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AMD64 Linux Certified LC2464 Laptop

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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 12:50:13 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Hi all,

can anybody give me feedback on this system:
http://linuxcertified.com/linux-laptop-lc2464.html

How, as a brand, is Linux Certified generally considered?

The specs of the system are quite nice and they seem to sell even over
to Europe.

I'll give them a call tomorrow anyway.

Thanks,
Lorenzo

--
Get my PGP Public Key @ http://www.bolognini.net/LBolognini.txt
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 12:50:14 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Lorenzo Bolognini wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> can anybody give me feedback on this system:
> http://linuxcertified.com/linux-laptop-lc2464.html
>
> How, as a brand, is Linux Certified generally considered?
>
> The specs of the system are quite nice and they seem to sell even over
> to Europe.
>
> I'll give them a call tomorrow anyway.

If you want to run 64-bit Linux that machine may work well enough but be
aware that the 64-bit video drivers for the ATI chips are not yet
available. It would have pretty much the same limitations as the
emachines/gateway/Arima machines.

To get full functionality at this time you'd do better to go with a machine
that has nvidia video--the potential performance is not as good with the
nvidia chips commonly found in laptops but their 64-bit drivers are
available.

> Thanks,
> Lorenzo
>

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 12:50:14 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

I have this unit, and I absolutely love it. It handily out-performs
even a high-end P4 based desktop I have. Also, the company seems good
about providing support for Linux driver issues.


Lorenzo Bolognini wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> can anybody give me feedback on this system:
> http://linuxcertified.com/linux-laptop-lc2464.html
>
> How, as a brand, is Linux Certified generally considered?
>
> The specs of the system are quite nice and they seem to sell even
over
> to Europe.
>
> I'll give them a call tomorrow anyway.
>
> Thanks,
> Lorenzo
>
> --
> Get my PGP Public Key @ http://www.bolognini.net/LBolognini.txt
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 4:51:17 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

John wrote:

>If you want a Windows box then why are you looking at
"Linux-certified"?
>Their prices seem quite high. Take a look at the aforementioned
>Gateway/emachines/Arima boxen which you can get for under $1000 US
with
>Windows XP preinstalled.

Yeah nice specs these Arima boxes but they cannot make a website that
works with Firefox... what makes u think they can build a PC? ;) 

About Gateway/eMachines they don't sell outside US/Canada and I'm
european.

I think LinuxCertified are good value for money (even though I'm still
lokking for feedback from someone who actually uses these boxes)
especially now with the strong euro.

Nice spam filter ;) 

Lorenzo
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 7:29:35 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke wrote:
> If you want to run 64-bit Linux that machine may work well enough but be
> aware that the 64-bit video drivers for the ATI chips are not yet
> available. It would have pretty much the same limitations as the
> emachines/gateway/Arima machines.

Hi J.

never thought of this issue: a 32 bit video chip on a 64 bit system. How
does that work out?

Anyway I'm thinking about using it with Windows and don't really think I
will need to use it for 64 bit computations, but it's still the fastest
processor out there!

Lorenzo


--
Get my PGP Public Key @ http://www.bolognini.net/LBolognini.txt
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 7:29:36 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Lorenzo Bolognini wrote:

> J. Clarke wrote:
>> If you want to run 64-bit Linux that machine may work well enough but be
>> aware that the 64-bit video drivers for the ATI chips are not yet
>> available. It would have pretty much the same limitations as the
>> emachines/gateway/Arima machines.
>
> Hi J.
>
> never thought of this issue: a 32 bit video chip on a 64 bit system. How
> does that work out?

32 bit vs 64 bit is not really an issue--it goes on the AGP bus, which is 64
bit. The issue is that ATI has not seen fit to release drivers that have
been compiled and linked as 64-bit code. Nvidia has.

> Anyway I'm thinking about using it with Windows and don't really think I
> will need to use it for 64 bit computations, but it's still the fastest
> processor out there!

If you want a Windows box then why are you looking at "Linux-certified"?
Their prices seem quite high. Take a look at the aforementioned
Gateway/emachines/Arima boxen which you can get for under $1000 US with
Windows XP preinstalled.

> Lorenzo
>
>

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 7:32:27 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

linux-fanatic wrote:
> I have this unit, and I absolutely love it. It handily out-performs
> even a high-end P4 based desktop I have. Also, the company seems good
> about providing support for Linux driver issues.

Cool! How is the case then? Is it solid? And the hinges? Does it
overheat on the palm rest (as I read on the Acer Ferrari)? Does it cool
enough? Is it noisy? What about battery life?

Thanks,
Lorenzo


--
Get my PGP Public Key @ http://www.bolognini.net/LBolognini.txt
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 1:11:49 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

lbolognini@gmail.com wrote:

> John wrote:
>
>>If you want a Windows box then why are you looking at
> "Linux-certified"?
>>Their prices seem quite high. Take a look at the aforementioned
>>Gateway/emachines/Arima boxen which you can get for under $1000 US
> with
>>Windows XP preinstalled.
>
> Yeah nice specs these Arima boxes but they cannot make a website that
> works with Firefox... what makes u think they can build a PC? ;) 

Well, other than that mine's working find and there are numerous other
reports of their working quite nicely . . .

They're a Taiwanese OEM with a typical Taiwanese OEM web page. The miracle
is that it loads at all.

> About Gateway/eMachines they don't sell outside US/Canada and I'm
> european.

Try Targa or Medion. Same machine, different brand. Or take a look at
<http://www.amdboard.com/athlon_64_notebook.html&gt;--you'll find that the
"LinuxCertified" is also avaiable under the "Fujitsu-Siemens" brand among
others--if you like that box then shop for price and support--you may find
it locally for a better price and with better support than LinuxCertified
can provide.

> I think LinuxCertified are good value for money (even though I'm still
> lokking for feedback from someone who actually uses these boxes)
> especially now with the strong euro.

The thing about the Arimas is that they have an active and established user
community--see <http://notebookforums.com/archive/index.php/&gt;, look in the
"Gateway/Emachines" section and you'll find a lot of discussion.

> Nice spam filter ;) 
>
> Lorenzo

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 2:52:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> Try Targa or Medion. Same machine, different brand. Or take a look at
> <http://www.amdboard.com/athlon_64_notebook.html&gt;--you'll find that the
> "LinuxCertified" is also avaiable under the "Fujitsu-Siemens" brand among
> others--if you like that box then shop for price and support--you may find
> it locally for a better price and with better support than LinuxCertified
> can provide.

That LinuxCertified laptop is made by Fujitsu? Hmm, according to some
other posters, those machines are supposed to be pretty good. Maybe I
shoulda bought one intsead of this X40. But I wanted a small machine
for a change. Any idea where I can get one of the Fujitsus under its
own label? Or is it actually some no-name Taiwanese machine sometimes
sold under a Fujitsu label?

Hmm, looks like it supports just WXGA screen resolution (max), and max
1 GB of ram :( . I was hoping for something like the Compaq machines
which support WUXGA and 2 GB or more.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 6:28:55 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> Try Targa or Medion. Same machine, different brand. Or take a look at
>> <http://www.amdboard.com/athlon_64_notebook.html&gt;--you'll find that the
>> "LinuxCertified" is also avaiable under the "Fujitsu-Siemens" brand among
>> others--if you like that box then shop for price and support--you may
>> find it locally for a better price and with better support than
>> LinuxCertified can provide.
>
> That LinuxCertified laptop is made by Fujitsu?

No, it's made by some outfit called "Uniwill". It's _sold_ by
Fujitsu-Siemens. Fujitsu-Siemens is neither Fujitsu nor Siemens, it's a
distribution company owned jointly by both that sells some Fujitsu
products, some Siemens products, and some third-party products.

> Hmm, according to some
> other posters, those machines are supposed to be pretty good. Maybe I
> shoulda bought one intsead of this X40. But I wanted a small machine
> for a change. Any idea where I can get one of the Fujitsus under its
> own label? Or is it actually some no-name Taiwanese machine sometimes
> sold under a Fujitsu label?

Not under a Fujitsu label, under a Fujitsu-Siemens label. And if you check
the link above you'll see all the brands under which it's sold.

> Hmm, looks like it supports just WXGA screen resolution (max),

That's the native resolution of the built in screen--they seem to be using
the same Sony panel as Arima, and it's very nice. Any higher res on a 15"
screen and you'd need a microscope. It should be able to go to whatever is
the limit of the Radeon Mobility on an external.

> and max
> 1 GB of ram :( . I was hoping for something like the Compaq machines
> which support WUXGA and 2 GB or more.

For Linux the DECPaqards would actually be a better bet.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 6:28:56 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> > That LinuxCertified laptop is made by Fujitsu?
>
> No, it's made by some outfit called "Uniwill". It's _sold_ by
> Fujitsu-Siemens. Fujitsu-Siemens is neither Fujitsu nor Siemens, it's a
> distribution company owned jointly by both that sells some Fujitsu
> products, some Siemens products, and some third-party products.

Thanks.

> > Hmm, looks like it supports just WXGA screen resolution (max),
>
> That's the native resolution of the built in screen--they seem to be
> using the same Sony panel as Arima, and it's very nice. Any higher
> res on a 15" screen and you'd need a microscope.

I don't think so. I have an A20p with SXGA+ (1450x1050) and it's
great. If I were doing it again I'd get UXGA in the same screen size.
It's just 110 dpi or something like that. If you had a 110 dpi laser
printer would you say you needed a microscope? Would you even think
of buying a 110 dpi laser printer? More resolution is better, no
matter what the screen size is. If the higher resolution makes you
need a microscope, that means you're using the wrong fonts.

> > 1 GB of ram :( . I was hoping for something like the Compaq
> > machines which support WUXGA and 2 GB or more.
>
> For Linux the DECPaqards would actually be a better bet.

What's that?
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 6:28:56 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> > 1 GB of ram :( . I was hoping for something like the Compaq machines
> > which support WUXGA and 2 GB or more.
>
> For Linux the DECPaqards would actually be a better bet.

Oh, you mean "HP". I had thought the HP and Compaq machines were
exactly the same except for some cosmetic changes and perhaps
different Windows preinstalls (irrelevant to Linux). I saw those
machines in a store and while the feature sets were mostly pretty
good, the hardware seemed poorly made, and they have proprietary
driver disease.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 9:35:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> > 1 GB of ram :( . I was hoping for something like the Compaq machines
>> > which support WUXGA and 2 GB or more.
>>
>> For Linux the DECPaqards would actually be a better bet.
>
> Oh, you mean "HP". I had thought the HP and Compaq machines were
> exactly the same except for some cosmetic changes and perhaps
> different Windows preinstalls (irrelevant to Linux). I saw those
> machines in a store and while the feature sets were mostly pretty
> good, the hardware seemed poorly made, and they have proprietary
> driver disease.

What "proprietary drivers" do they need that the "Linux Certified" machine
does not?

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 9:35:24 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> > Oh, you mean "HP". I had thought the HP and Compaq machines were
> > exactly the same except for some cosmetic changes and perhaps
> > different Windows preinstalls (irrelevant to Linux). I saw those
> > machines in a store and while the feature sets were mostly pretty
> > good, the hardware seemed poorly made, and they have proprietary
> > driver disease.
>
> What "proprietary drivers" do they need that the "Linux Certified" machine
> does not?

The HP/Compaq uses the Broadcom wireless chip and an NVidia graphics
chip that both need binary-only drivers to work properly. The
so-called Linux Certified machine may or may not have the same issues.
I understand there's an X.org driver for the NVidia chip that makes
the screen usable, but doesn't use the acceleration features which
have a secret interface, so it can't work as well as the proprietary
driver. The Broadcom stuff appears to be hopeless. I sort of thought
of buying the HPaq anyway and using a PC card for wifi (as I'm now
doing with my X40), but I just wasn't that impressed with the one I
saw in the store.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 9:39:57 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> > That LinuxCertified laptop is made by Fujitsu?
>>
>> No, it's made by some outfit called "Uniwill". It's _sold_ by
>> Fujitsu-Siemens. Fujitsu-Siemens is neither Fujitsu nor Siemens, it's a
>> distribution company owned jointly by both that sells some Fujitsu
>> products, some Siemens products, and some third-party products.
>
> Thanks.
>
>> > Hmm, looks like it supports just WXGA screen resolution (max),
>>
>> That's the native resolution of the built in screen--they seem to be
>> using the same Sony panel as Arima, and it's very nice. Any higher
>> res on a 15" screen and you'd need a microscope.
>
> I don't think so. I have an A20p with SXGA+ (1450x1050) and it's
> great. If I were doing it again I'd get UXGA in the same screen size.
> It's just 110 dpi or something like that. If you had a 110 dpi laser
> printer would you say you needed a microscope?

Not a valid comparison. With a laser printer you typically print text and
graphics that you have formatted. With a display you typically display a
user interface or web pages that someone else has formatted, that you can
tweak to (with Windows anyway) a limited extent.

I'll put it another way, maybe _you_ can read the text on a 15" 1450x1050
display, but I'd rather not try.

> Would you even think
> of buying a 110 dpi laser printer? More resolution is better, no
> matter what the screen size is.

Only if the figure size is unchanged. With Windows more resolution results
in smaller figure size. If you tweak it then you run into formatting
problems with the application menus and the like.

> If the higher resolution makes you
> need a microscope, that means you're using the wrong fonts.

So what are the "right fonts" that will never, ever result in a hosed up
menu?
>
>> > 1 GB of ram :( . I was hoping for something like the Compaq
>> > machines which support WUXGA and 2 GB or more.
>>
>> For Linux the DECPaqards would actually be a better bet.
>
> What's that?

DEC-Compaq-Hewlett-Packard--they use nvidia video rather than ATI. Nvidia
has AMD-64 drivers out across the board, ATI doesn't.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 10, 2004 9:39:58 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> Not a valid comparison. With a laser printer you typically print text and
> graphics that you have formatted. With a display you typically display a
> user interface or web pages that someone else has formatted, that you can
> tweak to (with Windows anyway) a limited extent.

Hmm, I thought Windows had accessibility features that made the fonts big,
but I don't use it much, so don't know.

> I'll put it another way, maybe _you_ can read the text on a 15" 1450x1050
> display, but I'd rather not try.

It's really completely readable, I've never had problems with it even
at the times when I've run Windows on that box. That's the factory
Windows 2000 preinstall so they may have configured the fonts to be
appropriate for the screen.

I think 15" SXGA+ comes out to about the same dpi as 12.1" XGA which
is what I'm using now.

> > If the higher resolution makes you
> > need a microscope, that means you're using the wrong fonts.
>
> So what are the "right fonts" that will never, ever result in a hosed up
> menu?

All I can say is that this has simply never been a problem for me.
The default fonts look perfectly ok on the A20p, as far as I can tell.
I really like the SXGA+ screen. The main reason I ever think of
getting a desktop machine is to have even more screen resolution, or
multiple screens.

> DEC-Compaq-Hewlett-Packard--they use nvidia video rather than ATI. Nvidia
> has AMD-64 drivers out across the board, ATI doesn't.

I would have thought the 32-bit drivers would work for either card. Hmm.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 11, 2004 2:11:50 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> > Oh, you mean "HP". I had thought the HP and Compaq machines were
>> > exactly the same except for some cosmetic changes and perhaps
>> > different Windows preinstalls (irrelevant to Linux). I saw those
>> > machines in a store and while the feature sets were mostly pretty
>> > good, the hardware seemed poorly made, and they have proprietary
>> > driver disease.
>>
>> What "proprietary drivers" do they need that the "Linux Certified"
>> machine does not?
>
> The HP/Compaq uses the Broadcom wireless chip and an NVidia graphics
> chip that both need binary-only drivers to work properly. The
> so-called Linux Certified machine may or may not have the same issues.

Nvidia has binary only 64 bit drivers. ATI has no 64 bit drivers of any
kind. I'll take proprietary over none.

And quite honestly I've reached the point that all this posturing over
purity turns me off. Nvidia video works well with Linux, ATI doesn't.
I'll take dirty drivers that work over none or over clean ones that are
broken.

As for broadcomm, there are no 64 bit drivers for broadcomm at all. But
most AMD64 machines with wifi use broadcomm, so you're screwed there.

> I understand there's an X.org driver for the NVidia chip that makes
> the screen usable, but doesn't use the acceleration features which
> have a secret interface, so it can't work as well as the proprietary
> driver.

Just use the proprietary driver and if Stallman doesn't like it tell him to
get off his butt and write one that he approves of.

> The Broadcom stuff appears to be hopeless. I sort of thought
> of buying the HPaq anyway and using a PC card for wifi (as I'm now
> doing with my X40), but I just wasn't that impressed with the one I
> saw in the store.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 11, 2004 2:13:33 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> >> I'll put it another way, maybe _you_ can read the text on a 15" 1450x1050
> >> display, but I'd rather not try.
> >
> > It's really completely readable,
> Must be nice to be young. Maybe when I was 20/15 near and far I'd
> have felt the same.

Lately I'm using larger fonts than I used to in years gone by, but
again, more resolution would help by making small characters easier to
read. Take a typical paperback book and compare the absolute size of
the printed letters in it to the letters on your laptop screen, and
you'll probably find that the book printing is smaller and yet still
more readable than the screen. Why? Higher dpi giving more precise
shapes to the letters.

> More screen resolution on a larger screen is nice. But not on a 15.4 inch
> 16:10, which has a vertical dimension less than an inch larger than your
> 12.1".

Hmm, if those 15.4"'s are widescreen, that would make them shorter
vertically than my A20p, that's not so great. There are starting to
be more 17" laptop screens so maybe I'll hold out for one.

> > I would have thought the 32-bit drivers would work for either card. Hmm.
>
> They do, but 32-bit drivers do not work with 64-bit operating systems. And
> if you're not going to run a 64-bit OS then why get a 64-bit processor?
> While it's faster than a 32-bit, it's not a whole lot faster in 32-bit mode
> and a lot more power-hungry.

I had thought that the Athlon 64 could run intermixed 32 and 64 bit
code. So a 64-bit OS could run 32-bit drivers if needed, just as
32-bit Windows ran 16-bit DOS stuff for a very long time.

> Nvidia has binary only 64 bit drivers. ATI has no 64 bit drivers of any
> kind. I'll take proprietary over none.

I wonder what other chipsets are available.

> As for broadcomm, there are no 64 bit drivers for broadcomm at all. But
> most AMD64 machines with wifi use broadcomm, so you're screwed there.

Yes, I wonder if they use removable mini-PCI boards. Maybe then I
could swap in something with a different chip. Otherwise I'd just use
a PC card. It's less of a problem with a big machine than with the
X40, since I wouldn't move the big machine around nearly as often.

> > I understand there's an X.org driver for the NVidia chip that makes
>
> Just use the proprietary driver and if Stallman doesn't like it tell him to
> get off his butt and write one that he approves of.

It's a political problem, not a technical one. The NVidia programming
interface is secret so it's impossible to write a non-darkware driver
for it. If I want to run darkware, I'd probably buy a Powerbook
(possibly the 17 inch one) instead of messing with these x86
headaches. Note that if the interfaces weren't secret, there'd be no
shortage of 64 bit drivers.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 11, 2004 2:31:15 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> Not a valid comparison. With a laser printer you typically print text
>> and
>> graphics that you have formatted. With a display you typically display a
>> user interface or web pages that someone else has formatted, that you can
>> tweak to (with Windows anyway) a limited extent.
>
> Hmm, I thought Windows had accessibility features that made the fonts big,
> but I don't use it much, so don't know.

It does. Which means that they're too big to fit into the width allocated
for menus, dialog boxes, and the like and so you end up trading one problem
for another.

>> I'll put it another way, maybe _you_ can read the text on a 15" 1450x1050
>> display, but I'd rather not try.
>
> It's really completely readable, I've never had problems with it even
> at the times when I've run Windows on that box. That's the factory
> Windows 2000 preinstall so they may have configured the fonts to be
> appropriate for the screen.

Must be nice to be young. Maybe when I was 20/15 near and far I'd have felt
the same.

> I think 15" SXGA+ comes out to about the same dpi as 12.1" XGA which
> is what I'm using now.
>
>> > If the higher resolution makes you
>> > need a microscope, that means you're using the wrong fonts.
>>
>> So what are the "right fonts" that will never, ever result in a hosed up
>> menu?
>
> All I can say is that this has simply never been a problem for me.
> The default fonts look perfectly ok on the A20p, as far as I can tell.
> I really like the SXGA+ screen. The main reason I ever think of
> getting a desktop machine is to have even more screen resolution, or
> multiple screens.

More screen resolution on a larger screen is nice. But not on a 15.4 inch
16:10, which has a vertical dimension less than an inch larger than your
12.1".

>> DEC-Compaq-Hewlett-Packard--they use nvidia video rather than ATI.
>> Nvidia has AMD-64 drivers out across the board, ATI doesn't.
>
> I would have thought the 32-bit drivers would work for either card. Hmm.

They do, but 32-bit drivers do not work with 64-bit operating systems. And
if you're not going to run a 64-bit OS then why get a 64-bit processor?
While it's faster than a 32-bit, it's not a whole lot faster in 32-bit mode
and a lot more power-hungry.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 11, 2004 1:40:25 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> >> I'll put it another way, maybe _you_ can read the text on a 15"
>> >> 1450x1050 display, but I'd rather not try.
>> >
>> > It's really completely readable,
>> Must be nice to be young. Maybe when I was 20/15 near and far I'd
>> have felt the same.
>
> Lately I'm using larger fonts than I used to in years gone by, but
> again, more resolution would help by making small characters easier to
> read. Take a typical paperback book and compare the absolute size of
> the printed letters in it to the letters on your laptop screen, and
> you'll probably find that the book printing is smaller and yet still
> more readable than the screen. Why? Higher dpi giving more precise
> shapes to the letters.

Again, not a valid comparison. One does not read a paperback at the same
distance as a typical computer display.

And again diddling the font size causes other problems.

>> More screen resolution on a larger screen is nice. But not on a 15.4
>> inch 16:10, which has a vertical dimension less than an inch larger than
>> your 12.1".
>
> Hmm, if those 15.4"'s are widescreen, that would make them shorter
> vertically than my A20p, that's not so great. There are starting to
> be more 17" laptop screens so maybe I'll hold out for one.
>
>> > I would have thought the 32-bit drivers would work for either card.
>> > Hmm.
>>
>> They do, but 32-bit drivers do not work with 64-bit operating systems.
>> And if you're not going to run a 64-bit OS then why get a 64-bit
>> processor? While it's faster than a 32-bit, it's not a whole lot faster
>> in 32-bit mode and a lot more power-hungry.
>
> I had thought that the Athlon 64 could run intermixed 32 and 64 bit
> code. So a 64-bit OS could run 32-bit drivers if needed, just as
> 32-bit Windows ran 16-bit DOS stuff for a very long time.

An Athlon can run 32-bit application code on a 64-bit OS. Drivers are not
application code.

>> Nvidia has binary only 64 bit drivers. ATI has no 64 bit drivers of any
>> kind. I'll take proprietary over none.
>
> I wonder what other chipsets are available.

None that you'll actually find in a recent laptop of any kind that has
decent performance.

>> As for broadcomm, there are no 64 bit drivers for broadcomm at all. But
>> most AMD64 machines with wifi use broadcomm, so you're screwed there.
>
> Yes, I wonder if they use removable mini-PCI boards. Maybe then I
> could swap in something with a different chip. Otherwise I'd just use
> a PC card. It's less of a problem with a big machine than with the
> X40, since I wouldn't move the big machine around nearly as often.

Personally I use the 100TX port most of the time. Wifi is nice but not all
that useful to me.

>> > I understand there's an X.org driver for the NVidia chip that makes
>>
>> Just use the proprietary driver and if Stallman doesn't like it tell him
>> to get off his butt and write one that he approves of.
>
> It's a political problem, not a technical one. The NVidia programming
> interface is secret so it's impossible to write a non-darkware driver
> for it. If I want to run darkware, I'd probably buy a Powerbook
> (possibly the 17 inch one) instead of messing with these x86
> headaches. Note that if the interfaces weren't secret, there'd be no
> shortage of 64 bit drivers.

So one reverse engineers the thing if it's all that important. Personally
I've never seen what all the fuss was about. So nvidia wants to keep their
drivers binary. So what? Who other than political activists really cares?

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 11, 2004 10:54:13 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> Again, not a valid comparison. One does not read a paperback at the same
> distance as a typical computer display.

Well, that depends on your habits, I guess. OK, take a dollar bill
instead, and look where it says "This note is legal tender...". That
print size is too small to comfortably read all day, but it's
perfectly legible. On a laptop display at the same character height,
it would be quite hard to read, entirely because of the laptop's low
resolution. That's even true with a fairly high-dpi laptop like the
A20p. With a 15" XGA screen it would be much worse.

> > I had thought that the Athlon 64 could run intermixed 32 and 64 bit
> > code. So a 64-bit OS could run 32-bit drivers if needed, just as
> > 32-bit Windows ran 16-bit DOS stuff for a very long time.
>
> An Athlon can run 32-bit application code on a 64-bit OS. Drivers are not
> application code.

I don't see why there's an obstacle to running 32-bit drivers on a 64-bit
OS. Windows is a 32-bit OS but has been able to run 16-bit drivers til
pretty recently.

> > I wonder what other chipsets are available.
>
> None that you'll actually find in a recent laptop of any kind that has
> decent performance.

I'm not sure what you mean by decent performance, but X has worked ok
on all my Thinkpads including the still-current X40 and the
not-that-obsolete A20p.

> Personally I use the 100TX port most of the time. Wifi is nice but not all
> that useful to me.

I also prefer ethernet when I can use it, but am sometimes in places
where the only available internet connectivity is wireless.

> So one reverse engineers the thing if it's all that important.

I prefer not to do that. If they want to stiff me by keeping their
interfaces secret, why should I give them my money AND do extra work
to get around the secrecy? I'd rather stiff them back by buying
someone else's product instead.

> Personally I've never seen what all the fuss was about. So nvidia
> wants to keep their drivers binary. So what? Who other than
> political activists really cares?

I guess that makes me an activist. Sounds ok to me.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 12, 2004 4:11:23 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> Again, not a valid comparison. One does not read a paperback at the same
>> distance as a typical computer display.
>
> Well, that depends on your habits, I guess. OK, take a dollar bill
> instead, and look where it says "This note is legal tender...". That
> print size is too small to comfortably read all day, but it's
> perfectly legible. On a laptop display at the same character height,
> it would be quite hard to read, entirely because of the laptop's low
> resolution. That's even true with a fairly high-dpi laptop like the
> A20p. With a 15" XGA screen it would be much worse.

Actually, on the 1280x800 15.4" screen on the emachines/gateway/arima that
size is quite readable.

But what difference does it make whether text in a size that one does not
use is readable?

And in practice the higher res screen would just show that text smaller, not
at higher resolution, unless I played with the font sizes and screwed up
the formatting.

>> > I had thought that the Athlon 64 could run intermixed 32 and 64 bit
>> > code. So a 64-bit OS could run 32-bit drivers if needed, just as
>> > 32-bit Windows ran 16-bit DOS stuff for a very long time.
>>
>> An Athlon can run 32-bit application code on a 64-bit OS. Drivers are
>> not application code.
>
> I don't see why there's an obstacle to running 32-bit drivers on a 64-bit
> OS. Windows is a 32-bit OS but has been able to run 16-bit drivers til
> pretty recently.

Windows 9x was designed to do that. And it tossed a lot of other stuff out
the window to get that capability. Windows NT/2000/XP was not designed to
do that, neither was Linux.

>> > I wonder what other chipsets are available.
>>
>> None that you'll actually find in a recent laptop of any kind that has
>> decent performance.
>
> I'm not sure what you mean by decent performance, but X has worked ok
> on all my Thinkpads including the still-current X40 and the
> not-that-obsolete A20p.

In current-generation laptops, you're going to find Intel on-chip video,
nvidia, ATI, or a few off brand oddities that have no 3d acceleration to
speak of.

>> Personally I use the 100TX port most of the time. Wifi is nice but not
>> all that useful to me.
>
> I also prefer ethernet when I can use it, but am sometimes in places
> where the only available internet connectivity is wireless.
>
>> So one reverse engineers the thing if it's all that important.
>
> I prefer not to do that. If they want to stiff me by keeping their
> interfaces secret, why should I give them my money AND do extra work
> to get around the secrecy? I'd rather stiff them back by buying
> someone else's product instead.

How is keeping their interfaces secret "stiffing you" if they provide
reliable drivers with full acceleration?

>> Personally I've never seen what all the fuss was about. So nvidia
>> wants to keep their drivers binary. So what? Who other than
>> political activists really cares?
>
> I guess that makes me an activist. Sounds ok to me.

I still don't understand why it's so all-fired important that the drivers be
distributed as source.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 12, 2004 4:11:24 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> [Size of "This note is legal tender" on dollar bills]
> Actually, on the 1280x800 15.4" screen on the emachines/gateway/arima that
> size is quite readable.

Hmm, I find characters that size look pretty bumpy on my x40 (6x9 X font)

> But what difference does it make whether text in a size that one does not
> use is readable?

It just shows that more resolution helps readability at a given absolute
size.

> And in practice the higher res screen would just show that text smaller, not
> at higher resolution, unless I played with the font sizes and screwed up
> the formatting.

No I mean at the same absolute size on the screen, you'd use more
pixels in the font. The whole hack of antialiased fonts and sub-pixel
rendering aims to create a similar effect at lower resolution.

> > I don't see why there's an obstacle to running 32-bit drivers on a 64-bit
> > OS. Windows is a 32-bit OS but has been able to run 16-bit drivers til
> > pretty recently.
>
> Windows 9x was designed to do that. And it tossed a lot of other stuff out
> the window to get that capability. Windows NT/2000/XP was not designed to
> do that, neither was Linux.

I don't understand what the obstacle is. I think the limitations of
16 bit drivers in Windows 9x were because those drivers expected to
run in real mode.

> > I'm not sure what you mean by decent performance, but X has worked ok
> > on all my Thinkpads including the still-current X40 and the
> > not-that-obsolete A20p.
>
> In current-generation laptops, you're going to find Intel on-chip video,
> nvidia, ATI, or a few off brand oddities that have no 3d acceleration to
> speak of.

I think the A20p has ATI Radeon 9600 and the X40 has Intel on-chip
video. Both work ok with X. I don't care at all about 3d
acceleration but I do care about 2d, for text window scrolling, etc.
Col. Schvantzkoph over in comp.os.linux.portables mentioned there's an
X.org driver for the HPaq amd64 machine but it's slower than the
binary-only one. I haven't tried it so I don't know if the slowdown
is really bothersome.

> How is keeping their interfaces secret "stiffing you" if they provide
> reliable drivers with full acceleration?...
> I still don't understand why it's so all-fired important that the drivers be
> distributed as source.

I want to be able to modify the drivers. Look at this discussion
we're having about 32 vs 64 bit drivers, for example. If we had
sources for the ATI drivers, we'd just adapt them for 64 bits and not
need to have that discussion. Finally I just don't want mystery
software running on my computer. I want to have the source to
everything running on it.

Also, I may want to run OS's that they didn't ship drivers for. Maybe
they have Linux drivers, but what about OpenBSD, Hurd, etc.?
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 12, 2004 12:17:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> [Size of "This note is legal tender" on dollar bills]
>> Actually, on the 1280x800 15.4" screen on the emachines/gateway/arima
>> that size is quite readable.
>
> Hmm, I find characters that size look pretty bumpy on my x40 (6x9 X font)
>
>> But what difference does it make whether text in a size that one does not
>> use is readable?
>
> It just shows that more resolution helps readability at a given absolute
> size.
>
>> And in practice the higher res screen would just show that text smaller,
>> not at higher resolution, unless I played with the font sizes and screwed
>> up the formatting.
>
> No I mean at the same absolute size on the screen, you'd use more
> pixels in the font.

Yes, you would, all two characters of it that appear in the menu that you're
trying to read.

> The whole hack of antialiased fonts and sub-pixel
> rendering aims to create a similar effect at lower resolution.

Which is fine, but unless and until God decrees that all software developers
will put in provisions to deal gracefully with some font size other than
the one they used when they coded the program (it will take divine
intervention to do that--nothing else will) changing the font size from the
defaults will continue to cause enough problems that it is not a viable
solution.

Windows does not display fonts in an absolute size, it displays them as
being x pixels high and x pixels wide. This means that when the screen
resolution increases the characters, icons, and everything else get
smaller.


>
>> > I don't see why there's an obstacle to running 32-bit drivers on a
>> > 64-bit
>> > OS. Windows is a 32-bit OS but has been able to run 16-bit drivers til
>> > pretty recently.
>>
>> Windows 9x was designed to do that. And it tossed a lot of other stuff
>> out
>> the window to get that capability. Windows NT/2000/XP was not designed
>> to do that, neither was Linux.
>
> I don't understand what the obstacle is. I think the limitations of
> 16 bit drivers in Windows 9x were because those drivers expected to
> run in real mode.

The obstacle is that someone at Microsoft decreed that Sixty-Four Bit
Windows Shall Not Run With Thirty-Two Bit Device Drivers and the same
decision was made by the Linux developers.

If you don't like it take it up with them, not me.

>> > I'm not sure what you mean by decent performance, but X has worked ok
>> > on all my Thinkpads including the still-current X40 and the
>> > not-that-obsolete A20p.
>>
>> In current-generation laptops, you're going to find Intel on-chip video,
>> nvidia, ATI, or a few off brand oddities that have no 3d acceleration to
>> speak of.
>
> I think the A20p has ATI Radeon 9600 and the X40 has Intel on-chip
> video. Both work ok with X.

If you're willing to run them in VGA mode, not native mode.

> I don't care at all about 3d
> acceleration but I do care about 2d, for text window scrolling, etc.
> Col. Schvantzkoph over in comp.os.linux.portables mentioned there's an
> X.org driver for the HPaq amd64 machine but it's slower than the
> binary-only one. I haven't tried it so I don't know if the slowdown
> is really bothersome.

Of _course_ it's slower. Nvidia's drivers are quite fast.

If 3d acceleration is not important to you then what aspect of the 64-bit
machine _is_ important to you? The only reason to get a 64-bit machine is
performance--if you don't care about performance then save your money.
>
>> How is keeping their interfaces secret "stiffing you" if they provide
>> reliable drivers with full acceleration?...
>> I still don't understand why it's so all-fired important that the drivers
>> be distributed as source.
>
> I want to be able to modify the drivers.

How often do you actually modify device drivers?

> Look at this discussion
> we're having about 32 vs 64 bit drivers, for example.

What of it?

> If we had
> sources for the ATI drivers, we'd just adapt them for 64 bits and not
> need to have that discussion.

Who is this "we"? "We" have the source code for Open Office and yet so far
nobody has managed to get it to compile and run successfully as 64-bit
code. Instead everybody with a 64-bit machine runs it as 32-bit binaries.
"Modify the driver" is a much more daunting task than you might think.

> Finally I just don't want mystery
> software running on my computer. I want to have the source to
> everything running on it.

Then just run in SVGA mode and accept the compromise.
>
> Also, I may want to run OS's that they didn't ship drivers for. Maybe
> they have Linux drivers, but what about OpenBSD, Hurd, etc.?

So you're going to do a port of the Radeon 9800 drivers to OpenBSD, or maybe
Plan 9, all by your lonesome? You're a far better man than most of us.

If spending the rest of your life dinking with the source code to video
drivers turns you on and if you actually have the skill to do it, you
should apply to ATI a job--I'm sure they'd _love_ to have someone on staff
who really wanted to take charge of their Linux driver development.
Personally I use the computer as a tool to do other stuff, dinking with
driver code is not my idea of fun.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 12, 2004 5:47:32 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> > The whole hack of antialiased fonts and sub-pixel
> > rendering aims to create a similar effect at lower resolution.
>
> Which is fine, but unless and until God decrees that all software
> developers will put in provisions to deal gracefully with some font
> size other than the one they used when they coded the program (it
> will take divine intervention to do that--nothing else will)
> changing the font size from the defaults will continue to cause
> enough problems that it is not a viable solution.

Eh, fonts in X menus are usually set by the window manager which these
days has "themes" and lets you choose the font sizes. I don't know much
about Windows but I thought it was similar.

> The obstacle is that someone at Microsoft decreed that Sixty-Four Bit
> Windows Shall Not Run With Thirty-Two Bit Device Drivers and the same
> decision was made by the Linux developers.
>
> If you don't like it take it up with them, not me.

Well, I could care less about Windows. I don't see a technical
obstacle to using 32-bit drivers in 64-bit Linux, but as you know, I'm
ok with the assumption that source code is available so the drivers
can be ported.

> > I think the A20p has ATI Radeon 9600 and the X40 has Intel on-chip
> > video. Both work ok with X.
>
> If you're willing to run them in VGA mode, not native mode.

What do you mean by that? I ran both of them at full resolution.

> If 3d acceleration is not important to you then what aspect of the 64-bit
> machine _is_ important to you? The only reason to get a 64-bit machine is
> performance--if you don't care about performance then save your money.

Um, there are many cpu-intensive applications other than 3D graphics.

> > If we had sources for the ATI drivers, we'd just adapt them for 64
> > bits and not need to have that discussion.
>
> Who is this "we"?

In practice it means the set of Linux users that likes to hack on
drivers (and that set does exist, and is where the existing Linux
drivers come from). I've been known to mess with drivers at times
but I'm not an expert at it.

>"We" have the source code for Open Office and yet so far
> nobody has managed to get it to compile and run successfully as 64-bit
> code. Instead everybody with a 64-bit machine runs it as 32-bit binaries.

Maybe nobody has cared enough, since it works fine at 32 bits. Or
maybe it's badly written in a way that makes porting difficult. It's
a huge, complicated application and if they did a bad enough job of
it, adapting it to 64 bits might require changing it in thousands of
places. Drivers are a lot simpler, if for no other reason that
they're a lot smaller.

> "Modify the driver" is a much more daunting task than you might think.

For something like this it would basically mean a recompilation and maybe
changing something here or there. I could do that.

> So you're going to do a port of the Radeon 9800 drivers to OpenBSD,
> or maybe Plan 9, all by your lonesome? You're a far better man than
> most of us.

All the drivers that exist for OpenBSD, Plan 9, Linux, Windows, or
anything else were done by someone. The great thing about open
interfaces is that anybody can decide to be that someone, even you or
me, and so just about any worthwhile piece of hardware with an open
interface ends up with a driver. With secret interfaces, that doesn't
happen.

> If spending the rest of your life dinking with the source code to video
> drivers turns you on and if you actually have the skill to do it, you
> should apply to ATI a job--I'm sure they'd _love_ to have someone on staff
> who really wanted to take charge of their Linux driver development.

There's enough good Linux kernel hackers around that if ATI had a
position like that open, they would have found someone for it by now.
They instead made a business decision that they don't care about Linux
users. As a Linux user, my response is to decide to not care about ATI.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 12, 2004 10:40:47 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:

> "J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
>> > The whole hack of antialiased fonts and sub-pixel
>> > rendering aims to create a similar effect at lower resolution.
>>
>> Which is fine, but unless and until God decrees that all software
>> developers will put in provisions to deal gracefully with some font
>> size other than the one they used when they coded the program (it
>> will take divine intervention to do that--nothing else will)
>> changing the font size from the defaults will continue to cause
>> enough problems that it is not a viable solution.
>
> Eh, fonts in X menus are usually set by the window manager which these
> days has "themes" and lets you choose the font sizes. I don't know much
> about Windows but I thought it was similar.
>
>> The obstacle is that someone at Microsoft decreed that Sixty-Four Bit
>> Windows Shall Not Run With Thirty-Two Bit Device Drivers and the same
>> decision was made by the Linux developers.
>>
>> If you don't like it take it up with them, not me.
>
> Well, I could care less about Windows. I don't see a technical
> obstacle to using 32-bit drivers in 64-bit Linux, but as you know, I'm
> ok with the assumption that source code is available so the drivers
> can be ported.

There may not be an "architectural obstacle" but someone would have to write
the bridge code and nobody seems to want to.

>> > I think the A20p has ATI Radeon 9600 and the X40 has Intel on-chip
>> > video. Both work ok with X.
>>
>> If you're willing to run them in VGA mode, not native mode.
>
> What do you mean by that? I ran both of them at full resolution.

Using the VESA VGA interface, not the full manufacturer-specific interface.
Now, try to get one to support an HDTV that way.

>> If 3d acceleration is not important to you then what aspect of the 64-bit
>> machine _is_ important to you? The only reason to get a 64-bit machine
>> is performance--if you don't care about performance then save your money.
>
> Um, there are many cpu-intensive applications other than 3D graphics.

What specifically?

>> > If we had sources for the ATI drivers, we'd just adapt them for 64
>> > bits and not need to have that discussion.
>>
>> Who is this "we"?
>
> In practice it means the set of Linux users that likes to hack on
> drivers (and that set does exist, and is where the existing Linux
> drivers come from). I've been known to mess with drivers at times
> but I'm not an expert at it.

If that's what you like to do that's fine, but that's not what a mainstream
user does. If your objective is to hack on drivers you'd probably be
happier with an older machine for which full documentation is available.

>>"We" have the source code for Open Office and yet so far
>> nobody has managed to get it to compile and run successfully as 64-bit
>> code. Instead everybody with a 64-bit machine runs it as 32-bit
>> binaries.
>
> Maybe nobody has cared enough, since it works fine at 32 bits. Or
> maybe it's badly written in a way that makes porting difficult.

Bingo.

> It's
> a huge, complicated application and if they did a bad enough job of
> it, adapting it to 64 bits might require changing it in thousands of
> places. Drivers are a lot simpler, if for no other reason that
> they're a lot smaller.

Don't count on a driver for a modern video board being "a lot simpler".
That GPU is more complex than a '80s supercomputer.

>> "Modify the driver" is a much more daunting task than you might think.
>
> For something like this it would basically mean a recompilation and maybe
> changing something here or there. I could do that.

If it was that simple ATI would have done it.

>> So you're going to do a port of the Radeon 9800 drivers to OpenBSD,
>> or maybe Plan 9, all by your lonesome? You're a far better man than
>> most of us.
>
> All the drivers that exist for OpenBSD, Plan 9, Linux, Windows, or
> anything else were done by someone.

Yes, they were. Generally several someones and generally someone who has
managed to get himself into a situation where he has a good deal of free
time to devote to the effort. If you have absolutely nothing better to do
for 8 hours or so a day for several months you might be able to cobble
together a usable driver. But most people have neither the time nor the
inclination.

> The great thing about open
> interfaces is that anybody can decide to be that someone, even you or
> me, and so just about any worthwhile piece of hardware with an open
> interface ends up with a driver. With secret interfaces, that doesn't
> happen.

Yes, "anyone can decide" who doesn't have a life.

>> If spending the rest of your life dinking with the source code to video
>> drivers turns you on and if you actually have the skill to do it, you
>> should apply to ATI a job--I'm sure they'd _love_ to have someone on
>> staff who really wanted to take charge of their Linux driver development.
>
> There's enough good Linux kernel hackers around that if ATI had a
> position like that open, they would have found someone for it by now.

Unless the hackers in question are too happy in the positions that let them
do whatever they please and not what their boss wants.

> They instead made a business decision that they don't care about Linux
> users. As a Linux user, my response is to decide to not care about ATI.

I see. So why are you then looking to support ATI by going with the
"Linux-Certified" machine?

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
December 12, 2004 10:40:48 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"J. Clarke" <jclarke@nospam.invalid> writes:
> > Well, I could care less about Windows. I don't see a technical
> > obstacle to using 32-bit drivers in 64-bit Linux,
>
> There may not be an "architectural obstacle" but someone would have
> to write the bridge code and nobody seems to want to.

Maybe nobody has felt they had a reason to. Technically it's no big deal.

> > What do you mean by that? I ran both of them at full resolution.
>
> Using the VESA VGA interface, not the full manufacturer-specific interface.
> Now, try to get one to support an HDTV that way.

I thought VGA was 640x480, but yeah, doing motion video probably requires
the secret features of the newer chips. I do believe the ATI Radeon had
enough docs to do video since there's a Linux DVD player for the A20p.
I haven't been using it though.

> > Um, there are many cpu-intensive applications other than 3D graphics.
>
> What specifically?

Um, just about anything. Compilers, cryptography, circuit simulation,
and compression algorithms (e.g. mpeg, Ogg Vorbis, etc.) come to mind
as examples starting with "C". For "D" I'd start with databases or
maybe digital signal processing. For "A", perhaps artificial
intelligence or algebraic manipulation systems. You get the idea. My
initial motivation for wanting an A64 was wanting to get around the
512(?) meg file size limitation in Emacs, which is a memory address
space issue, not even a CPU speed issue. Given the sizes of today's
memory and hard disks, 32 bits is just too limiting.

> If that's what you like to do that's fine, but that's not what a mainstream
> user does. If your objective is to hack on drivers you'd probably be
> happier with an older machine for which full documentation is available.

Hacking on drivers is a means to an end. I like portable machines and
am looking to replace my aging A20p. I think a machine of that size
makes no sense without a 64-bit cpu these days.

> Don't count on a driver for a modern video board being "a lot simpler".
> That GPU is more complex than a '80s supercomputer.

The software in an 80's supercomputer was generally a lot simpler than
Open Office.

> > For something like this it would basically mean a recompilation and maybe
> > changing something here or there. I could do that.
>
> If it was that simple ATI would have done it.

Not if they didn't care enough.

> > All the drivers that exist for OpenBSD, Plan 9, Linux, Windows, or
> > anything else were done by someone.
>
> Yes, they were. Generally several someones and generally someone
> who has managed to get himself into a situation where he has a good
> deal of free time to devote to the effort. If you have absolutely
> nothing better to do for 8 hours or so a day for several months you
> might be able to cobble together a usable driver. But most people
> have neither the time nor the inclination.

I don't believe that, not given source code to a 32 bit driver to
start with. It's work, but it's not -that- much work.

> Yes, "anyone can decide" who doesn't have a life.

E pur si muove, nonetheless those programs do get written. Maybe for
some of us, programming -is- life.

> > There's enough good Linux kernel hackers around that if ATI had a
> > position like that open, they would have found someone for it by now.
>
> Unless the hackers in question are too happy in the positions that let them
> do whatever they please and not what their boss wants.

Those days (late 90's, early 2000's) were very nice and lots of interesting
things got done in that era, but they are over. If ATI puts up an ad on
one of the Linux kernel newsgroups saying they want a driver implementer,
I promise you they'll get plenty of qualified respondents.

> > They instead made a business decision that they don't care about Linux
> > users. As a Linux user, my response is to decide to not care about ATI.
>
> I see. So why are you then looking to support ATI by going with the
> "Linux-Certified" machine?

I don't feel terribly likely to buy that machine, especially if it
depends on binary-only drivers to run 2D X properly. If all that's
missing is 3D acceleration, I can decide to live without that. As
mentioned, my A20p is getting decrepit so I'm starting to scout around
for replacements, but I don't yet have an urgent need. Ideally,
IBM/Lenovo will release an AMD64-based Thinkpad with good Linux
support and that will solve the issue. Or Intel may adapt the AMD64
instruction set in the Pentium 5, so we'll get 64-bit Thinkpads that
way.
!