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Portables Hardware

VIA Open Platform Mini-Notebook Serves up Linux 111

Vigile writes "VIA is attempting to outdo the ASUS Eee PC with its new OpenBook platform reference design that not only offers up extra features but also supports many more operating system choices as well. The exterior design is pretty damn sexy and is built around (of course) VIA's own CPU and chipset products and can be equipped with WiMAX and/or 3G networking like HSDPA or W-CDMA. What is really impressive is that the device can run versions of Windows Vista or XP, Ubuntu, Suse or gOS." Update: 05/27 13:30 GMT by T : alphadogg adds a bit more information on the "open" part of "Open Platform," writing "The CAD (computer-assisted design) files for the OpenBook reference design can be downloaded for free and made available to anyone under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license. The terms of this license allow the CAD files to be freely copied, shared and modified."
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VIA Open Platform Mini-Notebook Serves up Linux

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  • The external case (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @08:48AM (#23554611)
    The exterior design is pretty damn sexy

    Are you looking at the same case I am? That thing is hideous.
  • what an irony... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by holywarrior21c ( 933929 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @08:52AM (#23554647)
    that today we have another articles in the FP about why we should buy computer preloaded with linux. I am just glad that another company is bringing up linux computer preloaded which is a great challenge to windows and i think that is just stupid idea to think that preloaded OS as tax. just as apple's computers run OS X like a charm, a manufacturer should design a computer for linux as well. that is exactly what we needed. i rather have companies design computers for linux, not windows. I bet it is easier to wipe it out and try other distro. this is good news! another remarking event that shaped year of linux.
  • by qortra ( 591818 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @09:12AM (#23554859)
    It could just be me, but they seem not to be pushing that option quite as hard as Asus. Their demo at Computex ran XP, and all these screenshots had Vista's dubious mugshot all over them. I agree that having the "Ready-To-Go" option is nice, but I really hope they push it at least a little.
  • by zsouthboy ( 1136757 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @10:03AM (#23555515)
    but I'm not sure how it's going to work in the end: since they can't compete with the marketing budgets of the big boys, they're attempting to leverage the open source community - they're being "different" to stand out.

    Releasing materials under CC license, etc., in hopes that someone else will take it and run with it, make a funny youtube parody video, something like that to generate buzz.

    It *could* work, if they don't try to force it.
    In the past when companies have tried to do something similar (case in point, Sony with the PSP blog thing), they've always been the ones behind the (seemingly unbiased) blog or website talking about the product - and it backfires.
  • by javilon ( 99157 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @10:14AM (#23555687) Homepage
    Every time people talks about Linux on the desktop, they talk about applications, but as you point on your post, the real problem is drivers. The applications are there for many users, but the drivers aren't. Until Linux market share goes up a bit more (something that is only a mater of time), we are still getting sub par drivers (the problem used to be that we didn't get drivers at all), and this is the biggest drawback for any non power user. Troubleshooting drivers forces you to move to the command line, something most people just won't do.
  • by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @10:22AM (#23555787)

    Why would anyone buy a sub-laptop for a mere hundred or two less than a full laptop?

    I agree with you with UMPCs are going the wrong way being ever more featured and expensive. I want to see something like an EEE PC in a blister pack at Target for $150. We'll probably get there too but it will require a new manufacturer that has no "big laptop" lines to protect and isn't bound by any sort of agreement with MS that would require crippling such devices.

    However there are reasons to want such devices even with the feeping creaturism and ever climbing price point. The size, weight, and ruggedness of these devices lend themselves to being used in a way that I wouldn't use a cheap "full laptop". They can be casually carried in one hand and you can get around quite rapidly with one. They'll survive drops and bangs that would kill their $100 more competition and better tolerate being frequently picked up and put down in funny places. They'll most definitely stand up to kid abuse better. If nothing else, these things are like ToughBooks on the cheap.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @10:38AM (#23556043) Homepage
    Most folks just want a few basic features and not too much bother.

    This "Windows" thing isn't even on their radar.

    The age of "it's gotta be DOS compatable man" is over. The
    whole thing is running on inertia and vendor lock now.

    That's why Apple is chipping away at Windows marketshare.
    For many people, the computer might as well be an appliance
    with the OS and all applications burned into a big ROM.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @10:40AM (#23556087) Homepage
    Via is a minority player. Unless you go out of your way to be excessively cheap, VIA doesn't exist for you.

    Intel, ATI and Nvidia are far more relevant in this regard.

    Via has a long history of being an anemic performer. This goes
    equally well for Windows or Linux (as some posters have already
  • by deathguppie ( 768263 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @10:56AM (#23556317)

    The fact is that a lot of us are tired of lugging around a laptop. If the screen and features on my smart phone were capable I would just use that.

    The reality is that my $400 eeepc is almost perfect for my needs. I'd be willing to say perfect if the screen was a little bigger. (the next model will have this)

    The fact is, a lot of people aren't using their laptop as a desktop at work. We just want to be able to have an easy mobile system that we can use when we need to access other systems or to carry data to and from remote locations.

    That being the case, I find 3 hours more than enough. I usually keep the power adapter in my bag and pull the end out and plug it in while I'm sitting at my desk. I've never run out of power when I needed it.

    I have a laptop as well, but its been sitting on the shelf at home now for a few months, and my shoulder is very thankful for it.

  • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @11:07AM (#23556457) Homepage

    Are they opening up their specs with this and allowing real DRI support, or keeping it proprietary.
    They're opening their Spec.
    They've announced around 1~1.5 month ago [phoronix.com] that they were going to join the open-source fest of Intel and ATI.

    At first, due to the lack of ouput, some called bluff [phoronix.com] and though VIA only pulled a PR stunt.
    But recently VIA finally released huge chunks of code [phoronix.com] under GPLv2, and thus opensource project like openchrome [openchrome.org] and unichrome [sf.net] will definitely get a boost.

    Specially since the VIA openbook is more based on classical VIA platform (instead of, say, an Isaiah with either their newest chrome chipset with hardware H264 decode [the one for which they where hiring opensource talents] or with that nVidia integrated solution as world's cheapest Vista Premium platform [pcinpact.com]) I think it could benefit from full opensource support very soon.

    We need to pay close attention to the future development of the VIA opensource drivers.
  • I know I'm weird (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <pizzach.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @04:01PM (#23561191) Homepage
    I think they are personally half-assing it with most notebooks. Strange as it may seem, I would prefer if there was an option to buy most laptops without a battery. The damn batteries don't last very long when you do have them anyway, many people use their laptops as portable desktops, batteries tend to make the laptop that much heavier when you change your work venue, they add a lot to the price of the base system, and having one less battery manufactured is most likely helping the environment.
  • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @07:14PM (#23563983) Journal
    It's 1/4 the price of a MacBook Pro.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford