It was less than a week ago when we last updated you on the status of the $150 Medison Celebrity laptop. At that time the insanely cheap laptop was still no where to be found. However, it seems as if the final confirmation is there that this 1.5GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM, Linux-loaded, 14" wide-screen laptop is indeed a scam. Over the weekend the Medison Celebrity website was shutdown and now just advertises the hosting company that Medison had used. Though for those of you who had placed an order thinking that this laptop was real, 2CheckOut (the merchant account processor) has stated that Medison is now on a deadline to produce a laptop otherwise all standing orders will be canceled and their balances refunded. It looks like the story of the Medison Celebrity is now coming to a close...
Remember the Medison Celebrity Laptop that was advertised as a $150 USD laptop loaded with Fedora Linux? It's still missing in action. It's well over a month now since the Medison Celebrity first appeared on the Internet and led many to wonder if it was really a mordacious scam. This laptop that advertises a 1.5GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM, 802.11g WiFi, and 14" wide-screen still isn't to be found. It was claimed it would be a few weeks before the Medison Celebrity would be shipping, but a month later we haven't yet heard anything back from the Medison Celebrity company or 2Checkout that handles the billing side. Their website hasn't been updated aside from changing the pictures. The support phone lines for Medison Celebrity are also still "temporarly closed" a month later. The Medison Celebrity folks still must be learning how to spell "temporarily" or how to setup their phone lines... At least the ASUS Eee PC laptop will be available soon.
As was pointed out in the Phoronix Forums, there is now an open-source utility to configure your Razer DeathAdder mouse under Linux. This DeathAdder Linux program can control the LEDs as well as altering the scanning resolution, frequency, and profiles. While this program is aimed for the DeathAdder mouse on Linux, it also supports changing the scan resolution for the Razer Krait mouse.
Within the last few days the official website for the ALSA project (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) website received an overhaul. The ALSA project website is now Wiki-based with a brand new appearance. The supported sound card matrix is also now on the Wiki and is still laid out by manufacturer but with a new format. The latest version of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture remains at 1.0.14, but the ALSA 1.0.15 release candidates will hopefully begin soon.
Making news on the Internet in the past 24 hours has been the "Medison Celebrity Laptop", which claims to be a $150 USD laptop that ships with an Intel Celeron 1.5GHz processor, a 14" LCD screen, 802.11g wireless, and uses Fedora Linux. For such a low price this looks like an incredible deal, but its validity can be questioned. Medison says that its phone lines are "temporarily closed", specific information on the Medison Celebrity laptop is limited, and there is a rather long turn-around time. Beyond these points that have already been brought up in the electronic world, there is a equal if not greater number of questions surrounding Valdi Ivancic, Medison's CEO and president, and his past business activities.
Dell knows it won't happen overnight, but along side wanting to ship audio/video codecs, Intel Wireless 80.211N support for Linux, Broadcom Wireless for Linux, and being able to ship notebooks and desktops with Compiz Fusion enabled, Dell would like to see improved ATI Linux drivers. At Ubuntu Live 2007, Amit Bhutani had a session on Ubuntu Linux for Dell Consumer Systems, where he had shared a slide with Dell's "area of investigation", which Amit had said is essentially their Linux road-map. Amit had also stated that the NVIDIA 2D and 3D video drivers were "challenges in platform enablement". Dell wants to offer ATI Linux systems, but first the driver must be improved for the Linux platform (not necessarily open-source, but improved). Dell currently ships desktop Linux systems with Intel using their open-source drivers as well as NVIDIA graphics processors under Linux. Amit had went on to add that new Dell product offerings and availability in other countries will come later this summer.
LM_Sensors 2.10.4 has been released, which adds Linux 2.4 kernel support for the Winbond W83627EHG, user-space support for the SMSC DME1737, and support for a variety of other ASICs. The complete set of changes for 2.10.4 can be read from their change log and you can download this latest hardware monitoring package from the LM_Sensors Wiki.
Many Linux users are after lobbying hardware manufacturers for open-source graphics drivers or specifications for complex pieces of hardware, but an effort is underway to get hardware specifications for something very simple, a remote control. The Logitech Harmony 880 is a universal remote that contains a color LCD display and has proved to be a very popular peripheral and can interface with everything from a TiVO to a computer and other home appliances. For the past few months Phil Dibowitz has been working on writing a Linux driver for this $250 USD remote control.
An announcement has been made on the LM_Sensors home-page that version 2.10.4 of this hardware monitoring program will be available in mid-July. This maintenance release will add support for a few new chips and fix some outstanding bugs. The specific changes that will be found in LM_Sensors 2.10.4 can be found in the trunk CHANGES. The final release is currently planned for July 16.
Dell had started shipping two desktops and one notebook last month that was loaded with Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn", but based upon the sales and success so far with these Linux-loaded PCs in the United States, they are in the process of expanding their Ubuntu selection. Now being offered at Dell is Ubuntu on the Inspiron 1420N notebook with a number of customization options. Expect more Dell Ubuntu desktops and notebooks in the near future. Hewlett-Packard may also be joining the US Linux consumer PC party as well.
Announced on the OpenSolaris forums by 4Front Technologies is that they will be open-sourcing the Open Sound System (OSS) on June 14th. 4Front's Open Sound will be licensed under the CDDL for Solaris and GPLv2 for Linux, BSD, and other platforms. This is great news and you can share your thoughts on it in the Phoronix Foruns. Additional information will come a week from today, June 14, when the announcement is officially made.
After months of waiting, Dell has finally announced on their Direct2Dell blog that they will be offering their US customers the option of Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn on the Dell XPS 410n, Dimension E520n, and the Inspiron E1505n laptop. These Dell Ubuntu systems all will be available for less than $1000 USD. Dell has also pledged to continue to work forward on working with vendors to improve Linux drivers.
John Hull, the manager of Linux OS Technologies at Dell, has shed some more light on the Linux push happening at Dell. In the Direct2Dell Blog, Hull reiterates that the default Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" media will be installed on select Ubuntu desktops and notebooks. He goes on to mention that some restricted closed source drivers will be used (circa Wireless and modems) and that Dell is establishing a Linux Wiki. What Dell will not be offering under Linux are any extra proprietary audio or video codecs and some hardware options. More information on Dell's Linux systems should come out into the spotlight shortly.
If you were hoping to use a Creative X-Fi series sound card under Linux in the near future, think again. Last June we told you that Creative was planning on Q2'2007 for delivering a binary blob to support the X-Fi series along with delivering full support for ALSA and OpenAL v1.1 with EAX effects. Creative has now updated their open-source page saying that their closed-source X-Fi Linux driver will not even be in a public beta until the end of third quarter or fourth quarter this year. With the beta not even being available until the end of the year, we would be very surprised if Creative Labs will even deliver a stable X-Fi driver this year at all. What's the reason for this delay? It's due to Microsoft's Vista: "It has taken more resources than expect[ed] to redesign our software and drivers for Vista." Keep in mind that the driver they will be delivering to Linux X-Fi owners isn't even open-source.
In March we told you that Dell would start shipping Linux PCs, but all of the details were yet to be determined. However, it's now official that Dell has chosen Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn as the Linux distribution that will begin shipping on select Dell notebook and desktop computers. Ubuntu availability on select products should begin this month with Dell now fully supporting Mark Shuttleworth's creation. This announcement became official when Dell and Canonical issued a joint statement today on the matter. Additional information is available at Tech Target.
Last month with Dell's launch of their IdeaStorm website it made Linux a top priority for not only Dell servers but also notebook and desktops. As a result of the overwhelming feedback, Dell will shortly be introducing notebooks and desktops in the United States that ship with Linux pre-installed! This is a great accomplishment of having Linux being a factory installed option. No Linux distribution(s) have yet been named for what will be supported. More information is available from Dell. There is also a discussion in the Phoronix Forums: Dell Confirms plans to use Linux.
The SilverStone Sugo SG03, the successor to the Sugo SG01, is now officially launched! The SG03 Evolution product page is available showing off several product photographs, reversible PSU support, light and compact design, dual GPU support, and greater expansion possibilities. The design of the SG03 is completely radical compared to the original Sugo. As mentioned in our recent review of the SG01B-W Evolution, the SilverStone SG03 will likely ship in April (but could be delayed to May). The SG03 is also being shown off by SilverStone at CeBit.
When combining the LinuxBIOS with the Linux kernel, BusyBox, a petite X11 server, Matchbox window manager, and rxvt, the LinuxBIOS is capable of possessing a graphical user interface. Uwe Hermann has covered this LinuxBIOS interface as well as linking to a YouTube video that shows off the GUI. There are also screenshots on the LinuxBIOS Wiki.
The GIGABYTE M57SLI-S4 is the first desktop motherboard to officially support the LinuxBIOS. This NVIDIA-based AM2 motherboard features SLI support and a whole lot more while being supported by the LinuxBIOS. More information on this GIGABYTE motherboard is available here. We'll work on a Linux review of this motherboard shortly.
According to newly revealed information, Dell customers are wanting Linux pre-installed on their notebooks and desktop PCs. In fact, it is one of the most requested features from this leading PC manufacturer; having the ability to multi-boot into Windows XP or Windows Vista or no Microsoft partition at all are among the options. More information is available at Dell Idea Storm.
Over the weekend we had conducted an interesting overclocking experiment in the middle of a Michigan blizzard. While the Pentium 4 530 and Abit AW9D had not made it as far as we had hoped, it certainly was an interesting and enjoyable experiment. If you enjoyed our Overclocking, The Natural Way article, please be sure to Digg the article.
Along side Intel's Xeon 5300 series launch, Tyan is today introducing the TyanPSC Typhoon 600 series of personal supercomputers. The Typhoon 600 series use the Clovertown quad-core processor, well, many quad-core processors. The TyanPSC T-650QX offers a total of 40 cores for a total amount of 256 GFLOPS of power while the T-630DX provides 128 GFLOPS of power. More on the TyanPSC Typhoon 600 series can be found here.
For months now we have been passing along bits of information on the Sugo SG02, and while this SFF chassis has still not been released, SilverStone is already hard at work designing the Sugo SG03. We have heard from a credible source that the SilverStone Sugo SG03 is indeed under development. While the Sugo SG02 remains nearly the same as the Sugo SG01 Evolution with a few exceptions, the SilverStone Sugo SG03 will introduce a completely different design concept. Initially the Sugo SG03 was slated for release later this year, but with the delays faced by the SG02, the Sugo SG03 will likely not make its public appearance until the middle of next year -- perhaps at Computex Taipei 2007. The details are few at time, but we will continue to work on acquiring additional information on this SFF chassis. In the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts on the SilverStone Sugo series at the Phoronix Forums, where we also have additional details on the Sugo SG02.
Sneaking out yesterday was the second release candidate for ALSA version 1.0.13. There are quite a few extensive changes in this development release compared to the first 1.0.13 release candidate. The complete set of changes for Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) v1.0.13RC2 can be found here.
As it has been almost a month since any Razer updates have been passed along, here are a few additional notes. Phoronix still has yet to hear back from Razer Inc on whether they plan to port their drivers to Linux, release specifications, or do anything else to help the Linux community. Phoronix still plans on assisting Linux-Gamers and their Lomoco project. While the project is focused on Logitech mice, Andreas Schneider had mentioned Razer mice support could be appended into the next major version (v2.0). Meanwhile, we are also working on getting support for the Razer Diamondback and Krait into the SourceForge RazerTool project -- at this point it only supports the Copperhead. After updating one of our Copperhead's to firmware version 6.17i, RazerTool had worked flawlessly under Fedora Core 5. Previously, there were problems due to firmware version 6.13. Once we have any additional Razer + Linux details to pass along, we will do so.
Creative Lab's open-source website has been updated with word that they are working on Linux drivers for their X-Fi lineup of high-end sound cards, which have been quite popular with Windows gamers. However, these closed-source Creative drivers will not be available for Linux until second quarter of 2007. These proprietary drivers will have full support for ALSA and OpenAL v1.1. EAX will also be supported by these closed Creative drivers. This announcement can be found here. No word yet when the open-source Advanced Linux Sound Architecture will support the Creative Labs X-Fi series.
As Phoronix has been doing for a while now, we have been lobbying to hopefully have Razer Inc release the specifications to their mice, open-source their drivers, or create viable Linux drivers -- or practically anything to support the Linux community. While we have been tempted to start a community-driven project for this *NIX Razer support in GPL fashion, it seems that a SourceForge project has spawned that attempts to do just that. This project is dubbed RazerTool. Its initial release appears to have just occurred two days ago, and at this time it is only known to work with the Razer Copperhead with both a command-line interface and GTK client. Some of the features include the ability to switch profiles, alter DPI/Hz/buttons, and upgrade firmware -- among other things. In our shot with RazerTool v0.0.6 and GNU/Linux, the software had failed to communicate with the Copperhead device. Phoronix has been discussing with the leader behind lomoco (Logitech Mouse Control) project at Linux-Gamers, and support for the Razer mice may be integrated with lomoco v2.0. Still no word yet on the official outlook for Linux from Razer.
In the midst of our Razer Krait review, we had posed the question to Razer in regards to open-source drivers or mouse specifications. Whether or not Razer decides to open up their Windows display driver and software, or release any product specifications to allow for third party drivers and software to be built -- which would allow greater Linux support -- it will be interesting to see what occurs. To this point we have yet to hear an official response other than "internal discussion between departments". We can only hope that Razer will see Linux gamers as another viable market. As we had mentioned in the Razer Copperhead and Krait reviews, their gaming mice do work under Linux using the generic USB mouse drivers -- and they do truly perform great -- but they do lack the Razer-specific features that are available from the Windows drivers. The Razer hardware themselves have proved to be phenomenal time and time again from our various reviews of their product with using their products extensively. While official access to their specifications or driver source would be ideal, there is the option of developing an independent GPL project to allow these vendor-specific options -- similar to Linux-Gamers work with lomoco (Logitech Mouse Control) and based off of lmctl. If no official support is granted, Phoronix may be starting and supporting such a Razer Linux project in the coming months. In fact, we have already began to purchase additional Razer mice for development purposes. We have already posted a tidbit of information on the Copperhead and Krait. If anyone would be interested in working on a Razer project for Linux, feel free to contact Phoronix. Otherwise if you are a Linux Razer user or simply would like seeing this official support, feel free to voice your thoughts with Razer. Below are a few pieces of information in regards to the Razer Diamondback with Linux. cat /proc/bus/input/devices I: Bus=0003 Vendor=1532 Product=0002 Version=0100 N: Name="Razer Razer Diamondback Optical Mouse" P: Phys=usb-0000:00:03.0-1/input0 S: Sysfs=/class/input/input1 H: Handlers=mouse0 event1 B: EV=7 B: KEY=7f0000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B: REL=103 lsusb -vv Bus 002 Device 002: ID 1532:0002 Device Descriptor: bLength 18 bDescriptorType 1 bcdUSB 2.00 bDeviceClass 0 (Defined at Interface level) bDeviceSubClass 0 bDeviceProtocol 0 bMaxPacketSize0 8 idVendor 0x1532 idProduct 0x0002 bcdDevice 1.00 iManufacturer 1 Razer iProduct 2 Razer Diamondback Optical Mouse iSerial 0 bNumConfigurations 1 Configuration Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 2 wTotalLength 34 bNumInterfaces 1 bConfigurationValue 1 iConfiguration 0 bmAttributes 0xa0 Remote Wakeup MaxPower 100mA Interface Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 4 bInterfaceNumber 0 bAlternateSetting 0 bNumEndpoints 1 bInterfaceClass 3 Human Interface Devices bInterfaceSubClass 1 Boot Interface Subclass bInterfaceProtocol 2 Mouse iInterface 0 HID Device Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 33 bcdHID 1.10 bCountryCode 0 Not supported bNumDescriptors 1 bDescriptorType 34 Report wDescriptorLength 79 Report Descriptors: ** UNAVAILABLE ** Endpoint Descriptor: bLength 7 bDescriptorType 5 bEndpointAddress 0x81 EP 1 IN bmAttributes 3 Transfer Type Interrupt Synch Type None Usage Type Data wMaxPacketSize 0x0008 1x 8 bytes bInterval 10
Of the products we have been tampering with for some time now in preparation for their Linux reviews has been the Razer Krait. Some of the features for the Razer Krait include optimizations for Real Time Strategy (RTS) and Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG). Its engine is based upon the Razer Precision Infrared technology, and various other technologies that we will be discussing in its review soon. For any developers out there working on projects like lomoco for Linux mouse control with vendor specific options, we have a few pieces of information to share today. For our Razer Copperhead information, it is posted here. If any developers are interested in working on a Linux Razer mouse project, feel free to contact Phoronix. With normal usage, we have yet to experience any Linux compatibility problems thus far. cat /proc/bus/input/devices I: Bus=0003 Vendor=1532 Product=0003 Version=2310 N: Name="Razer Razer 1600dpi 3 button optical mouse" P: Phys=usb-0000:00:03.2-1/input0 S: Sysfs=/class/input/input1 H: Handlers=mouse0 event1 B: EV=7 B: KEY=7f0000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B: REL=103 lsusb -vv Bus 003 Device 002: ID 1532:0003 Device Descriptor: bLength 18 bDescriptorType 1 bcdUSB 2.00 bDeviceClass 0 (Defined at Interface level) bDeviceSubClass 0 bDeviceProtocol 0 bMaxPacketSize0 8 idVendor 0x1532 idProduct 0x0003 bcdDevice 23.10 iManufacturer 1 Razer iProduct 2 Razer 1600dpi 3 button optical mouse iSerial 0 bNumConfigurations 1 Configuration Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 2 wTotalLength 34 bNumInterfaces 1 bConfigurationValue 1 iConfiguration 3 HID-compliant mouse bmAttributes 0xa0 Remote Wakeup MaxPower 100mA Interface Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 4 bInterfaceNumber 0 bAlternateSetting 0 bNumEndpoints 1 bInterfaceClass 3 Human Interface Devices bInterfaceSubClass 1 Boot Interface Subclass bInterfaceProtocol 2 Mouse iInterface 0 HID Device Descriptor: bLength 9 bDescriptorType 33 bcdHID 1.10 bCountryCode 0 Not supported bNumDescriptors 1 bDescriptorType 34 Report wDescriptorLength 79 Report Descriptors: ** UNAVAILABLE ** Endpoint Descriptor: bLength 7 bDescriptorType 5 bEndpointAddress 0x81 EP 1 IN bmAttributes 3 Transfer Type Interrupt Synch Type None Usage Type Data wMaxPacketSize 0x0008 1x 8 bytes bInterval 10
Last weekend Phoronix had covered The BoxHeads April 2006 LAN event, which had proved to be a success with the number of gaming participants, prizes, and overall atmosphere throughout the entire day. In the morning, however, there was a minor power situation. The power inside of the building managed to fluctuate quite a bit, which caused the demise of almost ten systems. The power supplies in the affected machines had largely blown capacitors and burnt PCBs. While The BoxHeads had proudly replaced all damaged components, today we have a few photos to share (which turned out surprisingly well). The two photographs below show the smoke that was simply pumping out of a single machine immediately after the problem had occurred. Additional images from the LAN are available inside the Phoronix article.
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