So my old dell has reached an old age where I was starting to be afraid the harddisk would go (some of the SMART disk parameters were getting pretty high, I didn’t ever worry in the days before I knew what these were). I suppose I could just replace the HD, but also the screen hinge was slowly going as well, as seems to be a problem with dells (at least for me).
I considered buying a dell with linux, but none of the specs looked good, and the specs that did look good didn’t ship with linux. I wanted a smaller laptop but with a decent resolution. I don’t need a graphics powerhouse I don’t play games. I had the 15 inch monstrocity. The new 15 inch inspirons had even a worse resolution (what’s wrong with these people, I don’t care how wide my screen is, make it high enough so that things fit, especially with the current UI, height is at a premium. I feel like new laptops are the equivalent of driving a tank). And the 15 inch inspirons are heavy. They also have the 13 inch studio, but that sucked for different reasons. And there were no other choices.
So scrap dell. I looked at System76 and Zareason. I was a little bit skeptical as I had before been burned by a bad “linux preinstalled laptop.” I finally decided for Zareason Alto 2550. The machine is very cool and so far no problems with the hardware. Karmic has had several issues already (such as CDs not moounting) that have been fixed by updating to the latest -proposed.
1) Zareson is very cool. They even sent me screwdriver with the laptop so that I could open it and look inside (of course I did just that). The machine is lighter than the inspiron, the screen is the same height but shorter. The keyboard takes a bit getting used to (that is once I’m used to the inspiron location of keys), but it is good. There is a fingerprint reader which apparently doesn’t work without some proprietary nonsense, but who cares, it’s not something I’ll be using anyway. Of course it is a generic barebones laptop that zareason just put together, so they don’t have 100% control of the hardware. The barebones hardware is MSI-made as far as I can tell. The ubuntu key ont he keyboard is cool, even though it is achieved by a sticker. And I finally don’t have to peel off the windows sticker from a new laptop (there is an ubuntu sticker).
2) Ubuntu should probably make the stabilization period longer. Hold off another 2-3 weeks, make another one or two release candidates with deep freeze. All the geeks will upgrade to release candidates anyway, so it is not an argument (actually geeks will generally update in the alpha stage). I usually update during beta sometime. A final ubuntu release should be more polished. And it seems it always gets polished in another few weeks past release, so waiting a few more weeks would result in far less bad publicity. When reading the buglists, it always seems that many bugs are found just before release, but the fix cannot be pushed through in time. This says to me that the release is too early. And this has always been the case with ubuntu, it’s nothing new with karmic. But as ubuntu is getting more widely adopted, the new userbase will be far less forgiving of problems in a “released” version which should be stable.