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iBook boots Linux

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  • by hadron (139)
    PC hardware is very icky, I agree, but Mac hardware design is hardly saintly. See here [linux.org.uk] for details.
  • by hadron (139)
    Yeah. But you seem to ignored the point that lots of the information used to figure out the M68K macs was obtained by staring at the PowerMac sourecode (stuff like interrupt controllers, glue logic).

    When they changed from M68K processors to POwerPC processers, they just changed the processor and didnd't redesign the boards.

  • Eeek! Captain, look at the sneer! It's his evil twin brother Lore! What have you done with our Data, foul fiend? ;)
  • i like the thought of using PPC for a notebook,
    (low power usage and heat)
    but X is a bitch with only one mouse button!
    if apple or anyone made a PPC based notebook with 3 mouse buttons to use with Xfree86, id buy it.

    the current ibm thinkpads have 3 mouse buttons, so
    im looking at those...

    i also dont like the track pad, but thats
    just my preference.

    anyone know of a linux dists that fits under
    200megs and can be installed over pcmcia
    ethernet?

  • carrying a mouse kinda defeats the purpose of a
    notebook.
  • mice are small, but you need a surface to use
    them. the wacky power adapter you only need a
    plug, which does not have to be that close to
    you, and you dont always need. isnt long
    battery life one of the things these have
    going for them?
  • 400 MHz Alpha? They don't make them that slow anymore. :) One of these days I'll break down and buy a 666 MHz 21164, or whichever 21264 I can afford.

    --
  • by sterwill (972)
    Why would anyone need a floppy drive these days? I'm typing this on a 333 MHz PowerBook running Debian Potato. I haven't used floppies since the early 90's except on the occasional crufty old ia-32 architecture machine I need to use. I can't think of a real architecture that requires a slow and unreliable 1.44 MB drive these days.

    --
  • BogoMIPS are bogus, hence the name. They don't scale across architectures and aren't a reliable indication of a processor's speed. The reason that your readings differ by 200 is completely unrelated to how well your favorite application will run or how fast a kernel will compile.

    --
  • I am writing this on a Dell Inspiron 3500 (Which does run linux quite well actually) and I really really love this machine. There are three things that annoy me about it, however. First, it gets awfully hot, second it chugs batteries, and third I have to plug in a network cord or a phone cord to use the internet at home (which arn't in the places I would prefer to use it). These are pretty standard gripes with all of the IBM Compatible laptops out there. Leave it to Apple to actually do something about these obvious and common complaints in all of their laptops. I owe much of how this beautifal Inspiron laptop looks and feels to Apple, believe it or not. If you look at the older PC laptops they ended at the keyboard, and the ergonomics and feel of them were terrible. If I am not mistaken the Powerbook was one of the first black laptops, and one of the first to sport an extended wristwrest with a touchpad and a great keyboard. I am a PC person, and I am a linux person, but I would buy a Powerbook. They are pretty nice looking, pretty fast, and they have great battery power. I know several people that feel the same way. The Powerbook appeals to me and my friends because that is it's target market, techies. It even fixes my first two gripes. This is owed to the very low power and cool running PowerPC chip. The iBook appeals to the average home buyer, not be a techie. So the way that I see it apple has their bases covered. If you are a techie you have the Powerbook, if you are not you have the bit more trendy less substance iBook. The only thing about the iBook besides the less than appealing to me design is the AirPort. This is something that anybody with a laptop has wanted, and once again it takes Apple to release such an innovation. I may not be a Mac person, but I do recognize that many developments on my laptop and PC have come from Apple, and I surely don't want them to stop innovating and go out of buisiness. Kudos to Apple, you have a sound product line and you have really come up with some great innocations, keep up the good work. Maybe we will see the PC world do what it does best and copy your AirPort and it'll be in my laptop soon :) I really do wish they would be more open with their specs and such so that those of us who would like to run linux on their machines can do so. That is what Apple's problem has always been, trying to keep all of these innvoations and products soo closed that it actually turns companies and people away from buying and developing for them. If I could buy an AirPort for my machine, I would. I would pay the hommage to Apple for coming up with it. It would catch on like wildfire, you would see Campuses completely covered by Airport so you could you a laptop anywhere, it would be a new standard lead by Apple. Sure, those without iBooks would have to stick an antenna on their laptop, but I am sure one could be designed to attatch most laptops. Hell, the iBook people would have the advantage of not having the funny antennas on the back of their laptops. But they won't, they will make you buy and iBook for it, and it will not gain acceptance. Somebody in the PC community will steal the idea, come up with an "open standard" for it, and make PC and Mac versions of it, that will cover college campuses and offices, and it will userp the glory from Apple. And I'll use it because Apple was too stuborn to open their technology.
  • I am sorry about the lack of paragraphs, I did have them when I wrote that one in the word processor, and they disapeared in the cut and paste... I won't let it happen again :)
  • by tzanger (1575)
    It's all about style, and let's face it, there isn't a single major laptop manufacturer out there with interesting industrial design, except for IBM and Apple.

    I beg to differ. iBooks (never used one, I can't stop retching when I look at one) are UGLY. Gawd are they ugly.... Beaten with a very large ugly stick and beaten till it just couldn't get any uglier... I'm sorry... Yes it's personal opinion but so was your statement. :-)

    IBM's are nice if they'd just get RID of that farking wiggle-dick... Gimme a touch pad any day.

    Right now I'm typing on a Hyperdata notebook and it's pretty keen... Had a Compaq Armada 1500DMT before that and the only thing I liked about the Compaq was that the wristrests were sloped and didn't have "corners", where this one is a little 'boxier'. However this one runs ice cold (well... maybe bagel warm, but you get the idea) and is nice and tough... Hyperdata brand-labels for many, MANY manufacturers so I know they've got a well-desgined system.

    Anyway, just thought I would stomp on the iBook from a VISUAL standpoint. I've never USED one, but god are they ugly... *shivers at the sight of them*
  • by Q*bert (2134)
    What about the Vaios? I find them to be pretty stylish, too. If you haven't checked one out, you owe it to yourself to do so. Unfortunately, they have touchpad pointing devices, but they run X nicely at 16 bpp and 800x600 (and maybe even higher resolution--I can't recall).

    By the way, the reason so few companies use the stubby-eraser thingy is that IBM has a patent on it. They don't want to pay the licensing fees. :(


    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Has anyone from the OpenBSD crowd submitted a story about it? Rob and gang can't post news they don't know about.
  • I'm not part of the mac crowd. My iBook is my
    first Macintosh hardware, among a family of PCs,
    alphas, a NeXT, a PDP-11, yaddayadda. I just
    didn't understand what he was saying.
  • It doesn't have ethernet support yet, and it's
    rather experimental. He just got it to boot
    within the last few days. So... I don't think
    that sticking it up as a supported platform on
    linuxppc.org is a good idea yet.
  • They're so numerous you can't mention any :)
    Anyhow, there are ways to use MacOS fonts
    under linux...
  • Are you criticizing the MacOS or the hardware?
    After all, my Alpha or any of my PCs arn't
    inherently more or less stable or secure than
    the others. Why would Linux/PPC be any different
    than Linux/Alpha or Linux/x86 WRT security
    or stability?
  • by Improv (2467)
    I think I recall seeing a USB 3-button mouse you
    could hook up to the iBook somewhere...
  • Mice are small. The purpose of a notebook is
    portability, right? I'm sure it'd be smaller
    than the wacky power adapter that comes with
    the iBook, and I carry that around with me :)

  • SheepShaver [sheepshaver.com] will take care of that for you.
  • Thanks, I'll check it out :)
  • We've made Linux on PowerPC popular. Don't make me make it a graphics platform too. ;)

    I mean, it's never been a graphics platform, and that's not the point. You gotta know your limitations..
  • Did you actually read those technotes ? They don't really contain anything more than an overall block diagram, nothing like a register layout of the new chipset.
    Fortunately, there's Open Firmware which contains a few more details available to who can read Forth, and parts of those new ASICs are similar enough to the old ones so that extrapolating was not difficult enough.
    Also, those new machines are closer to CHRP than any other previous Mac ;)
  • He doesn't seem to mention anything about what I think is the studlest part of the iBook - 11mbps wireless networking. Anyone know when Linux will support this, and if the iBook could possibly be the first implementation?
  • But BogoMIPS are just for calibrating wait loops.

    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • ... is the Airport hardware (a Lucent chipset it would appear) supported by Linux, and is a compatible PCI 802.11 (turbo: the plain is 2mb/s IIRC) NIC supported? I can easily imagine a linux box routing for an Airport/802.11 LAN, if it's supported....

    Cheers,
    Your Working Boy,
  • ..and that would be the need to patch the kernel source to enable MOL. Call me old-fashioned, but patching kernels to allow for one app to run is a tad loony.

    But, the newest version fixes this problem, so perhaps it's time to look at MOL seriously again... hmm..
    -----

  • The reason the Macs sold has *always* been because of MacOS (and certain "killer apps" that only exist on it or are radically better than the halfassed Windows ports, like DeBabelizer).

    This is why Apple could have been Microsoft had "Star Trek" (the ill-fated x86 port of MacOS) been released prior to Windows 3.0. The Mac hardware has indeed often been spiffy, but it's also often had fiascos (the Mac IIci's unified memory slowing it to a crawl vs. the otherwise similar IIcx, f'rinstance). And their major hardware innovations have generally been asthetic rather than technical (the iMac, the curvy-tower PowerMacs, the G3/G4 slide-open side panel). Even their apparent technical achievements have frequently actually been cribbed (the Quadra AVs? 030/040 plus a DSP? Sounds a lot like NeXTStations.)

    As far as the clone thing, yes all their revenues come from selling hardware. But again, why does that hardware sell? Becuase it's the only place you can get MacOS. Mac hardware would be a nonfactor if MacOS were on more platforms.

    -Ian, another occasionally bitter former IIgs user
    (listen to IIgs music on Win32, Linux, and FreeBSD with MTP/MTPlug at http://home.twcf.rr.com/ischmidt/warez.html)
  • Why is it that when people get Linux running on new Mac hardware, the /. crew immediately accepts the news story, but when NetBSD does so (we run on virtually every Mac around) the announcement is never considered newsworthy?
  • AltiVec helps a very few things. It ends up that a lot of the instructions are like a lot of other SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) instrcutions that have abbreviations we know and love... MMX, 3DNow, SSE... as it tuns out, it can help some things, such as graphical processing, but isn't so useful for general-purpose stuff. So, AltiVec might be able to improve a certain 3D render or a certain photoshop transform by xxx%, but as far as doing a compile or booting your operating system AltiVec (and MMX and 3DNow and SSE) don't help that much. Plainly, this is wrong. Altivec _IS_NOT_ MMX or 3DNow or SSE. Its performace benefits are not limited to graphics. Altivec (now known as the Velocity engine) is a Single Instruction Multiple Data unit. Any time a calculation is performed repeatedly on data, altivec can be used to accelerate it. Its a 128 bits but can be divided for smaller chunks, such as 4 32-bit values and 8 16 bit values. for more info: http://developer.apple.com/hardware/altivec/summar y.html --Matt
  • > this may be just what we need to increase the number of female Linux users...

    oh my..

    balls-out Linux advocacy meets Archie-Bunker-style, patronizing chauvenism. just what the community needs.

    condescention on this order doesn't do anything good for the public perception of Linux/OSS. it just reinforces the idea that we're children in a sandbox, playing at being grown-up.

    the first rule of respect is that to get it, you have to be willing give it. if people associate Linux advocacy with a continual barrage of "you-suck-we're-better" dribbling, they won't respect Linux. what they'll do is decide Linux *needs* to measure itself against weak and pathetic opponents, and can't stand up to anything else.

    the sentiment above is pro-Linux FUD. pure and simple. its goal is to kick the legs out from under something that steals limelight from Linux.

    FUD is bad. its goal is to suppress one type of information by drowning it out with another. FUD is the antithesis of what OSS/Linux is all about. OSS/Linux doesn't need FUD. FUD hurts OSS/Linux, no matter who it's directed at, or who benefits from it. a Linux that needs FUD is a Linux that will follow in the footsteps of DOS/Windows, relying on hype and disdain rather than working to make itself better.

    stop it.

    .. and you owe an apology to every she-geek out there whose priorities *don't* include finding a laptop that coordinates with today's nail polish.

  • I'm not going to paste the whole thing, but an interesting read is John Carmacks's .plan file where he bought an iBook

    Give ya'll a reason to use that "finger" command =)
  • PMU = Power Management Unit

    FCR = FIFO Control Register
  • Just because you can run Linux on a hot mac doesn't mean that Design/Graphics professionals will move there.

    There are reasons too numerous to mention, but it has to do with many tiny and tightly integrated applications that only really run correctly under macOS. It'd take years.

    Also fonts -- there are essentially no designer type foundaries (other than Adobe and other mega-foundaries) that produce fonts for *nix systems (even windows is incredibly behind)

    The Design market isn't going anywhere methinks...

    cheers,
    .3jane[ltk]
  • by mcc (14761)
    someone tell linuxppc.org..
    they don't seem to have heard about it yet.
    http://www.linuxppc.org/hardware/

    now we just have to wait for G4 support to show up.
    question: there isn't an altivec-enhanced gcc out yet, is there? why not? isn't apple using egcs for mac os x? won't they have to release the version they're using to the public? is there even an altivec-enhanced version of mac os x server out yet?
  • this is just the standard comment that i feel compelled to post whenever anyone brings up sheepshaver: you might want to consider checking out the mac_on_linux project instead. It's free and open, and unlike sheepshaver (which is still in beta) it has actually been released.
    http://www.ibrium.se/linux/mac_on_linux.html

    it's hardware support isn't that wide-ranging though, i don't think. i doubt it will work on an ibook at this moment, although they'd probably be happy if someone would make it work on an ibook (hint, hint).
  • well, first off, since egcs is technically part of mac os x server, the most important thing an altivec-enhanced mac os x server release would imply is that it came with an altivec-enhanced egcs.

    Either way Apple has been working to use altivec in the OS whenever possible, particularly in system API calls and things like graphics routines. Copybits is AV-enhanced in OS 9, for the only specific example i've heard yet outside of quicktime. the purpose is to make it so that even if you don't enhance for altivec you wind up getting some small altivec boost through the system so that altivec doesn't turn into a big joke the way MMX did.
    I dunno what besides Quicktime and display routines would make use of altivec, but then again i've never written, say, a preemptive multitasking thread manager, so i wouldn't be very knowledgable about whether such things involve vector math.

    but like i said the main point of asking about an altivec-enhanced mac os x server was not anything involving actual mac os x server itself, but that they would almost certainly wind up making whatever egcs compiler they used to build it publicly available. whatever

    -mcc-baka
    http://home.earthlink.net/~mcclure111/prog.html (copybits is your friend)
  • Boot disk! Boot disk!!!

  • Apple has release ALL the specs of their computers. They haven't really said anything about it, but they exist in PDF format downloadable from their site, and they have them all from the original apple portable, to the duo, to the Yosemite, to the ibook. And in the iBook specs, they explain the interface to it is a standard ATA bus. It was stated that ATA is similar to ISA on the linuxppc devel list. Given that, its only a matter of time. Its prolly nothing more than a ethernet card.

    Note: it has been written in G4 manuals there is a max 3 IDE drives, and to never ever have one as the secondary slave. this is why.

    im sure we can think of some other implications, can't we.

    I don't remember where these specs are, but i saw them on O'Grady's powerpage, and on the linuxppc devel list. anyone interested in knowing the archetecure of any american mac system (i didn't see the duo290 from japan), go right ahead.

  • Apple has release ALL the specs of their computers. They haven't really said anything about it, but they exist in PDF format downloadable from their site, and they have them all from the original apple portable, to the duo, to the Yosemite, to the ibook. And in the iBook specs, they explain the interface to it is a standard ATA bus. It was stated that ATA is similar to ISA on the linuxppc devel list. Given that, its only a matter of time. Its prolly nothing more than a ethernet card.



    Note: it has been written in G4 manuals there is a max 3 IDE drives, and to never ever have one as the secondary slave. this is why.



    im sure we can think of some other implications, can't we.



    I don't remember where these specs are, but i saw them on O'Grady's powerpage, and on the linuxppc devel list. anyone interested in knowing the archetecure of any american mac system (i didn't see the duo290 from japan), go right ahead.



  • This is a huge achievment in that the iBook is of the new UMA board design, which is what the new iMac and i think the sawtooth (G4 450+) systems also use. The mother boards are all the same, they just change the daugher boards. Apple shelled out a lot for higher integration, so mass production of these works better.

    The original iMacs were packed, the new ones are extremely open inside. the tranparent plastic and lack of fan is thus appropriate.

    This is a change from the past systems. The difference between the black and bronze keyboard pbG3 systems was enough to annoy a few. like the backlight controls were changed. that made it hard to work with in the begining. With the new Unified Motherboard Archetecure (i think thats what it means), it is no longer a question of getting it booting, but a question of supporting the daughter boards. Since the iBook is booting (mostly), this means that it will be that much easier to make the new iMacs boot.

    long live PowerPC.

  • by TWR (16835)
    PC hardware is very icky, I agree, but Mac hardware design is hardly saintly. See here for details.

    Um, that's a link to the OLD M68K Linux. We're talking 10 year old machines (my SE/30 turns 10 in December). That stuff wasn't so great, but considering that Apple was getting a very responsive GUI working on a machine with less horsepower than my Palm IIIx, I'm impressed.

    New Mac hardware is much cleaner. And getting the iBook to boot Linux means that the new iMac and the high-end G4 should be pretty easy; they all use virtually the same motherboard (Apple's new Unified Motherboard Architecure or UMA). The only difference between models is FireWire support, the speed/bus width/RAM on the RAGE 128, and ATA/33 or ATA/66 support.

    From what I can tell, the current Mac architecture kicks some serious butt.

    -jon

  • by TWR (16835)
    One word: Bootability.

    Sure, CD's boot, but it's not an easy to task to make yourself a boot disk (read: rescue disk, on hand for the day you fsck your kernel). Which is easier to make? A CD-R that's bootable, or a floppy disk? They make a nice fallback =)

    Obviously you've never used a Mac.

    All Macs can boot off of CD-ROMs, Zip Disks, Jaz disks, etc. The only current limitation is you can't boot from a FireWire drive (USB booting support has recently been added), and that should be ready pretty soon.

    My emergency boot disk is a Zip disk. Iomega Tools for the Mac comes with a big button that says "CREATE RESCUE DISK." It copies the parts of your system that you need to a Zip disk, and puts on a copy of Disk First Aid (or whatever recovery program you like). It's hard to make it any easier to build a boot disk than (1) Insert Zip disk and (2) press button in Zip Tools.

    So, bootability is a non-issue.

    -jon

  • ACtually metacreations has committed to porting several of thier apps to Be. The first of which is bryce. I can't wait for that to be a reality. then I wont need a windows box in the house. I use quite a few of metacreations tools.
    "We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece
  • I think he means graphics tablets like the wacom intuos. I just got my intuos from outpost.com the other day and it works great in X with gimp. Xinput on gimp works great.
    "We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece
  • by Tarnar (20289)
    One word: Bootability.

    Sure, CD's boot, but it's not an easy to task to make yourself a boot disk (read: rescue disk, on hand for the day you fsck your kernel). Which is easier to make? A CD-R that's bootable, or a floppy disk? They make a nice fallback =)

    Mostly because there are more systems with floppy drives that can make boot disks then there are systems with CD-R's that can make bootable CD's.
  • by Tarnar (20289)
    Last I checked though, Standard Issue on an iMac didn't include a Zip drive. I'm saying, what happens when you have no bootability options? The Install CD might boot, but does that have all the repair tools you might need?
  • I shudder to think what Apple's Marketing department would do with those numbers.

    "Don't take our word for how fast an iBook is. The new 300MHz G3 iBook's are over 66% faster than a 400MHz Alpha using Linus Torvalds own benchmarks!"

    See, if Apple weren't so much fun to abuse no one would do it.

  • 4) Price. I picked up an iBook and a 128 MB memory module for less than $2000. A comparable x86 laptop would cost much more. And since I knew I'd run Linux on it, no matter whether I bought Apple or x86, the cheaper one wins.

    You can pick a decent Toshiba laptop for ~1500 plus add amore RAM and PCMCIA card. that'll cost you less than $2000.

    And yes they run linux very well. iBook does not really run linux, some kernel hacker got kernel to boot on it, but there is no a working Linux distribution that'd run on it ..
  • I'd bet money there is not one professional animator using BeOS. It looks real slick but theres a serious lack of apps.
  • Why run Linux on iBook. Because you can. The Universe is infinitely perverse. Seriously, if you
    run both MacOS and Linux why buy two seperate laptops? I remember when the iBook was first
    announced. The first /. post I read said "so when will it run Linux?". If someone built Babbage's
    Analytical Engine, the first comment on /. will be "so when will it run Linux" followed shortly by
    "FreeBSD would make it more secure."


    ..... no, the first post would read something like

    "f1rST POsT! B1FF RU13Z!"

    and would be quickly moderated out of existence.
    The next post after "when will it run Linux?" would be "hey, a Beowulf cluster of these would be k00l", while Jon Katz would write an overlong and unnecessary essay asking whether American society was ready to deal with this new technological phenomenon.

    Sorry, it's been a long day. :/

    Also, didn't someone build the AE from the plans not too long ago?

  • yes - they are using egcs. Yes, their source will be released. In fact, they are working with the egcs team to integrate the numerous bug fixes and improvements they have made into the main source code, and I think altivec support is one of those improvements. So everyone shall benefit. Go Open Source!
  • The sensitivity of the Mac crowd rears its ugly head.... He wasn't complaining about the MacOS or the iBook hardware. He was saying that no notebook really needs the functions provided by an OS like Linux (or GNU/Linux), like insanely long uptimes, great security, yadda yadda yadda.
  • I think you have to take BogoMIPS with a grain of salt. dmesg reports 448.92 BogoMips for my old AMD K6-233. I seriously doubt it's even close to as fast as that PII-400 or a 400 MHz Alpha.
  • If open source worked like this, it would be dead.

  • The Rage Pro runs the XFree86 Mach64 server, IIRC.
  • by itachi (33131)
    But it has _STYLE_. It may be ugly style, but it is style. Grey and boxy is old and boring and unimaginative. The vaio I will agree, is different. The thinkpads have spiffy tidbits, like the one with the folding keyboard. But the average laptop is still stuck on the first basic laptop design...

    itachi
  • Now if they can get the airport business to work that will be incredible. I'm already drooling for the day when I can carry my G4 Powerbook to the breakfast table to the couch to my bedroom while surfing the web at LAN speed.

    Honestly though, other than as a pure toy, and interesting application, I don't see that this will have too much of an impact on Linux. Now if a G4 with the Apple Cinema Display on it was working in Linux, we'd really be able to break into some new markets (like graphics). Maybe support for tablets.

    Joey
  • by Hobbex (41473)
    regardless of what it looks like, it's a computer. who really cares what the fuck their computer "looks" like?

    Which, of course, happens to be a much better argument for NOT buying an iMac than that which you replied too. I mean, something that is ugly still has novelty value (or. at least that is what I try to convince women).

    -
    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • Tons and tons and tons of 'x86 hardware comes to mind to me.

    "Tons and tons and tons," and yet you can't cite a single example?

    Would you prefer a different target? A military target? Then name the system!

    Closest thing I could turn up for an actual supported, brand-name system would be last year's Sony VAIO 505's and IBM's low-end i-series Thinkpads...both being blown out now for nearly the same price as the iBook. Both are great basic systems for the money (and look better than the iBook, IMHO)...but neither quite meets the "cheaper" or "outperform" criteria specified.

  • Egad...this has got to be a troll, right? When is the last time anybody gave 1/10th of one crap about floppies? Okay, I'll admit...I do still use them very occasionally...for booting old '486 machines.

    I'm no Apple worshipper...and I think the iBook looks like a toilet seat...but I do try to be objective in evaluating the substantive capabilities of a system...and I for one applaud Apple's recent efforts to trim legacy interfaces that aren't so much "features" anymore as they are "nuisances," with most everything now covered by much simpler USB, Ethernet and/or FireWire. Yes, I do have quite an investment in SCSI, parallel and serial peripherals...but I will be GLAD when it comes time to replace them and not have to deal with all that black magic anymore.

    Floppies were neat at one time. Critical, even. But they've long since passed to the "nuisance" stage. Not even good for sneakernet anymore. I'll be glad to see them dead and buried too. Only problem, unlike the other legacy crap, is that there's no definitive established standard to take their place. Zip? CD-RW? Something else? This remains to be seen.

  • Yeah... but the blue and white one gives him the whole 'iceberg in a pool' feel... just right for your favorite penguin.
  • Amen.
    Hopefully, the iBook boots consistantly. More mac support for Linux (and vice versa) is good for both platforms, IMHO. Course, I think the iBook would look damn cool in that new iMac graphite.

    Congrats to the experimenter for proof of concept. Hopefully the modem issue will be easier to work around than WinModems appear to be on Wintel designed laptops.
  • You're wrong.. basically, what, if you can't sit around with the case open and have the processor cooled with yak fat, it's not the type of computer to run Linux on? The first thing I thought when I saw those is.. "hmm, that's a pretty decent price for a ruggedized notebook with a full-size keyboard. Let's wait to see if LinuxPPC will run on it..."
  • Think about iBooks sharing CPU cycles anytime they get close enough to make an RF connection.

    -jcr
  • Apple didn't invent USB, true. But it's hard to deny that it was the iMac and it's funky look that put it on the map.
  • Airport most definately IS an open standard. It was developed by Lucent and licensed by Apple.

    I forget the IEEE number tho, perhaps someone can fill me in...

    But there ARE PCMCIA cards available that let non-iBooks communicate on an Airport network.

    Of course, in these cases, the antenna's external, not built in to the lid, and the cards are more expensive than the $99 Airport, but they DO exist. I think Falleron makes the one I've heard about.

    More exciting to me than Airport is the prospect of third party add-ons to the Airport slot. Since the Antenna's already built in, I'm hoping that a third party will build a cellular modem card that fits in the Airport slot and uses the built in antenna. Such a thing would be more useful to ME than wireless ethernet, and it would be way cool....

    (pssst, hardware developers.... you listining?)


    john
  • The original iMacs weren't packed THAT tightly inside. They LOOKED full because of the big aluminum RF sheilding around the monitor.

    But inside that sheilding, there's nearly as much open space as in the current iMac.

    In the new iMacs Apple figured out how to incorperate that shieldind into the plastic, so you can see through the whole thing.

    Net result: the new iMac LOOKS less crowded, but is not less crowded by too large a margin.

    john
  • I want an iBook, I want it in the new graphite colour like the new G4s, and I want running Linux. I guess I,ll have to wait a while, hmmmph, I don't have the money now anyway. It's not overpriced althiough it could use a better keyboard, IBM portables stilll have the best.
  • Plainly, this is wrong. Altivec _IS_NOT_ MMX or 3DNow or SSE. Its performace benefits are not limited to graphics. Altivec (now known as the Velocity engine) is a Single Instruction Multiple Data unit.

    MMX is not limited to graphics, either. For instance, one of the RAID drivers in the linux kernel uses MMX instructions for speed. MMX, 3DNow, and SSE are all SIMD units, just like AltiVec, which is what I said. AltiVec has some interesting features in it, yes, but for general purpose computing it provides little to no benefit. For 3D, yes. For large matrix manipulation, yes. But for booting your computer, no.

  • Altivec helps with all types of math, starting with integer and moving right up to complex integrational math.

    This is untrue. AltiVec only helps when you are dealing with several pieces of data that you want to do the same operation on. It would not help to figure out the subnet rule, as you're not dealing with that many instructions using the same operation (two ANDs with 0xFFFFFF00 and a subtract, on PPC, iirc, this can be done with 5 instructions total which is less than the setup overhead for the AltiVec Unit). Malloc doesn't involve that many repetitive calculations, either. And a lot of the instructions have dependencies... which would prohibit the use of SIMD. 3D Vector math is also rather trivial... algorithms for finding intersecting lines in 3D are rather trivial and would not benefit from AltiVec.

    Where AltiVec helps are when you want to do things like: I have 300,000 points in 3D, and I want to rotate them about a point. I'm going to be running the same damn operation on every point, and no point affects the other one. So I can run the same instruction on multiple pieces of data at the same time... load up, say, 4 32bit FP numbers and 4 more 32 bit angles, and run A*sin(B) or something.

    Actually, your missile problem could be done with fixed point on a 1Mhz 8 bit PIC microcontroller with time to spare -- I know, I just did that sort of thing in lab.

  • People don't understand this very well. It is _NOT_ 3dNow or MMX. What we are talking about is a fairly large number of absolutely huge registers. If I'm not mistaken it'd also be possible to use them somewhat more inefficiently as ordinary registers, or as _sets_ of ordinary registers.
    The very first thing that comes to mind is not anything graphics related, but simply block moves. MacOS makes heavy use of double indirection, 'handles' to blocks that are moved by the Memory Manager. This API is widely used by applications and changes to the system's implementation would speed up most applications across the board, so long as they used Memory Manager calls. Asking the MacOS to allocate memory in a situation where it has to compact the application zone and move 60M of relocatable blocks could become quite radically faster if it could be done 128 bytes at a time. I think that sums it up, don't you?
    I hope linux geeks know what relocatable blocks are. Maybe that is something only systems hackers have to know about, or not even then. It's basically a way of defragging and optimising memory like you defrag and optimize disk :) now that I mention it, I have to seriously wonder whether Linux does its stuff by requiring a bit more space to work, and being beautifully unsophisticated about both disk and memory! ;)
  • Trust is nice but I think many more people are going to like versions of Microsoft Office and Photoshop that run on top of a BSD based OS.

    Which, I'm sure, are guaranteed to ported perfectly...

    Of course, I'm extremely interested in seeing Office/Photoshop on a BSD based machine. It could completely rule. It might not. It's all vapor right now.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • Well, this is my first Mac, and I'm a Linux geek.
    Let's see... it's joining a family of:
    a NeXT running NeXTStep 4.2
    2 Alphas running Linux
    2 relatively modern x86s running Linux
    a PDP-11 running RSX-11
    a Newton that I'm going to give to one of my
    sisters for college (running NewtonOS 2.1)
    2 ancient x86s (pre386) running CP/M and DOS
    a Nintendo64 running .. err.. nevermind

    Anyhow, why the iBook? Well, I got an eMate some
    time ago to replace a laptop that died, and it
    was really great (long battery life), but it
    was too slow. It didn't keep up with my typing,
    and I wanted a machine I could compile stuff on,
    run Perl, and have nice networking built-in.
    So... I looked at all the laptops I could get
    a good price on, and the iBook pretty much
    ended up at the head of the list. It's fast,
    it's fairly cheap, it has a nice display, it has
    built-in 100Mbps ethernet, and I thought it would
    run OSX until Linux got ported.

    Alas, OSX doesn't run on the iBook yet, so I'm
    dealing with MacOS currently (Thank goodness
    someone ported vim to MacOS). I've written a
    Unixlike shell in Perl to help me manage files
    (well, am writing, rather), but at least I can
    play Bolo :)

    Anyhow, once Linux understands the iBook's
    ethernet hardware, I'll be very very quickly
    running Linux on it. One of the nicest things
    about Linux is you can be hardware agnostic :)
  • by Jerenk (10262)
    One word: wow.

    A toilet that runs Linux! And, didn't someone say that Linux doesn't work well in embedded systems? This'll show them.

    Justin

  • I tried using the development kernel on my iBook, and it works surprisingly great, despite the missing network/modem support, etc. Linux flies on it, although that might have to do with how I have 160 MB of memory on it.

    Here's the thing that really freaked me out though, when I booted it up: the dmesg output reports 598.02 BogoMIPS. My Dell PII-400 only reports around 390, and I'm getting 598 from a 300 MHz Mac. Even the 400 MHz Alphas I use only report 360.

    I have two speculations - either a) the iBook is a serious powerhouse crippled by a bloated MacOS, or b) the G3 has some optimization in it that throws off the numbers.

    Can anyone shed some light on this? I know BogoMIPS isn't an absolute indicator of performance, but how does one account for a 200 point difference from a machine 100 MHz slower? If the G3'S really are this fast, I will never buy another x86 box again.
  • I better put on the asbestos suit for this one.

    Since everyone out here is bashing the iBook, let me play devils advocate and say why I bought one.

    1) Everything is integrated. I have no need to go out and buy PC cards for modem & network, it's all built into the same box at one price.

    2) AirPort. You gotta love the AirPort. CompUSA was giving away free AirPort cards w/ iBooks the weekend I bought mine, so that made it even better.

    3) Strength. As a college student, I already have enough junk to carry around with me, much less a bulky laptop bag. Since the iBook's case is so strong, I can just shove it in my backpack along with my books and not worry about it getting hurt. Plus, since the battery lasts so long, I don't even need to carry around a power adapter.

    4) Price. I picked up an iBook and a 128 MB memory module for less than $2000. A comparable x86 laptop would cost much more. And since I knew I'd run Linux on it, no matter whether I bought Apple or x86, the cheaper one wins.

    5) Design. This really is a great-looking notebook (at least the blue one is... the orange is pretty ugly).

    6) No M$ tax. I refuse to give Microsoft any more money, and if I buy an x86 machine from a reputable manufacturer, I'd probably end up buying a machine subject to the M$ tax.

    I bought a Dell Inspiron 7000 over the summer and sent it back a week later. It weighed 10 pounds, but felt flimsy and fragile. The iBook is nothing like that - it feels like a tank.

    Yellow Dog Linux runs great on it despite the lack of support for a lot of the hardware. I can't wait until it's fully supported...
  • this phenomena is not exclusive to Open Source. The thing is Mr. Herrenschmidt didn't just buy an iBook and think "could i get it to work", but rather, LinuxPPC GAVE him one. Why? He is the primary author and maintainer of BootX, which made booting Linux on macs with bad OF possible, like powerbooks. He has also worked very hard on the PMU drivers, making it possible to sleep the WallStreets (pbG3), of which i have one and am greatful.

    This is a tribute to the productivity of the Linux initiative, i think, and not purely an open source thing.
  • A few years ago, I said if the price of PowerPC comes down to 10% of a comparable Wintel's price, I'll opt for a PowerPC and install linux, and now it has. You can get a brand new iMac for $779. You can start with www.macinfind.com, www.deals-mac.com, www.absolutemac.com, and of course, www.google.com.

    I know, it sounds like a shameless plug but I thought it'll be useful to some.

    Hasdi
  • Trust.

    Trust is nice but I think many more people are going to like versions of Microsoft Office and Photoshop that run on top of a BSD based OS.

  • They shafted Mac owners who should have been able to upgrade a G3 to a G4. Through a crippling OS upgade no less.

    I wish people here would get over the misleading headlines on some of the stories here. The FACT of the matter is that there are already two companies that have workarounds for Apple's firmware G4 cripple, with more coming.

    See http://www.powerlogix.com/ for more details.
  • What I am interested in knowing is why anyone who had Mac OS X would have any interest in running Linux anyway. Soon after release people will start porting the open source stuff to Mac OS X, plus they will have Carbon plus all the legacy Mac apps. What does Linux offer? Just the open source stuff. The cost of OS X will be irrelevent because of the bundling that will go on.

    So just what is the benefit of running Linux on a Mac after Mac OS X is out, anyway???

    The thought that Apple's software interests(OSX) are causing specifications to be hidden about their hardware products(mmm...G4...) is mildly disturbing, to say the least.

    What a load of crap. Just because Apple hasn't released the Technotes on the G4 hardware yet doesn't mean they won't. Nor does it have anything to do with OS X - all the G3s, iMac and iBook tech notes are out - these machines are just as likely to run OS X as the G4s.

    Complaining about Microsoft becomes much more disturbing when you realize what any number of other software companies would do in their place...

    What pipe were you smoking when you came up with that one? Apple is not a software company. Apple is in fact, a hardware company. If they were a software company they wouldn't care about clones and in fact would encourage them. But they can't because almost all their revenues and profits come from selling - hardware.

  • is there even an altivec-enhanced version of mac os x server out yet?

    I am not sure what an Altivec enhanced version of Mac OS X server would do any differently than a non-enhaced version.

    How much code that would benefit from a vector processor is there in an OS anyway?

    there isn't an altivec-enhanced gcc out yet, is there? why not? isn't apple using egcs for mac os x?

    See my first comment.

    now we just have to wait for G4 support to show up

    There were a number of posting here a couple of weeks ago indicating that Linux was up and running on the G4 Macs.

    As far as applications that take advantage of Altivec, (Photoshop, Halo, Quicktime) I imagine that they are being compiled with either a Motorola or Metrowerks compiler. If gcc/egcs support for Alitvec is going to come from someplace I imagine it would come from Motorola rather than Apple. AFAIK Apple hasn't done any compiler writing in a while.

    It would be interesting to ask Moto if they have a gcc/ecgs compiler that supports Alitvec.

  • I just got a raise so I'm looking at picking one up for Christmas (g4 maybe). I haven't used a mac for a long time, but they're pretty. I don't use MacOs much (slight support), but it's easy and pretty. Just another tool for different work.
  • Doesn't the iBook use the ATI128 chipset? I thought that was supported by Linux?

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Ac cording to Hason Haas of LinuxPPC [deja.com] Apple was helping the Linux PowerPC folks on getting Linux working.

    Please don't automatically assume that Apple is on the wrong side on this.
  • That the current MacOS IS really inefficent in it's use of the processor. There's a lot of baggage even in OS 9, that slows down the system compared to what a PPC *CAN* do.

    Remember, that IBM overclocked a PPC to 1 gig, a good year or so ago.

    OS X is supposed to change all this by placing the finder on top of a BSD Unix system.

    You might check out the stats for SETI @home. There's a guy on an plder Mac there, running a developer release of Rhapsody, who churns out data units about six hours faster than MacOS. Also note the times of the various *BSD implementations. They pretty much ALL smoke bth MacOS AND windoze.

    Also worth noting ae the "CPU Types" statistics. Here, PPC finishs data blocks about 8 hours faster than x86. It's important to note, tho, that this includes IBM's AIX PPC workstations which, accouding to the OS Stats page, finishes data units about twice as fast as MacOS. So it stands to reason that the MacOS IS holding the PPC back in the CPU stats area.

    Now, I know that SETI @home is not the best test for benchmarking a CPU out there. But face it, any benchmark one could choose (Byte, spec, Photoshop, Q3 Test Framerate, etc.) is going to piss off SOMEONE, and promptly be declared invalid by users of the system that loses.

    But what I think the SETI @home numbers DO demonstrate is that the PPC really IS an excellent chip, that DOES smoke its opponents. It, in most cases, is being slowed down by an outdated and inefficent operating ststem (although it performs quite well even after overcoming the overhead of the MacOS).

    I know from first hand expierence that my G3's performance is quite righteous running LinuxPPC. I don't have any benchmarks, but it just *feels* twice as fast when running in its Linux partion vs. the MacOS partition. Granted, that's not at all scientific, but what the hell....

    So, yeah, if you want an awesome Linux box, PPC IS a REALLY good choice. And since IBM's released the MB specs, you won't even HAVE to go with Apple in the near future. I plan to tho, I'm keeping my hopes up that they'll do a good job of integrating the MacOS GUI with BSD UNIX in OS X. I've had a chance to play with both Darwin, and OS X Server, and somehow, I think they WILL get it right.

    But only time will tell.

    john
  • I agree with you, itachi.

    And on another note... The speed and useability of MacOS and Wintel systems are pretty comparable now, each platform had advantages over the other but for a lot of people, either platform would be suitable. Because of that, there has to be some other way for companies to distinguish their products from others... and the nest way to do that is through the style. I consider myself to be a pretty technical guy but I also appreciate stylish-looking computers. I get sick of sitting at my desk and staring at a beige box that looks like every other computer ever made.

    I'll confess to being a Mac Guy... but I have owned a couple of PCs in the past. Also, I have a 450 Mhx PIII from HP as well as an HP C3000 Workstation on my desk at the office. At home I've got a B&W G3 and a Wallstreet model PowerBook. The last PC i owned was a "home built" system with a cool-looking case and one of those Black & green Acer monitors- primarily becuase it was interesting to look at and caused people to comment when they saw it.

    I'm glad that Apple has moved to these radical new machine designs.

    Now, to comment on this thread, so that this comment will not be completely off-topic.... I think that the guy who got Linux to boot on an iBook should be commended. He took the time to work through all of the technical details and spent his time programming to solve a problem- and he got it to work.
  • Apple has not released the specs for all their computers.

    The G4 PowerMac specifications are conspicuously absent.

    - Apple Hardware Developer Documentation [apple.com]

    - Apple Spec Database [apple.com]

    You can see for yourself. These are very good resources.
  • It uses a ATI Rage Mobility chip. You can get more info about it at: http://www.ati.com/ca_us/showcase/mobil ity/ [ati.com]
  • by Erich (151) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @05:23PM (#1590625) Homepage Journal
    There is a large difference between what marketoids say things are for and what they're really designed for.

    AltiVec helps a very few things. It ends up that a lot of the instructions are like a lot of other SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) instrcutions that have abbreviations we know and love... MMX, 3DNow, SSE... as it tuns out, it can help some things, such as graphical processing, but isn't so useful for general-purpose stuff.

    So, AltiVec might be able to improve a certain 3D render or a certain photoshop transform by xxx%, but as far as doing a compile or booting your operating system AltiVec (and MMX and 3DNow and SSE) don't help that much.

  • by Effugas (2378) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @06:02PM (#1590626) Homepage
    What I am interested in knowing is why anyone who had Mac OS X would have any interest in running Linux anyway. Soon after release people will start porting the open source stuff to Mac OS X, plus they will have Carbon plus all the legacy Mac apps. What does Linux offer? Just the open source stuff. The cost of OS X will be irrelevent because of the bundling that will go on.

    So just what is the benefit of running Linux on a Mac after Mac OS X is out, anyway???


    Trust.

    I'll be blunt, I don't know how much I trust OSX to be a mature and fully functional Unix. It might rule. It might not. For the same reason I've become fascinated with *BSD, I've got alot of respect for Linux on the Mac platform.

    Having recently taken SparcLinux off of a bunch of cheap IPC's and put on Solaris 2.7, I can tell you that while it's impressive that Sun's latest OS works on ANCIENT hardware, it doesn't work all that fast. Linux did.

    Anyway, I look forward to Beowulf clusters w/ G4's, and I don't think Beowulf works cross-platform.

    What a load of crap. Just because Apple hasn't released the Technotes on the G4 hardware yet doesn't mean they won't. Nor does it have anything to do with OS X - all the G3s, iMac and iBook tech notes are out - these machines are just as likely to run OS X as the G4s.

    I stand corrected, then. I based my assumption on the fact that the iBook coder talked heavily of having to reverse engineer entire chunks of the iBook architecture.

    (Yup, every once in a while some guy on Slashdot actually admits he fucked up. It happens.)

    Complaining about Microsoft becomes much more disturbing when you realize what any number of other software companies would do in their place...

    What pipe were you smoking when you came up with that one? Apple is not a software company. Apple is in fact, a hardware company. If they were a software company they wouldn't care about clones and in fact would encourage them. But they can't because almost all their revenues and profits come from selling - hardware.

    That doesn't change the fact that if information is withheld from Linux developers but delivered to OSX people, Apple is ignoring the needs and desires of customers. I was unaware about the tech spec releases for the older macs--therefore, yup, I was wrong when I implied that Apple did alot of this.

    Of course, when Apple banned MpegTV from supporting the codec that the Star Wars .MOV was encoded in, they weren't exactly being too friendly. Or do you disagree?
  • by HeghmoH (13204) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @05:00PM (#1590627) Homepage Journal
    I won't bother to explain iMacs to you, but I will explain why I will probably purchase an iBook as soon as the airport stuff ships.

    (NOTE: I am a big Mac fan, though I try to be open-minded about stuff. Be forewarned.)

    First of all, it's very stylish. Now, I know a lot of people either don't like how it looks or don't care, but I like it. A lot. It's a far cry from those ugly boxes that PCs (even the notebooks) come in. Now, I'm not going to spend sixteen hundred bucks just because it looks cool, but it's a definate plus.

    The design also goes far beyond looks. First, it has a nifty handle. Now this may sound like a marketing gimmick, but the handle is really, really nice. It's most definately not cheap (quality-wise, not price), and it's very solid and feels useful. It makes it very easy to carry around. Also, the things opens and closes without a latch, just a very well-designed spring. It feels right. It also looks like you could really bang it around without damaging it. The curves make for better support, and the material is solid. There's also a large amount of space between the outside and the components inside (except, obviously, for the CD-ROM drive and such things).

    As far as price goes, it seems reasonable to me. It may be somewhat more expensive than a PC portable with the same features, but the iBook makes up for thta in some ways. First of all, the battery life is far beyond what you'll find on a PC. I'm sure Apple is being optimistic with 6 hours, but reports from early purchasers say it goes 4-5 hours without recharging. Also, the screen on it is really a beauty to look at. A bit small, perhaps, but it is definately of very high quality.

    The final, and probably most important reason, is that the machine just feels perfect. I don't know how to explain it, but I got to handle it at the local Sears, and it's just right.

    Another reason for an iBook: I wouldn't run Windows to save my soul, and Linux just isn't friendly enough for my tastes yet. Nothing against Linux, but I just can't stand to use it for too long, and I don't have the patience to learn.
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @05:10PM (#1590628)
    Can somebody explain to me why these things are so damn popular?

    Not everybody needs 20 GB of hard disk space, a 15" LCD, a CPU that requires 3 fans, asbestos pants and a fuel cell to keep going more than 20 minutes. Not to mention the hassle of dealing with Winwhatever or GeekOS-es like Linux.

    These things are competitively priced with hardware you would get from other major vendors, have plenty of horsepower for what most people use a computer for, have interesting styling, and are much easier to setup and use than the Wintel equivalents. They also have some very nice features that you won't find anywhere else, like a 6 hour battery life, and the Airport.

    The fact that most slashdotters don't 'get it' as far as the iBook and iMac is concerned is no surprise. These machines aren't intended for the slashdot market.

    What amazes me is how chauvanistic the response here is. Many people here can't seem to grasp the idea that because a computer doesn't statisfy their needs, it can't POSSIBLY be a good choice for anyone else, either.

    The iMac and iBook are popular for the simple reason that they fit the needs of a lot of people. And don't listen to that BS about only Mac loyalists buying these things. Something over 50% of iMac buyers are first time Apple owners. I would expect for the iBook that percentage would even be higher.

    Will I buy one? No. They don't fit my needs. But I am in the asbestos pants crowd. I'm one of the people who doesn't mind doing a Linux install on a state-of the art laptop, and all that implies - hacked X-Server+twiddling VGA modes in LILO.conf to get framebuffers to work, no sound support, kludging my way around BIOS and CardBus/PCMCIA compatability problems, etc. But is Jill the English major going to do this? No. She is going to buy an iBook.

  • by Minstrel78 (28344) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @04:04PM (#1590629)
    To me, this is an prime example of how open-source tends to work. Somebody with the hacking ability says to him/herself, "I wonder if I can get this to work on an iBook" and then does it, posting his work so that others can help out if they want to.

    Super, and keep up the good work.
  • Around my college, and likewise with many other people who liken themselves to be 'IT' professionals and are too snooty to use a mac, I'd love to carry one of those around with LinuxPPC installed.

    Maybe it's just me, but I'd really get a kick out of people snickering, maybe even laughing at me until they came over and saw KDE running in X. (Or even better, came over and saw the linux CLI on the screen. I can imagine it, "whoah, is that a screensaver?")

    Sad thing is that many folks are completly set against Apple & Macintoshes in general, that they forget that they can be a very useful computing system. Ask most who does computer graphics or animation for a living, and if they're not using Be (they could EASILY overtake Macintosh if they pushed their OS to software developers more), they're using a Mac.

    ...And I'd much rather have Mac OS X on my computer than Windows.

  • by InfoVore (98438) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @06:40PM (#1590631) Homepage
    I just don't get what is so great about an iBook. It's an overpriced, underperforming, oversized, heavy laptop that looks like a toilet seat.

    I played with one yesterday at a CompUSA, so perhaps I can help answer this with a short review. I guess the best way is point by point:

    - Overpriced. Not that I can see. I have been pricing comparably spec-ed consumer laptops lately. Most fall between US$1300 and US$2000, so the iBook is right in the middle at $1600. Also, it has some unique and appealing features: a tough rounded case, latchless clamshell lid, built-in handle, open port cover (no more broken or snagged covers), easy access to upgrading memory via the liftoff keyboard, and the AirPort wireless LAN option.

    - Underperforming. This one is harder to judge. It depends on what you plan to use it for and whose performance measurements you use. One quick criticism is that Apple should ship these things with a minimum of 64MB of RAM. Subjectively, it was quick and responsive. Bugdom (Mac only 3D game) looked and felt smoother than on a 233Mhz desktop G3 with a RAGE ORION card. Various applications launched quickly. I noticed no glitches or hiccups when simultaneously running several quicktime movies. The sound from its single speaker stunk. Ergonomically, the combination of the active matrix LCD plus the white screen border and light case cover made the screen seem even brighter and crisper than a regular active matrix screen. The trackpad is the best, bar none, I have ever used. The keyboard was a comfortable size. The keys seemed a bit small in size and had a short clicky throw that I thought could feel better. My wife, who is a Unix sysadmin that regularly uses a Dell laptop 15+ hours per day for her job, said the keyboard felt normal to her.

    - Oversized & Heavy. It did seem large compared to other laptops I have used. It was not near any others, so I could not do a direct size comparison. It is heavy. As a consequence, I think they need to reshape the handle to make it easier to get a good palm grip versus a finger grip. Smaller hands probably can easily palm grip the handle, though. Unlike other laptops I have used, the iBook feels sturdy. Close the case, flip up the handle and it feels like you could batter down a door with it. The springloaded latchless closing works well and feels solid. The rounded case feels very comfortable when holding in both hands. The case is lightly textured and is easy to hold without slipping. When closed, it has a frisbee-esque feel to it. The salesman literally lunged when I mimed a frisbee throw motion with it.

    - Looks like a toilet seat. Maybe it does on TV. In person, it looked like a truncated teardrop. I think this is a personal taste issue for most people. Besides who owns a two tone, aqua on white toilet seat?

    - Why run Linux on iBook. Because you can. The Universe is infinitely perverse. Seriously, if you run both MacOS and Linux why buy two seperate laptops? I remember when the iBook was first announced. The first /. post I read said "so when will it run Linux?". If someone built Babbage's Analytical Engine, the first comment on /. will be "so when will it run Linux" followed shortly by "FreeBSD would make it more secure."

    - Can someone explain why they are so popular. Because it is fun. Because its simple. Because they like the colors. Because it sets you apart from the rest of the pack. Because it is a conversation piece. Because it does the jobs people want done. Because it is different.


    A last bit. I went to look at the iBook because both my USMC daughter and soon to be high school graduate son both called me long distance ON THE SAME DAY to beg for their own iBooks. After looking at one for 20 minutes, my unix-guru wife turned to me and said "I want one too!". Sigh.

    I hope that helps.

    IV
  • by Effugas (2378) on Sunday October 24, 1999 @04:58PM (#1590632) Homepage
    Those who complain about Microsoft keeping their OS specifications close to their chest, thus making their partners commit all sorts of beautiful First Wave anti-trust-be-damned actions:

    MS ties their OS and their Applications together. Apple ties the OS and the Hardware together, which if you really think about it is really quite a bit more exclusionary than MS could even dream about. Linux has long since become enough of a force that companies that choose not to open their specifications to it have long since implicitly ignored the needs of their customers.

    I'm a former Apple IIgs user, so the concept of me wanting a Mac is...a foreign concept. LinuxPPC is the first thing that's ever made me interested in owning a Mac again. The thought that Apple's software interests(OSX) are causing specifications to be hidden about their hardware products(mmm...G4...) is mildly disturbing, to say the least.

    Of course, the whole CHRP(Common Hardware Reference Platform) fiasco does make all of this at least mildly expected. Complaining about Microsoft becomes much more disturbing when you realize what any number of other software companies would do in their place...

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • by itachi (33131) <mwegner&cs,oberlin,edu> on Sunday October 24, 1999 @04:53PM (#1590633)
    It had to happen at some point. Someone, somewhere, trying to do something neat, got linux running on an iBook. Someone else submits the story to /. Then the /. anti-Mac bias kicks in, and rather than having a of discussion about the technical achievement, or people wondering if this might provide some insight into solving their problem with a funky piece of hardware, we have people talking trash about a computer that they have never used. It would be nice if once, we could have an Apple article posted to /. without the trash talk and dismissal of someone's hard work as garbage. The gent who got Linux running on an iBook has quite clearly done his reasearch and put a lot of effort into this. I, for one, think it is commendable.

    Having gotten that out of the way, I think it's pretty slick. I'd much rather have an iBook (blue, the tangerine looks awful) that is dual boot than a PC laptop of the same price, regardless of the OS(s) on the PC. It's all about style, and let's face it, there isn't a single major laptop manufacturer out there with interesting industrial design, except for IBM and Apple. Now both IBM and Apple don't necessarily make the perfect laptop at any given point in time, but they make very slick laptops that are interestingly designed, and they both have a pretty solid track record for that. The clincher is that there's no way that you can find a ThinkPad that competes with the iBook for the same price. Though the stubby-eraser dealie is still a nicer design than a pad, imho.


    itachi, who still wants an iBook running Linux

It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. -- Woody Allen

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