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VIA Open Platform Mini-Notebook Serves up Linux

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the cognitive-dissonance-alert dept.

Portables 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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The external case (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554611)

The exterior design is pretty damn sexy

Are you looking at the same case I am? That thing is hideous.

Re:The external case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554683)

and so isn't the site that is hosting the image!

Yes.... (0, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554701)

Yes, but does it run Linux?

No it should run NetBSD (1)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554803)


Re:No it should run NetBSD (1)

Steve Max (1235710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556245)

Bullshit. We all know BSD is dead. Netcraft confirmed it long ago.

whats netcraft? (1)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560085)


Re:No it should run NetBSD (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560117)

Actually, I learned today that BSD is very much alive and fast to boot.
Force10 [] uses a version of NetBSD for their 10GB+ switches/routers.

Re:No it should run NetBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564845)


Re:Yes.... RTFA (2, Informative)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555195)

O.S. Support:


Re:The external case (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554875)

Sexiness is in the trouser of the beholder...

Re:The external case (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555109)

Purely a matter of taste. It certainly looks better than their earlier design (IMHO).

Re:The external case (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555205)

The CAD files are here. Improve it if you're not happy :-)

Re:The external case (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555631)

It has rounded edges. Guys that doesn't have a girlfriend/fiancee would think it's sexy because it reminds them of the curves of women.

The jury is still out on whether married men would find it sexy. We're still trying to find married men who visit this site.

Re:The external case (1, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556009)

If you get excited about the "sexiness" of this thing one way or the other then you seriously need to get a life.

Re:The external case (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565427)

You're just being insensitive to the needs of guys with MMC-shaped peckers. Seriously though, $400-600? Fuck no. That gets you a core 2 duo with 2 gigs. Think again.

Re:The external case (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556523)

Looks quite nice, but not as much as those new HP Mini-note [] - i have no use for a laptop these days, and i'm considering getting one if i travel to the US in the near future. Those things look great, and the hardware is really nice.

what an irony... (5, Insightful)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:what an irony... (2, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:what an irony... (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555117)

I too hope they do. but tt is reality that companies are there to profit and make stupid business decisions and thus they have vista written all over their displays. I guess they had to run xp over vista maybe because computer isn't good enough to run vista smooth as running XP. I too wonder why they didn't showcase linux running os x like or vista like interface? it is better than original, no doubt that it is enough to fool investors.

Re:what an irony... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555575)

You're in the massive minority, though. That's the problem - what would really appeal to the slashdot crowd (as large as that is) still won't have enough support in the general population to become massively popular. Most folks just want windows, unfortunately. I'm all for competition, but this isn't it.

Re:what an irony... (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556043)

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.

Re:what an irony... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558369)

Except for the web-applications of course. My brother re-installed Windows XP today. Why? Internet Explorer was missing .dll's. Do you think he backed up his applications? Probably only his photo collection and some study and tax related documents. Maybe a few internet links. Mail etc. is kept on the ISP's server. He'll re-install Photoshop, run update and that's it. Do you still need a PC? Sure, but it might not be the PC you would expect.

I'd rather have an X02 (3, Interesting)

Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554721)

As intriguing as this is, I, for one, would like to see something like the X02 [] foldable notebook in an open format.

This is the first innovative design that I could actually use in a notebook design. My portable requirements rarely have me typing much. The real estate provided in such a design would make the size very versatile.

But, make make a version with a processor and memory usable for the western countries.

Very nice... (1)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554753)

but I will wait for the VIA Isaiah version. Then it will be a pretty killer platform *if the chip lives up to the hype*

Personally I am loving this. The competition is going to keep raising the bar and the consumer wins! I just hope we can get back down in the 300$ price range eventually. These things are getting expensive ;\

I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (4, Informative)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554793)

I bought a via system for my home media centre, sold by the promises of Linux support and low power hardware - never again! I've got the worst performing badly supported and buggy heap of junk, lots of things simply don't work even with the latest kernels even when you use Via's nasty binary only drivers.

On the other hand the Asus machine will come running Linux, so hardware support will be there from the work go.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (3, Interesting)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555049)

Yes, but it uses a buggy binary-blob driver for the Atheros WiFi. I'm always having trouble with it failing to connect when waking from sleep or when turned on and off and I'm far from alone. Given the WiFi uses about 10% of the power on an Eee, not being able to reliably turn it on and off when required is a noticeable extra drain on the battery. I wish they'd dump Atheros and go for a WiFi chipset with a proper open-source driver.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557893)

For 10 bucks, get the Dell 1390 card off eBay. If my Eee belonged to me I'd do that right now.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

hub (78021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558573)

So is this VIA design: it uses a Broadcom chipset.

Madwifi? (1)

jberryman (1175517) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562373)

Is the chipset used in the eeepc not supported by the Madwifi drivers? Seems to be mixed: []

Re:Madwifi? (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562893)

Yes (that's what the Eee uses), but the madwifi drivers use a binary blob HAL, though much of it is open-source. To be fair to Atheros, their reason for the blob is that the cards are capable of exceeding regulated frequency bands and power limits and they might conceivably get in trouble. The HAL enforces the legal limits. The fully open-source ath5k doesn't support the chipset in the Eee yet.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

sn00ker (172521) | more than 6 years ago | (#23566459)

I wish they'd dump Atheros and go for a WiFi chipset with a proper open-source driver.
You mean like a BSD driver? Like the ones in [Open,Free]BSD? The ones that work like a charm? Yeah, that lack of a "proper open-source driver" sure is a bitch.
What is it about Linux that says that hardware that's better-supported in the BSDs than in Linux is considered to not have open-source drivers?

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555135)

My experience exactly.
I ended up running Windows for that particular Media Center because the Linux drivers plain sucked.

Not that the Windows drivers from VIA were any good anyway. In fact, they sucked, just not as much.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

Mike McTernan (260224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555265)

Me too. I'm stuck at Fedora 5 since that seems to be the only release for which the graphics drivers for a Via EPIA EX1500 actually allow the Tv output to work. Unfortunately I had to spend ages patching PCI tables and similar in the Kernel to get other bits of the board working, and I've still not got the audio drivers going :(

To date, VIAs Linux support is really poor. I see a lot of noise coming from VIA about Open Source, but I'm yet to see any fruits.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (2, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555687)

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.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556087)

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

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (2, Interesting)

SaDan (81097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556619)

I recently purchased both an Everex gBook VA1500 laptop and an Everex gPC2, both of which use VIA processors and motherboard chipsets with integrated video.

Wow. I can't believe how bad the OS (gOS) is on either system. The gPC2 isn't as bad as the laptop, but it's still pretty darn bad. I ended up using a PCI video card just so I wouldn't have to deal with the crappy drivers for the integrated graphics for the gPC2.

The gBook is simply a joke with regards to driver support. I ended using the OpenChrome drivers to get the video to actually display the 1440x900 resolution (VIA binary blobs couldn't even do this!), and now I have to battle the WIFI chipset.

I have Ubuntu 8.04 LTS running on the gPC2, and put Slackware 12.1 on the gBook because I knew I was going to have to hack the crap out of that kernel and X to get things going.

I was disappointed in the performance of both systems, and the issues with drivers really made my purchasing experience a poor one. VIA is probably the worst thing that could have happened to Linux from a hardware standpoint, and Everex is not doing their brand name any justice by selling products with such poor software engineering.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560497)

The "missing" drivers people tend to notice on Linux are for certain wireless and video setups.

For desktops, wireless is mostly a non-issue. For video, it's been a while since the last time I had a problem. True, my notebook (quite old, once retired and back in active duty) does not run Compiz, but the last one ran it out of the box. And Broadcom wireless worked too.

And for printers, scanners, webcams, cameras etc, I think the problem is mostly solved. Linux seems quite happy with all my stuff.

If people insist on using hardware from vendors that neither support nor give enough information for us to support, it's not Linux's fault said hardware doesn't work.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23568727)

Drivers aren't a problem for 99% of users, because most users do not change their operating system or their hardware. If you are an OEM that wants to build a system with Linux or *BSD then they can easily find parts in practically any price / quality range that are supported. If a hardware manufacturer wants to sell parts to these OEMs then they can invest a little in developing some open source drivers.

The only people who have problems with drivers are the ones who buy a computer with one operating system and try to run another. OS X has much worse driver support than Linux or *BSD, but no one complains about missing drivers because they buy a machine with OS X on it and it supports all of the included hardware. The same is true if you buy something like an EeePC, a Nokia 770, or an iRex iLiad running Linux.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (2, Interesting)

wITTus (856003) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556179)

Full ACK!
Have a look at this thread. []
I'll NEVER NEVER NEVER again buy something from VIA.
Watch out for mainboards with VIA chipsets!

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (1)

emil10001 (985596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560785)

This was exactly how I felt after picking up an OQO 02. I spent a long time trying to get any distro to run on it, then when I did, I couldn't use Via's video driver. It was all sorts of screwed up, and with no real directions.

So, I went on their forums and looked around some of the threads. It seemed that a lot of other people were in the same situation as me, and Via didn't seem to care at all. They never posted on any of the Linux threads.

My idea of "support" is not garbage drivers that don't compile, and ignoring customers who purchase your hardware. I will never touch anything via again.

P.S. - The EEE PC that I got my fiancee worked out well. Eeexubuntu is a good distro for it, a big improvement over what comes installed on it.

Re:I wouldn't buy a via system again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23562793)

me to or fujitsu siemens laptops.
I really have to see their "Linux" system to beleive it.
My wife bought me Fujitsu Siemens laptop with VIA graphic chipset, as a surprise.
She knew I want Linux so she bought Laptop that said "OS:Linux" on the shelf tag. It actually had Knopix CD somewhere in the box and that was all
So my birthday present almost turned to disaster thanks to VIA graphics chipset.
I actually fixed it same evening by compiling OpenChrome drivers, and nowadays Ubuntu ships with these drivers (that still need tweaking), but still feels like almost being cheated.
That laptop works now, but is really not your first choice for Linux laptop.
I bet they thought that all people buying "OS:Linux" are cheep shots installing pirated Windows afterwards. Well some of us actually use Linux.
I wonder if name "Linux" could be protected so companies couldn't use it unless their product is fully functional under linux.

Performance (4, Informative)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554823)

Apparently the performance of this CPU is equivalent of a 900 MHz Pentium-M... ( [] ) or an 800 MHz Intel A110. However, with HW acceleration of a lot of video formats, this won't matter much while watching video, probably. You wouldn't want to run Gentoo on this thing though. ;-)

Re:Performance (2)

Noodlenose (537591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554869)

You wouldn't want to run Gentoo on this thing though

Why's that then ?


Re:Performance (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554873)

You wouldn't want to run Gentoo on this thing though. ;-)
Why? Is Mandriva, Ubuntu, and Slackware gonna suprise the fucker and gang-rape it?

Re:Performance (3, Interesting)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554937)

Because (afaik) Gentoo primarily compiles its packages, and that would take a very long time on this piece of hardware.

Re:Performance (2, Informative)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554975)

Not that I'm a fan of gentoo, but it does have a binary bootstrap thing, and also is able to offload the compilation onto other machines using distcc or similar.

Re:Performance (1)

Fackamato (913248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555003)

Yeah sure you could offload the compilation to other machines... but it's a laptop! (OTOH you could do all this during the install, and then just *use* the laptop without the need for other machines ;-))

Re:Performance (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555015)

My experience has been that distcc works with very few packages - almost nothing is made with distributed compilation in mind.

Re:Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554999)

Because (afaik) Gentoo primarily compiles its packages, and that would take a very long time on this piece of hardware.

There are only a handful of binary packages in the whole Portage tree, everything else is compiled from sources. So, yeah, it would take AGES to compile a fully working Gentoo system on this machine. Believe me, I have spent the last 3 days compiling Gentoo on my P4 1.6Ghz laptop, and it's faster than this..

Re:Performance (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555019)

Gentoo isn't for people who want to check their email immediately. It's for people with an open source developer mindset, that's all. I'm sure Gentoo (along with FreeBSD, Slackware, and anything that doesn't depend on bathing itself in the hellfire known as binary repositories) will work fine on this. Most large apps compilation wise like and Firefox come in precompiled binaries as is.

Stage 3 then recompile (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555089)

Because (afaik) Gentoo primarily compiles its packages, and that would take a very long time on this piece of hardware.
Couldn't you just install a stage 3 build and then have it recompile all packages over the course of a few nights? That and you could use distcc [] to tap your other computers' CPUs.

Re:Performance (1)

Fallus Shempus (793462) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554967)

I hereby give notice of my intention to sue for damages to my mucus membrane due to explosive contact with a hot caffeinated beverage

Re:Performance (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556869)

I've had a lot of Via machines come through the shop(as they are often the Wal Mart clearance PC) and I have found that you really need to halve the Mhz rating to get an idea of the real performance. That said,I can't honestly see why anyone would want ANYTHING with a Via chip in it. My 8 year old 1.1Ghz Celeron performs better and the driver support from Via no matter what the OS is just bad. I'm talking ATI during the Rage 2x days bad. And if you are wanting to build a quiet PC a stock Celeron can easily be run on a fanless sink and you can always underclock it if it runs too hot for your tastes. But that is my 02c,YMMV

Re:Performance (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558523)

Yeah, but I haven't had a lot of luck with their video drivers on Linux. Since 2K and XP will be out of support and Vista may be a bit much, I wonder if this will give VIA some more reason to open them up.

I mean, my latest upgrade to 7.10 broke my VIA (CL700) drivers for good. After that you start trying things (on the CLI!) and as a non-guru, you mess things up for good trying to get it to work. This would not have happened if the Ubuntu distribution would have OS drivers on EPIA. As it is now, it's for testing purposes only.

I was on the way to check Hardy Heron (8.04) on my VIA and decided to upgrade my Desktop first. The trouble is that the HH distribution is terribly weak for some reason. This might be the problem of the hard drive or the sound blaster audigy drivers or a PCI issue, but I'll be darned if I'm going to try and find that out.

All this from somebody who *desperately* wants to upgrade to Ubuntu and has loads of knowledge about computers, operating systems and software.

El Cobarde Anonimo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554843)

I won't buy it until it costs $50 dollars. Damn it!!!!!!

Vista for masochists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554887)

Vista for the masochists like in the article below?

Re:Vista for masochists (4, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554963)

Please respect the open source BDSM community. Thank you.

Re:Vista for masochists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559223)

Please respect the open source BDSM community. Thank you.
I use BIND for all my open source BDSM.

Re:Vista for masochists (2, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561369)

The GP refers to the much larger Windows BDSM-mostly-M community.

Up to 3 hours???? (4, Informative)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555001)

How can people seriously call these things "ultra mobile" when they have to keep getting plugged into a wall outlet? An gee, I wonder why none of the photos show them plugged in. I suppose with a 50 foot extension cord you could be "ultra mobile".

My Lifebook P2120 gets about 8 hours with its dual battery setup and I consider that adequate although I wish it could do better. How many people work less than 8 hours? When I leave the house I grab my P2120, I don't pack a bag with a charger or spare battery. Eight hours can just barely get me through the day if I'm careful to set the screen brightness to minimum and hibernate a couple times.

Call me when an "ultra mobile" gets 10 hours of "typical" battery life, not 3 hours of "up to" battery life.

I'm looking at the Lifebook T2010 as a replacement for my slow and somewhat beat up (dropped it a few times) P2120.

The T2010 is a bit bigger than the P2120, but with 11 hours of battery life I'm probably going to overlook its flaws and its steep price tag.

My typical use is wandering around theatre using software to control the stage lighting via 802.11g. To me "ultra mobile" means the computer comes with me as I move around and I don't have to stop working several times a day to recharge, or carry a pile of spare batteries, or drag an extension cord around.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555147)

I got myself a small thin 12.1" Dell Latitude D420, a refurbished one to be exact at a nice price. The only 2 things that are bad with it is a) it has the miniscule speaker in the corner (i didn't expect much though, so its not really a problem) and b) This battery fucking sucks. It used to be 2 hours to last, now its already down to 1. makes me question whats so portable about it.

I'm gonna think about getting a new one, but still, i expected more, even from a refurbished laptop.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555895)

Get the big battery. I managed to get 5 hours from the thing. One of the least ugly Dells I have ever seen.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556021)

Alright thanks for the suggestion. Hopefully the cost isn't too crazy. my guess is you're talking about the 9 cell battery and not the 4 cell?

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557133)

This is good advice for most notebooks if you have the option on a BTO machine or if you are replacing your battery. The upgrade from 4cell to 8cell is usually cheaper than buying a second battery, it gives you enough juice to occasionally run the notebook at full speed and it's one less thing you have to carry around.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555567)

No kidding. My 2.4GHz MacBook Pro gets 2.5-3.5 hours of battery life when surfing with WiFi on and possibly listening to music and doing other activities. Why would I want a crippled little laptop that gets the same battery life?

Don't get me wrong. I see real appeal in little laptops. If there were 12" MacBook Pros, I would have considered one. But if I'm going to get a small laptop where I have to compromise on things like CPU power, I want something out of that compromise: I want battery life.

For such a relatively slow laptop (someone said CNet puts it at the speed of a 900MHz P3) I would think you could build a system to get at least 5 hours. But if I have to haul around a power adapter and such, I might as well haul around a better notebook too.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (2, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23563983)

It's 1/4 the price of a MacBook Pro.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564541)

It's incredibly stupid mostly because of the fact that a C7 ULV is rated at something like 7W with the chipset included...

Doesn't matter if it's slow but rather if it's low-wattage. Makes no sense however that it only lasts 3 hours; for fuck's sake my DS Lite does 30h+ in GBA mode with the backlight mostly off.

Oh, and are you sure it's the 1.6GHz or 2GHz models being rated as equivs of a 900MHz P3? Sometimes they aren't too clear on what they review... But even then, C7 was nothing like other desktop CPUs from Intel & AMD. Totally different philosophy, you need to compare it to a x86 XScale.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (3, Insightful)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556339)

How many people work less than 8 hours?

Is that counting posting on Slashdot, or not?

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559883)

How can people seriously call these things "ultra mobile" when they have to keep getting plugged into a wall outlet?


You see, "ultra-" as a prefix means "beyond or on the other side of". "Ultraviolet" light is not violet -- the fact that its not violet is half of what qualifies it for the "ultra-" prefix.

Presumably, giving the thing a battery life that is too short to be practical helps keep it lighter -- for the price you pay for it. A cheap lead acid battery would probably power the thing for a considerable time, if you wouldn't mind lugging four or five pounds of largish battery around. But low weight and small size are what make so called "ultraportable" devices attractive over, say, laptops. By increasing (at a given price level) two of the factors which make a device attractive for mobile use, you render it impratical for mobile use.

Therefore, unlike other devices supposedly in this category, this is a true "ultraportable".

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560949)

I had a Sharp MM10. Out of the box, it had 3 hours, maybe. When I upgraded the battery, it had 9-12 hours.

Of course, it was more than twice the weight with the new battery, but still a lot lighter than any laptop I've owned since.

I know I'm weird (2, Insightful)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561191)

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.

Re:Up to 3 hours???? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561391)

Just wait until someone who gets the CAD files decides to build a motherboard replacement that runs off a MIPS or ARM processor.

It will last months on a single standard notebook battery charge.

Even better (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555013)

I think I'd rather have a Notebook [] that supports a quad-core, XUXGA, can have 2 8800s in SLI, 3 drive bays w/ RAID-5 support, and a 12-cell battery. Please do disable SLI if you are running exclusively on battery power.

Re:Even better (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557229)

That's really more of a coffeetablebook than a notebook, innit? Why not just go for a world atlas with a 21" LCD?

Re:Even better (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557327)

Are you really trying to compare a 17 inch, 12-pound desktop replacement "notebook" to an >10 inch 2lb ultra compact? A dogdge minivan gets greater range on a tank than . . . say . . . a SMART [] . Vastly different target audiences who will use them for vastly different purposes.

Tag line for Via notebook (1)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555021)

make me say a tagline similar to nokia n95......this is what mobiles have become...Just that you probably cannot make calls with the inbuilt 3G

Blobs? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555103)

Last time I checked, the only Linux support for Via GPUs was with the aid of binary blobs. Are they opening up their specs with this and allowing real DRI support, or keeping it proprietary. I'm much more interested in open software than availability of CAD drawings for the hardware.

VIA to (finally) Open their spec (2, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556457)

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 [] 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 [] and though VIA only pulled a PR stunt.
But recently VIA finally released huge chunks of code [] under GPLv2, and thus opensource project like openchrome [] and unichrome [] 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 [] ) 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.

Re:VIA to (finally) Open their spec (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556577)

Definitely a step in the right direction. Shame they chose GPLv2 though. The rest of DRI is MIT-licensed (including the Intel-contributed drivers), and so can be used on other operations systems like FreeBSD and OpenSolaris without licensing problems.

1.6 GHz for $500? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555323)

Gosh, that just isn't what I call competitive. Speaking of which, what ever happened to the $200 eeepc? Everywhere I look they are > $400. Last "full size" laptop I bought from Dell cost me just over $500 including shipping -- on sale, but still... Why would anyone buy a sub-laptop for a mere hundred or two less than a full laptop?

Meh. I'll stick with my Treo + full laptop until a real laptop replacement costs $200 or until a newer smartphone can completely replace my laptop -- which will probably happen next year anyway.

Re:1.6 GHz for $500? (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555587)

The eeepc & via pc are not a real replacement for the full desktop pc but more for the ultra small notebook pcs that cost you at least double that price before.

However this via pc lie the msi wind lacks the SSD disk, which makes it much less suitable for people who handle their laptop with less care (schools/kids/light bags)

Re:1.6 GHz for $500? (2, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:1.6 GHz for $500? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556951)

Why would anyone buy a sub-laptop for a mere hundred or two less than a full laptop?
I think you lost the track here. There are two main ways to go with computers starting from a "full laptop":

1. You want a powerful yet small computer.
2. You want just a small computer.

From that perspective, I'd buy a sub-laptop, because for less, I can obtain more portability. Rather than buying a toshiba, sony, lenovo or a MacBook Air that give the portability increasing the price in 300% (or more). Now, if you want a powerful laptop / desktop replacement, you're looking at the wrong range of prices. You pay for small things more, like cellphones, mp3 players.

I have to add, that the new trend is having something really compact with a rather large screen.

To me, your question sounds more like "Why would you get an iPhone for $400 if you can get cellphones for free and a $400 laptop?". And my answer is simple, because you want something smaller that does the simple things you want it to do, not what market is driving you to think you need them to do.

Re:1.6 GHz for $500? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561447)

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

For the same reason people pay three times as much as a standard low-end laptop for a low-end-like laptop in a much smaller format: portability.

People who buy a Eee, a Cloudbook want to be able to carry it around and not regretting it too much.

So I can see what Via is doing, (2, Insightful)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:So I can see what Via is doing, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557617)

You are missing the point of CC licensing the CAD drawings. They want to build a 3rd party modification community around this core product. Then they can attack a lot of different niches besides the dumb internet terminal market. I can see groups hacking this laptop to add special interfaces or other capabilities, and Via wants to encourage that. They make a sale whether you load Gmail, or take a Dremel to this thing.

CAD Files (It's a ProE part) (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555561)

The CAD files are available once you register, wait for the email, fish it out of the junk folder, click the link, log in, download the four separate parts, click through the CC EULA for each of the four parts. Once it's downloaded stick it back together and you have one ProE part file.

I mean it's a nice try, but how many people here can do anything with it?

Does anyone know if PVX (or equivalent) is easily available these days? The file says WF 2 M150, so it will need to be from the last couple of years.

Re:CAD Files (It's four ProE parts) (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23555777)

Nope, I was wrong. What was in my coffee? It's four separate parts.

A is the lid.
B is the inside of the lid.
C is the top cover for the bottom half.
D is the bottom of the unit.

Re:CAD Files (It's a ProE part) (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556029)

I mean it's a nice try, but how many people here can do anything with it?

I'm pretty sure PTC [] still hands out free 30-day trial versions on their website. You'll still have to go through customer service to get a demo license, but shouldn't be a problem.

Alternatively, there are various other methods with varying degrees of illegality (depending on your jurisdiction), including some tried-and-true methods of cracking FlexLM. Not that I would encourage anybody to break the law, however.

As for the learning curve, PTC also has free tutorials on the their web site as well.

Re:CAD Files (It's a ProE part) (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556529)

I mean it's a nice try, but how many people here can do anything with it?
I'm sure at least some of the people from over RepRap [] or Fab@Home [] will have great fun trying to build these parts in their kitchens/basements.

Hyou FaIL it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23555763)

cad files? (3, Informative)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557261)

Looks like these are just pro-e files of the case design. When I can get gerber files for the motherboard and VHDL files of the ASICS, I'll be impressed.

wireless hardware support (1)

hub (78021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558537)

Did anybody notice the Broadcom wireless chipset? This itself is not good news. AFAIK there is now a Linux driver for SLED10 (with the HP 2133 Mini-Note), but it is a non-free blob.

I guess since the design is open, it can be modified to use a Linux-friendly vendor for this too.

Bogus screenshot (1)

bitrot42 (523887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559653)

Did anyone else notice that the Vista screenshot in the photos has far more than 1024x600 resolution? Vista would look *terrible* on the lo-res screen it actually uses.

It's obvious it's pasted in (it's even clipped at the edges of the screen), but it still seems a little disingenuous to imply such "big laptop" capability.

Where's my solid state (1)

snappyjack (1147601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562221)

Seriously, one of the only reasons I bought my Eee is because it had solid state. Ultraportables need the smaller energy usage, as well as the increased durability. Throwing a faster cpu at this thing isn't going to matter because the next gen Eees are just getting the same thing.

Trackpoint is still missing (1)

quitte (1098453) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562955)

I don't quite understand it. Why don't all Laptops have Trackpoints by now? I hate those touchpads and so do most pople I know. I hardly see a laptop without a mouse connected, while I even prefer a Trackpoint over a mouse. The availability of a trackpoint in the eee device class would be the most important reason for my decision making. Even more important than the runtime.

Re:Trackpoint is still missing (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23566015)

Do you get them on anything but IBM/Lenovo laptops? It might be a patent thing.

On the market ... (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564545)

At a first glance, this seems to be what several available subnotebooks are based on: Belinea [] Packard Bell EasyNote XS20 []
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