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New laptop

September 7th, 2006 (03:28 pm)
current mood: geeky

I bought a new laptop! The prof for my compiler construction course this semester is a big Java fanatic, and really wants us to do our work in Java, under Eclipse. This really wasn't an option on the iBook, for a variety of reasons; and that got me thinking about the other things that haven't been an option on the iBook: wireless, VMWare (or even a fast QEMU), and smlnj. So I looked at prices, talked to Cynthia, and we decided to go for it.

It's a Gateway, with a dual-core CPU, a gig of RAM, 120G HD, wireless Ethernet (a, b, and g), 15" widescreen, and various froofroo (SATA, DL DVD burner, flash card reader, Firewire, S-Video output). $850 at Best Buy--though I had to do my research and get them to price-match Circuit City. (I actually like CC a little better than BB, but there's a BB right next to work.)

One decision I wasn't expecting: it's got an Intel CPU. I've always preferred to go with AMD--partly just because Intel has such a monopoly, partly because, in recent years, AMD has had better tech. I've bought some second-hand machines with Pentia, and a couple of handhelds with StrongARM/XScale chips (where Intel definitely does not have a monopoly); but this is the first new machine I've bought with an Intel x86 CPU.

So why? Because of Centrino. Intel markets their laptop CPUs under the Centrino brand name, but, as I understand it, the manufacturer can't market it as Centrino unless they also include the Centrino WiFi chips. So all the Core Duo laptops come with Intel's Pro/Wireless chips, for which there is a Linux driver. Not only that, it's a Linux driver that Intel sponsored. If I'd bought an AMD machine, it would probably have had Broadcom's WiFi chips; and Broadcom is extremely closed. There are projects out there that hope to develop Linux drivers for Broadcom; but their odds seem pretty low.

I've downloaded the DVD image of Fedora Core 5 to put on it (I just moved my desktop to Debian, but FC5 comes with Eclipse and Debian doesn't), and also a CD of Knoppix to split the Windows partition. (Yes, I'm being wimpy and hanging on to Windows in case a future professor insists I have to work on Windows. I think I'd be able to tell them no—I've got all my actual requirements taken care of, so I could switch classes easily—but I'll just keep my options open here.)


Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: September 7th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)

Language geek says:
"Main Entry: frou·frou
Etymology: French, of imitative origin
1 : a rustling especially of a woman's skirts
2 : showy or frilly ornamentation"

Y'know, with Windows, we could run some of the kid software which doesn't come for Macs.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: September 7th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)

2 : showy or frilly ornamentation

Yeah, that's sort of what I meant: features which I like, but which weren't important enough to affect the buying decision.

Y'know, with Windows, we could run some of the kid software which doesn't come for Macs.

Do you want to have to explain to the kids that they can run their software only when Daddy's home?

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: September 7th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Frou-frou

"sort of what I meant" -- Sorry; I was correcting your *spelling* not your meaning.

I suppose you make a good point about kid software. Is it possible to put Windows on something else which we have?

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 15th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC)
Xen and the art of windows maintenance

If you need to do windows stuff, hopefully your new laptop has Ring -1 to rule them all.

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