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  • Ubuntu's Free Software Laptop A No-Go?

    Phoronix: Ubuntu's Free Software Laptop A No-Go?

    Back in July, Mark Shuttleworth asked the community whether they wanted a high-end free software laptop. This theoretical laptop would "just work" with Linux through open-source drivers and everything down to the BIOS (and eventually, the firmware) would have a free software license.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NjI1NQ

  • #2
    I wouldn't say there's a lack of interest or that it's a No-Go.

    It's more of a, we don't know if a high-end laptop that's completely open source is possible right at the moment. Intel's current crop of GPUs alone take it out of that category. And, until AMD gets enough tech data out to us or NVidia follows suit, or Intel's Larabee ends up being as good as they're talking it up to be, we're not going to see one.

    You can find an OpenSource friendly low-to-mid end laptop right now. It's actually not terribly hard- just find an Intel based machine that uses the FULL Centrino lineup. That way you end up with all the parts, including wireless, as something that a fully non-proprietary Linux distribution can easily drop onto and just simply work from start to finish.

    It's when you start deviating from that where they're using Broadcom wireless, or LightScribe that you end up with problems with needing something proprietary or having to resort to hacks like ndiswrapper.

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    • #3
      exciting

      www.direct2dell.com

      They intend to do it for us. It may not be as 'open' as some would want, but don't be complaining; it'll get there. Dell said so. 'just work'. That means open.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ethana2 View Post
        www.direct2dell.com

        They intend to do it for us. It may not be as 'open' as some would want, but don't be complaining; it'll get there. Dell said so. 'just work'. That means open.
        Heh... And not to mention that they twisted the arm of InterVideo to finally make LinDVD available to the general public...if they want it. (Yeah, yeah, I know- we all can play DVDs, but Dell can't ship it that way and neither can Canonical or the Ubuntu project...)

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        • #5
          LinDVD can actually be a great product for any OEM wanting to ship with any distribution, actually. There can even be (like in the case of Adobe) a separate apt or yum or whatever repositories to allow for updates and what not.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Thetargos View Post
            LinDVD can actually be a great product for any OEM wanting to ship with any distribution, actually. There can even be (like in the case of Adobe) a separate apt or yum or whatever repositories to allow for updates and what not.
            At one point in time, I would have wholeheartedly agreed. I still agree that it's a winning proposition for the OEMs wanting to ship something immediately useful to their customers getting Linux laptops. For that purpose, it's about damned time, really. For the rest of us, though, we know better than this and get the Open Source tools that will let us do the same thing.

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            • #7
              Well the free players are bad when you have got real copy protection like bad sectors and such things. Don't know if a very old LinDVD could play those dvds. It is everything but a new release. The Win counterpart got lots of updates in the meantime.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                At one point in time, I would have wholeheartedly agreed. I still agree that it's a winning proposition for the OEMs wanting to ship something immediately useful to their customers getting Linux laptops. For that purpose, it's about damned time, really. For the rest of us, though, we know better than this and get the Open Source tools that will let us do the same thing.
                Indeed, nothing beats the Xine engine in my book (I like it better than mplayer or VLC), however, OEMs can't ship with these, unless they also help correct their "outlaw" status, which I don't see happening any time soon. It is but a mere legal patch for them (regardless of how well it works or doesn't, we still have the plethora of tools at our disposal), it gives a reassurance for OEMs shipping Linux, that their customers will have at least some level of Multimedia capabilities and a good experience "out-of-the-box". See the Fedora and Ubuntu forums regarding Multimedia... This is a REAL need to be addressed. The community has, of course responded, but for new systems for new users, this can only mean good news.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kano View Post
                  Well the free players are bad when you have got real copy protection like bad sectors and such things. Don't know if a very old LinDVD could play those dvds. It is everything but a new release. The Win counterpart got lots of updates in the meantime.
                  They happen to have kept it up. But they were a little behind the curve on things when I'd evaluated it for Coollogic (the company that I'm currently the CTO thereof...) when we were still trying to jam Internet Appliance distributions out to the world (We've changed our focus a little bit since that time...)- I'm sure they've kept up with it or modernized things when Dell asked them to make a version to fix their DVD playback dillema on Linux.

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                  • #10
                    I wonder how cost effective would it be for big companies to sponsor projects such as VLC, mplayer or Xine (not that the projects themselves would like it, though), in some form of consortium so that these projects could actually use and distribute the codecs, and remain legal. I'm guessing not many would be interested, and most likely the projects wouldn't be interested either.

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