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Linux on netbooks

David Kramer wrote:
> I've been casually toying with the idea of getting a netbook...
> I mostly want to use it for note taking...
> I think a 10" screen is about right.  And since it's mostly for note
> taking, the keyboard can't bee TOO contorted from a ful sized
> keyboard.

With a larger screen comes a more usable keyboard, so I would guess for 
your use, one of the models with 11"+ screens would be optimal.

> Do I get a Windows one and make it dual-boot with Linux, or get one
> that already has Linux installed?

Can you still find many that come with Linux? I got the impression that 
they were in decline, due to users returning Linux units when they 
couldn't get their favorite locked-in apps. to run. Plus Microsoft 
eventually woke up to the new market and created versions of Windows and 
licensing fees more appropriate for the netbook market.

jay-R5TnC2l8y5lBDgjK7y7TUQ at wrote:
> There are tons of new "netbooks" available now and in the near
> future. 

I see a new crop of models featuring the Intel Atom N450 CPU:

which I see has an integrated graphics controller (and as a result 
consumes twice the power; of course it eliminates a separate GPU and the 
power it consumed), but otherwise looks similar to the N280.

I suppose that could be good if you want Intel graphics, and it should 
lead to a cheaper netbook platform. (Though pricing I saw seemed to be 
on par with last year's models.)

I read in a "Linux Journal" sidebar a few months ago that ARM is working 
on ramping up their CPU speeds and going after the netbook market with 
CPUs that they claim will be faster and lower power than Intel's Atom.

> Nvidia, ati and intel all have new graphics that can manage
> 1080p video and are lower power.

Does that include the Intel GMA 3150 integrated into the N450?

> the second would be the new netbook-tablet hybrids. 

All the hype right now is around the Apple iPad, but I suspect that from 
a volume perspective it'll end up being a niche player. There are 
supposedly a bunch of Android running tablets (many using the Nvidia 
Tegra chipset) coming out soon, like the Notion Ink's Adam tablet:

> I really think a touch screen, plus a full keyboard, would be a big
> plus for notetaking, as well as media.

Sounds awkward. Would you carry an easel to prop up the tablet? :-)

This reminds me of the review (Feb 2010 "Linux Journal") I read of the 
Always Inovating Touchbook. It's a netbook (TI OMAP3530 (ARM) CPU) that 
converts into a tablet. Unlike past convertible tablet designs where the 
keyboard folds under the screen, this one has the keyboard detach. As a 
result, all the critical electronics are in the screen half, which makes 
it top heavy. The reviewer said that a screen angle greater than 90 
degrees results in the netbook falling over backwards. I guess the 
Touchbook could use an integrated easel. (BTW, the conclusion of the 
review was that they liked the hardware, but found the customized Linux 
distribution to be buggy.)


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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