whole school what can they do for you.

      Also find out exactly how easy it is to purchase/replace keyboards. Get a salesmen to demonstrate the process with any machine they try to sell to you.

      Kids and keyboards, eh? Who'd have thought it.

  • Need? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:51AM (#40319171)

    Do elementary-school students really need laptops?

    • My nephew, 11, and niece, 6, were both required to purchase iPads for the school year.

      Computing is rapidly replacing blackboards and pencil&paper.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:47AM (#40319453)

        Any school requiring my kids to purchase anything from a particular vendor, ESPECIALLY Apple is going to get sued by me, in addition to my pulling my kids out and sending them to a better school. (There must be a better school, since any school making such requirements is obviously inferior.)

        iFad's are not necessary for education, in fact they're a distraction from it, (unless the education is on how to play mini-games). Any public or private primary or secondary school that insists on electronic babysitting of students rather than actually teaching them is part of the reason we are falling farther and farther behind other nations in education.

        Why not take the money squandered on devices for playing games, and spend it instead on paying teachers? Maybe even buying them supplies like chalk, etc., so they don't have to pay for that stuff out of their own pockets, like mine did.

        Apple must be loving that though... I wonder how much money Apple kicks back to the people running the schools every time one agrees to go along with that kind of harebrained idea to waste a bundle on technical toys from Apple... Plus, each time this happens, it helps entrench their "experience" (over functionality) in the minds of impressionable children, and reinforces the value of standoffish, jealous, closed-mindedness, versus the openness of the community that Apple has stolen so much from, (OS-X borrowed very heavily from a variant of BSD) and given so little back.

        • by Capsaicin (412918) *

          Any school requiring my kids to purchase anything from a particular vendor, ESPECIALLY Apple is going to get sued by me ...

          Under what head of action? Wouldn't it depend whether it was a government school or a commercially operated one?

      • Re:Need? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mindscrew (1861410) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:20AM (#40319613)

        Why would you EVER buy a 6-11 year old child a 300+ dollar piece of technology to take to school?

        Are you really trying to just throw you money away?

        If a school district ever required my (nonexistent) child to carry a device around that costs hundreds of dollars, i would pull my kid out of that district fater then they can say "but its our requirement!"

        Are you KIDDING me? The last thing i want is for some 5th grader to steal my child's ipad that i paid for with my hard earned money.

        If they want to provide them... and provide support.... and provide replacements to stolen ipads... free of charge from me... than fine. But this would never happen with our education budgets.

        And dont come to me to replace the stupid thing when it comes up missing.

        Im sorry but that is ridiculous.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Why would a school require a specific brand of media player?
        If they wanted to use computer technology, it would make much more sense to specify "a device capable of running a webbrowser with atleast 7" screen" or something like that.

        • Don't ask me. An Apple rep obviously sweet-talked the administration that there were hundreds of educational 'apps' for different ages.

    • No, they don't really. But one can't start their political education too early.

  • Netbooks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by subreality (157447) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:53AM (#40319177)

    You don't want an Air. That's basically taking the parts from a full power, full featured laptop and using heavy integration to cram it into an extra thin case.

    Doing that for cheaper is basically the definition of "Ultrabook".

    But you're looking for less powerful and less expensive. That's square on what Netbooks were created for. Pick your favorite 12" model.

    If you want something with more midrange performance, look at the Thinkpad X130 series. It's not a real Thinkpad, but more of a premium-grade netbook.

    • Why not use Android tablets? I delibertately didn't suggest iPads, since they'd probably be more expensive, even w/ Apple's educational discounts. But take Android based tablets, and have Ubuntu's tablet software loaded on top of that - including Edubuntu, and go w/ that. Parents will have a choice of what to buy, be it Motorola, HTC, or whatever. The kids can take it around, use it for homework, games and so on. A lot easier to use as well.
      • by guruevi (827432)

        iPad's are easier to manage though and the tools to do so are free and Apple gives free lessons and has free engineers customizing packages even going so far as doing pre-imaged iPad's (and other systems) from the factory out (did I mention, free). Also, free unlimited support (far beyond the standard warranties) and sometimes even free parts if they feel the issue has inconvenienced you.

        I work in education and Apple is by far the CHEAPEST option when you consider the whole framework of things you need to i

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thinking outside the box, what about something like the Asus Transformer Pad TF300? It's lightweight and cheap but should be fine for email etc and comes in a version with a nifty detachable keyboard. I haven't seen this particular version, but the previous gen. Transformer Prime seemed sturdy enough to cope with kids detaching the keyboard.

    A quick search turned up a couple of guides for dual booking the transformer prime, plus some articles about the bootloader being unlockable via asus, so perhaps this ne

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:58AM (#40319217) Homepage

    I have an Acer laptop with an 11.6" screen and I am very fond of it. The size and weight are great.

    The model I have is no longer made, but the Acer Aspire One series is still made.

    Most of those seem to have an Atom chip. I also have an Acer with an Atom and I pretty much hate the Atom... very slow. It's possible that newer Atom chips suck less.

    I haven't tested the AMD "E" chips yet, but here is an Acer Aspire One with a dual-core "E" chip.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215340 [newegg.com]

    The only thing is that for kids, it might be better to have an SSD rather than a spinning-metal hard disk, but that model has a 320 GB spinning-metal hard disk.

    Oh, on at least my Acer laptop, modern Linux distros like Ubuntu or Mint just work. All hardware detected correctly, WiFi works out of the box, etc. As I said, I haven't tried the newest one so I can't promise anything for sure.

    steveha

  • by bmacs27 (1314285) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:10AM (#40319275)
    ...a Bugatti in sort of a Camry price range.
  • Asus/Google Tablet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:10AM (#40319277) Homepage

    I think that an Android tablet might be a good way to go: very compact and lightweight, durable (no moving parts such as a hard disk or cooling fan), and very long battery life. Less expensive than a laptop, and you could buy accessories and software with the left-over money: get some sort of keyboard and Android software for word processing and such.

    Asus and Google are going to announce a low-cost Android tablet. The rumored specs are: 7" screen, Tegra 3 processor at 1.3 GHz (that's 4 general-purpose cores), probably 1 GB of RAM and probably 8 GB of flash storage. Expected price will be $250 or $200.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/257296/googles_sub250_nexus_7_tablet_coming_late_june_report_says.html [pcworld.com]

    I have a Nook Color that I rooted, and installed "PhireMod 7.2" (a particular build of CyanogenMod 7). I am very pleased with my 7" tablet. It's big enough to be useful and small enough to carry around, and I love the battery life.

    steveha

    • I would moderate you up, but instead I will agree in print. The upcoming Google tablet looks exactly what is needed. Provide the kids with keyboards and desk stands for writing. Host a few HTML5 applications on your web server. Host an ejabberd or openfire server as a replacement for internal email; far less overhead. There is so much that can be done when you don't need to administer Windows overhead.

      The other option is the Blackberry Playbook. Yes, I know there are downsides and the 16Gbytes is being dis

    • I think that an Android tablet might

      Well, the #1 problem with that is it almost certainly won't run edubuntu without a fair degree of hassle. It looks like ubuntu has been ported to the eeepad transformer, and I suppose yo could assemble the edubuntu packages, but why bother?

      Less expensive than a laptop, and you could buy accessories and software with the left-over money: get some sort of keyboard and Android software for word processing and such.

      So now you've got something where the base model costs as m

  • There was a flurry of models with Linux installed (and there still are some being made/sold), and then the community created instructions for installing basically almost any other distro, on them. Best of all
    - small
    - lightweight
    - cheap

    I installed xubuntu, mint, DSL and SLAX on mine.

    Linux Netbook [linux-netbook.com] is a good resource, if you decide to go this route.

  • by aloniv (1972020) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:19AM (#40319321)

    ThinkPenguin is one of only a few OEMs that sell hardware that is fully supported by free (as in freedom) drivers (so the hardware will continue to work even after the manufacturer stops supporting it). If you visit libre.thinkpenguin.com then the Trisquel distro (a fully free distro based on Ubuntu without any proprietary software) gets a share of the profits.

  • https://friendly.ubuntu.com/ [ubuntu.com]

    This is a list of hardware models which have been user tested to work with ubuntu. I assume edubuntu will work just as well.

  • Ignoring the point whether they actually need a laptop at that age, I'd go for a nice used Thinkpad X40 or something. That's more than enough processing power, they are small and light, durable and cheap.

    The demands of little children and bank managers are fairly similar. They both are likely to damage "cheap" consumer notebooks (which often cost substantially more than a used Thinkpad) easily, so you need something durable.

    What's more important than the hardware is the pedagogic framework behind it. It's n

  • Raspberry pi? $35 per student plus screens and peripherals.

    Get the woodworking kids to design cases for them.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Woodworking in elementary school?

      • Balsa wood, glue, done.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        I for one was doing simple woodworking in my primary school. Especially the later years. I also joined a carpentry club at the time.

        That did not include the use of power tools, by the way. If any power tools were needed the teacher/supervisor would do this. The rest a 10-12 yo can handle. (Jig)sawing, hammering a nail, glueing: it may not be so perfectly straight yet, but they're old enough to do it.

  • iPads? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Have you considered iPads?

    From a form factor perspective is it imperative that the kids have laptops and not tablets?

    If budget is a real world concern then iPads either cost as much or are, more typically, cheaper than a decent laptop/netbook. Any potential software to be purchased can be purchased with Apple's education discounts. Tablets are easier for IT to manage (reducing TCO) and have a more portable form factor which the kids will probably prefer. In addition, kids will probably prefer tablets as the

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The topic is about teaching kids how productively to use computers. Not consume content. There is nothing to learn from an iOS device.

    • by Casandro (751346) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @01:52AM (#40319489)

      What can a child do with an iPad at that age?
      If it's just "reading books" and "playing games", then you should consider cheaper alternatives since obviously your child could also use books and games. The even more pressing issue is of course that tablets don't give tactile feedback. Playing with bricks, for example, gives that feedback. They need to learn how strongly they need to grip such a block and they practice that since they want to learn how to use the blocks. That's an experience a tablet cannot give them.

      Don't confuse the latest fad rich people have with something which will benefit your child.

      • My personal experience has shown that children can do much more with an iPad than they can with a keyboard and mouse. Tablets are generally so easy to use that toddlers can pick them up and do meaningful things with them while they still can't make heads or tails of a mouse and keyboard.

        I fail to see how comparing any of this to blocks is a useful analogy as blocks are not the alternative, a laptop is. If you are equating the tactile feedback of blocks with that of a laptop keyboard then, one it's superfluo

        • by Casandro (751346)

          I am sorry, but you apparently haven't understood what a computer is. You are, unfortunately, not alone.

          Just because many people don't need computers at their workplaces now get tablets doesn't mean that tablets (in their current unsophisticated form) are a replacement for computers. And even today most people don't need computers at their workplace as they aren't educated to use computers. What they actually would need are word processing systems.

          However that might change. In a competitive workplace, those

    • I don't know, I've watched my niece and nephew playing educational games on iphone and android, and they seem to be learning a lot. They play counting games or whatever, and they're young, but do you have any reason to believe they can't teach kids? It seems kind of close-minded to reject laptops as useless when you haven't even tried.
      • by kermidge (2221646)

        Agreed. Few years back, maintained an old IBM desktop for a friend at her business, which I had set up with Linux when she brought it to the store to get Windows problems fixed. Gave her then-eight-year-old his own account, desktop icons for several local and on-line ed games, showed him the ropes (took all of five minutes), and he had a blast. Some stuff let him tie in exercises with school lessons, other stuff let him explore (dinosaurs!)

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      transformers would make more sense.

      at least they'd be linux and with a kb.

      • I agree, another possibility.

        It seems to win on price. From my perspective, assuming they both meet the student's needs, the one last question would be how easy they are to manage. Things like lock down, etc.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      My kid is reaching primary age now, and I dread the idea of having to buy a tablet for him. Some schools here actually give iPads to their students... a waste of money.

      Tablets are OK to read books, watch a video, browse the Internet or read an e-mail, but all of those (except watching video) he can't do yet. He can read/write maybe a hundred Chinese characters plus a handful of English words by now, but he first should learn to write them properly. Not just because it teaches him to write, but it also teach

      • I fail to see how a tablet is different than a laptop with regards to learning how to write. They are the same fine motor skill deniers.

        iPads are not silver bullets and they present different tradeoffs vs. laptops and netbooks. My original point is that the OP should consider his tradeoffs and his customers, not his choice of OS.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          It is no difference when it comes to learning to write.

          Yet it makes a big difference when learning to type, which nowadays is (or at least should be) the logical follow-up on learning to write, when the learning to write part is done.

          You CAN NOT touch type on a tablet. That's the difference. Tables are useful only as textbook replacement, and in that case you should probably consider an e-book reader with colour screen instead of a general purpose tablet.

  • Chromebook (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Samsung has a nice one, total cost of ownership is a lot lower, replacement is trivial, and the web gives you all the apps you need. What's not to like?

  • Not an HP! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:04AM (#40319537)

    First, my recommendations:

    Acer - I have seen minimal compatibility issues. Build quality ranges from pretty good to ok. Modifiable. Aesthetically respectable.

    Asus - Generally of pretty good build quality. Aesthetically above average. Usually quite compatible. Modifiable from my experience. Has made some unfriendly decisions regarding Linux lately. I am partial to Asus, at least until they push too far with Linux hostilities. They also make motherboards, which is a good skill to have in a manufacturer.

    MSI - Pretty good.

    Gateway - Pretty good from a few years back, though I am not sure now.

    Build Your Own - There are websites out there that will allow you to build your own laptop to your desired specs. More expensive, but you get what you truly desire.

    Now for the crap:

    HP - Sometimes they look great, they usually perform very well in Windows and Linux, of generally acceptable build quality. But they do something that really, REALLY pisses me off; they poison the BIOS to prevent hardware modification. I once tried to change my Broadcom wifi chip to an Atheros, both identical half-mini PCI, and the computer would refuse to boot, providing only an error message of "Unsupported Hardware Detected". I despise HP. I could go on too.

    Sony - (insert profanity here)

    Lenovo - Often pretty to look at, good performance on Win/Lin, but like HP they are hostile to customer hardware modifications and often poison the BIOS. You might also note that flashing the BIOS does not correct the problem easily. They sure aren't IBM anymore. But I think IBM may have also shared this authoritarianism.

    Mac - Beautiful little bastards. But I'll leave it at that.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Acer - I'd stay well away from Acer. I brought laptops and monitors from them in the past and everything broke. Their build quality is rubbish and their returns process is a PITA designed to string everything out until after the warranty expires.

      Lenovo - I've never had any trouble with changing screens, batteries, memory and disks on Lenovo laptops. Sure it's awkward to work with the tiny laptop parts but that's going to be the same on any laptop. Lenovo have clear hardware manuals that tell you how to do j

  • Stop It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KalvinB (205500) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @02:10AM (#40319565) Homepage

    You know what would educate kids better than some flavor of laptop?

    Teachers.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      You know what might work even better?

      Teachers AND laptops.

      Why couldn't they think of that?

    • You are assuming OP has control over hiring process of teachers. You can very well understand from OP's question that, he wants you to assume that everything else is constant (or that OP has control over nothing else other than the choice of laptop), and wants help deciding the laptop. Is it too tough to answer that?

  • It have adequately big IPS display, attachable keyboard when you need one, and it is not expensive (like $200).
  • Obviously you want an Ultra-book of some type. They're basically the same as the Macbook air (yes, even aluminium unibodies) but you can get them slightly cheaper (especially in the USA). I don't know which one to recommend on basis of Linux compatibility but I'd suspect most would work well. They also (by Intel requirements) use Intel graphics which pretty much always play nice under Linux - and usually the battery life of an ultrabook is great. In 6 months I would bet that there will be $700 ultrabooks as

  • by jampola (1994582) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:00AM (#40319771)
    Over 20 years ago each classroom at my Primary School (Australian for Elementary School) had an Apple II and by the time I went into High school, they had an Mac in each room.

    20 years later, my 7 year old nephew is proficient at working his way around his little Netbook running Debian with lxde, typing emails to me after school and putting together his Primary School grade projects using LibreOffice Draw and he can do it with his eyes closed. He's a smart kid but he's not alone. Many kids these days can muster this without batting an eyelid. Don't underestimate the kids!

    For those of you who think that it is unreasonable to have someone at that young age to own a laptop, you need to get out more and get with the times. I think it's a great thing if the school has the opportunity to enable every kid to have his or her own laptop. This kind of thing (along with proper parenting and supervision) is what will make the kids of today absolute geniuses compared to us old farts of yesterday.
    • There is nothing wrong with 7 year olds using computers. There is everything wrong with getting them to lug them about and expecting them to last more than a couple of months.

      Kids are careless. My daughter, a high school student, got issued a school laptop last year. A 11 ish inch LCD Lenovo. She is pretty careful as they go, but a couple of weeks ago we had to replace the screen. She claimed to have no idea how it got destroyed. From talking to the school computer admin, there has been a massive number of

      • Failing that, buy the cheapest you can, because the quality of the screen is irrelevant if someone steps on your laptop or it falls off a desk.

        Or buy a toughbook CF-U1. Light immersion proof and robust to drops from 1.5 m on to solid concrete.

        Though I pity the fool who has to use the blasted keyboards on those wretched things.

  • by otuz (85014) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:27AM (#40319875) Homepage

    If you want a laptop, pick one or two of these:
    - Compact
    - Powerful
    - Cheap

    Your requirements are invalid, if you try all three.

  • Ubuntu runs fine on this machine. It also runs fine on my son's acer aspire s3.

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

Working...