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Litebook Launches A $249 Linux Laptop (zdnet.com) 157

An anonymous reader writes: It's "like a Chromebook for Linux users on a budget," reports ZDNet. The new 2.9-pound Litebook uses Intel's Celeron N3150 processor and ships with a 14.1-inch display and a 512-gigabyte hard drive with full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080). For $20 more they'll throw in a 32-gigabyte SSD to speed up your boot time. "Unlike Windows laptops, Litebooks are highly optimized, come without performance hogging bloatware, [are] designed to ensure your privacy, and are entirely free of malware and viruses," writes the company's web site. They also add that their new devices "are affordable, customizable, and are backwards compatible with Windows software."
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Litebook Launches A $249 Linux Laptop

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  • Don't you mean 500GB? AFAIK there's no 512GB mechanical HDD.

  • I bought a Toshiba laptop, wiped the Hard Drive of Windows 8. Upon powering it on without giving it a chance to boot, and installed Linux to it. Cost me about $320 Total.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I did the same thing with an Acer netbook in the same price class. Only I had to let it boot windows once to find out where the POS UEFI bios stores the boot-loader (not the standard location), and then removed the windows one and put the Linux one in there. Works fine ever since.

    1. The pictures are all of a white laptop. No-one who has ever owned a white laptop buys another one.
    2. I bet one whole dollar they never sell a red one.
    3. Oh, elementary OS? That's the buggiest, least stable distro I've tested in the last 5 years or so, no thanks.
    4. It's about the same price as any low cost laptop I can buy with those specs. I hope this does really well, but I suspect it won't.
    • From the featured article:

      The Litebook ships with the Elementary OS flavor of Linux, though you can install an alternate that uses the Linux kernel 4.8.

      The idea is that this laptop is warranted to run Linux and X.Org X11, as opposed to some other Windows-focused laptop models that end up suffering serious problems due to missing or broken drivers. So you'd remain within spec if you installed something more mainstream, such as Xubuntu.

    • The price isn't good because of a little fact that Linux fanboys don't want to admit after making the falsehood a meme....in reality there is NO Windows tax, its in fact a tax BREAK because the OEMs get paid by third parties to put their trialware into the OS. This is why MSFT has been selling trialware free PCs in their store and offering Windows for certain designs (such as 7in convertibles) at lower prices or even free with the stipulation that there is no trialware as it slows Windows down.

      Speaking of

      • Dell will take off around $80 if you forgo Windows when they allow the option.

      • So by your reasoning, it's a tax "break" because your time wasted with dealing with crapware is worth nothing?
        • Sigh, are you REALLY this dense or are you just trolling? Its a tax break FOR THE OEMS who then pass the savings onto YOU in the form of lower prices...is that really too hard to understand?

          And it is trivial to forgo the tax break, most OEMs do offer a "clean PC" option these days and all the PCs in the MSFT store are 100% vanilla Windows...and guess what? They cost around $80 more because they are no longer getting that money from the trialware providers! Capitalism, what a concept, huh?

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      The pictures are all of a white laptop. No-one who has ever owned a white laptop buys another one.

      Are you forgetting about thousands of iBook/early MacBook owners?

      1. The pictures are all of a white laptop. No-one who has ever owned a white laptop buys another one.

      I had a white laptop in for repair the other day, it had black keys.

      Using it was like looking at this

      http://distractify-media-prod.... [distractif....cdn.bingo]

      Horrific design choice.

    • The pictures are all of a white laptop. No-one who has ever owned a white laptop buys another one.

      I'm posting this from my white eee 900. I'd buy an updated one if they had it (in white).

  • They buried the lead. The article mentions a much more exiting low-end ARM64 laptop called the Pinebook. Does that actually exist yet, or is it still vaporware? Anyone seen/touched one in the wild?

    • *exciting

    • Pine not Wine (Score:4, Informative)

      by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Sunday March 05, 2017 @09:44PM (#53982473) Homepage Journal

      Last I heard of Pinebook on Slashdot was a comment by vux984 mentioning it in passing [slashdot.org].

      But one disadvantage of switching from x86 and x86-64 to ARM and AArch64 is inability to run the occasional Windows application in Wine. My work flow includes a few Windows applications distributed as free software, such as FCEUX debugging version, FamiTracker, and Modplug Tracker. All are usable in Wine, even on a dinky little Atom CPU. If you go ARM, you're on your own recompiling them for linking with Winelib [winehq.org].

      • I can't let a mentioning of Wine slip by without also pointing to the commercial version by CodeWeavers [codeweavers.com]. I'm not currently running Linux on the desktop, but if you're a freelancer like me, it's VERY helpful to have Microsoft Office running reliably and out of the box.

        No shares in the company, just love their product and the fact that they heavily commit to Wine.

    • The launch was delayed due to supplier issues, this time to around March 20. Prototypes exist (photos: 1 [google.com] 2 [google.com] 3 [google.com]) and were sent to a bunch of involved people who are working on mainlining the drivers. The thing will ship with a smelly OS and smelly 3.10 vendor kernel, but near-mainline is basically working: only sound is missing, display currently only simplefb, proper DRM is being worked on.

      (I'm merely watching #pine64, I'll try to make proper Debian installer (instead of mere dd-able images) once I get a Pi

  • Wow, this is revolutionary! A Full HD hard drive is a great achievement! Can you post a picture? Please?....
  • the SSD "upgrade" is in place of the HDD. No other HDD options, so you have to buy ANOTHER HDD if you want 1TB or 2TB and install it yourself I assume its a 9mm bay+sled that wont accommodate an older 12mm 2.5 larger capacity drive. Does any body make a 2.5 9mm drive with combined/integrated 16/32/64 GB SSD?.
    • There are hybrid SSHDs - they combine a small SSD (32 or 64 GB) and a larger (500 or 1000 GB) hard drive. The only issue is that they're not visible as two separate devices, the SSD acts as a cache to the HDD, caching frequently accessed blocks.

      • yeah a separately mountable partition would be preferred, maybe even mirrored to the HD portion for safety, remembering a mirror is not a backup. Hmm, maybe a LTO 6/tape carousel/SSHD meta hybrid, that aint gonna fit in a laptop bay
  • News for Nerds my ass! Fucking lame thread, kill it now!
  • come without performance hogging bloatware, [are] designed to ensure your privacy,

    Isn't that the Skype icon I see in the dock?

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @10:15PM (#53982571)
    I have always used a ThinkPad that is off lease and verified. Newegg has a host of models listed [newegg.com] between $200-$300. And the ThinkWiki [thinkwiki.org] will help you with the particulars if you aren't familiar with the model you get.
  • Litebook Comments (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 05, 2017 @10:20PM (#53982587)

    Hello I'm one of the creators of the Litebook, and I'm here to address a few of the comments. The Hard Drive formats to 500GB, but is advertised by the supplier as a 512GB Device.

    The SSD is not a replacement for the standard drive or a hybrid mechanical Hard Drive. Its a separate 32GB drive and is seen as such by the operating system.

    Skype is not a preinstalled application. We include pictures of it to show Windows Users that the applications they are familiar with will run on the Litebook.

    Thank You,

    The Litebook Team

    • I assume that the RAM is soldered to the motherboard? What Wi-Fi module are you using? These would be good things to add to the website. Either way I am happy to see this in the marketplace. I'm typing this on a Dell XPS 13 but not everyone has $950 to spend on a laptop.
    • Why bother with having a mechanical hard drive? You should have included SSD by default. The laptop is already using a weak CPU no need to make the situation worse by having it work off a mechanical hard drive.

      • A low end, small SSD might be not that great (perhaps it's an eMMC chip that's optional, perhaps it's an mSATA), for reliable writes and swapping.

        Not to mention the HDD is over 15x bigger!
        Quite simply, netbooks took off when they replaced the 4GB and 8GB SSD-lite things with a 160GB (later 250GB) hard drive. The upgrade to 1024x600 resolution helped as well. Many bought them as their main computers, e.g. students who couldn't afford a $1000 laptop, which is all there was a couple years earlier.

        Some users w

      • Why bother with having a mechanical hard drive?

        Why bother having such a low price?

    • separate SSH is good, thank you, the price delta is reasonable and affordable.
      Additional, larger HD options would be nice. Is it a 9mm or 12mm bay height?
      Does it take a bare drive or require an expensive hard to get replacement sled?
      A good Linux laptop would allow a quick/easy drive swap to experiment with different distributions without putting a working boot layout at risk to alpha/beta quality releases.
      Dis/re-assembly with teeny-tiny screws for swapping drives is such a pain in the petuti.
      In such c
    • by Skinkie ( 815924 )
      The website mentions the Asus Chromebook as competitor but isn't the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (CB30-B-104) the device to compare against with respect to price, weight, features, resolution?
    • Hello I'm one of the creators of the Litebook, and I'm here to address a few of the comments

      Would you be prepared to comment on what would be required to get a 1kg laptop of any thickness? As someone with back trouble, I'm more concerned with weight than thickness (think e.g. eee 900).

      The Hard Drive formats to 500GB, but is advertised by the supplier as a 512GB Device.

      Are those both GB or was one GiB?

  • So much (Score:4, Interesting)

    by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @10:22PM (#53982597) Journal
    So much of the Linux laptop market seems to be targeted at the low end (current story), or the high end (Dell XPS Ubuntu developer edition). Only System 76 seems to offer anything middle of the road (core i3 for $700). Not really confident linux can get a foothold in a market with a Windows 10 laptop at every price point from top to bottom.
    • Not sure where this one is targeted though, too expensive compared to low end options and too underspecced for mid or high end. seems an all around fail.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Linux had their chance to get a foothold when vista came out. And again when windows 8 came out. While Ubuntu did grow the the Linux user based quite a bit during Vista, all the distributions failed to capitalize on Windows 8. Now that Windows 10 is "free" and even pirates have been able to become legal it's hard to see Linux getting a foothold. UEFI also makes it a chore for newbies to install Linux. You'd have to sell a huge amount of pre-installed Linux boxes to ever get even a small foothold. Google are

    • There are laptops that come with no OS at all (or FreeDOS, which is hardly an OS).
      Often mid range ones, i.e. those mundane ones with an RJ45 port and such. Surprise : regular laptops never stopped being built, they just don't make the news. The cheap ones even take 32GB RAM now, with the switch to plain DDR4 memory. Too bad, 15.6" 1600x900 doesn't exist anymore (not that it used to be the most common), which would have allowed to run an unscaled desktop without squinting at tiny text and icons.

      Um, yeah abou

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      As an interesting aside, the Dell XPS regular version works fine under Linux as of about two years ago (the WiFi driver was the missing piece). In fact it works better than under Windows 10, which seems unable to properly use its own port replicators.

  • If I wanted a Chromebook to run Linux on, I'd just buy a Chromebook and flash the firmware. There's an Xubuntu-derived distro specifically for the purpose, too, GalliumOS [galliumos.org].

    Wait, did I say I would do that? Let me correct myself. I already have. It runs Windows 10 the majority of the time, but it does have Gallium installed and bootable via rEFInd.

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @10:51PM (#53982697) Homepage

    What's so special about this laptop?

    If I go to Alibaba and search for "inexpensive linux laptop", I get 19k hits with products like:
    - https://www.alibaba.com/produc... [alibaba.com]
    - https://www.alibaba.com/produc... [alibaba.com]
    - https://www.alibaba.com/produc... [alibaba.com]

    The big thing seems to be an angle rather than technology (hardware or software).

  • Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @11:07PM (#53982735)

    Google Chrome calls home. There are many alternatives easily available without Google's stalkware baked in.

    Skype is insecure spyware owned and operated by Microsoft with well known intercept capabilities. It runs and consumes bandwidth continuously whether your using skype or not.

    Spotify is spyware that automatically collects data about you and your friends just by logging on.

    Why is it that everyone selling to consumers offering privacy and no-bloat demonstrates the exact opposite? We won't preload heaps of shit except for the heaps of shit we preload.

    It's like all these companies selling "eco friendly" products that are anything but.

    There needs to be third party qualification program for security and privacy that actually meet specific articulable requirements. This wild west of everyone claiming they give a shit when in fact their actions demonstrate otherwise is worthless.

    • Tin-foil hat much?
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      Obviously because those are programs people commonly use and would want on a new computer. Attitudes like that are why Linux is slow getting into the market.
  • Intel's Celeron N3150 processor ...
      are entirely free of malware

    I wouldn't be too sure about that claim if they're using a processor with Intel ME on it.

  • What is the battery life for this notebook?

    The original chromebook was cheap, light, booted fast, automatically synced files, and required practically no maintenance.

    I bought one for $150. Still use it all the time. It is great for what it is.

    Once you put a more powerful intel processor in it, and put a more capable OS in it, you lose everything special about it. No more fast boot, long battery life, cheap price, etc.

  • A pity these don't come with 120GB SSDs from the start.

    That was the single most significant upgrade I made to old laptops (including ones with old ATA/100 interfaces).

    Starting with a 500GB slow-as-crap laptop-grade HDD sounds like a recipe for frustration.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"