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Portables Software Hardware Linux

3D Linux Laptop Available 197

Posted by Hemos
from the cool-machines dept.
Anonymous Writer writes "EmperorLinux is distributing the Sharp Actius RD3D autostereo laptop with Linux pre-installed, dubbing it the 'Molecule'. Almost all the hardware features can be utilised under Linux; the autostereo 3D display (most importantly), CD-RW/DVD-RW combo drive, Ethernet port, audio hardware, PC Card slot, 4 USB 2.0 ports, FireWire port, Sony Memory Stick slot, Compact Flash slot, SD slot, and internal floppy dive. The only built-in feature unsupported is the internal 56 Kbps modem, however a supported 56 kbps PC Card modem is available as well as a WiFi PC Card."
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3D Linux Laptop Available

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  • by FrO (209915) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @03:56PM (#9456726)
    you know, seeing integrated wifi that works with linux would be a real plus on a laptop like this. Especially if it were a non-centrino wifi card built in.

    I have a Gateway 450SX non-centrino, and it runs linux really well. Everything works perfectly (except for the 56K modem, of course), but sadly I don't have internal wireless. My external WaveLAN card works great under any distro though. Rock stable laptop, not terribly expensive and everything runs great under any distro (I've tried Fedora Core 1, Gentoo and Debian).
  • by Mz6 (741941) * on Thursday June 17, 2004 @03:59PM (#9456752) Journal
    "Which answers my first question, it must be an nVidia, or Matrox Parhelia or something in the laptop... Or some kludged ATi driver set."

    You're right...(from the parts listing):

    -- 15.0" Active XGA TFT runs X@1024x768x24bpp w/ NVIDIA GeForce4 graphics.

  • Re:3D??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CarrionBird (589738) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:00PM (#9456770) Journal
    Uhhh....

    You may want to check the link, the screen allows actual stereo images without glasses.

    Unless you're waiting for that holographic display...
  • Re:3D??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nuOpus (463845) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:03PM (#9456795)
    It says 3D because it gives the perception of a 3D display. And yes, you can display 3D images on a flat LCD. It works by using "channels" which divert light to the other side at an angle so your eye percieves it as a different image.

    You remember those 3D things you got when you were a kid? where you look at it from one side it has an image ... and if looked at on the other the picture is different yet? Giving you the appearance it was moving if you twitched it? Same concept? Only the light is emitted from the left and hitting the right side. The light emitted from the right is hitting your left side.

    Both of your eyes recieve two different images and they are done in sync giving the impression of 3D so you can see depth.
  • by Rogue Leader (786192) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:05PM (#9456807)
    Notice the 256MB Lexar USB keychain drive; For $120.00. Same item is selling for under $50 on Newegg. Yeah, EmperorLinux seems like the kind of site I'd like to do business with. I wonder if they ever sold toilet seats to the Pentagon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:06PM (#9456826)
    It's a GeForce 4 440 Go to be precise. You can grab the specs from this page [66.132.145.25] or look at the PDF [66.132.145.25] directly.
  • Re:3D? (Score:1, Informative)

    by dshea (789187) <dshea@emperorlinux.com> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:07PM (#9456831)
    You don't need 3D glasses; that's the point. There are essentially two displays on the one screen, and when you switch into "3D" mode, you can see a 3D image without glasses. It can be a bit difficult to see--you have to position your head just right in relation to the screen--but it's a pretty cool effect. It's about the same as watching a 3D movie but without the hardware. dshea@emperorlinux.com
  • by startleman (567255) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:08PM (#9456839)
    . . . is explained here [sharp3d.com].
  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Informative)

    by dshea (789187) <dshea@emperorlinux.com> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:27PM (#9456994)
    Well, you can "cheap out" and buy the laptop on your own then send it in for a Depot Install [emperorlinux.com], but the prices come out to about the same as if you bought the laptop from us. The price includes not only the laptop and distro tweaks: it also includes a year of email and phone support. So not only do we help you get Linux, we help you keep it running.
  • by emorphien (770500) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:28PM (#9457007)
    It's called a lenticular image, if I'm understanding you correctly. That grooved piece of plastic on the surface is a lenticle (a type of lens basically) and it allows vertical (or horizontal but in this case vertical) strips to carry different information. You could turn the laptop 90 degrees and just see a mess.
  • Emperor Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcelrath (8027) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:29PM (#9457017) Homepage
    Keep in mind that Emperor Linux purchases name-brand laptops with windows and removes the windows. You're paying for windows you're not using . For a list of companies that sell linux laptops and do not do this check here [mcelrath.org]. -- Bob
  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Informative)

    by Iconoplast (14611) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:29PM (#9457020)
    You're not just paying for having Linux installed. You're paying for support - an actual human on the phone if the machine craps out, or someone to personally reply to your mail. It's also the research that went into making all the hardware work, tracking down drivers, etc.

    What a lot of people don't understand here is that big companies, educational institutions, and research groups just don't care about the price. To them, the support, assurance that everything works, and time savings are worth the extra cost. What's $600 compared to the hourly rate of a guy in IT spending an entire week outfitting machines with Linux and verifying that they completely work? People who get their kicks sitting at home and banging on the machine until it works simply aren't the target market for a product like this.
  • Re:Emperor Linux (Score:3, Informative)

    by dshea (789187) <dshea@emperorlinux.com> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:38PM (#9457106)
    The companies on this list sell either used laptops or non-brandname laptops. As noted on the site, this isn't much of an issue as far as components, but it is for support. There will be no hardware or warranty support with these machines.

    No attempt at deception is being made here. The laptops come with windows, and most people want them that way. If you don't want windows, we'll remove it for you. No lies, no smoke and mirrors. You simply aren't going to find a laptop from Sharp, IBM or Dell that doesn't come with a Windows license.

  • by Anthracene (126183) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:55PM (#9457252) Homepage
    I saw a demo of a molecular visualization program running on one of these at the American Chemical Society convention a couple months ago.

    In general, I'd say the quality is quite good. The image I saw had about 6 or 8 inches of apparent "depth" between what appeared to be closest to me and what was furthest away. It was reasonably clear, although not quite as clear as the flat image. You seem to lose some resolution (horizontal resolution, at least) when it goes into 3D mode.

    Of course, one of the big deals about it is that it doesn't require glasses, so nothing to lose, no flickering, etc. This does mean that there is a fairly small "sweet spot" that your head has to be in in order to see the 3D display. If you're positioned outside of this the display looks like a mess. I don't think more than one person can really see the image at a time when it's in 3D mode (there's a big button above the keyboard for switching between 2D/3D).

    I'm not sure what the API is like for getting a program working with the 3D functions. It was being demoed by a software company, and the guy there gave me the impression that some amount of modification to their app had been necessary (ie that most 3D apps wouldn't work correctly without being adapted) but that it hadn't been too difficult. 'Course you've generally got to take tech info from salesfolk with a grain of salt.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2004 @04:59PM (#9457288)
    I have seen the auto-stereoscopic displays by sharp on a holography conference in San Jose, CA (2004). Basically: it works.

    These devices use a thin grating over the screen to ensure that each eye sees only the pixels of one view. The viewing angle is constrained, but that is not an issue for laptops (there is probably only one person watching anyways).

    If you have ever seen an IMAX 3D movie, it is a bit like that. There was a video clip where objects seemed to hover in front of the screen, and they had a funky stereoscopic UI (windows in the backgroud would seem to be further away from the viewer).

    Obviously the main problem is resolution: they have to throw away half the pixels to provide two views...

    I expect that many 3D applications would work out of the box. Standard hardware (NVIDIA quadbuffer cards) can already render stereoscopic scenes transparently (this is why you can hook up a pair of good old vr glasses to an NVIDIA card, and run any opengl app in stereo mode).
  • by freeduke (786783) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:00PM (#9457298) Journal
    Of course, but this did not depend on limitations due to LCD technology, while, it is the case here. Dissociation of the 2 pictures is done on the same screen, depending on the viewing angle for each eye. This is a real technology limitation because with this, nothing can prevent you from mixing the 2 pictures. Other solutions involve a physical separation of the 2 eyes, with 3D lenses that have a filter that select the eye intended to see each picture out of an animation, or tiny video projectors that display each eye's point of view from a 3D scene on the retina. Those are really realistic, even if the use of lenses introduce blinking pictures, because it implies a division of the frame rate by a factor of 2. So I am waiting for the tiny video projectors.
  • by Trepalium (109107) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:05PM (#9457343)
    And $50 Logitech mouse [logitech.com], that you can buy direct from Logitech for half that, and probably even less at any retail store without even needing a sale. Or the $150 3COM 802.11b/g PC card [3com.com] that you can pick up for 60% less anywhere else. Or even their 60GB hard drive upgrade for $500, that I can get for less than half price in Canadian funds, ignoring the exchange rate, here [ncix.com] and it's a faster drive, too!

    For anyone who's buying from them, stay away from the accessories. Mice are universal, PS/2 or USB. Laptop hard drives are universal, and the only thing you might need to worry about is height (9.5mm or smaller?). Laptop memory may not be completely universal, but it's pretty easy to find [kingston.com] compatible [crucial.com] stuff [corsairmicro.com]. All or virtually all external USB storage devices are compatible with Linux.

  • Re:3D??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by linuxhansl (764171) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:27PM (#9457548)
    Correct it's not 3D.
    If it was true 3D you could walk around the scene and view it from different sides, or at least change your angles.

    Computer graphics people sometimes call this 2 1/2D.
    It's also obvious from an information theory viewpoint. The information you need for this 2 1/2D image is only twice then need form simple 2D (one image for each eye). A true 3D representation would require much more information.
  • by FrenZon (65408) * on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:36PM (#9457652) Homepage
    So who's going to be the first to the market with a 3D-Enhanced porn site?
    3D porn sites have been around for quite a while, to sell to the speccy nerds with red/cyan or lcd shutterglasses.

    Here's a five-year long stereo3d discussion [stereo3d.com] on the matter.
  • by ccnull (607939) <null@nOSPaM.filmcritic.com> on Thursday June 17, 2004 @05:42PM (#9457716) Homepage
    I reviewed this (Windows version) earlier this year for Mobile PC... link [mobilepcmag.com]
  • by Iconoplast (14611) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @06:33PM (#9458161)
    We don't HAVE to uninstall Windows. Customers who want to dual boot are more than welcome to. Customers who only want Linux can have that, but are advised that they will still have a Windows license. Simply put, at our volumes it is impossible to get machines from a big-name vendor without Windows. Hell, at most people's volumes this is impossible. Microsoft has very strong contracts with laptop suppliers.

    But like I said, customers who want Linux only are advised they will still be paying for Windows because we have to. Almost none of them care, because they understand the situation.
  • by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @08:31PM (#9458871)
    Here [actuality-systems.com] is a spatial 3D display that isn't a flat screen.
  • Re:Big fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by sugar and acid (88555) on Thursday June 17, 2004 @08:56PM (#9459038)
    This isn't a laptop built for normal business or student customers. This is a laptop made for engineering and science applications where people have been used to dropping 10 or so grand 10 years ago for the same functionality in a workstation. For instance here is a nutty situation, crystal eyes pioneered LCD shutter glasses. OK, now you can buy good lcd shutter glasses for about $100 dollars, but if you want to buy crystal eyes its about $1000. Now the build quality of the crystal eyes are better, and the lcd shutter in them is larger, but this is definately not worth 10 times as much, they are just the standard that everybody buys.

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