Category Archives: Uncategorized

Would you crowdfund a $500 Ubuntu “open to the core” laptop?

UPDATE - I’ve removed the silly US restriction.  I know there are more options in Europe, China, India, etc, but why shouldn’t you get access to the “open to the core” laptop!
This would definitely come with at least 3 USB ports (and at least one USB 3.0 port).

Since Jolla had success with crowdfunding a tablet, it’s a good time to see if we can get some mid-range Ubuntu laptops for sale to consumers in as many places as possible.  I’d like to get some ideas about whether there is enough demand for a very open $500 Ubuntu laptop.

Would you crowdfund this? (Core Goals)

  • 15″ 1080p Matte Screen
  • 720p Webcam with microphone
  • Spill-resistant and nice to type on keyboard
  • Intel i3+ or AMD A6+
  • Built-in Intel or AMD graphics with no proprietary firmware
  • 4 GB Ram
  • 128 GB SSD (this would be the one component that might have to be proprietary as I’m not aware of another option)
  • Ethernet 10/100/1000
  • Wireless up to N
  • HDMI
  • SD card reader
  • CoreBoot (No proprietary BIOS)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 preloaded of course
  • Agreement with manufacturer to continue selling this laptop (or similar one) with Ubuntu preloaded to consumers for at least 3 years.

Stretch Goals? Or should they be core goals?

Will only be added if they don’t push the cost up significantly (or if everyone really wants them) and can be done with 100% open source software/firmware.

  • Touchscreen
  • Convertible to Tablet
  • GPS
  • FM Tuner (and built-in antenna)
  • Digital TV Tuner (and built-in antenna)
  • Ruggedized
  • Direct sunlight readable screen
  • “Frontlight” tech.  (think Amazon PaperWhite)
  • Bluetooth
  • Backlit keyboard
  • USB Power Adapter

Take my quick survey if you want to see this happen.  If at least 1000 people say “Yes,” I’ll approach manufacturers.   The first version might just end up being a Chromebook modified with better specs, but I think that would be fine.

Link to survey – http://goo.gl/forms/bwmBf92O1d

Ubuntu 14.04 LiveCD Memory Usage Compared

memoryusagegraph

I did a comparison when 14.04 was first released on the memory usage of different Ubuntu flavors.   Some takeaways:

  • Lubuntu has zRam (automatically compress memory to save space) enabled by default making it hands down the most usable version with low-memory.  It’s the only flavor to have it enabled on the LiveCD.
  • The real cost of 64 vs 32 bit is usually only 128 MB.
  • Lubuntu (32-bit) still boots with just 160 MB of RAM!
  • The Ubuntu kernel can’t boot with only 128 MB of RAM.

All testing was done in virtual machines (Virtualbox) and obviously with different hardware you’re results will vary.   You can infer some of my methodology from the notes below.   This was done months ago and I don’t remember all of the details.  The results may have changed with software updates, especially to Firefox.

Spreadsheet

Raw testing notes

On the Mozilla CEO…

It[1] has already been demotivating and distracting from Mozilla’s mission.   How he responds to this is going to determine how really qualified he is to be CEO.  I think it could end up affecting Mozilla’s image permanently if not managed well, which is one of their biggest assets (Most trusted internet company for privacy)!

Two thought experiments I did personally ( I’m an atheist who feels marginalized by the pledge of allegiance including “Under God”) :

From CEO perspective

I donate $1000 to a political action committee pushing to remove “Under God” from the pledge.   Time passes.  I got a job opportunity to lead an amazing organization.   Members of the community start boycotting the amazing organization due to my donation.

From end user/employee/advocate perspective

I’m working at an amazing organization.   A new CEO is appointed that’s donated $1000 to make sure that we keep “Under God” in the pledge.   He promises to not change atheists position in the company and continue to treat them like any other employee.

 

I was originally going to suggest that the CEO just donate $1000 to the other side.. but I don’t think I would do that in his place.   From the employee perspective, I wouldn’t immediately resign or anything, but I would likely keep a wider eye towards new opportunities…  What would you do in your equivalent thought experiment?

Multiprocess Firefox – An afternoon testing on Ubuntu 12.04

What is multiprocess Firefox?They do a much better description here: https://billmccloskey.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/multiprocess-firefox/
But basically it’s the start of having each tab in Firefox isolated from each other and the Firefox drawn UI (referred to as chrome).  Right now it only isolates the “chrome” from the webpages with one process each.

This is my experience using it for one afternoon on Ubuntu 12.04.   I disabled all add-ons because I don’t think it’s ready for my add-on collection…

What doesn’t work

  • AppTabs don’t come back on a restart (expected)
  • Password management doesn’t autofill (you can still access passwords though and copy/paste them). (expected)
  • Flash doesn’t work (click to play doesn’t seem to work either…) (expected)
  • Accepting no third-party cookies doesn’t work (seems to just disable all cookies)
  • Scrolling is a bit jumpy at times
  • Embedded content issues
    • Salesforce widget fails with “Content Encoding Error” because it doesn’t define a mime type?
    • My TinyTinyRSS installation doesn’t work only when loading slashdot pages (they embed ads)
  • Opening a new tab from the new tab page using middle click. (It does work if you do it via right click open new tab, with middle click it loads in the same window)
  • Zoom works on some pages but not others…
  • Trying to print crashes the page process (expected)
  • It’s one process for all tabs right now, so when one crashes, they all do
  • WebGL isn’t detected at all (expected)
  • Downloads seem to freeze (was downloading a Zentyal 700 MB image..)
  • Can’t attach files.. (this is what ended my testing :/)

What does work

(that seems surprising, most sites just worked as usual)

  • Saving a page
  • HTML5 Vidoe works (youtube), but fullscreening is two steps (one in the window and then hit F11)

One nice item is when you give up and disable it.. your previous session is restored from before you started..

I’m going to keep trying it ever month or so to see how it progresses (I’m already a nightly user)..