Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop?


Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, wants to create laptops that are”designed specifically to be free-software friendly.” That means no proprietary anything, including the BIOS. Sounds like a most excellent idea. Check it out.


  1. Daniel Rivera-Franqui

    a HUGE, resounding YES from me!

  2. All I can say is, when will it be available???

    I’m writing this on an underpowered, three year old A-15 Toshiba laptop, running Kubuntu, originally Windows XP. In my living room, there is a six year old HP laptop that runs my entire music collection into my stereo via Kubuntu/Amarok. The monitor burned out a few years ago, so I took it off and bought a cheap external monitor for it. It originally was a Windows ME computer, but as that system is discontinued, it had to turn into a Kubuntu machine.

    My primary work computer is also an HP laptop, dual boot with SuSE linux — but I have to replace it because it now randomly shuts down for no reason in the middle of my typing 20 page documents that are not stored. (Some hardware problem I can’t isolate.)

    The problem with all these computers is that they contain peripherals such as modems with “secret” coding that makes them non-compatible with Linux. And, although there are scanners that work with linux, mine don’t.

    So, I just bought another such computer, to replace the dying HP. As a result, I have a lot of time to type this note.

    I have a lot of time to type this note because I am on the third “fresh install” of Vista. Vista must be an “alpha” stage operating system because I cannot successfully set it up with the software I NORMALLY USE without crashing it in an irretrievable way. I’m not talking about anything exotic, just ZoneAlarm, AVG, Firefox, etc. (All free.)

    It does, however, come with a bunch of marketing tools designed to extract yet more $$$ from customers for worthless products — all of which degrade the computer performance and for which there are much better free options. It takes literally hours to get this stuff OFF OF the computer. Things like Norton Security Suite are virtually non-removable (and seriously degrade performance) — unless you track down the uninstaller at Symantec’s semi-secret website. You can’t get rid of the AOL packages. There are at least three different systems to sell you music (Sony, Microsoft and Napster). When you remove Napster, for instance, it nevertheless leaves behind a tray-resident program.

    I’ve set up lots of Windows XP machines to the way I like my computer to run — tedious, but ultimately can be done.

    Not so with Vista. I’ve got about four hours sleep in two days. It’s so unstable that as soon as you work around or solve one problem, another materializes. Programs hang up, but you can’t tell that whether they have actually hung up or are still executing (Task Manager reports them as running). You spend hours waiting for re-boots and configuration. Conflicts arise from nowhere. I’ve had the CD/DVD drivers disappear, and separately, both the ethernet and wireless card stop functioning simultaneously. The Help System’s “solution” — “please re-establish your internet connection.” The System Restore fails to restore, or alternatively disappears altogether, assuring me that the restore points I just created (and used) have not yet been created.

    I honestly don’t know if I will ever get this thing running — it’s getting very close to returning to the store from whence it came. I could have installed fully functional linux with every software toy I could think of 10 times over by now.

    Pretty soon, I will have burned that new DVD with the linux download. I bet I can get it up and running on the Sony Vaio long before I can get Vista going.

    Either that, or I will be jumping out of window very soon. (Good thing I’m on the first floor.)

  3. Wow. I too have a 3-year-old Toshiba that’s nearing the end of its useful life with Windows, because the programs keep getting bigger (and the OS keeps booting slower). I had planned to upgrade this year– but no one has ANYTHING good to say about Vista, so I’m holding out.

    Holding out for what, that is the question. As an accountant, I absolutely, positively must have Quickbooks, and it only runs on Windows. (I know, there’s a Mac version that’s supposed to be equivalent, but have you tried to use it? It’s hopelessly clumsy for those of us used to 10-key.) Also the reasonably-priced tax software I use (also an Intuit product) only runs on Windows. Until those two items are available (and useable) on a different OS, I’m stuck in MS’s twisted universe.

    Probably next year I’ll have a 4-year-old Toshiba nearing the end of its useful life…

  4. You could buy a Mac laptop, install Parallels or VMWare, then run any Windows program when needed and use the Apple OS for everything else.

  5. Does Windows run better on a Mac?

  6. Not better, but the same, and just as fast. My next Windows computer will be a Mac, and I’ll just use Windows when I need it, for a special non-Mac program.

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