Tag Archives: laptop

Dell Laptops & Ubuntu

I’d heard that Dell were offering Ubuntu Linux on some of their laptops and I hadn’t really looked into it. But I came across this page the other day and it’s pretty neat to get Ubuntu (or any Linux) preloaded on a laptop from a major vendor:


It’s good to support coming from a major vendor, and Dell even offer’s a repo so you can get BIOS updates for support hardware:


However, I’m still partial to getting Lenovo’s T400 over a Dell.

Lenovo Laptop?

I’m thinking of getting a new laptop either the Lenova ThinkPad T400 (which is a replacement for the T61), or the IdeaPad U330 to replace my aging Dell 700m

The big thing for me is do they work with Linux (for me specifically Debian or Ubuntu).

For anyone interested in either laptop, looks like the the U330 works (near) flawlessly with Ubuntu. See this posting on this thread for an enthusiastic comment:


And with the T400 you’ll have some work to get everything working smoothy. Such as the dual-graphics cards which is how Lenovo get’s up to 10 hours of battery life from the T400.

However, if you don’t mind using breaking stuff, the new Beta version of Ubuntu appears to work reasonably well on the T400. See this blog posting and this thead on Lenova’s forums for more details.

I’m torn between either, the small size of the U330, versus the better battery life of the T400 (and the fact that both are a weeeeee bit dear).

OK, I’m tired as I write this, and I find sometimes when I “blog while tired” that my grammar/spelling/ability to make sense suffers, so maybe I’ll rewrite this in the morning. 🙂

OLPC for Birmingham, Alabama?

I just submitted this to Slashdot, as I think it’s interesting what the end result will be? Will the OLPC get squeezed out? Will US kids like ’em (I think they will).

bettlebrox writes Birmingham, Albama, may be the first US city to purchase the OLPC, per the Boston Herald:

‘The City Council has approved a $3.5 million plan to provide Birmingham schoolchildren with 15,000 computers produced by the nonprofit One Laptop per Child Foundation, which is putting low-cost laptops in the hands of poor children in developing countries. The city School Board still must agree to the deal, and some members have reservations. They want proof that computers designed for the remote African bush or the mountains of South America operate properly in an American city already laced with computer networks.

“Third World countries just don’t have some of the issues that we have to deal with, like liability and networking,” ‘

Other concerns they have include training for teachers and kids, and responsibility if OLPC’s are lost or stolen from a child.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea, they’re easy to use (even for teachers), it’s a great way encourage kids to be more computer (and maybe programming) savvy, and it allows for easy online social networking. Also, kids and families can easily pool wireless connections using the OLPC, and it should work seamlessly with any existing networks.

What can we tell the School Board (if they read Slashdot) to address their concerns? And how soon do you think it’ll be before some major US software company offers them free computers running a different OS instead? Also, is it me or does the attitude of the article seem to imply that as this is for poor foreign children that’s it not good enough for Amerikan kids?”

Dell BIOS updates using Linux

Dell provides Ubuntu support for updating the BIOS of Dell systems:


… be sure the Universe section is enabled in /etc/apt/sources.list, then run as root:

wget -q -O – http://linux.dell.com/repo/firmware/bootstrap.cgi | bash
aptitude install firmware-addon-dell
aptitude install $(bootstrap_firmware -a)

Thanks Dell!

Ghouls and Ghosts!

Fun looking game:


Used to play the original game, that this is based on, when I was a wee bit younger. Going to see if I can build it on my Ubuntu laptop, so far I need to install the liballegro-dev packages and associated dependencies.

Found out about the game at Linux Games.

Ghouls & Ghosts!

Got it to build easily enough, but it looks like the author isn’t too familiar with Linux/Unix based on how and where everything got compiled too! The binary is even called game.exe!

Otherwise, the game is a very good rendition of the original. I haven’t played it too much yet, kinda hard to play it properly on my laptop, gotta try it on my desktop which has a real keyboard. Plus, I need to figure out how to re-map the keys, ctrl is shoot and alt is jump, which just feels clumsy to me. All-in-all it looks pretty good, can’t tell if there is sound as the speakers on my lovely Dell 700m laptop don’t work anymore. From what I’ve read this is pretty common and is due to the wires to the speakers fraying where the laptop lid/screen is hinged. Way to go Dell!