ThinkPenguin laptop photos

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Chris

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As requested here are the promised photos of the next generation of laptops now available:

======Royal Penguin Photos======

I'll post more of the other models available shortly.

ahj
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Damn, that looks real nice.

Chris

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It is!

I like the Emperor Penguin personally although this unit is ultra thin and yet still has a DVD drive. Unbelievably thin.

zwick

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Thanks for posting these Chris. I love the look of this box, as well as the ethics of the company behind it. Will be ordering one for sure in the next few weeks.

theblackpig

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I've ordered from Penguin , does this help Trisquel ?

aliasbody
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Yes, 25% of the price is donated to this project (Chris, correct me if I'm wrong).

Magic Banana

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Not 25% of the price but 25% of the profits.

Chris

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You're absolutely correct. Not only does it help Trisquel it helps everybody from a hardware perspective too. There are some things you can't buy today that you'll be able to get tomorrow. At least for the time being almost 100% of the profits are being reinvested into free software (donations to Trisquel, FSF, and other projects) and/or the companies operations. The reinvestment is leading to improvements in the availability of free software friendly hard ware. This is a slow process for some items like Bluetooth in laptops or a newer USB N wireless adapter. It is happening though. Just to give you an idea how difficult it is. In order to manufacture a USB N wireless adapter not only do we need Atheros to release the source code for the chipset we also have to make a $30,000 USD investment in there manufacture of the cards. The retail sale of those adapters is significantly higher. That's over $100,000 USD at retail. We don't have that kind of demand yet. However I believe there to be more than sufficient demand. In fact there is probably a market for about 27 million USD a year for just this one adapter. What we are missing right now is marketing.

If we succeed in setting up the channels, marketing, and so on there will not be a GNU/Linux “problem” any more. Free software development (and desktop applications in particular that I'm referring) will flourish.

Horgeon
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To help Trisquel you have to buy from http://libre.thinkpenguin.com (preferrably clicking on the ad to the right) otherwise we won't benefit.

levl

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This looks awesome!

aliasbody
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I have to admit they are really beautiful :D Just one question, the design looks a lot like the System76 ones, is that the same manufacturer ?

Chris

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No. The actual manufacturer is different. There are four or five companies which manufacture laptops (none you would know by name) and all of the laptops sold by System76 utilize a different design and manufacturer than our current laptop round up. We are possibly going to utilize the same manufacturer as System76 for a 13.3" design. Unfortunately we have not been happy with the only 15.6" reference model / sample we have received so far. The good thing is that model wasn't offering anything over what we already have. At the moment we are waiting on a 13.3" sample reference model. Hopefully this satisfies our requirements as do not have any 13.3" model that works.

There is a lot of similarities between designs of different "manufacturers" for various reasons. It is possible that a keyboard from an Acer laptop is used in a Gigabyte laptop for instance. The critical designs are used by multiple manufacturers and customized from an appearance perspective largely. A system might use different generic / standard parts although the chipsets in the main build are 100% identical. Actually figuring out what other laptops are near identical is extremely difficult. Even once you do there is zero chance that all the components are the same or compatible. For instance the Acer system may look different than the Gigabyte system although the motherboard is basically identical. The wireless cards, keyboards, screens, etc in the Gigabyte system are likely to be different too.

There are very few companies producing any particular chipset or class of device. There are only a handful of companies producing wireless chipsets. There are only a handful of companies manufacture notebooks. You would not recognize any of these companies by name.

The industry simply slaps together based on these bigger companies (companies bigger than Dell, HP, Apple, etc) a particular configuration. The actual hardware though is the same.

In most cases there is only one to a handful of designs. For instance a particular wireless card with a particular chipset will have three different "manufacturers". In reality they are all the same manufacturer and branded by different companies. Take for instance a Dell wireless card. Dell didn't really manufacture that. Someone else did. Dell just outsourced the packaging and sells support.

We're actually doing more than Dell, Apple, and others in that we're working to get the source code released for the chipsets that we use. Dell can't do anything about a bug thats causing a problem. There dependent on the chipset vendor.

There are a number of components that go into systems that work better because the company actually doing the manufacturing is the same as the one branding it. As a result bugs are getting fixed. This is rare though. By us focusing on getting the source code released there are solutions / bug fixes in many GNU/Linux drivers that aren't being fixed in the equivalent Microsoft Windows drivers. This isn't to say every bug gets fixed if the source code is released. This would be going too far. However there is at least an opportunity for stuff to get fixed that otherwise wouldn't and that has translated into the real world.

aliasbody
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Thank you for the information :D (I already asked the same question by mistake, but I will ask it again here since it makes more sense) --> Does the ThinkPinguin computers run with Free Bios (coreboot for instance) ?

Chris

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No. It's not currently possible. Even with a free BIOS it would not be 100% free due to other microcode. Porting a BIOS is also a non-trivial task. It is too costly to be feasible at this time. It's not likely to happen any time soon either for various reasons. Intel has been uncooperative in supporting coreboot developers. AMD does support coreboot although doesn't support it's graphics chipsets.

Systems with AMD CPUs on the laptop front ship with AMD graphics or NVIDIA graphics.

Systems with Intel CPUs ship with Intel, AMD, or NVIDIA graphics.

Intels CPUs are integrated in the CPU and therefore Intel graphics can't be used with AMD CPUs.

GNUtoo
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Some comments:
1) with lastest coreboot, microcode seem to be optional:
CONFIG_CPU_MICROCODE_CBFS_NONE=y
or:
│ │ Include CPU microcode in CBFS (Do not include microcode updates) ---> │ │
in make menuconfig...

but I'm not sure that it really doesn't get included by other means...
I must check...
2)Why not sell T60 and X60 with coreboot preinstalled:
2a)there is a market for that: some people are not experienced enough to install coreboot, and still they really want coreboot,so they try and often brick their machines while doing it...However I'm not a specialist in economy and I didn't do any market analysis...
2b)sysmocom, which is Harald Welte's company succedded at selling osmocombb compatible phones, which are old features(== not smart) phones(like the motorolla c155 etc...). however they cannot sell osmocombb preinstalled due to 2 issues:
* Law which prevent that.
* osmocombb isn't standalone and needs a computer anyway(at least for now).
2c) T60/X60 is a bit old but has the right hardware: it has an intel graphic card: that is very important for several reasons:
2c1) The linux kernel has 3d accelerations without requiring anything non-free
2c2) The linux kernel *can initialize the card alone*, without the need of any non-free VGA option rom.
2c3) Because of 2c2 there is a project to add support for the intel card into coreboot without the non-free VGA option rom(made with cocinelle etc...), which does or will provide at least text mode graphic support while still in coreboot. Else there is still the possibility to create a custom initramfs with kexecboot or something like that as payload, however it has to fit in 2M of flash(coreboot is so small but the kernel is big...so is the iniramfs)...

Chris

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Any slight changes will create a problem. It's not just the model number that has to be the same. Even a slight revision difference will create a problem. Even if we could get enough of these laptops there is probably zero chance they would be the same or of the correct revision.

What would be ideal is to get in an advance one of the first models off the production line, port coreboot, and then stock up. Not just six months though. A few years worth. That might make it feasible given an increase in demand, sales, and provided we could make that kind of investment.

But the porting is still something that has to be done which is likely to take time.

Even if it could be done the demand for one particular laptop is not sufficient and likely won't be for some time.

I think it'll be feasible once we're off the ground and running. I think we are at least a few years away from hitting the mainstream on any significant scale. We don't have the resources or even product really to do it yet.

ivaylo
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В 07:31 +0200 на 27.09.2012 (чт), GNUtoo [at] no-log [dot] org написа:
> Some comments:
> 1) with lastest coreboot, microcode seem to be optional:
> CONFIG_CPU_MICROCODE_CBFS_NONE=y
> or:
> │ │ Include CPU microcode in CBFS (Do not include microcode updates)
> ---> │ │
> in make menuconfig...
>
> but I'm not sure that it really doesn't get included by other means...
> I must check...

As far as I know this feature is available since the end of February
last year. There was a thread that discussed the feature and has patches
for the initial implementation. [1]

Could you please share your findings in this thread? I have no time
(right now) for Coreboot and lost track of the project. Thanks!

[1] http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.bios/64993

Chris

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More info would be good. Another thing here too is the code is still in the system even if it isn't being executed.

ivaylo
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В 20:28 +0200 на 27.09.2012 (чт), chris [at] thinkpenguin [dot] com написа:
> More info would be good. Another thing here too is the code is still in the
> system even if it isn't being executed.

The microcode in Coreboot? From my understanding and what I remember
from the thread I referred, this microcode is meant to fix CPUs bugs and
or lock/unlock registers/features and is executed on-load/boot by the
BIOS. It is kind of a software patch for hardware issues. Of course it
is a binary blob. I think the Coreboot Kconfig option in question does
not include the microcode in the build image.

A system with free software BIOS like Coreboot, even without non-free
microcode, still will have non-free VGA BIOS which will be loaded from
the video card/chip on-board ROM. There are few exceptions, but that is
the general case. Also, ROM images on any PCI card in most cases will
have to be loaded by the BIOS for the card to be initialized. There are
exceptions here also I think.

A high-priority project for VGA BIOS exists at the FSF's page. There is
code for a VGA BIOS in early stages in the SeaBIOS project repositories
and sources. My information is from last year, maybe around March-May.

This is all very simplified and not completely accurate.

Chris

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To be quite frank the last time I looked into any of it was 2009. I spoke to the lead developer of the free BIOS project at a conference. My recollection is likely worse than yours. I might take a look into it in the future. We would need another big sale or two probably in order to be able to even think about looking into it again though. At which point we would likely want to fund the development of a port to one 15.6" laptop which we had a time line of 6-12 months and could also stock up on. That would then maybe partially solve the issues.

Ultimately I was told though there is no way the free BIOS project is going to eliminate all the issues. This doesn't mean it isn't worth pursuing the elimination of as much non-free code as possible. I think we're going to have to move away from x86 though in order to product a completely free system.

What I'd like to do is shoot for removing the non-free BIOS and then later aim higher and go for a 15.6” laptop not based on th x86 architecture. This later system would better full fill most peoples computing needs than the netbooks which Richard Stallman is well known for utilizing.

I need to speak to someone at the FSF again and find out exactly what they are doing in regards to the systems they utilize. I believe they are not utilizing systems dependent on a non-free BIOS. Whatever combination of hardware they are using I'm pretty confident it is not something we could offer at the moment. Even on a small scale it wouldn't sell due to price and on a larger scale availability. At least not until we reached quantities which we could go in and manufacture parts and demand more changes from third parties.

ahj
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>What I'd like to do is shoot for removing the non-free BIOS and then later aim higher and go for a 15.6” laptop not based on th x86 architecture.

ARM would be perfect for this.
Outstanding performance/watt (especially the ARM A15), ever increasing GNU/Linux support (Ubuntu 12.04 above works great on ARM) (& much more supported and well known than MIPS), and no reliance on a BIOS (or at least a proprietary one).

The only real issue would be 3D acceleration, for which most ARM devices rely on non-free firmware. I believe I saw an article on Phoronix about a project liberating at least one of these GPUs, so the situation only seems to be improving.

Chris

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That is the optimism I want to hear!

ahj
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>At the moment we are waiting on a 13.3" sample reference model. Hopefully this satisfies our requirements as do not have any 13.3" model that works.

Hi Chris, I know its only been a month since this post, but is there any news regarding a 13.3" model? I'm considering buying either the 14" royal or the future 13.3" notebook by the end of the year or early next year.

Chris

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No news. We were suppose to have something by the end of September. Unfortunately it didn't happen. It looks like things have been delayed. I haven't actually heard back though on the status. It happens. Communications is utterly horrible. We expected things to take time. A delay could be significant given the time frame in which we had to wait in the first place. I will probably check into it again at the end of Oct.

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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Le 12-09-23 03:33 AM, chris [at] thinkpenguin [dot] com a écrit :
> As requested here are the promised photos of the next generation of laptops now available:
>
> ======Royal Penguin Photos======
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> I'll post more of the other models available shortly.

Thanks, but for anyone getting the mailing list (by email), the email
didn't have any pictures.

Can you post a link instead?

F.

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Chris

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miga
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If I didn't have my Alienware M11x, I'd probably be buying this right now...

Really nice looking computer!

twipley
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Everything looks very nice -- this is the kind of laptop I would purchase.

The only thing that kind of bothers me, albeit being minor, is the Penguin icon on the super (meta) key. I wonder what could be put in its place, but it seems to me the image on the key is too visible in comparison with the other key images.

Or, am I just being too much of a party-bubble burster?

Chris

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:) I think your being a bit picky.

However I know what you mean.

aliasbody
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Chris, just for curiosity, why don't you sell on ThinkPenguin.com those adorable Gnu and Linux cuddly (don't know if this is the exact term).

Chris

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The reason is we don't have any left. It's actually a pretty frequent request too. We got originally about 500 for the initial 'grand opening' and gave them away at the first LinuxCon 2009 in Portland, Oregon, USA. They aren't cheap though. I'm not sure if people would be that interested in them at $10-15 USD a piece.

aliasbody
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Well, it is true that they are not cheap, but it is cheaper that most places I've found xD (except for Chinese copies) and to be honest I was really surprised with this knowing that what is on sell on the website is usually way more expensive than anywhere else (I do understand why, and I'm not complaining just saying out loud what I think :D).

But in my situation, knowing that (will say) 15$ is ~11€ I found it really cheap, and this knowing that I will contribute to a good business and help the trisquel project.

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Well, $10-15 isn't so bad considering that the FSF is selling gnu plushies for $25 apiece. http://shop.fsf.org/product/stuffed-baby-gnu/

Chris

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:) There is a lot of profit built into the GNU plushies. The signed copy of Richard Stallman's book for instance doesn't cost anywhere near what its being sold for. Enough with hand autographed book.

Horgeon
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Chris: Have you ever shipped a computer to Brazil? We have a very harsh economic policy that charges huge taxes on anything that comes from outside our country. The cheapest Raspberry Pis in sale here are now costing more than 110 usd (last time I checked weeks ago they were ~175 usd, and some people claimed they paid ~100 usd only in taxes). The RaspberryPi foundation said they'd no longer ship to Brazil because of that. Do you have any statistics/probability for the final cost of that laptop here?

Chris

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Brazil has a flat 60% duty and tax on the FOB value of the shipment regardless of the commodity.

:)

So a $1,000 USD laptop would likely run you $1,600 USD. Shipping to one address in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: $316.63.

Yea- you read that right. The price doubles due to issues outside of our control.

icarolongo
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=(
I would like to buy one computer with your company, but the main problem is this.

I live in Brazil too.

pascal@diogoantunes.org
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And in Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc... it's the same problem ?

Chris

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I never got around to taking the pictures of the other two models...

Thought I'd post a few more here if people are interested.

I'll try and take some of the Emperor Penguin as well on another day.

Some of the Gentoo Penguin:


Cyberhawk

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That's one really cool netbook! Why is it called Gentoo? That name doesn't seem to fit the other two.

malberts

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Cyberhawk

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Thank's, I wasn't aware of Gentoo penguins, only knew about Royal and Emperor penguins. Since Gentoo uses the head of a cow as a logo, nothing hinted the connection to penguins to me.

Chris

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Horgeon
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Excerpt from Gentoo's wikipedia article:

A Gentoo Penguin is the fastest-swimming of the penguin family. The name evokes an image of speed, while retaining the penguin as a generic mascot for Linux.

The official Gentoo logo is a stylized 'g' resembling a silver magatama.[61] Unofficial mascots include Larry The Cow[3] and Znurt the Flying Saucer.[62]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentoo_Linux#Logo_and_mascots

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You could always use the scientific name for some of your laptop models.

Emperor= Aptenodytes forsteri)
Royal Penguin= Eudyptes schlegeli
Gentoo-Pygoscelis papua

Honestly penguin are notorious for noise, digging holes, crapping every where, and they smell foul. . During the cold war, I had a 6 month tour in Antarctica,Air Force base, I detested those birds for their aggressiveness. Just kidding OK

Chris

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I've said this a lot. It's a lot of work coming out with a catalog. I've tried to keep things consistent although that hasn't been easy for various reasons. We have products designed in different generations for instance. The penguin pro, the penguin wee, the penguin all-in-one (actually I think that was this generation, but anyway)... are all designed before I decided to start naming the computers after penguins.

I like the idea of naming systems after penguins. It makes things easy although we still need enough good penguin names. Something I don't think we have enough of and will quickly run out of.

I need someone to go through an synchronize product naming (marketing) and such things. Give the whole site a bit more consistency and at the same time make it easy to produce a new name without much thinking.

Obviously the easiest system would probably be something like dells with giving things a number:

Inspiron 1920D
Inspiron 500
Inspiron 1234
Dimension 40C
Dimension 400A
etc.

With the new site I think we are going to introducing a new identification system for the product catalog. At a minimum everything is going to have a number to help with organization. Our catalog has grown too big to deal with it the way we have been.

Chris

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Here is another of the Royal:

link for list users

ahj
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Hi Chris, is there any news on offering any higher resolution notebooks?

Cheers

Chris

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Here is a proper picture (finally) of the Gentoo (don't have the high resolution versions yet but they will be available when we get the new site up):

10.jpg