so my laptop has been slowly but surely disintegrating on me over the last month. not good. it's impacted my ability to be effective at community events, it's slowed down my development efforts ... and it's not like it was a super machine to start with. but that's ok, i'm used to getting by with "good enough". but this was becoming a dire situation. i had to get a new laptop so i bit the bullet and went shopping on monday.
my requirements were "simple", though perhaps "simple" in the way that the plans in mission impossible episodes were "simple": under 5 pounds, perfect linux support, look good, decent screen (esp when viewing from an angle), be suitable for development and not cost more than CA$1000. and just like in mission impossible, it all turned out well in the end. i ended up springing for a toshiba m50-mx5 which comes with a pentium m 750, 512mb ram, 100gb sata drive, built in wireless, 14" widescreen, dvd burner, etc...
i was fairly confident things would go decently smooth since the graphics, wifi and .. well .. every other chipset that mattered to me was an intel product. when it comes to laptops, intel and linux tend to go well together in my experience. but i wasn't prepared for how well it did go.
i picked up the machine tuesday afternoon, shoved a kubuntu 5.10 cd in and a half an or so later ... had a working system. i did zero configuration and everything worked: the screen had the right (widescreen) resolution, networking worked, speedstep, hibernation/suspend (the power button does a cool orange pulsing thing when hibernating), the all-important coming out of hibernation (which is usually the part that doesn't work so well under linux ime), sound ...
well, almost everything. the sd card reader doesn't seem to work (some error about "generic_make_request: trying to access nonexistent block-device mmcblk0"). and i seem to be having some intermittent problem with the Marvel 88E8036 ethernet chipset and the sky2 driver; a rmmod followed by a modprobe "fixse" it, but it's certainly a bug in the sky2 driver with 2.6.15.
ironically, the wifi support has so far been more stable than the traditional, wired ethernet. though at first i didn't think the wifi worked at all as iwconfig could see the wifi card and i could configure it but it wouldn't pick up any access points. then i discovered a little switch on the front of the machine that when turned to 'on' actually turns on the wifi card. i noticed this while looking at the pretty blue lights and noticing a little panel beneath that with a wifi icon. turning the switch to "on" allowed me scan for and join wireless networks. it's a nice little feature to have when running on battery and not on a wireless network.
well, since everything went too easy, i upgraded immediately to the dapper beta2. still nothing broke (though the sd card and ethernet problems remained) and now i have a nice kde 3.5.2 system humming away. all i can say is "wow".
it also starts up, reboots and shuts down faster than the devil himself. so kudos to the kubuntu/ubuntu team for putting together such a great operating system, and to toshiba for a decent laptop at a reasonable price. though i suppose the real test will be 6 months from now and seeing how it stands up to the aseigo treatment =)
hopefully by tomorrow i'll have my kde4 dev env up and running .. *fingers crossed*
i also got the laundry situation sorted out. the neighbour came looking for his
laundry asking if i'd seen it. instead of answering his question immediately i informed him that we have a problem. he proceeded to freak out as i stood there calmly waiting for him to finish (took him a couple minutes to get it all out) and then explained to him the problems i had with how he was behaving. he calmed down pretty much instantly, apologized and then we talked for another 10 minutes or so finally arriving at a schedule that works for both of us (he gets night time, i get day time). i then told him where his laundry was and went to fetch it for him. i begin to understand why rich people end up building huge walls around their houses.