With projects like Gobuntu and gNewSense aiming to provide a platform that is zealous about free software, the obvious question is “where can I run it?”. And right now, as far as laptops go, there are no good answers. Pretty much any laptop you can buy today needs some sort of non-free bits to make the most of its hardware, putting you in the tricky position of having to choose between hardware usefulness and software freedom. And boy, do we know about that choice in Ubuntu!

There have been several threads about this, in comments on this blog and also on comments to Bug #1. Most of them have focused on free drivers but we should also be thinking about OpenBIOS (the new name for the LinuxBIOS project). An ideal solution would also use firmware that has a free software licence as well, but I personally would see OpenBIOS and free drivers as a good start.

Right now, software freedom isn’t a huge priority for most of the companies that make up components for the PC and laptop industry. If we want to get onto their radar screen, we need to show that its worth their while to think about it. To that end I’d like to build up a list of people who are interested in this idea, and would potentially buy a high-powered laptop if it were guaranteed to work completely with free software drivers and OpenBIOS.

So I’ve setup a mailing list over here:

https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/free-software-laptop

Please go ahead and join that list if you think you would seriously consider buying a laptop that was powerful and designed specifically to be free-software friendly.

This is a totally moderated list – I’ll only allow messages through that specifically let people know about the possibility of acquiring a laptop that can pass the free software test. So it’s news-only, and ultra-low traffic. If we can get sufficient numbers of people to express interest in such a laptop then I will start hunting for an OEM to offer a solution for pre-order.

I’ve also started to sketch out the components and specifications for a laptop that would meet these requirements here:

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FreeSoftwareLaptop

It will take a lot of committed buyers to move from concept to execution but if we can pull it off it will have an excellent ripple effect in the PC hardware industry. Make yourself heard!

141 comments:

  1. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Ideally, I wouldn’t want to pay much more than a conventional, non-free-software-friendly laptop would cost. Under current circumstances though, I would be prepared to pay a 10% (more or less) premium for a system that would work 100% with free software. I’d be able to pay 20% more if every single piece of software is free software, including firmware such as the BIOS, ethernet controller, wi-fi card, etc.

    I think portability is quite important. I’d appreciate a slimline design, while maintaining durability (such as the Lenovo Thinkpad X60x series).

  2. Adam Wood says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Please take a look at http://www.xephi.co.uk

    This is a company that I have set up specifically to tackle this problem! I’m not surprised you’ve not heard of it because it has only been public knowledge for a little over a month.

    I already have 4 models of laptops available that meet your requirements as listed on the wiki.

    Please contact me if you’d like any details.

    Adam

  3. Joshua Gay says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Wonderful, this is great! Thank you Mark :-)

    Joshua Gay
    Campaigns Manager
    Free Software Foundation

  4. Michael Fötsch says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    I’d definitely be willing to buy such a thing. I’m not sure what high-end means, but what’s on the wiki so far looks reasonable. I wouldn’t be willing to buy a high-end machine that’s twice as expensive as an average one, just because it runs free software only. In that case, I’d be looking for an alternative (hardware-wise, not freedom-wise).

    Thinking about it: Where can I place an order? :-)

  5. Andre Noel » Blog Archive » Laptop Livre, Leve e Solto says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    [...] O grande Mark Shuttleworth se fez essa mesma pergunta. Como existem dois projetos de variações do Ubuntu totalmente livres, o Gobuntu e o gNewSense, é importante saber que máquinas podemos usar sem ficarmos presos a drivers restritos como de placas de vídeo, wireless ou etcetera e etcetera. [...]

  6. FreeSoftNews » Blog Archive » Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop? says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    [...] Read more at Mark Shuttleworth blog [...]

  7. Marc says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for laying out the challenge, Mark. I’m intrigued and I’ve started to think about how I can adjust my (small) creative business to adopt a product like this, including creating media that are released under a compatible license. I really want to support software freedom and I look forward to news about this project specifically.

  8. Alan Shutko says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    I’d buy one… but only if it were a Thinkpad. I’m really disappointed with the quality of the laptops any other OEM puts out.

  9. Florob says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Just a small correction:
    AFAIK OpenBIOS (http://www.openbios.org) and LinuxBIOS (http://linuxbios.org) are two different projects.
    LinuxBIOS does low-level initialization of the hardware and can then start different so called payloads.
    OpenBIOS, which can be used as such a payload, needs such initialization before it can start and is an implementation of the Open Firmware standard.

  10. morphir says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Do you want chocolate topping on that ice cream?

    WRONG!

    The question should be: What topping do you want on that icecream?
    So, you let the user chose what flavor he/she wants.

    There is you answer Mr. Shuttleworth :)

  11. cyber_rigger says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Mark,

    Here is a collection of pre-installed desktop Linux vendors.

    http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/

    Lxer.com has a database of the same.

    http://lxer.com/module/db/index.php?dbn=14

  12. Mark says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Life imitates art:

    http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/taking-freedom-further

  13. Ram Krishnan says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Great idea. Having recently gone through the painful process of tweaking an off-the-shelf laptop to run Ubuntu correctly, I’m convinced of the need for an open hardware platform, both laptop and desktop.

    Have you looked at system76 (http://system76.com)? They seem to have the right idea, but I don’t know much about them but they seem to have an Open Hardware project.

  14. Jules says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    If it’s x86 64 bit, multiple core (required for software development), reasonable graphics card and screen size but not too expensive I will buy it. I was already looking for such a laptop, actually. So I think getting more attention for free-software based laptops is a great idea, Mark.

  15. brasso says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    If it got something like IBMs TrackPoint, then I can’t see how I would not be willing to buy that laptop. Until then I’m happily stuck with my ThinkPad. :)

  16. smd says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    This is a fantastic idea and, if it can be done, I fully intend to import and sell the machines in Argentina. I run Ubuntu on all of my machines (and will be selling Ubuntu machines here in Argentina in the very near future) and the most frustrating thing is buying a high end laptop and doing insane things like compile your own DSDT because basic things like the GPU fan don’t work. A laptop designed and built for linux would be a huge step forward in my opinion.

  17. Super Mike says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks for doing this. Some in the open source community (not me) seemed peeved with the direction of Feisty and this non-free stuff, as if you had some devious ulterior motive or gave in to the Dark Lord or something. I, however, knew better and was waiting for you to comment on this. It’s good to see that you’re trying to bring the gNewSense and Gobuntu guys to come back — if only we can get the hardware manufacturers to play ball, who are the guys that need stats before they take software freedom seriously.

  18. Nathan DBB says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:24 am

    A small 1024×768 screen with all-Intel chips sounds like a Mobile Internet Device (MID). Please add a nice camera, bluetooth, phone-quality mic/speaker, a host USB port, a couple of multi-card readers and a super-bright screen. This is a tall order, but the device can then do everything (but GPS & G3 networking).

    This would be like a Fujitsu Lifebook U1010 mated to a Nokia N800 with a 8″ screen. The U1010 uses the Intel 945GU chipset (like GMA 950, AFAIK), so it should run Ubuntu’s desktop effects. Ubuntu is involved with Intel’s new MID’s, so we know we can expect them in 2008.

    It appears that it is still not possible to get rid of non-free blobs w/o getting rid of wireless networking.

  19. Shuttleworth proposes Free Laptop « A Conservative Techie says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:38 am

    [...] proposes Free Laptop Jump to Comments In a new blog post, Mark Shuttleworth proposes a new “free” laptop.  A laptop that is built using the [...]

  20. Klas says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:44 am

    I’ll put an ultraportable (*) with 6 hours of battery life and the usual frills (**) on the wish list. I’m really not willing to shell out any cash at all for a “heavy” laptop. Mobility is king.

    (*) Max 1.5 kg, external optical drive, wide screen form factor.
    (**) Web cam, digital audio, external screen support, some 3D hardware, wifi, bluetooth and gigabit ethernet.

    Cheers

  21. Sveinung Kvilhaugsvik says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:11 am

    A requirement that would be important to me is that if not all firmware can be Free, at least all software that can read and/or write to any address in RAM should be free. Since the BIOS will pr spec be Free, that only leaves firmware for the other components as a potential problem. That could be solved by adding a IOMMU to the spec. That way we could be sure the components (if they run unfree firmware) can not read and write to the entire RAM.

  22. Peter says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:23 am

    I bought a Dell Inspiron a while ago for a friend. It was a 15xx series — bottom-of-the-line. It met all the above specs. Everything was free software, except the BIOS. There were also firmware blobs. The firmware blobs made it non-RMS-free, but I consider that to fall under hardware. 1680×1050 resolution, 100gb HD, 2GB RAM, Intel graphics and wireless. ACPI worked fine. There was a card reader that looked like it might not work (but we never tried — we didn’t want or need it).

  23. ME says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:14 am

    The problem with hoping for a price premium on a free (as in speech) laptop is that a competitor will undercut you by taking advantage of the free (as in beer) aspect of the software. Whoever spends the bucks developing and maintaining the free code will get hosed by leechers.

  24. Jonathan Zeppettini says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Seeing these features implemented on any platform (laptop, desktop, etc.) would be interesting. In many cases the main obstacle to getting free software to run flawlessly is related to closed proprietary hardware that is poorly documented and requires various hacks to make it function correctly. I’ll be adding myself to the list.

  25. Matthew Flaschen says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 4:32 am

    I am interested, and have joined the list. I woudl second the comments that it must have complete drivers (without proprietary firmware) for everything (including wireless and graphics). I am not ready to buy another laptop just yet, but am entirely serious about buying a free one when I do (probably a year from now).

  26. Matthew Flaschen says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Okay, I should correct myself. I would strongly prefer no need for proprietary firmware, but would still be interested in (and probably buy) a good laptop with complete free drivers and a free BIOS.

  27. Open-Source-Laptop « Zuckerbrot says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:34 am

    [...] Weiteres in seinem Blog. Explore posts in the same categories: Open-Source [...]

  28. Mark Shuttleworth: un vero portatile open « www.ubuntista.it says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:34 am

    [...] 13th, 2007 Post interessante di Mark Shuttleworth (il fondatore di Ubuntu) riguardante una iniziativa per un vero portatile Open. Si parla di Open [...]

  29. Anony Guy says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 7:44 am

    YES!! YES!! YES!! I want to buy a laptop with a Free software bios preinstalled. The first company to make one available will have 100% of my goodwill and probably all of my business. I, just like many other free software activists, are demanding a completely free laptop system.

  30. Julian S. says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 8:10 am

    I would love this option, especially if it doesn’t make me choose between high-performance 3D graphics and free software.

    I enjoy running and programming OpenGL programs, and sadly I feel that with the current state of free software 3D graphics drivers, going completely to free software would make me significantly *less* free to do some the things that I enjoy most.

  31. Haakan Jakobsson says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Sounds like a good idea. What would the benefits of having a free-software-laptop for the average consumer be? Could for example the following be improved: Power saving, hibernation and suspend support and graphics support (plug and play external monitors, dual head displays etc)? Ubuntu is my preferred OS but I have to use winXP on my laptop at school for all of the above three reasons. What sort of time frame would you set for this project as I would be interested in one of these laptops for use at university next year.

    regards
    Haakan Jakobsson
    Year 12 student and linux supporter

  32. Martin says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:20 am

    … the need for laptops/notebooks without “Windows-Tax” has been noticed a while ago. The hassle of setting up a notebook with Linux (there just was an unfriendly review stating the specific weaknesses of Ubuntu on laptops… *lol*) are known as well.
    So far only small stores and individuals have stepped in and are offering custom laptops with individually pre-configured Linux on it. At least on the European market (emperor linux is doing a great job on the other side of the ocean).

    German customers may be interested in my store – I have been offering Linux notebooks (usually based on HP and Nexoc/Clevo) for well over 2 years now. Just click my name above or search for “linux notebook elfenladen” – I even offer Ubuntu as a choice, even if it is not my favorite on mobile computers…

  33. Cappy says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Actually I want a cheap processor in my laptop. I’m buying the Inspiron E1505 N sometime in the next month. It was $600 yesterday and now it’s $650 today …
    I wish it had something better than the crappy Nvidia 7300 GO available though (on either laptop!). Won’t be able to game at all (FPS) with anything in the last 3 years. Pathetic. Wish they had some 7800 GO as an option (the cheaper versions). Mainly I’m looking forward to Unreal Tournament 3, due out in Nov.
    I’m probably the minority since I doubt most linux gamers will need a 7800 GO. They will however, need a nvidia card. That other laptop doesn’t even offer nvidia cards as an option. That rules it out for gamers.
    I know intel video cards are liked because they are open source but .. come on .. they don’t work for gamers =(

  34. Michael Luning says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:53 am

    It would be a terrific boost to the world-wide computer industry to have their products manufactured outside the limits of proprietary hardware and software, If techies like me could use whatever platform we chose to perform the nessecary things we need to accomplish on our customers equipment, then the computer world would see an extremem jump in people buying newer machines. If consumers did not have to look down the barrel of whatever OS the manufacturer “decided” to place on the machine they were purchasing, then i am also sure that the software world would see a dramatic increase in creativity and consumers paying more money for better products that perform the functions and do the things that they choose to do with their machine. The biggest problem i have as a techie at the moment, is that i have had several people who bought “Vista” laptops.. and i can say that most of the laptops i have seen with vista instal;led even if equal or greater CPU speeds compared to their desktop brothers, run like old worn out x86 machines… Reminds me of a 33SX. To be paid to yank vista of a machine and replace it with XP Pro, which i resisted for years, seems like a waste of time to me… let the consumer choose what platform they want… Everyone would be happier in the long run, software, hardware, and manufacturers included.

  35. Spoilerhead says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    i really like the idea, just don’t use a smart battery, they are broken since 7 weeks now (see https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-source-2.6.20/+bug/117773)

    if this could be successful, imho just depends on the “bang for the buck”, so if it just gets to expensive, noone will buy it, no matter how great the linux support is.

  36. Scott says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Sorry Mark,

    I took a look at the free laptop specs and quit reading at Intel graphics. Integrated chips are the bane of both desktops and laptops. Never will I buy any pc with an Intel graphics device of any kind, particularly any which includes shared memory.

    The fact that consumers let companies get away with installing substandard hardware is because they lack the education to demand something better. Certifying any pc as linux / free-software which includes integrated graphics accepts the same shoddy quality companies have been pushing on users for some time now.

  37. Jeff says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I work for a small (~40 people) company that develops in Linux. We use suse, and the general budget is 3k for a laptop for three years. I think buying a high end laptop with knowledge of complete hardware compatibility with free software would be a huge sell point. My guess is over the next three years, we’d buy forty or so 3k laptops. That being said, the laptops we buy are pretty close to 100% compatible already, and they are of excellent quality. I would expect no less from any high end laptop.

    We also use windows for some applications and it would be critical to have the ability to install that too.

  38. Alex says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Mark,

    Recently, I’ve spent several miserable days with my desktop, KVM and Ubuntu Feisty trying to get rid of tttttthhhhhhhiiiissss kkkkiiiinnnnddd ooooffff pppphhhhheeeeennnoooommmeeennnaaaa. Then, recently, I tried to install Ubuntu on an old IBM ThinkPad. And it failed. Miserably. My X screen was split in 3 pieces. Then I browsed for Linux on laptop and found a bunch of sites with how-tos on this and that distro in combination with this and that laptop. And then finally I decided to try Mepis. Not only did it install flawlessly on my old laptop, it also came up with an incredible 1280×1024 resolution. Oh, yes, the KWeather is very accurately telling me what the weather is like outside. Out-of-the-box. Now, that is what I would call a user-friendly distro. As far as I am concerned, I have found my desktop OS. The rest of you distro guys – look up to Mepis and give us the same experience. People do not care for wasting hours trying to install OS. People want it to “just work”.
    So, to finally answer your question: I do not want to buy hardware tailored for OS (is it going to have “Designed for GNU/Linux” sticker on it?). I want to be able to choose hardware and install the operating system of my choice on it. Flawlessly.

    Alex

  39. Callum Wilson says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    I’d like to see the free laptops with one of those little stickers on them that says:

    “Designed for You”

    It’s a key message. The laptops are being designed for real people who wish to use software to further their own skills/education/work.

    callum

  40. Steven Garrity says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    I’d love to see this. However, the build quality of the hardware is at least as important.

  41. Matt Galvin says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    As an owner of an MBP, I do really enjoy the high quality nature of it, that’s why I bought it. It is nicer, IMHO, than pretty much anything else out there. If there where an alternative that used only components that are fully open and supported I would buy one (maybe two… one for my wife as well) in a heart beat. While it would obviously have to have a competitive price, the time saved not struggling with hardware that needs to be coaxed to work is a tremendous advantage. My time is very important to me and time saved not fighting the system needlessly is worth every penny… especially when it helps extend our freedoms.

    +1 for me, OpenBIOS and all. I really think there is a huge market for an open laptop platform, and especially for high end models including things like a built in camera, tv-tuner and a bunch of other niceties. It is something I have always wanted, that’s for sure. It is extremely overdue.

  42. Marco Campos says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Something along the lines of the Dell XPS 1330. A 13.3″ LED LCD screen, Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, Intel X3100 integrated graphics, Intel HDA audio, Intel WiFi chipset and a small, light and sturdy chassis. Apart from the openBIOS you can’t get more open than this. Bonus points for 3 USB2.0 ports, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, nice webcam and a DVI, or even better, a full-spec HDMI 1.3a port. This laptop would be a dream to use and I would definitely fork some cash for something like this…

  43. børge says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    This sounds awesome, and I am definitely interested in such a laptop!

    I only hope that you will also have the environment in mind when speaking with the OEMs!

  44. The Edge of I-Hacked » Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop? says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog With projects like Gobuntu and gNewSense aiming to provide a platform that is zealous about free [...]

  45. Matt says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    $300 max and I’d consider it. :)

  46. AskTheAdmin.Com says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Great post and yes I would love to own one! The wiki is awesome keep it up! And drop by and say whats up to your friends over @ http://www.asktheadmin.com!

    Have a great day!

  47. Sean Tilley says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Hey, Mark. I would love to buy one of these laptops once you get things going. How much would they cost? Also, will they be available at mainstream stores?

  48. ApostolosB. says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    not only a laptop but also a small desktop and/or a workstation that could run any distro out of the box

    with the opening of java and gnash (plus all the other free software) any architecture (those pasemi chips look sweet) could be used and pretty much any component that has open drivers

    with free software the possibilities are endless

    all it needs is good design (think apple sony thinkpads) and very good build quality (metal would be sweet) and its ready for the market :-)

    also storing the system in flash for fast boot etc. (8Gb is cheap and pretty much enough for something like that) is something innovative and doable
    digital audio inputs/outputs and i am sold

    so far in computer history we have seen PC, Mac

    its time for OC (open computer) ;-)

  49. Ubuntu takes on Corporate Staff Computing Strategies « Scotsman on a Horse says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    [...] Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop? Right now, software freedom isn’t a huge priority for most of the companies that make up components for the PC and laptop industry. If we want to get onto their radar screen, we need to show that its worth their while to think about it. To that end I’d like to build up a list of people who are interested in this idea, and would potentially buy a high-powered laptop if it were guaranteed to work completely with free software drivers and OpenBIOS. Published in: [...]

  50. AbandonedHero says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    @Jules
    x86 isn’t 64 bit.

    This does sound like a great idea though, I just hope that it doesn’t end up being that expensive.

  51. AbandonedHero says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    @Alex:
    The main problem with what you want (a machine that will run any OS you want) is drivers. There isn’t much that Open Source development can do with closed hardware like many of the companies make. If they release their driver source, then it’s a valid possibility.

  52. Bernz says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Alex, I feel your pain, but I think the idea is to push for hardware that has no restrictions/special hooks for a particular vendor (as it stands now, even with modern PCs); in fact, it’s to avoid “Designed for” stickers of any kind. :-) Thanks for sharing your experience, though, and good luck with all future installations/setups.

    As for me, I’m no genius, but I work on software/firmware, and I’m starting to develop a smattering of skill in the bootloader department (from both a Linux and a platform-agnostic perspective), so I’d be keen to contribute in some way on the project(s), and I’d definitely be interesting in replacing my aging XP-oriented laptop with something more open.

  53. Bernz says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    On further consideration, the wiki page about specs seems to suggest Linux orientation. Although that would be a step up from the status quo, I’d prefer absolutely no “dependencies” on a particular OS (in a perfect world, etc). :-) (Note: “interesting in” -> “interested in” in previous comment).

  54. stelt says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Maybe you want http://freedomdrive.org as part of this action.
    Mail me with a good ‘non-spam’ title and i’ll get back to you

  55. Fred Flinta says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    I would not buy a “high-end laptop” because they suck. They are expensive and have crappy battery time.
    I don’t care so much about performance, because I am not gonna spend much time gaming on a laptop anyways, I care most about battery time and price.

    Would I buy a “high-end laptop? Nope.
    Would I buy a laptop that works with free-software? Sure.

  56. Slyon’s Ubuntu Infos » Free Software Laptop says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    [...] Shuttleworth stellte sich heute in seinem Blog die Frage, ob es ein Laptop gibt, welches sich mit 100% freier Open Source Software betreiben [...]

  57. JohnTeddy says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    I think a big problem will be Intel doesn’t allow their graphics chipset to ship with non-intel motherboards. And Intel is blatantly unhelpful with the openbios project. Intel wants to promote their EFI bios and they are proud of the DRM capabilities it has the potential for, and they tell the big media conglomorates this.
    As I see it, the underdogs in the market help us a lot more. ie, ralink or realtek for wireless chipset, and AMD for cpu, and Intel for graphics. But broadcom for wireless, or Intel for board/cpu, or ATI/Nvidia for graphics don’t help much..because they dominate. The underdogs in the market have helped us more in history I think. The main problem is AMD is very helpful with documentation for linuxbios/openbios..but Intel isn’t helpful at all. As a result, I don’t think any Intel motherboards work well with linuxbios.( http://linuxbios.org/Supported_Motherboards ) But a lot of Opteron/X2 AMD sockets work well, the XO will be the first laptop in the world I know of, with a free/libre bios.
    But this free/libre laptop.. it can’t have Intel motherboard. We just can’t do that…they have been deliberately unhelpful to linuxbios people(check their -devel lists) AMD should be rewarded and the laptop should be AMD based, like turion. But AMD(ATI) should obviously not be rewarded, their old graphics chipsets have open documentation, but that’s only because it has no value to them. They only give us the old crud they don’t want anymore.
    The new Intel graphics like 965G are the most powerful and best working, and the free/libre drivers work great.(there is no documentation for memory registers etc for the chipset, but as you said.. work on bios/drivers first..firmware/bytecode/specs later) the problem is, Intel will not license their chipset to an AMD based board. I don’t know if this violates anti-trust laws or something, but there exists no AMD boards I know of, that have Intel graphics.(Didn’t Intel say they would have stand alone graphics cards?.. when will that happen.. at least I can have AMD(with linuxbios) mobo and Intel graphics in a Desktop)

    And as for wireless, ralink and realtek are very very helpful(ask Theo from OBSD), but their technology kind of stinks compared to Atheros, atheros has the binary HAL to subjugate us though. Although they claim it’s FCC regulations they’re following..But just last week, Matt Norwood and others from Software Freedom law center did this whitepaper .. http://www.softwarefreedom.org/news/2007/jul/06/sdr-paper/ “SFLC Releases White Paper on FCC’s New Rules Relating to FOSS in Software-Defined Radio Devices” So now I belive Atheros doesn’t need HAL to exist because of FCC, but I’m not sure. Maybe someone could get Atheros to read that whitepaper from SFLC
    anyway, AMD board(turion?) with Intel graphics, and Atheros wireless(best wireless chipset, no firmware only small bytecode), the openhal madwifi branch is coming along very well, it works with many chipsets right now( svn checkout
    http://svn.madwifi.org/branches/madwifi-old-openhal madwifi-free )
    That would be my ideal laptop. just my .02

    o yea, if a free laptop existed.. with just linuxbios.. I’d buy it right away. And if I didn’t like the wireless…I’d replace the minipci with what I want.

    Regards,
    John Teddy

  58. Tim Hodkinson says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    This is a very smart idea: Organizing the collective buying power of consumers. Just like with group insurance.

    I think this could really be a successful way of encouraging the production of compatible desktops as well. If buyers could coordinate and standardize their purchasing then that would be the sort of market almost any manufacturer would love to serve.

  59. Articles linked on LinuxToday - to read later - GadgetNate says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/131 [...]

  60. Eric says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    If food has ingredients and other consumer labels like “no transfat”, why does hardware not have chipset and revision along with “works with gnewsense/openbsd”. (yes, I’m a bsd guy. We have the same problem, if not worse).

  61. Steve Stites says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Yes I would be interested in buying a computer with totally free software components. The only caveat that I have is that I don’t buy laptop computers, only desktop computers.

    ————————–
    Steve Stites

  62. Puppesurferen says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I’d buy — if the wireless and all the other hardware have 100% Free (as in GPL or GPL-compatible) drivers. If it’s based on a non-Intel, non-x86 chip, I’d buy this year. If it’s based on Intel or any other x86, I’d wait a year or two, just having been unable to further postpoe purchasing a MacbookPro.
    If it runs Debian, has 100% Free drivers and other kit, plus non-x86, then I’m in any week it’s ready to ship. Blobs or x86? Lemme think a while.

  63. Paul N. says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I’ll second the Thinkpad comment. Thinkpads rule on the floors of every LinuxWorld I’ve been to and with good reason. If you can fit within the limits of the Thinkpad hardware, then you can likely fit within the limits of Linux. Both are great products that complement each other on features as well as use models and customer types.

    Paul

  64. harmattan says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Yeah!

    You can count on me to buy one of those “freedom-laptops”.
    I would prefer for them not to have any single bit of non free software inside, nor even firmware bits.

    Go Ubuntu, go!! :-)

  65. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    I think it’s crazy to spend a mint on a laptop just so I can run whatever OS that I want to run on it besides Microsoft Windows. I certainly won’t do that, just on principle. If that means I don’t purchase a new laptop, then fine by me. I’ve got a Dell Latitude C640 from 2003, with a GB of DRAM, that works *great* with F/OSS platforms and is quite sufficiently fast for my needs.

    I simply don’t see the benefit to me of paying “extortion money” to do with my legally purchased hardware as I please, provided that I’m not hurting anyone else. And I would submit that simply running the legally-acquired operating system of my choice (Ubuntu, Slackware, OpenBSD, etc.) with the legally-acquired apps of my choice (e. g. Firefox, OpenOffice.org, The GIMP) fits that description.

    So, no, I’m not going to buy a “premium laptop” to do everyday computing tasks. I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

  66. Art says: (permalink)
    July 13th, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    What about a free hardware laptop?

  67. Sasank Jampana says: (permalink)
    July 14th, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Great work Mark. Thank you soooooo much for all the work being done to FREE software.
    I think that having a central place like https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FreeSoftwareLaptop to know more about what laptops(or Desktops or other hardware parts) you can buy to be guaranteed to work with FREE software is very important.
    I personally think http://www.ubuntu.com should have a whole section, displayed prominently and linked from the main page, that has various lists on what hardware is truly free and the vendor links to be able to purchase them from.

    Some useful resources
    ————————–
    http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/
    http://wiki.gnewsense.org/Main/RecommendedHardware

  68. Prasanna Gautam says: (permalink)
    July 14th, 2007 at 4:51 am

    I think it’s a great news that company like canonical is coming up front about these things. I sincerely think there should be some kind of consortium among the big players in Open Source Community: FSF, RedHat, Canonical to push for this issue. so that we can fix up the Bug #1 ASAP. Canonical’s work is appreciated in that respect. GoBuntu is a good step forward but due to economic climate most of our production desktops can’t remain completely free for long.

    Keep with the good work SABDFL!

  69. Spike says: (permalink)
    July 14th, 2007 at 8:32 am

    there are actually a few laptops that have free driver only setups – anything powered entirely by intel, for one. now if we’re talking free firmware too, then you have a point

  70. FOSS says: (permalink)
    July 14th, 2007 at 9:26 am

    AMD has done a great job porting LinuxBIOS to virtually all the motherboards that have AMD Geode processors:

    http://www.amd.com/us-en/ConnectivitySolutions/ProductInformation/0,,50_2330_9863_13022%5E11363,00.html

    It’s easier to build a desktop with 100% Free/Open Source components than a laptop with the same criteria. There currently is a desktop motherboard from the manufacturer Gigabyte (Gigabyte M57SLI-S4) that runs LinuxBIOS:

    http://linuxbios.org/GIGABYTE_GA-M57SLI-S4_Build_Tutorial

  71. Shuttleworth's proposed laptop useful for more than just Ubuntu. says: (permalink)
    July 14th, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    [...] who follow developments within the open source community have read about Mark Shuttleworth’s high-end, free-software-only laptop idea. While his focus appears to be more ideologically-driven, I think such a laptop would be useful for [...]

  72. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    July 15th, 2007 at 9:05 am

    A lot of attention has been paid to the question of firmwares. I don’t care as much about that from a practical matter, as, like another poster, I see that as part of the hardware. The reason is that, traditionally, the firmware was stored in a PROM or EPROM, and it actually still operates in that way once it’s loaded into the device that needs said firmware.

    What I do care about a lot more is the issue of binary blob drivers running in the context of the operating system. That’s just really, really bad news.

    The OpenBSD hardware compatibility list is another good resource to use to check out hardware for “free-ness”.

  73. David Woodhouse says: (permalink)
    July 15th, 2007 at 11:41 am

    You actually _WANT_ ACPI? You’re mad. Have you entirely given up on the idea of having properly-supported hardware with drivers written in C, as part of the kernel?

    It isn’t hard to do that kind of thing properly as long as the hardware is documented. Don’t set your sights so low.

  74. Brian Kemp says: (permalink)
    July 15th, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Firmware is quite bad, actually. It’s not part of the hardware otherwise it would be stored on the hardware in ROM. Since most firmware these days is loaded at run-time, it’s software and therefore needs to be freed, or not used.

    The other thing is that I’ve seen instances where the firmware that’s freely redistributable is crippled compared to non-free drivers for other operating systems (ESS Maestro3)

    It’s another security hole waiting to happen.

  75. Pupeno’s web site » Blog Archive » Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop? says: (permalink)
    July 15th, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    [...] Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop? read more on Mark’s site. [...]

  76. High-end, free-software-only laptop @ Sebastian’s blog says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 5:46 am

    [...] Technology.Mark Shuttleworth – founder of Ubuntu – started a mailing list for people interested in buying a high-end, free-software-only laptop. These days you need binary-only firmware or software for at least one part in most laptops; This [...]

  77. TuxJournal.net 2.0 » Archivio » Il laptop perfetto di Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 8:11 am

    [...] sfida lanciata da Shuttleworth è quella di creare un laptop capace di utilizzare perfettamente solo software [...]

  78. Jacek Przepiora says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Please remember about _RIGHT_ configuration for collection of fonts for East European languages. From time to time, it is completly wrong. Or worse, only a Western fonts shipped with distribution. I suggest play with only UTF-8 coding.

  79. Amir E. Aharoni says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 10:59 am

    One of the good things about Free Software projects is the openness of the development and the project management.

    Most Free Software projects have open access to their “internal” forums, mailing lists and bug tracking tools. Every user of the program can, nearly anonymously, enter a bug or a feature request into the database (Bugzilla, RT, Launchpad, SF.net etc.) and then track its investigation and fix.

    It is not a requirement of any license; it just makes sense! For most users this is even more important than being able to read or modify the source code. Even a reply like “Duplicate bug” or “Works for me” is far better than nothing.

    I’ve never seen anything like this in the proprietary software world.

    Sure – you can send an email with a bug report to Microsoft, Oracle, CA, HP etc., but it is unlikely that you will know where did it go, unless you have a personal service agreement. It’s just fire and forget”. And you surely won’t get a personal reply from Mr. Gates.

    Yet in the Free Software community the user has the full power to influence the project planning of the core development team.

    This very important endeavor is starting thanks to a few comments from a few people on the SABDFL’s blog.

    Thank you, Mark, for this initiative.

  80. Free Penguin says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 11:08 am

    I think it’s a very very very good idea.
    Beginner users start to use GNU/Linux if it’s simple and easy to find and utilize.
    Good Idea!!

    FREE PENGUIN

  81. just john says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I like this project! Already, when I consider what my next laptop should be, I browse places that do Linux only. So guaranteed all-non-proprietary would be great.

    Here’s one odd feature that I’m surprised I never hear asked for: If it HAS to have a webcam, I’d like a physical lens-cap available. Otherwise, I’ll just have to set up some duct tape-based capping strategy, which would look kludgy.

    Oh, to have a Linux laptop that can do hibernation properly!

  82. Antonio says: (permalink)
    July 16th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    I frankly don’t see why a x86 architecture.
    OpenFirmware is already there, and POWER is an open architecture (and ubuntu has been ported to powerpc already). I understand the willingness to use off the shelf components, but on the other hand why would you need x86 if you’re not going to run windows?
    Also, there is a long list of emerging chip-designing companies other than IBM and Freescale in the power consortium.

  83. ¿Te interesaria comprar una laptop que funcione 100% con software libre? « IZAMO says: (permalink)
    July 17th, 2007 at 2:06 am

    [...] parece interesantisimo y ojala se pueda echar a andar… mas información en el blog de Mark Shuttleworth. Dejandonos de fundamentalismos, radicalismos y extremismos esto siempre ha sido, y así lo debemos [...]

  84. The developers » Un laptop per Ubuntu. says: (permalink)
    July 17th, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    [...] idea: un computer portatile ottimizzato per solo software libero. L’ultima sfida lanciata da Shuttleworth è quella di creare un laptop capace di utilizzare perfettamente solo software [...]

  85. Paulo Gomes says: (permalink)
    July 17th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you again. I will definitely buy a 100% free laptop (drivers, firmware, BIOS), even if it costs slightly more than a non-free one.

  86. IronHide says: (permalink)
    July 17th, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Great idea but I’ll wait till it’s version 4.x (at least that’s how long I waited for X before moving from console to GUI). But don’t let me intimidate those who are willing to use bleeding edge. For now I’ll start saving for version 4.x of the really free laptop.

  87. Zuhause bei Seric. » Gobuntu, mehr "Freiheit" für Linux says: (permalink)
    July 19th, 2007 at 9:31 am

    [...] Shuttleworth hat in einer Ankündigung allerdings genau dieses Problem für Laptops angesprochen und ist sich den Konsequenzen durchaus [...]

  88. Oleg says: (permalink)
    July 19th, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Good idea, but is it possible at this time FULLY free software only laptop? What about AMD TurionX2 based laptop with linux/OpenBIOS and Nvidia Video Card e.g Geforce 7800go at the first step? (In the future replaced with the free firmware Video Card).

    P.S. I would really like to see it available in Germany :)

  89. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    July 20th, 2007 at 2:00 am

    @ Brian Kemp: You’re correct, it is a security vulnerability waiting to happen. But that’s also true whether you put it on a PROM/EPROM or use cheaper RAM. Either way, it’s executable code running outside of the context of the OS. What we really need is the right to freely redistribute the firmware image. Now, that said, would it be great if we could get the firmware source code released as well? You bet! Same for motherboard BIOSes (that’s being worked on actively).

  90. John Morgan says: (permalink)
    July 20th, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    A great idea. However my criteria for a ‘High End Laptop’ would actually be a ‘Tablet PC’. The ability to make hand written notes that can be converted to text would be particular boon to the medical profession. I have a particular and specific usage in mind that requires on one or two other things to fall into place but potentially a huge market place. Feel free to get it touch if you want me to expand on my idea which comes from a ‘user’ rather than a technical purist.

    Anyway, good luck with the project as Amelia Earhart is claimed to have said “The most effective way to do it, is to do it” but seems to be your philosophy anyway.

  91. Liza says: (permalink)
    July 22nd, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Can you please write something on Drupal? I’m not much of a techie, but would love to kickstart a localised social site with a bit of a tourism hook-up.
    I’m shopping around for developers – some want to custom-build a cms, some suggest wordpress. I’m quite keen on Drupal, but I don’t know enough.
    Is it a good choice?

  92. Yun4 » Blog Archive » Ubuntu To Be Offered In More Big Name PC says: (permalink)
    July 23rd, 2007 at 8:58 am

    [...] their guess. It is still speculation. A recent post on his blog, encouraging Ubuntu community to voice up the perfect free software laptop. He also launched a mailing list and a wiki dedicated to the topic that he hopes will help send a [...]

  93. stelt says: (permalink)
    July 23rd, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    multi-touch screen please

  94. stelt says: (permalink)
    July 23rd, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    what about multiple-boot (ready)?
    A lot of people are too scared to try anything else than Windows, as they just might run into something they absolutely need which in turn absolutely needs Windows.
    I’d love to see a “install another OS …. (multi-boot)” button somewhere in the installed Ubuntu, which after pressing gives you other free and non-free (with warning) operating systems including M$ Windows.

  95. Brian Boyko says: (permalink)
    July 23rd, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    My perfect Ubuntu laptop would focus more on the hardware than the software. It would have at least 3 years worth of upgrade compatability, (future-proofing) for CPU, GPU, HD, and RAM. I don’t care if that means that I’m locked into a specific vendor (such as Nvidia for the GPU) but I do want to be able to upgrade the components as my needs arise.

  96. SPM says: (permalink)
    July 23rd, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    I want a CHEAP free software laptop similar to the Asus Eee PC or OLPC for use as a Wifi or bluetooth based Internet browsing, Google Earth graphically capable, for use with Google Apps/Gmail rather than locally saved data, with basic apps like Abiword, Gimp, Scribus, PDF document reader, and an IP phone and music player, and an NX, VNC, X, and RDP capable thin client application (and perhaps a mobile phone and camera capability built in). The laptop should be very compact, very light, ultra portable, use Flash storage instead of hard drive, should support bluetooth headsets, and should be an alternative to laptop, PDA, tablet PC and blackberry/mobile phone. It should have a small but good screen though – An 800×460 screen or similar is necessary. The OLPC screen is nice with it’s daylight visibility and good resolution. It could be used in schools in the West where children can have their own personal laptop, use it anywhere in the school and on field trips and connect into the school LTSP server to run high resource applications and access stored data. Office and mobile workers could use it in a similar way within and outside the office – not being tied to a particular desk. Home users can connect to WiFi based NAS servers for storage, and run RDP/NX sessions on a Windows PC or a Ubuntu PC (the latter while someone else is using it).

    I think those willing to pay a high price for a high end desktop will probably choose Windows. On the other hand a cheap limited expandability Linux laptop which is about the same price as a PDA or Blackberry and is has a huge more potential for success since people will accept less functionality and limited expandibility (and hence fewer driver issues) for low cost and improved mobility.

  97. nasrullah chinnarassen says: (permalink)
    July 23rd, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    MARK YOU ARE WONDERFUL TO HELP US TO GET A CHEAP AND POWERFUL LAPTOP.MAY GOD KEEP YOU IN THE RIGHT TRACK.THANK YOU

  98. Terry Lechecul says: (permalink)
    July 24th, 2007 at 5:41 am

    Im not sure people are going to be asking for Leenux on their computers, with all the Microsoft claims that there are full of patent violations and your partner Linspire, who were featured speakers at Ubuntulive has called Linux distros ‘High-Brow Pirates’.
    Your FUD is now internal not just external (Isnt it Carmony who speaks of a rift in the open source movement now? With friends like these….)

    How are you going to convince resellers that your product isnt tainted when your own partners are spreading the FUD?

    I hear Enderle will be speaking at the next Ubuntulive ;-)

  99. hp says: (permalink)
    July 24th, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Mark,

    OT:
    I distributed many Ubuntu CDs in my Life, maybe up to 2000 pieces, here in Germany. I am proud of it, I am Linux user since 1992. Today I want you to ask one question:

    Why don’t you spend 50-100 Mio. Dollars to Ron Paul’s rally for president in the US?
    Maybe this has more positiv aspects to Ubuntu Linux then you could ever imagine..

    Take a look at “Stop Dreaming” a Google video about Ron Paul or read some blogs and comments about him from the community and you properly know what I mean.

    Best regards and thanks for all the fish..

    hp

  100. John says: (permalink)
    July 25th, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Please make sure the Cntl key is in the Lower Left corner, not the Fn key. This is required for touch typists who use vim.

  101. fotis says: (permalink)
    July 28th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    The pre-installed proprietary software of a sony vaio vgn-fe11s was and still is tricky. After installing kubuntu Feisty Fawn on it is transformed to a working horse for my needs (development, graphics and video).

  102. Pawel M. says: (permalink)
    July 29th, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    In fact, I’d like to see an affordable free software only laptop, something like Eee PC from Asus but with a larger, 12.1 inches screen. It would consist of the Pentium M processor and a graphics card running on open source drivers that would be able to handle compiz. Dell sells laptops with larger screens and better hardware for $549 so this one should be a lot cheaper.

  103. Stefano Spinucci says: (permalink)
    August 1st, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    I dream of a free-software-only laptop able to fulfill all my computing needings.

    however, I have to admit that an ubuntu only machine can’t, for example:
    - fully manage my nokia phone (I have to use Nokia Pc Suite)
    - rip *simply* dvd, convert *simply* divx to dvd, etc
    - buy music from itunes

    all of the previous points are for me showstoppers for a free-software-only laptop.

    however, I guess why we can’t have from dell, hp, acer, etc a free-software compatible laptop, with Ubuntu installed (optionally, for free) also when I choose Windows.

    PS
    I have an Ubuntu-compatible Dell Latitude D610, with Windows XP (installed by Dell) and Ubuntu installed by me

  104. cb951303 says: (permalink)
    August 4th, 2007 at 10:18 am

    For graphics VIA has a open source integrated solution with S3 chipsets… Worth a look

  105. cbtapir says: (permalink)
    August 6th, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    As Intel cpu’s can’t be used because of BIOS problems we need a decent oss graphics card. I did a quick research and found these:
    VIA’s K8T900 and SiS’s SiSM771 chipsets seems to work with integrated oss graphics and both support AMD Turion 64 X2. It’s worth looking…

  106. tella says: (permalink)
    August 6th, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    i am willing if it’s not more expensive than the typical ones. a small size would be just great, like a sony if you will

  107. Politics in the Zeros » Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop? says: (permalink)
    August 11th, 2007 at 2:33 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, wants to create laptops that are”designed specifically to be free-software friendly.” That means no proprietary anything, including the BIOS. Sounds like a most excellent idea. Check it out. [...]

  108. High-end, free-software-only laptop « Bob Morris says: (permalink)
    August 11th, 2007 at 2:40 am

    [...] That’s what Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, wants to create. Laptops that are”designed specifically to be free-software friendly” with no proprietary anything, including the BIOS. This would [...]

  109. Peter says: (permalink)
    August 13th, 2007 at 2:54 am

    I’ve compiled a huge statistical summary of everyones input. They’ve been added to the end of the wiki page.

    Perhaps the laptop should get it’s own web site? Any laptop that meets these requirements will be the ideal laptop for any free operating system, and the greater the sales, the lower the price they can be sold for.

  110. Alan Jackson says: (permalink)
    September 20th, 2007 at 1:02 am

    What would I like out of a laptop? Weight, Time, Light, Reliability…

    By weight I mean I’d want it to weigh as little as possible – this would make it more useable in more situations.

    TIme… I want it to turn on instantly, and off again instantly. I want the battery to last at least a whole day’s work and still not weigh much. I would compromise on processor speed, display resolution, pretty much most things to get good battery life and low weight.

    Light – I want to read it outside, in bed, anywhere. I don’t want to squint or hunch, I want to be mobile. I would be very happy with a black and white passive LCD screen for instance.

    Reliability – It’s got to just work, all the time. I want a versioning file system, at least for all my text files, so I never have to think about different versions. Redundant storage, easy back up and effortless synchronisation.

    We’re in an age of networked computing now – this means that computing devices can be more tied to a function rather than a person – and the Internet is how our data should follow us. But we’re still often stuck in this idea of one computer per person, that one device should do everything.

    A laptop is about being mobile, which to me means being light, working away from power and being readable in all light conditions. If it synchronised effortlessly then I am happy to compromise on all the features of my desktop environment. Right now my paper notebook is still more mobile and more useful than my laptop in most situations.

  111. Corey says: (permalink)
    September 24th, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Someone else made a comment about this, but I think it deserves a second mention. OpenBIOS is NOT LinuxBIOS. The two are entirely separate projects, with differing goals and even in different languages. The LinuxBIOS project is still very much alive, and a v3 is well on its way through the development stages.

    That aside, this is a GREAT idea, it could probably use a lot of the knowledge and relationships gained from the OLPC project. I would certainly buy a LinuxBIOS-based laptop over any other.

  112. Mark Shuttleworth: “Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop?” « Linux and Unix Top News says: (permalink)
    October 5th, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  113. Mariah says: (permalink)
    October 12th, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Attended a seminar ten days ago to be exact (2Oct2007). One speaker from Intel was mentioning something about INTEL working with partners (hardware) to run their Quad-Core Xeon processors on machine independent of software. Since I was half-asleep, couldn’t really catch the exact details. BUT I am sure it has some connection to this topic. You guys can further check with INTEL. (I think they are trying to run away from MS ;) – can’t stand the pressure huh!)

  114. Top Unix News » Blog Archive » Mark Shuttleworth: “Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop?” says: (permalink)
    October 25th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  115. Top Linux News » Blog Archive » Mark Shuttleworth: “Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop?” says: (permalink)
    October 25th, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  116. BillBasher says: (permalink)
    November 1st, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t see the point of this. (everything must be open source, including the bios) It will not work any better then if it’s not open source. In general I think Ubuntu should focus on supporting common hardware, where it can. In Gutsy, the newest fglrx drivers (ATI proprietary) were not included. WIth the result that you could not set a reasonable resultion on a widescreen lcd, if you had a Radeon HD. For me it was not much a problem (but a waste of time) to manually install these drivers. But think of the average user, who expects things just to work.. This will probably change when the new open source drivers for the ati chips are out.

  117. Jon says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 5:03 am

    I’m currently jobless, but if it ever comes out where I’m in a position to buy it I’ll be the first to sign on. I think all you people putting conditions on what it has to have before you’ll buy one is ridicules. If it isn’t perfectly to your taste suck it up and buy one for the good cause!

  118. Jon says: (permalink)
    November 2nd, 2007 at 5:16 am

    I think the majority of those willing to buy it even without a perfect fit really aught to be the ones it is designed around. I am one of those users.

    I’d prefer the following, but as I mention it isn’t ever going to be a requirement as I’m willing to support this cause by buying one either way:

    XGA 1024×768 or equivalent WXGA
    14″ XGA screen or equivalent WXGA
    5 pounds
    Solid design that will take serious abuse- IBM ThinkPads come to mind (I mainly say this because many notebooks wear out quickly)

  119. Trusted computing - Wie vertrouwt wie? | Kletskous says: (permalink)
    November 9th, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    [...] Ik vind het moeilijk om op dit moment te overzien wat precies de gevolgen voor vrije software zullen zijn. In ieder geval is Mark Shuttleworth, de oprichter van Ubuntu Linux, een project gestart om een volledig vrije laptop te ontwikkelen. [...]

  120. araç kiralama says: (permalink)
    November 14th, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    My perfect Ubuntu laptop would focus more on the hardware than the software. It would have at least 3 years worth of upgrade compatability, (future-proofing) for CPU, GPU, HD, and RAM. I don’t care if that means that I’m locked into a specific vendor (such as Nvidia for the GPU) but I do want to be able to upgrade the components as my needs arise.

  121. Gerard says: (permalink)
    November 15th, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    If I had the money, I would.

    My dream

    Suppose I had BusyBox and Python running, how much can I already do …
    How would a stripped down dedicated linux box look like.
    My gut fealing: reinvent the wheel, and make it round this time!

    -> (Low Power) Microcontroller developments At ATMEL are very interesting.
    -> Turning your modem/router into a little Linux Box is hyping.
    -> Display technology is rapidly changing
    -> You could see development of .NET with its own machine code as a development
    of a higher abstraction of BIOS/HAL, running same functionality on different cores/devices

    Have a day in space and contemplate from a distance and, again:

    Reinvent the wheel, make it round this time!

  122. Adam Smith says: (permalink)
    November 18th, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Is there any progress with this idea?…mailing list very quiet! Wiki looking very interesting, and it is a wonderful idea, that I sincerely hope comes to fruition.

  123. evanc says: (permalink)
    November 20th, 2007 at 1:47 am

    Talking of free laptops…. I heard about this

    http://laptop.org/

    flying with American Airlines. I love the idea MIT had but it seems it might be spoiled by Intel’s and others dumping. Although many argue that these laptops will not be effective in places with education and basic living conditions deficiencies, I think they will still do a great job in utilizing human (not only physical but also mental) resources from the third world countries. They are a factor, a HUGE number, that should not be underestimated in the future development of world. Seems laptops are a good way to start to access that brain power, currently not very accessible.

    http://laptop.org/

  124. Munich Unix » Mark Shuttleworth: “Willing to buy a high-end, free-software-only laptop?” says: (permalink)
    November 22nd, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  125. Jose Hevia says: (permalink)
    November 26th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Nobody is going to read this, but here it comes:

    I’m waiting for free software companies for starting new products-ideas innovation, the same way others do(Microsoft-tabletPC Apple-iPhone touch).

    Here is my idea, realistic, that will make people to want an ubuntu-laptop:

    Separate the screen from the main body. Easy. Isn’t it?.

    Why? A 17” laptop screen weights 200 grams, get something in your hand this size and this weight. You can rotate it, move it, the same way you do with a note block. Start thinking what you can do with this you can’t do now.

    A tablet weights kilos!!

    The only engineer-task: a fiver optic point to point link, thats a 3 month-one person project. The fiver could be plastic (cheap) that breaks if tension stressed for screen safety.

    From a marketing perspective, it makes sense, there is a need for this product nobody currently fills and will make the ubuntu trademark shine.

  126. evanc says: (permalink)
    November 30th, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Why is my comment of Nov. 20.07 still waiting for moderation and Jose Hevia’s one posted 6 days later on Nov 26.07 is posted?
    Are you tailoring the comments the way you would prefer them Mark?

    All I said was posting the idea for a ‘One Laptop Per Child’, done with all the open source, humanitarian agendas, that you claim to stand for. Your blog and this post seemed like a good place to spread the word. They had a special offer that lasted till Nov 26 for buying one laptop for a third world country child and getting one free for the child in your life. But you chose not to post it on time, i.e. post the next comment and delay this, so my goal of spreading the world is a bit late, at least for this offer… I am sure there will be more,nevertheless this does not take away from your agendas… Its a pity if you stand only for open source/humanitarian projects of which only you are in charge.

  127. evanc says: (permalink)
    December 3rd, 2007 at 12:48 am

    # evanc Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 20th, 2007 at 1:47 am

    Talking of free laptops…. I heard about this

    http://laptop.org/

    flying with American Airlines. I love the idea MIT had but it seems it might be spoiled by Intel’s and others dumping. Although many argue that these laptops will not be effective in places with education and basic living conditions deficiencies, I think they will still do a great job in utilizing human (not only physical but also mental) resources from the third world countries. They are a factor, a HUGE number, that should not be underestimated in the future development of world. Seems laptops are a good way to start to access that brain power, currently not very accessible.

    http://laptop.org/

  128. evanc says: (permalink)
    December 3rd, 2007 at 12:50 am

    http://laptop.org/

  129. liquid says: (permalink)
    December 4th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    One Ubuntu Laptop Per Geek

    OULPG – pronounced: OWLPEG

    Base it on the OLPC but with a trimmed and slimmed down version of Ubuntu which every geek could buy from ubuntu.com

  130. ankara oto kiralama says: (permalink)
    December 29th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Life imitates art:

    http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/taking-freedom-further

    yes this is good.

  131. Fredrick Amankwah says: (permalink)
    February 28th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    PLEASE MY NAME IS FREDRICK AMANKWAH FROM GHANA AND I WILL LIKE YOU TO PLEASE SEND ME A FREE LAPTOP TO THIS ADDRESS;DZORWUULU JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL,P.O.BOX.NT.10,ACCRA-NEWTOWN,GHANA-WEST AFRICA
    PLEASE SEND THE LAPTOP THROUGH FEDEX OR DHL TO MY ADDRESS.

    PLEASE CONTACT ME WHEN YOU SEND THE LAPTOP TO MY ADDRESS AND I KNOW YOU WILL.THANK YOU@!!!

  132. oMbra says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Hi, I’m an italian ubuntu user..
    Yes, I will buy a laptop with only linux installed..in my laptop, buyed 2 month ago, the first thing I’ve do is to format it e to install Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy and Ubuntu Studio…

    linux forever!!!

  133. Kolonyalı Mendil says: (permalink)
    March 16th, 2008 at 1:13 am

    I wish it had something better than the crappy Nvidia 7300 GO available though (on either laptop!). Won’t be able to game at all (FPS) with anything in the last 3 years. Pathetic. Wish they had some 7800 GO as an option (the cheaper versions). Mainly I’m looking forward to Unreal Tournament 3, due out in Nov.
    I’m probably the minority since I doubt most linux gamers will need a 7800 GO. They will however, need a nvidia card. That other laptop doesn’t even offer nvidia cards as an option. That rules it out for gamers.
    I know intel video cards are liked because they are open source but .. come on .. they don’t work for gamers =(

  134. Kolonyalı Mendil says: (permalink)
    March 16th, 2008 at 1:15 am

    The fact that consumers let companies get away with installing substandard hardware is because they lack the education to demand something better. Certifying any pc as linux / free-software which includes integrated graphics accepts the same shoddy quality companies have been pushing on users for some time now.

  135. teşvik belgesi says: (permalink)
    March 25th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    My perfect Ubuntu laptop would focus more on the hardware than the software. It would have at least 3 years worth of upgrade compatability, (future-proofing) for CPU, GPU, HD, and RAM. I don’t care if that means that I’m locked into a specific vendor (such as Nvidia for the GPU) but I do want to be able to upgrade the components as my needs arise.

  136. ISO 9001 says: (permalink)
    March 25th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Life imitates art:

    http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/taking-freedom-further

    yes this is good.

    thanks.

  137. joyturk says: (permalink)
    April 1st, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Hey, Mark. I would love to buy one of these laptops once you get things going. How much would they cost? Also, will they be available at mainstream stores?

  138. Leal’s Blog » Blog Archive » It is only at the tree loaded with fruit that people throw stones says: (permalink)
    November 12th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    [...] “there is no applications for OpenSolaris”… c’mon, i think that is a shame! Seems like the first is only a problem for OpenSolaris, and the last was not a problem for the GNU/Linux community at the beginning (my sons now can run [...]

  139. Trusted computing - Wie vertrouwt wie? | Temp says: (permalink)
    January 13th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    [...] Ik vind het moeilijk om op dit moment te overzien wat precies de gevolgen voor vrije software zullen zijn. In ieder geval is Mark Shuttleworth, de oprichter van Ubuntu Linux, een project gestart om een volledig vrije laptop te ontwikkelen. [...]

  140. Truly Open Computer Discussed by Mark Shuttleworth, Open Source NVidia Driver Outperforms the Blob says: (permalink)
    February 26th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/131 [...]

  141. A Free-Software Only Laptop | etbe - Russell Coker says: (permalink)
    February 8th, 2010 at 12:44 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth asks if people are interested in a high-end free-software laptop (it seems that Linspire is leading in the low-end free-software laptop stakes). [...]