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Linux Business HP Portables Hardware

HP Releases Linux-Based Notebook 392

SteamyMobile writes "As the article says, 'In a sign the Linux operating system may be gaining traction beyond server and other back-room systems, HP said Tuesday it will be the first major PC maker to ship a business notebook computer pre-installed' with Linux. This is great news because, as anyone who has ever tried to run Linux (or even Windows XP) on a laptop knows, laptops come with all kinds of funky hardware, and it's often a mess trying to find and configure the right kernel modules to make things like software suspend work correctly. Having it shipped pre-loaded, and with support, makes it easy for me to decide where I'm getting my next laptop. Linux has been ready for the desktop for a while now, but it is good to see companies like HP acknowledging that."
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HP Releases Linux-Based Notebook

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  • linux-laptop! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goeland86 ( 741690 ) <goeland86 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:55PM (#9875170) Homepage
    Linux isn't only ready for the desktop, it's ready for the laptop too!!! And I also have an HP laptop which I'm happy about, where gentoo runs without any trouble on "standard" laptop parts. Only tricky bit was getting the DRI to work with the radeon mobility u1, but even that was easy. Go HP!
    • I've got an older compaq armada 1750. It's a pentium 2 with 128mb of RAM and I use a CATV 10mbit usb network device to connect to my ADSL and local network.

      EVERYTHING works fine - touch pad included with a default Mandrake 9 install.

      EVERY version of windows I've tried requires me to install drivers for everthing to work fine - and the CATV device is one of those......which means I'm not able to connect to the internet to grab the drivers I need. This includes XP (which runs to slow on it and didnt' last
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:55PM (#9875171)
    get one without linux pre installed?
    cause I really like that windows stuff! especially solataire
    • "But can I get one without linux pre installed?"

      Quote from the top of every HP hardware page, in big bold letters:
      "HP recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional"
  • by Craig Maloney ( 1104 ) * on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:56PM (#9875173) Homepage
    I'd be more impressed with HP's Linux offerings if they'd support the current crop of laptops out there, specifically the ones with Broadcom wireless drivers and media card slots. Sure, I managed to wrestle the wireless drivers into submission and usability, but the media slots have no hope of ever being usable at this state.
    • Supporting linux on all the hardware they have sold would be expecting way too much from a company. It'd be quite a large step if they make it a point to offer linux as a supported option in their newer models from this point on.
    • by jg ( 16880 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:26PM (#9875374) Homepage
      I presume you mean the SD slot as media card...

      The SD consortium folks did not publish enough information for open source drivers. You had to sign various agreements to see the specs, etc.

      However, this situation is now changing...

      Our dear Redmond friends recently asked them for permission to ship SD drivers in source form; we (HP) said "sure, so long as open source drivers are possible". So this got them off the dime to open up SD implementations (at least the software side; they are keeping the mechanical and electrical specs locked up; they want to ensure interoperability of the hardware, and enforce it as part of the contracts you have to sign to get access to those specs).

      So the programming specs are getting opened up; this should have taken place by now. This didn't happen in time for the Nx5000.

      There is an SD driver developed independently on the iPAQ handheld for Linux from information that had already leaked out over the last several years; this needs further work for particular SD chip implementations. But it was problematical to distribute, at least by a member of the SD group.

      At least it is now possible for do drivers, not possible in the past. I don't know how long it will take to get support done for a particular implementation; if you are interested, go for it!
      - Jim
  • by darth_MALL ( 657218 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:57PM (#9875182)
    Is it really a selling point selling a laptop pre-installed with Linux because it's such a challenge otherwise? What happens when it comes time for my annual reinstall? Not a real bargain if you ask me. You know this unit will be simplified to the point of removing the learning curve for Linux, and so it will be sold to novices who will be in the dumper when it comes time to fix the wear and tear. Just my 2 cents.
    • Or maybe it will be sold to those of us who already have a Windows licence and would prefer to not pay the Microsoft tax again?
      • I'm not talking about a cost/licensing issue. You know this will fall into the hands of numerous Joe-User types who will not be prepared for the relative difficulty of a new OS. It's damned easy to make it function like the usual (read:Win) OS until it blows up. Then where is the user left? Easy Street? No.
        • Joe user types are not going down to Best Buy and buy a notebook with an unfamilar OS on it. They're going to say, "I want a windows laptop!" and the trained monkeys will dutifully point them in the right direction.

          If somebody buys a laptop with Linux on it, they'll either 1) learn to use it because they know something about it in the first place, or 2) return it within fifteen days (at least, that's the legal limit here in Canada). Your point is moot.

          • Sorry, Have you ever shopped @ Future Shop? The staff are on comission. That means sales. That means selling whatever you can. That means selling a Linux based laptop to the dummy that don't know no better.
            • Actually, I buy my notebooks from IBM directly :) I *do* stand around a lot waiting for the monkeys to pull a printer or whatever down from their shelves while they try to sell their overpriced products to the unsuspecting masses :)

              I think you're not giving the ignorant dummies enough credit. See, folks like my dad want to pay as little as possible, but still, he'd never pay over $1000 for a laptop with a foreign operating system. I really can't see it happening.

              Besides, you and I both know Future

            • Exactly. And the half the windows users don't know any better neither.

              Last time I was in Future shop I watched a guy pay them to remove his spyware AND to wipe his system and reinstall windows.

              There's a pretty good chance that someone silly enough to pay to fix a problem (spyware) that will be solved with a wipe/reinstall would be having issues with Linux too.....but it's not an OS issue...it's a user issue........

              I might also add that sales people who are making a commission might lean towards windows
          • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:18PM (#9875319) Homepage Journal
            Joe user types are not going down to Best Buy and buy a notebook with an unfamilar OS on it. They're going to say, "I want a windows laptop!" and the trained monkeys will dutifully point them in the right direction.

            Hmm, I think you've got it wrong. It actually goes something like this:
            1. Joe user walks into Best Buy and asks for a Windows laptop.
            2. Trained monkey shows Joe the laptop and offers him an extended warranty.
            3. Joe says that he likes the computer and will buy it, but doesn't want the extended warranty.
            4. Trained monkey offers the extended warranty again.
            5. Joe refuses the extended warranty again.
            6. Trained monkey offers the extended warranty again.
            7. Joe refuses the extended warranty again.
            8. Trained monkey offers the extended warranty again.
            9. Repeat the previous two steps ad nauseum
            10. Joe walks out of the store frustrated and orders his computer online.
    • Novices don't fix the wear and tear. They pay people to do it, buy new computers, or simply deal with - and complain about - the fact that their computer is slow, spy/adware ridden, and broken.
    • by Veridium ( 752431 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:06PM (#9875239) Homepage
      What happens when it comes time for my annual reinstall?

      If HP is smart, they'll do what they do for their windows products... Include a backup partition or a restore CD/DVD that you can restore everything too. I mean seriously, novices are in the dumper anyway when fixing wear and tear on their Windows boxes. I ought to know, about half my income from my consulting business is repairing windows machines for home users.

      There is no reason at all that HP couldn't have a default restore utility that works exactly like their windows restore. Just wipes the drive, and puts everything back the way it was when they got it on day one. That is hardly unfeasible. I could write a perl script...
    • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:07PM (#9875248) Homepage
      What happens when it comes time for my annual reinstall?

      What annual reinstall? The only reason you have to reinstall Windows once a year or more often is that the Registry, .ini files and other system files gradually get corrupted because any program can alter them in whatever way they want. Linux doesn't have that problem because programs can only alter their own .configure files, not the basic system ones.

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:14PM (#9875298)
      What happens when it comes time for my annual reinstall?

      You put in the 'rescue' disk and click on "Yes".

      There, not so hard, is it?

      Not that I've ever had to do a reinstall of Linux for maintenance purposes. It doesn't fragment, crud up or slow down and BonziBuddy doesn't run on it.

    • Is it really a selling point selling a laptop pre-installed with Linux because it's such a challenge otherwise?

      The selling point, I think, is that it is a laptop that is intended for running Linux, so you don't have to worry about lack of driver support (presumably).

      As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, it is an HP, which kinda negates any possible selling point :)
    • I'll buy one as soon as it's available over here.
      Becuase is linux is already installed on the beast by the vendor, all the hardware will just work(tm).
      I can buy it and get on with being productive with it, rather than spending a lot of time getting it all configured, installing kernel modules etc only to discover that some vendor has claimed to ship a particular piece of hardware, but has in fact shipped something else which they have renamed. Eg Dell shipped me a SoundBlaster Live! in a desktop that ha
    • Not the Point (Score:3, Informative)

      by archnerd ( 450052 )
      The point is that you can be sure that all the hardware on the laptop is Linux-compatible. It's not a matter of ease-of-configuration. I bought an HP zt3000 because it was the most Linux-friendly laptop I could find which fit my needs, yet I'm still stuck with a modem and an SD reader which won't work in Linux and probably never will.
  • hp laptops (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grahagre ( 459342 ) <greengr@users.so ... t ['for' in gap]> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:57PM (#9875189) Homepage
    lots of people bitch and complain aboout the quality of hp laptops, i think theyre great. personally i would have thought ibm would be the first major laptop maker to embrace linux pre-loaded, oh well hp is going to make a lot of money from this. thanks hp.
    • Re:hp laptops (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Drakon ( 414580 ) *
      IBM did this for about two years, if you search the archives you can find where they cut it off, since it turned out to be cost prohibative. You can still order new IBM laptops with linux preinstalled, they're just not going out of their way to support every piece of hardware on every laptop they sell anymore, like they used to.There simply wern't that many people willing to shell out what IBM charged at the time for a laptop, even if they are the best laptops on the planet. HP will probably NOT make a lot
      • I'm split between an IBM R51 with a 1.5GHz Pentium M, 14.1 XGA or 15 SXGA (or better), and 512MB RAM, with an Orinoco or something and a BLANK hard drive, a Medion MD42100 (NOT the German model - the US model is a Centrino, so I'd sell the WiFi card - I don't like the idea of running ipw2200 drivers), or an Averatec 3220H1, with a 256MB RAM upgrade (or if I can find it cheap enough, the 3225, which is the same thing with 512MB RAM).
  • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greg Larkin ( 696202 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:59PM (#9875196) Homepage
    From the article:

    Fink said the launch is a test "so that we can see the take up we get for this particular product."

    Soooo.... if the "take up" is insufficient, then the test failed? Where is the customer left in that case?

    • Most likely in the same place that Microsoft left everybody who bought anything from their line of network products... with the warrenty still valid and support from phone operators in India still available, but no more left to buy in the marketplace.
  • Apple Laptops run Linux with full hardware upport VERY nicely and have over a broad generation of laptops.
  • by miyako ( 632510 ) <miyako&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:04PM (#9875222) Homepage Journal
    From the looks at it, the price is work it just for having wireless configured. It's a real PITA.
    This does look really nice though, and I'm glad to see that they are using Suse, which seems to be the best "User Oriented" distrobution out there. I'm actually a little suprised that they can make a notebook no more expensive than it is with all supported hardware, as I've noticed Linux compatible hardware tends to be a wee bit more expensive than non-supported hardware.
    I do have two concerns though, first off is the quality of the notebook. OS aside, if the hardware isn't robust enough to stand up to lots of abuse, then it won't sell well and someone will probably blame that on Linux. The second concern I have is that while Suse Professional is wonderful, the personal edition seems to really lack some important things (like a compiler. I don't care if your not a developer, if your using linux at some point you will want to install software that has to be compiled for your system).
    • Maybe we should thank Intel for all the Linux support. More than a year ago they started to supply Linux support Intel Graphics. Now they are giving Linux support for Intel Wi-Fi.
    • are you kidding. mandrake 9.2, rh9, knopppix, and yellow dog 3.01 configure wireless like a breeze. and, a helluva lot easier than XP. i have struggled to get my 2 brothers-in-law's notebooks connected with XP, and my wife's computer, ay freakin carumba. linux is a snap. the wireless cards are now recognized as /dev/ethx instead of /dev/wlanx, and /etc/sysconfig... scripts work fine. all you have to do is add a few things like wep keys, etc. while acpi is sometimes sketchy, wifi works great on linux.
    • by kbielefe ( 606566 ) <karl...bielefeldt+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:06AM (#9875627)
      About a year ago, my wife tripped over my HP laptop cord and knocked it off of the table. The hard drive crashed hard enough to make tinkling noises. Mind you this was at least the third time it had a fall like that. I took out the (IBM) hard drive, popped in a standard Knoppix disk, and have been using that ever since. I'm typing this right now on that laptop over an 802.11g connection that takes me less than 30 seconds to configure with a nice gui every time I boot up. It has connected by default before to my neighbor's unsecured wireless router without having to do anything.

      This laptop definitely runs Linux well and is definitely hardy enough to withstand some abuse. When it finally does give out you can bet I will be replacing it with one of HP's preinstalled Linux laptops.
    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:22AM (#9875735) Homepage
      From the looks at it, the price is work it just for having wireless configured. It's a real PITA.

      Linux distros are getting really good at supporting wireless, actually. Just make sure that your wireless card is supported by the kernel.

      I got a Cisco card (uses the airo driver), and Fedora Core 2 works with it just fine. To configure the WEP, I just chose "Network Configuration" from the "System Settings" menu (it's in both the GNOME and K menus, depending on your desktop preference).

      Up pops a GUI tool where you can enter an SSID or choose "auto" and where you can select key length and enter a WEP key. Entered it, clicked Apply, and voila, I was up and running with my wireless network.

      All GUI tools, no hardware/driver issues, to a 128-bit WEP network.
    • "glad to see that they are using Suse"

      I'm disappointed that it isn't Debian. IIRC, HP has a representative on the Debian Desktop project. The worst part of working with Debian is the install and hardware configuration (both of which would be done for you here; just add a recovery disk and a few CDs as a local apt-get repository and off you go).

      I would seriously consider a preinstalled basic Debian for a dual boot system with XP Pro. With Suse, I would just get XP Pro and add Suse afterwards...the prein
  • Tech Support. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eeknay ( 766740 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:05PM (#9875236)
    And will HP be providing tech support for users who have problems with Linux (yeah yeah, I know there are few problems with Linux/Suse, but you never know...)?
    • /* begin sarcasm block */
      Of course not. Like many other companies that sell PCs, you will be instantly cut off from support the second the package arrives at your door. And at 1500 dollars??? You'd be lucky if you could actually find a phone number to call at a reasonable price!
      /* end sarcasm block */

      That's kind of a lame question since most people _buying_ these laptops will already have a reason to run linux and will likely already know how to use it e.g. they wont need to be spoon fed. If they ar
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:07PM (#9875250)
    Try to customize this laptop on HP's website and you'll find "Note for SuSE Linux: MultiBay DVD+RW and Intel PRO wireless not supported."
    • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `earthshod.co.uk'> on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @08:14AM (#9877643)
      There's a simple explanation for this ..... Licencing. Jörg Schilling, the author of cdrecord, decided to make, and profit from, a non-Free "pro-DVD" version. It is available as a binary only, and even requires unlocking to be able to handle discs bigger than 1GB. So much for the idea that "only code compiled on this here box should be run on this here box". As it was his own code, there was not much anybody could do about it ..... {Think about it this way. An individual who is not allowed to keep slaves, though considerably freer than a slave, is less free than an individual who is allowed to keep slaves; though the average level of freedom in a society which forbids slavery is almost certainly greater than it would be in a society which tolerates it. Assuming, of course, that you can measure freedom on a linear scale where 0 = component in a machine and infinity = able to modify laws of physics at will.}

      SuSE is a paid-for distribution; it contains closed-source and other non-Free components, distributed under special arrangements with the copyright holders. It is very likely that some licencing conflict somewhere precludes SuSE Linux AG from distributing cdrecord-prodvd. It is also possible that SuSE charges a premium for the "enhanced", DVD-ready version of its software, and will not allow HP to resell it.

      However, all the older versions of cdrecord were released under the GPL, and the source code was already out there; so anybody else could work in DVD support independently. This is exactly what was done with the version that comes with Debian (at least, Sarge/Testing and Sid/Unstable), as the below excerpt indicates:

      # cdrecord --version
      Cdrecord-Clone 2.01a29-dvd (i686-pc-linux-gnu) Copyright (C) 1995-2004 J&#246;rg Schilling
      Note: This version is an unofficial (modified) version with DVD support
      Note: and therefore may have bugs that are not present in the original.
      Note: Please send bug reports or support requests to <warly@mandrakesoft.com>.
      Note: The author of cdrecord should not be bothered with problems in this version.
      NOTE: this version of cdrecord is an inofficial (modified) release of cdrecord
      and thus may have bugs that are not present in the original version.
      Please send bug reports and support requests to <cdrtools@packages.debian.org>.
      The original author should not be bothered with problems of this version.

      DVD recording also works properly on Mandrake -- the other free-as-in-beer distro. Not surprising really since a Mandrake developer is credited in the output above! It ought to be possible to get the source code from Debian or Mandrake. Once you've patched it to cope with SuSE's file structure {makes much use of /opt, IIRC; Debian is /usr all the way} you could always repackage it as an RPM. This is the best thing to do anyway if you intend to put the main binary in /usr/bin; just be sure to give it a version number higher than the distribution's official package, in case of security updates trampling on it.

      Note that my trials have been confined to DVD+RW discs {which, officially, aren't even DVDs; the DVD-forum clearly couldn't stand the fact that someone had managed to invent a better way of making recordable DVDs than they had, and threw their toys out of the pram}. It is no coincidence that these discs are what my TV recorder requires .....

      There is also the more mundane possibility that the supplied DVD+RW drive is incompatible with the kernel on the supplied install/rescue disc. I found a DVD+RW in a 1U server that would boot the Debian Woody CD, but not install from it -- I was so glad I had specced in a floppy drive! Downloading and compiling a new kernel soon sorted it; but Debian doesn't require a kernel which is patched to buggery.

      As for the wireless bit, well, TTBOMK the Intel

  • by krunk7 ( 748055 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:07PM (#9875251)
    I pretty much got fed up making linux on the laptop work and just sold off my Dell to pick up a iBook. If this had been an option at the time, I may have considered it. As it is, OSX has all the unixy goodness plus none of the hassle.
    • I think OS X is really going places. If I could afford a laptop, I would get an Apple [apple.com]. If you look at what Apple is selling, I think it's a very attractive mix for professionals in IT. I'm not just talking laptops here.
      • The platform is computationally powerful. This is why the multimedia people adore Macs, but for the same reasons the Engineering/IT community is showing more interest. Our university's new G5 lab blows away all other equipment we use for CAD and modeling.
      • The computers function well. The in
  • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:12PM (#9875287)
    I haven't used SuSE in a while, but I'm happy they chose it over Linspire or those other "distros". Actually, for this purpose, I can't think of a better distro. Mandrake is kind of slow and Fedora is more beta testers tinkering than a distro I'd want to offer to my customers. I'm not trolling there, Red Hat agrees with me :)

    SuSE also has a good repuation of GPL'ing their work where as Linspire won't even offer a free download AFAIK.
  • Bah. (Score:5, Informative)

    by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:12PM (#9875288) Homepage
    HP said Tuesday it will be the first major PC maker to ship a business notebook computer pre-installed' with Linux.

    Hardly. I owned an IBM T20 which qualifies as a business notebook computer and it shipped with Linux years ago. Here is the coverage [computerworld.com] from June 19/2000.
    • I've got Slackware running good on my IBM Thinkpad T22, with a Cisco Aironet wireless card, and mini-PCI (3Com I believe), kernels 2.4.x and 2.6.x. It works like a champ. I've set up Quickswitch [sourceforge.net] to easily use different network profiles and different XF86Configs at login (to use super-duper scrolling mouse). It's really as easy as a desktop. In fact, I'm using it now. For more detailed info: click here [mzla.com].

      This is set up dual-booting Win2000, which I very rarely boot.
  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:14PM (#9875292) Homepage Journal
    ACPI and to a lesser extent APM are a struggle in Linux. I didn't realize this until I bought my 15" Powerbook. Now I know. The next killer app/functionality for Linux is laptop compatibility/wireless. Show me that sleep/sus[pend will work out of the box and my management will be sold since the release of Evolution/exchange connector.
    • Since you have a Powerbook, the situation isn't that bad. pbbuttons [cymes.de] is what you are looking for. In Debian at least, installation and configuration is dead easy. There is even a GUI. I use it on a Pismo Powerbook with good results.
  • $60 difference... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:14PM (#9875293)
    The article points out that there's only a $60 difference between the Linux-equiped laptop and the comparable model from HP running Windows. Am I the only one who thinks that's exactly what HP is paying for their OEM licenses since they buy it bulk? (A Foogle search reveals that there are many web outlets who will gladly sell you an OEM Windows XP Home copy for about $80-$100, provided you also buy a piece of hardware at the same time to keep the transaction within Microsoft's rules.)
    • Maybe there should be more of a difference and maybe not, but this is the first time I've seen comparable computers offered for LESS money with Linux instead of Windows, at least from a major manufacturer. I would call that a HUGE step in the right direction!

      Thanks HP. I want to get a laptop within the next year, and you just moved to the top of my list!
      • No... while the company supporting Linux is a HUGE plus in my book, I would NEVER touch HP. Crappy hardware, and they shaft you on inkjets more than most companies. NEVER again.

        (Not-so-proud owner of an HP Pavilion 6535 that's been through TWO mobo failures, an HP color printer that I forget the model of that's burned through many $$$ in ink and was already having problems with paper feed and printouts not being garbage when I last used it (replaced with a nice Minolta PagePro 1250W, which just got replace
    • Re:$60 difference... (Score:5, Informative)

      by BroncoInCalifornia ( 605476 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:39PM (#9875464)
      I went to the HP web site. If you select SuSE 9.1 or XP home you get a $60 price break from the default selection of XP "professional".
      they are giving your SuSE 9.1 for the same price as XP home. We are not getting a price break.

      They think this will be a low volume product, or they are not sure what the support costs will be.
  • by gabbarbhai ( 719706 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:14PM (#9875299)
    Would be reliable suspend/resume to/from disk and memory, with all devices waking up correctly. I've heard that Powerbooks with Linux can do that, but I don't own one (yet)..
  • Laptop trouble (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:20PM (#9875335) Homepage
    I don't really think laptops are as much trouble with linux as people make out. At one point they were a big hassle, but in my experience (admittedly, not particularly extensive) the difficulty of installing linux on a laptop over installing it on a regular PC nowadays is negligible. Sure, laptops still tend to come with weirder hardware, but really, most distros have gotten quite good at supporting most of it right out of the box.
    • in my experience (admittedly, not particularly extensive) the difficulty of installing linux on a laptop over installing it on a regular PC nowadays is negligible

      The trouble doesn't come when installing, and yes distros like SUSE etc. should pick up most if not all of the hardware.

      Where the trouble arises is stuff like *) noticing your fan comes on more often than it does in Windows *) noticing that you can suspend from the console, but not from X *) noticing that you can suspend, but when you resume you
  • Convenience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zaxios ( 776027 ) <zaxios@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:21PM (#9875344) Journal
    I expect this will be successful simply because of how enormously inconvenient it is for Linux users to buy a laptop bundled with WinXP and get a refund, or how expensive that OS is to just pay for and not use. However, if you don't like SuSE, there's always FreeDOS on a Dell [google.com.au] and installing the Linux distribution of your choice later. I guess this rules in the convenience stakes - as convenient as buying a WinXP laptop - and that's its selling point.

    (Note that this certainly isn't the first [linuxjournal.com] popular Linux laptop.)
  • by Random BedHead Ed ( 602081 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:29PM (#9875388) Homepage Journal

    I've seen this happen before. Many times. And as I write this, Microsoft is calling HP to remind them of the terms of their mandate^H^H^H^H^H^H^H contract. And as the conversation progresses, the potential cost increases to HP's Windows licenses might get a mention.

    Five seconds until HP fires off a press release stating that they are not really selling a Linux laptop. Four. Three. Two ....

  • Then I can ..... oh wait!
  • by NTT ( 92764 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:30PM (#9875400) Journal
    From the product web page [hp.com]: (Note for SuSE Linux: MultiBay DVD+RW and Intel PRO wireless not supported.) And the base price has changed since the article was published.
  • this is nice, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:36PM (#9875431) Homepage
    I know that I should be "grateful for what I have", but I've got a couple gripes about "linux on laptops". Keep in mind, however, that I own an IBM Thinkpad X30, and I do run single-boot debian sid on it.

    1) IBM needs to get their act together and offer Linux support, at the very least, for their laptop line. Their hardware is mostly supported already, but it shouldn't be necessary for me to pay the extra amount for a licensed copy of Windows XP, which I'll never use just to get a well-built laptop. What's more, they're advertising linux for enterprise use, and enterprises use laptops. I don't see how moving to linux couldn't be anything but good for them now, overall - or at least moving in and helping linux laptop development, so that it is soon mature enough for IBM to start offering it at a corporate level on laptops.
    2) It would be nice to start getting a little bit better kernel and X support for things like suspend and power ACPI. At the very least a listing somewhere on manufacturer's sites saying, "hey, our hardware needs this specific version of software to work properly if you run Linux" - it's often difficult to find definitive information on such topics, and people will often get things working when others are not able to for odd reasons. Personally, hard or soft suspend do not currently work for me w/ kernel 2.6 and X 4.3 running the dri-trunk debs - on current sid - on my X30. Returning from suspend results in X being borked, requiring a reboot to fix. (Anyone that has information as to why this is occuring, or what the fix might be, and I'd appreciate hearing from you...)
    3) Wireless support. I'm not talking solely about drivers, as those have improved significantly* and are on the right road, but wireless tools for useland. As far as I know, it's currently fairly difficult (via waproamd, the only thing I've seen to do this) to get a wireless card to 'roam' from network to network as you go from, say, home or work. There needs to be a good userland tool for this.
    4) * The wireless drivers in the kernel itself are still pretty shitty and minimal, and wlan-ng sucks horribly. The hostap 2.x drivers are a significant improvement over the other two in every regard (as far as I've seen), but actual support in the kernel really should be improved. :-/ (Anyone know why hostap stuff hasn't been brought into the main kernel tree?)
    5) power management tools don't seem to work too well. It's quite possible that I'm simply ignorant on the matter, but tools such as cpudyn and cpufreqd do not scale the processor's speed dynamically when losing AC power, or gaining it again. In my experience, the daemons need to be restarted manually.
  • Well it seems like "Linux Certified" hardware is getting easier and easier to find. I bought a laptop about 2-3 years ago from Sony and it was a pain to get USB to work, I had to user the patch, but with successive kernel releasies it got acctually fixed in the kernel code and it started working straight out of box after kernel 2.4.22 or so.

    Now that HP is getting their certified laptops out there I feel that rest of the manufacturers would also start geting their act together. After all people who buy
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:53PM (#9875539) Homepage
    I heard [interex.org] that HP was officially suppoting Gnome (the link is 4 yrs old, and I haven't heard anything different. Please correct me if I'm wrong). So much for that! SuSE's support of Gnome is spotty at best. In fact, in the default install of 9.1 Personal (ISO download version) Gnome isnt installed at all. That's really too bad. I saw the screenshots from the previous slashdot article [slashdot.org], Gnome 2.8 is looking pretty damn good!
  • While this may be a good start, I won't be impressed until I can walk in to my local Best Buy or Circuit City and buy one. Then, and only then, will Linux have "arrived".
  • I guess this means that there is no need to pay the microsoft tax on these computers, so they'd likely be a little cheaper.

    Hopefuly it will become so Linux is the standard installation (because its free) and if you really *want* microsoft windows on your computer you go down to the store and buy it yourself.
  • The problem is that HP is not the fondly remembered HP of yesterday who brought us fine and sturdy computers such as the 98xx line.
    If only HP could bring back something as slick as the 9826 [egliedv.ch]... (bigger image here [mjs-electronics.se]).
  • Documentation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:11AM (#9875659)
    I had a linux laptop from Dell (no, HP isn't really the first to do this) once, and it worked decently well, given a few crappy things. One, they had made it impossible to change the desktop background permanently...until you figured out that they'd cut back the rights on the config file (I forget which one) to prevent you from writing to it, even as root. And when I had to reinstall RedHat, suspend didn't work. There was apparently a very specific setting needed to get it working again, which Dell knew about, but it really would have been nice if they'd shared the knowledge they developed in setting the laptops up, so that it didn't revert to the same old problem as any other laptop as soon as a reinstall was needed.
  • It's not new (Score:3, Informative)

    by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:37AM (#9875813) Journal
    Emperor Linux has been offering laptops for a while now. IBM's, Sony Vaio's, Dell's, and Sharp. Preloaded with a custom kernal so that everything works. They also offer custom configured Red Hat workstation or Suse.

    Take a look at http://www.emperorlinux.com/

    This looks like the best solution to me, and it avoids the HP problem.
  • by Long-EZ ( 755920 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @01:59AM (#9876188)
    Is this the same HP that 19 months ago told me that not only would they not sell me a notebook PC without Windows, if I uninstalled WinXP I would void my HARDWARE warranty? I bought the notebook anyway, because their policies at the time were the least offensive. I installed Xandros Linux [xandros.com] without ever booting WinXP. Anyone want some unused XP OEM CDs with an unused certificate of authenticity?. No problems running Xandros, and even the Radeon chipset works 100% with a minor tweak. Linux is definitely ready for the desktop, and even the notebook.

    Next time, I'm leaning toward a nice IBM notebook, mostly because they've been standup guys lately where Linux is concerned, and HP CEO Carly Fiorina has been making a lot of noise about DMCA crap on all HP products. Just how the hell are they going to lock up a Linux notebook with DRM?

    I'm glad that HP is shipping a Linux notebook PC, but this isn't some corporate altruism. The only reason for an HP Linux notebook is they see the writing on the wall and don't want to follow the next wave. You know, the big wave, where Linux sweeps over the entire planet?

  • by BrianWCarver ( 569070 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @02:40AM (#9876377) Homepage

    This is good news, but I was at LinuxWorld today and I was sooo impressed with the guys from Linux Certified [linuxcertified.com] that I'll be seriously surprised if my next Linux Laptop doesn't come from them. When you go with a smaller vendor like Linux Certified and you have a problem, the person who answers the phone (there's the first difference, a human will answer the phone) will actually know something about Linux and be able to help you.

    I applaud HP, but it's too little too late in my book. Linux Certified closed a sale today with old-fashioned customer service.
  • Good news, but ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jopet ( 538074 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @05:21AM (#9876968) Journal
    They should make this offer in Europe too - it seems the number of people using Linux is even bigger here. I also think it is a shame that self-pronounced Linux supporter IBM still does not do this and still only offers (even "recommends") Microsoft products for their laptops (though I am running various versions of Suse Linux on various IBM Thinkpads now for years). It is really about time that hardware vendors stop forcing us to buy something that at least some will only throw away and replace by something else.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"