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aysiu
January 22nd, 2007, 07:05 AM
Point of this thread
Oftentimes, people ask about System76. Is it worth it? What's it like? Well, I'm starting this thread with my experience, but I'm hoping other people will share their first-hand experiences, not hearsay. If you want to share your experiences with System76, please tack on to this thread. If you have an "I have five friends who..." experience, I will move your post to another thread.

My view on the company
I'm a firm believer in what System76 does. It is one of few companies that sell preinstalled Linux laptops (http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/) at reasonably competitive prices. Sure--without the crazy bulk discounts that Dell has--a small vendor will never be able to have the absolute lowest prices, but System76 does manage to keep things cheap. Carl Richell gave me the unique opportunity (thank you, Carl) to review a Gazelle Value a few weeks ago.

Some myths about System76
I'd like to dispell a few myths about System76. First of all, as Carl informs me, they are not ASUS laptops (at least not the Gazelle Value) but Quanta ones. As you can read in the following links, almost all laptops are Quanta ones of some variety:
http://store.agearnotebooks.com/sagernotebooks.html
http://www.reed-electronics.com/moversandshakers/article/CA6277490.html

The other thing is that System76 actually does something. The laptop you get out-of-the-box is not the same as a fresh install of Ubuntu. System76 has its own drivers and special configurations to get, for example, the media card reader to work or the screen resolution to be truly widescreen. It also installs the network manager applet, adds in all the major extra repositories, and includes the deskbar. It gives you a quick printout guide introducing you to basic navigation around Gnome and Synaptic, and also directing you to various System76 resources.

That said, one thing that I was a bit surprised to find was the CDs that came with the laptop--they were full of Windows drivers. No matter how much we try to make it a Ubuntu world, we still live in a Windows world. Even a "blank" laptop is still ultimately a Windows laptop. System76 does have a downloadable System76 driver .deb, and I believe they will ship you a restore CD if you ask for it, but I've suggested to Carl (and he seemed receptive to it) that the default should include a restore CD.

Overall impressions / Pros
I was generally impressed with the experience. The shipping was nigh-immediate (a couple of days after I placed the order)--even though it's supposed to take ten business days--and the packaging was very secure. I thought the outside of the laptop looked slick and sturdy. It booted and automatically detected the local wireless connection. All the keys worked (brightness, sound, etc.). It was a pretty seamless experience.

The cons
There was one big wrench thrown in there--suspend had broken in Edgy (you can find a few threads about it in these very System76 subforums) even though hibernate worked just fine. Personally--and I let Carl know this--I don't think they should have released Edgy laptops if things were working fine in Dapper, but he assures me they're going to be working more closely with Canonical to make sure compatibility stays better in the future, and he also said they have finally now fixed suspend, and this is now advertised in the Meet the New Gazelle Value (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=334772) thread posted a week ago. So while I found that disappointing, I don't think that should inform your decision to buy a System76 laptop, since it is now fixed.

While I was generally impressed with the polish of the installation (sans suspend), there were some little nitpicky problems I had with other parts of the laptop (which other people--and I've read other people's experiences--didn't seem to have problems with... maybe I'm too picky). The power button was a small sliver. I had to sort of dig my fingernail in to press it. I like finger-sized buttons. Again, I'm probably nitpicking. Carl says he uses a Gazelle Value on a regular basis and, after a while, you get used to the small button. I also found the speakers a bit tinny-sounding... fine for movies but a bit too much treble on music. On the plus side, it is the speakers and not the sound card. When I tried it with headphones, the tinny-ness went away.

If these things sound as if they might not be a big deal for you, then great. If they might be, well, the good news is that apparently they might be getting new laptops. More details in this thread: What is the new gear from System76? (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=335455)

A few more pros
Battery life was excellent--a good four hours. And the laptop runs silently most of the time. Every twenty minutes or so, the fan fires up for a second or two just to keep things cool.

Recommendations
All my dealings with Carl have been positive. He is an upbeat guy who is professional and very fast in responding to emails (though real, not just test, users should probably use the forums and not harass him personally). You can see, even on these forums, he's very quick to respond. The System76 experience is, in many ways, what you'd expect--it's a laptop that's preinstalled and preconfigured with Ubuntu. Since suspend works now, it's the kind of thing you actually could just give to people with no Ubuntu experience. And if you have to give them some instructions to install codecs, at least all the major extra repositories are already enabled.

If you don't mind a small power button, and you plan to listen to music through speakers or headphones, you shouldn't hesitate to order a Gazelle Value. If those things do matter to you, you may want to wait for the new gear. Of course, I haven't tested the Serval or the Koala (I'm sure suspend on a desktop doesn't matter as much anyway).

Overall, I'd say the company gets an A, the hardware gets a B, and the software if suspend were still broken would get a C, but now that suspend is fixed gets an A+.

That's my honest assessment. I think there are great things to come with this company. I do hope that Carl will take my suggestions to heart about a restore CD by default and not including anything that even has the chance of breakage.

aysiu
January 22nd, 2007, 07:37 AM
Until more people post their experiences here, you can also read these links/threads:
thinking 'bout an S76 laptop? (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=339800)
My new system76 gazelle value laptop (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=215690)
my new linux laptop (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=191984)
review of system76 (http://demian0311.blogspot.com/2006/04/review-of-system76.html)

Please keep in mind the System76 ships to only the US at the moment. Here is a comprehensive list of companies selling preinstalled Linux or no-OS computers (http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/), and it's an international list.

DonDailey
January 22nd, 2007, 08:33 PM
Here is my experience so far with System 76.

I tried to order a desktop system via the web interface but there was
some glitch in the ordering process. No problem, I figured it could
possbily be my fault.

I placed a call to sales in order to set up my order and get the
standard telephone menu system. After being connected to
Sales I get a message saying all representatives are busy,
please leave your number and someone will return your call.

After about an hour, I repeat the process. After 2 more hours
I repeat the process again. Still no return telephone call, no
way to contact.

The last attempt was by email and of course I have yet to receive
a response from them.

I read the positive review on this forum so maybe I am expecting
too much - but my experience has not been positive so far.

I may put together a system from scratch. If I do, I think I want
to make this useful to others. Would it be useful if someone like
myself made a list of components needed that would run Ubuntu
smoothly at a budget price? I think such a list would be useful
to the Ubuntu community and would save a lot of aggravation
becuase it's very tedious shopping for parts. That's why I
gravitated towards system 76 in the first place.

A good example of such a list for nice Ubuntu system is here:

http://cr.yp.to/hardware/build-20060107.html

Unfortunately, it is a year old but it would still make a rather
powerful system at a pretty low price.



- Don

DonDailey
January 22nd, 2007, 10:43 PM
This is an update to my previous post. It took several hours, but
eventually Carl returned my call and was very apologetic about
the delay and was extremely helpful.

So I ordered a new system, core 2 duo e6700 with 2 gig of memory
at the amazing price of only $1290 with Ubuntu of course.

I'll keep everyone posted on how this developes, good or bad. I am
hopefully optimistic that this company will do a lot to promote Linux
and help drive the prices of other Linux machines down to a reasonable
level.

- Don

KoRnholio
January 23rd, 2007, 01:17 AM
I bought a standard Pangolin about a month ago. First thing I noticed is the laptop case is very nice.

The situation with my laptop is the same as aysiu's. Things just work. Wireless is great and has no hassle associated with it. Setting up the computer out of the box is a breeze. I was even able to fairly easily play Warcraft III on Wine with it (just compiled newest version of Wine, no real configuration problems), and it runs very fast on the Intel card (224 MB video memory is good for a 'value' laptop) with all the video options turned on high. Granted Warcraft III is from 6-7 years ago, but with that amount of video memory, it should be able to handle relatively new games as well.

The only 'problems' were -

1. Hibernate/Suspend. This still doesn't work. This didn't damper my experience with it at all, cause I never use hibernate and suspend.

2. The speakers are subpar. This doesn't bother me one bit, as who listens to music on laptop speakers? They sound good plugged into headphones or external speakers - and if I'm listening to music, its on good speakers. If there's one thing thats okay to skimp on to make a laptop comparable in price to distributors who benefit from economies of scale, its speakers.

These two problems, as I explained, didn't really affect my satisfaction with the laptop at all. I haven't had a need to use their customer support, so I can't comment either way.

kevinlyfellow
January 23rd, 2007, 01:48 AM
I have had my gazelle performance (old version) about 6 months ago. I developed a problem after about 2 weeks. I posted on the forum and tried to get it resolved with carl (I never did, I just reinstalled since it was new and the problem was enigmatic). I had a bad install cd, carl immediately sent me a new one, no questions asked, no price to pay. Even since then, everything has been running very smoothly. I'm still running dapper, suspend doesn't work, but hibernate does and everything else, including the webcam. The battery, when desperately conserved lasted me almost 5 hours once. My laptop is quieter than most laptops that I've heard/used. People who I was working with (not knowing what an operating system was) were impressed by the computer itself and the interface (yes windows users thought that linux looked easy ;-) ) Assuming that system76 is still around and still provides the quality that they do now, I will buy my next computer from them.

Ubunted
January 24th, 2007, 08:41 PM
Not much of an experience here, but it's worth telling.

Ordered a Serval Performance about 6 or so months ago. This was the previous generation Serval with the ATI x1600 graphics. Had the 2Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 80GB hard drive - the works.

Order process was smooth and easy and went through. Order was sent through to manufacturing a few days later.

Unfortunately, that's where it stopped. A few emails back and forth to Carl informed me that they were out of stock in parts to put together my machine. No big deal; supply shortages happen.

A month goes by, no word on the laptop. Another email to Carl is quickly responded to, stating they still don't have any word on parts, but he will gladly offer me one of the new nVidia Serval machines immediately, also suggested a Bonobo or Gazelle, or I can continue to wait for the ATi model. After some humming and hawing on my part, I decided to cancel - the nVidia Servals just don't appeal to me visually like the old one did (looks the same as the current Pangolin series), the Bonobo is just too BIG and the lack of dedicated graphics and SATA turned off the Gazelle for me.

I call the company, Carl himself picks up the phone directly and the cancellation is done without hassle.

So while I never got the machine itself, my overall experience was very positive, and I am drooling over the current Gazelle Performance right now.

jml
January 24th, 2007, 11:11 PM
I will be buying a laptop from System 76 in the very near future, but I have actually interected with the company twice already. I had questions regarding the products offered as well as future products. My first inquiry was via e-mail and I recieved a response in less than 24 hours. This was over a weekend!

My second inquirery was via this forum, and again, Carl's response was rapid, and very helpful to me. Customer service seems to be a high priority with this company and that's important to me. Just my two cents.

Joe

bobbybobington
January 25th, 2007, 02:20 AM
I'm looking at getting a laptop fairly soon as well, and the gazelle or darter are at the top of my list. I'm looking at getting one sometime after feisty is released as I'll need it for the the beginning of classes in the fall. Any questions that I've ever asked have been answered quickly and we helpful. System76 is by far the best linux computer company i've found to date and I'm looking forward to buying from them. All I have to do now is get a job. :lol:

anttch360
January 27th, 2007, 01:00 AM
I placed an order for a Gazelle Performance a few days before Christmas. Right after the order maybe 30mins I got a call from System76 explaining to me that my laptop wont be ready in time for Christmas. Which was perfectly acceptable to me. I received my laptop the day after Christmas which I wasn't expecting at all. I was very impressed.

Booting my laptop the first time I played around with the buttons at the top of the keyboard curios if the Internet, email, etc. buttons would work, to my amazement they did. However I quickly found out that it wasn't seeing the wireless card. So I went ahead and ran the live CD I had on me, and found out the wireless was working. So I went ahead and reinstalled the OS. After reinstalling the OS It accrued to me that the buttons at the top of the keyboard no longer worked, and I figured it was manually configure at the factory. I was a little bummed out about that. I went ahead and installed the system76's driver which took like five minutes, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that all the keyboard configurations were back to the way it was. Yes the wireless was still working so I was very happy.

Several weeks later system76 updated there drivers to support the web cam on my laptop, which worked flawlessly.

To this day I haven't had any problems, and would highly recommend System76.

jml
February 5th, 2007, 05:45 PM
Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the new Darter last Saturday from their web site. By Sunday afternoon, I recieved not only the automated e-mail confirmation of my order, but a second e-mail informing me that my order has already been sent to manufacturing. On a Sunday, no less. So far this company is three for three by my personal score card. I'll write more after my new "toy" arrives. ;-)

Joe

steveneddy
February 8th, 2007, 02:40 AM
Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the new Darter last Saturday from their web site. By Sunday afternoon, I recieved not only the automated e-mail confirmation of my order, but a second e-mail informing me that my order has already been sent to manufacturing. On a Sunday, no less. So far this company is three for three by my personal score card. I'll write more after my new "toy" arrives. ;-)

Joe

I had the same experience when I ordered my Serval a coupla weeks ago. It was here within a week. I left work early to come home and play with my new "toy". I have hardly been away from it all week long.

Great experience with the company and the product is wonderful. All the guys at work are very impressed and my brother is getting more and more respect for Linux, but, alas, he prefers Windows.

Superb graphics and it does things that I thought were going to need a little work to get right. System76 does their homework and are able to deliver a top grade product.

-SE

vjones777
February 8th, 2007, 04:58 AM
I purchased a Gazelle value 4 months ago. Impressions are:

Company
Very impressed with the support - both pre- and after sales. Carl is very responsive and helpful. I had wondered about the support I would get as I get the impression they don't have a large support staff - but it was nothing to worry about. I've had much better support so far than large companies (Oh, and no waiting on hold for ages :) )
Another example of great support - I called for a new restore disk (they now just use the standard Ununtu live/install CD) and, despite it being nearly 5pm on a holiday weekend, Carl got it right out so I had it the next day.
One thing Aysiu didn't mention is that System76 install linux on a white box i.e. they don't buy one with Windows and then remove it - so you're not enriching Mr. Gates by paying his 'tax'. Some of the larger linux vendors (e.g. Emperor linux) don't do this, so that benefits Microstuff.

Laptop pros
Runs really nice and cool compared to other laptop cookers I've used.
Fan is really nice a quiet - just a low level whisper most of the time.
Overall quality/impression is very good.

Niggles
As others have mentioned, the volume level is a bit dissapointing and the power and custom buttons (browser, email, fan?, mute and wifi) are quite small and recessed - needing a fingernail edge to press. In fact the wifi button has stuck a couple of times - I had to jiggle it a bit to get it back. It's not been serious enough to do anything about it.
The screen doesn't tilt back very far - about 30degs back from vertical - thats plenty if you're sat at a desk, but not really enough if its on your lap especially if your knees are up a bit, or propped up in bed etc.
Manual - I was a bit dissapointed that there wasn't one. There are a few pages on the accompanying CD, but it would have given a more polished touch if S76 could have professionally printed this as a pamphlet.

General
Advantages over buying a laptop and installing Ubuntu yourself is that all the drivers are set up and you know it will work, and will work without you spending ages tinkering.
Also, you are supporting linux vendors by putting up your money. If everyone using linux installs it themselves, the PC vendors will only ever sell machines with microsoft - in fact if you but a machine with windows and uninstall it, you are paying them to NOT provide linux!

Overall. Would I buy from them again? - Yes.

steveneddy
February 9th, 2007, 12:59 AM
I've had much better support so far than large companies (Oh, and no waiting on hold for ages :) )

One thing Aysiu didn't mention is that System76 install linux on a white box i.e. they don't buy one with Windows and then remove it - so you're not enriching Mr. Gates by paying his 'tax'. Some of the larger linux vendors (e.g. Emperor linux) don't do this, so that benefits Microstuff.

Advantages over buying a laptop and installing Ubuntu yourself is that all the drivers are set up and you know it will work, and will work without you spending ages tinkering.
Also, you are supporting linux vendors by putting up your money. If everyone using linux installs it themselves, the PC vendors will only ever sell machines with microsoft - in fact if you but a machine with windows and uninstall it, you are paying them to NOT provide linux!

Overall. Would I buy from them again? - Yes.

Agreed - SE

icewater
February 9th, 2007, 01:50 AM
my first and only laptop purchase was with sytem76. like others, i want to support independent vendors that offer hardware without being beholden to microsoft.

i ordered a serval, a carrying case, and a spare battery.

the laptop shipped 10 days after ordering, which is ok. the case and battery were back-ordered.

the case arrived about a week ago, roughly 6 weeks after placing the order.

the spare battery still has not arrived.

on my account page on system76's website, the order status is listed as "delivered" - this is misleading, since i still haven't received the battery.

i tried contacting system76 a couple times to get updates on the back-order, and i don't think i've ever received a reply via e-mail. on the other hand, response time on the forum is very quick - but i wonder if this is the right venue for discussing specific transactions with system76. at this point i'm not even sure if system76 is aware that they owe me a battery.

the laptop itself:

overall i think it's fine. as i mentioned, this is my first laptop ever, so i can't really compare it to anything. i'm going to a conference in a couple weeks (hope the battery arrives by then), and maybe i will have a more useful evaluation of the system after using it on the road.

i can't turn off the touchpad, or turn off the "tap-click" on it, and while this gets in my way while i'm trying to get work done, i chalk this up as a hardware-compatibility compromise made to avoid ms-windows. i understand that carl is working on a utility to take care of this. we'll see if he delivers.

the speakers sound pretty weak and tinny - i don't know if this is common to all laptops or not, but i don't suspect it will be a big problem, since the sound is actually quite good if you use a decent set of headphones. (listening to miles davis right now on some grado sr-80's and the horns are very sharp).

the display is crisp and easy to read, but there is a blue-ish cast to the color temperature compared to the CRT display on my desktop. color correction is an ongoing issue with linux, though, so this might not be system76-specific. i do take photographs but do most of my image processing on my desktop. i would appreciate a color-corrected display on the laptop so i could do some processing while on the road, but this is a minor issue for me ATM.

there appears to be a microphone and what i eventually decided was a tiny camera lens built in over the display. i have no idea if they work or how to use them if they do.

there are some buttons over the keyboard - one calls up the web browser, another calls up e-mail (doesn't work for me since i removed evolution and installed thunderbird instead). there are two more which don't do anything, and i'm not sure how to configure these. it might be documented somewhere - i haven't looked. system76 might consider installing their system documentation on the hard drive and putting a link somewhere prominent. but i'm just being lazy here.

something that annoys the hell out of me is the "windows" key on the keyboard :-). i understand that a replacement key would be an expensive vanity item, but it would be great if system76 included a little sticker of tux that you could attach over that key if you so desired.

reading over this post, it sounds a bit on the negative side; that's not really my intent. the unit itself is great. i'm generally pleased, with exception of the e-mail response issue. i do hope that system76 addresses this, however, because poor customer service can make an otherwise good vendor completely irrelevant in the marketplace. FWIW, i'm rooting for them.

crichell
February 9th, 2007, 04:57 AM
Hi icewater - Sorry about the delays with the extra battery and not getting back to you. Please shoot another email to sales (at) system76.com and I'll make sure it's picked up and handled. (Our manufacturer has missed their battery shipments for 3 months. I have an extra battery at the Denver office I'll get right out to you.)

AusIV4
February 14th, 2007, 10:55 PM
I had high hopes for my Gazelle Value, and most of them were met.

The good:

I ordered the laptop on a Monday, and it arrived the following Monday. The service time was excellent.
Wireless worked out of the box and gave me 54 mbps
Runs very quietly. I can't say I've ever heard anything from this laptop other than a few hard drive clicks (and of course the speakers)
Runs very cool. I don't have much to compare it to - my only other laptop has a desktop processor in it, but regardless, I'm not afraid to put this one on my lap.
Beryl was easy to get up and running. The low end graphics card has plenty of power for Beryl, and setting it up took only a few minutes.
Hibernate and Suspend work. It suspends without a problem. I got hibernation working, but it took some work.


Little issues:

The network interfaces, for whatever reason, change names after coming out of suspend. This was problematic because I prefer wifi-radar to network-manager, and wifi-radar holds the name of the network interface in a config file. This was remedied by Carl's suggestion of adding the mac address and interface name to /etc/iftab
(Added as an after-thought) I personally think it's a mortal sin to play good music on laptop speakers. This laptop is no exception. The speakers are sufficient for basic tasks, but if you're going to be doing anything that you'd want good audio quality, invest in headphones or external speakers.
(Added 2/22) Multimedia Hotkeys don't work after coming out of suspend, which means they pretty much never work since I rarely hibernate or reboot my laptop. I believe Carl is working on this, so hopefully it will be resolved before too long.

Bigger issues:

When my computer arrived, the swap partition had not been activated. This is why I had a problem with Hibernation. I'm not sure why it happened, but it seems to me that swap ought to be activated when the computer arrives. The average computer user, even with the help of the windows nerd down the street, probably couldn't have gotten this straightened out. A call or e-mail to support might have worked, but it seems like a fairly large error. It seems that System76 has just become aware of this, posted a fix on the forum, and I assume they will take steps to fix it for new systems.
The only resolution I had to select from initially was 1024x768. On a widescreen monitor, that's not pretty. I have no idea what I finally did, but eventually I got it to boot 1200x800. I figured out that it was the installation of a program called 915resolution Sure, I could live with 1024x768, but I put this under bigger issues because it seems like something that ought to be pre-configured.

Conclusions
For the most part, this computer has worked out well so far (I've only had it 2 days). I was a little bit surprised that things like swap and resolution were overlooked, and I think a novice computer user might have been a bit overwhelmed. I will definitely recommend System76 to my family members when they're looking for new computers, but I'll also try and be around in case they have problems. I think System76 probably offers the best Ubuntu-ready hardware you can find, but it may still take a little bit of experience to get it in working order.

jml
February 17th, 2007, 07:17 AM
Well, my Darter arrived today. :D A few thoughts.

First, service. I ordered my laptop on Feb 3rd. It was scheduled to ship on the 11th, but due to a bad shipment, it was delayed by one day. System 76 sent me an e-mail on the 11th to inform me of the delay. Then on the 12th, bad weather in Denver delayed my delivery by another two days. To compensate me for the delay, they upgraded my shipping to next day overnight! It arrived today. I appreciated being kept informed about my order status, and I appreciated the gesture of upgrading my shipping to overnight. Can't beat the service in my opinion.

Second, Hardware. This is a very well built unit. Despite it's small size, everything feels solid. From an aesthetic point of view its every bit as good looking as my old iBook. I ordered it tricked out with 1.5 gig of ram, 100 gig hard drive and a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. With this setup, the on board graphics adapter is plenty fast for my needs. It plays Planet Penguin Racer quite nicely, something I could never do with laptops with integrated graphics adapters in the past.

Third, setup. Everything just worked out of the box. Accelerated graphics as I mentioned above. Setting up WPA encrypted wireless couldn't have been easier. Network manager was already configured and it recognized both of my wireless networks along with two neighbors' networks I could not see before. Signal strength was much better on this laptop than on any of the others I have set up. Don't quite know why that is.

Fourth, 3rd party apps. Automatix2 installed without a hitch, and I was able to download and install Google Earth, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Real Player, and all of the other codecs I needed. I'm watching commercial DVD's, listening to MP3's and audio cd's without a problem.

So I guess I can say on first blush, my experience with System 76 has been very positive and I am quite satisfied with my purchase.

Joe

mjukr
February 17th, 2007, 06:12 PM
I like what I'm reading! I'll be in the market for a new laptop in the next six months or so. Cost is usually my first consideration, but I will make an exception to support a vendor like System 76!

indigoshift
February 22nd, 2007, 10:04 PM
Oops. I think I posted mine in the wrong spot:

http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=367817

We customized a Gazelle Value laptop a bit (more RAM and HD space, etc.) and it shipped a day after we ordered it--we got 2-day FedEx shipping (no charge) and the laptop was in my wife's hot little hands in 3 days.

She's absolutely in love with it. Unfortunately, so am I. ;)

The widescreen is great, and as crystal-clear as I've ever seen. I use a Toshiba Satellite widescreen at work, and my wife's Gazelle absolutely blows it away as far as video is concerned. Absolutely gorgeous.

She's only had it for 24 hours, so I can't comment on long-term performance, but it worked great right out of the box, and took me about 15 minutes to set up for her: she needed access to the home wireless, and wanted to watch CNN videos, so most of that 15 minutes was downloading codecs via Automatix. :)

When my trusty ol' Compaq finally kicks the bucket, I'll be ordering the replacement through S76, that's for sure.

jml
February 25th, 2007, 02:01 AM
Been playing,...err working with my new Darter for about a week now. It still rocks in my opinion. I carry it to and from work and its nice to have such a light weight piece of hardware. Battery life seems pretty good. I say seems because I have not had to rely on running only on the battery yet, but judging by the battery indicator, I should get about four hours of use from it. The fit and finish is very good. Screen looks great, and the wide screen format really is better for watching movies.

joe

icewater
February 26th, 2007, 07:12 AM
Hi icewater - Sorry about the delays with the extra battery and not getting back to you. Please shoot another email to sales (at) system76.com and I'll make sure it's picked up and handled. (Our manufacturer has missed their battery shipments for 3 months. I have an extra battery at the Denver office I'll get right out to you.)

thanks, i got the battery in time for my conference.

icewater
February 26th, 2007, 07:52 AM
i'm going to a conference in a couple weeks (hope the battery arrives by then), and maybe i will have a more useful evaluation of the system after using it on the road.

...so i've left the conference (still on the road). this will be a short "review" because - with a single exception - the serval met my every need, and when i have nothing bad to say, i say nothing at all :-)

i think i did the right thing getting ubuntu preinstalled on hardware known by the vendor. at the conference i saw people having trouble getting connected to the wireless network - instead of participating, they spent all their time trying to get networking to work.

ok, here is the single exception i mentioned: using wireless devices of any kind were not allowed in the plane. since the laptop has a booting problem when the networking kill switch in the "off" position, i ended up not using it on the flight to the conference. maybe there is a workaround, but i didn't feel like experimenting while in flight... :-)

FWIW, i saw a lot of ubuntu, and several System76 notebooks there.

maniacmusician
February 26th, 2007, 08:54 AM
...so i've left the conference (still on the road). this will be a short "review" because - with a single exception - the serval met my every need, and when i have nothing bad to say, i say nothing at all :-)

i think i did the right thing getting ubuntu preinstalled on hardware known by the vendor. at the conference i saw people having trouble getting connected to the wireless network - instead of participating, they spent all their time trying to get networking to work.

ok, here is the single exception i mentioned: using wireless devices of any kind were not allowed in the plane. since the laptop has a booting problem when the networking kill switch in the "off" position, i ended up not using it on the flight to the conference. maybe there is a workaround, but i didn't feel like experimenting while in flight... :-)

FWIW, i saw a lot of ubuntu, and several System76 notebooks there.
It's odd that you'd see a lot of System76 notebooks...what kind of conference was this?

jml
February 26th, 2007, 06:17 PM
One further observation on my Darter. I find that the signal strength and therefore the connection speed to my wireless network is much better with the Darter than it was with my ThinkPad plus NetGear WG511T wireless card. From a distance of about 25 feet through thick plaster and lath walls my Darter shows a signal strength of 4 bars (nearly 100%,) from the same location I would get at best two bars (about 35-37%,) with my ThinkPad. Not sure if this is a configuration proble, or a problem with the Atheros Drivers installed by Ubuntu. I also am now picking up two outside access points I never new I was within range of. One is encrypted, but one is wide open.....But I'm being good,....really. :)

Joe

iMav
February 26th, 2007, 10:24 PM
I find that the signal strength and therefore the connection speed to my wireless network is much better with the Darter than it was with my ThinkPad plus NetGear WG511T wireless card.
Hey jml.

Is your Darter replacing your Thinkpad as your primary mobile machine? And, if so, which model Thinkpad? Do you find that you miss the trackpoint?

jml
February 26th, 2007, 11:50 PM
No, my Darter is replacing my 12 inch PowerBook, which I still keep around for iTunes duty.

My ThinkPad was used as my "Desktop" computer. Its a model R40e. I tried to carry it around but its too darn heavy. As far as quality, its tops. Built like a tank, and weighs like one to.:) And yes, I do miss the track Point, but I started using laptops before there was a Track so I am adapting. Another thing you may consider is to add a small ubb mouse to your kit. That way if the track pad begins to irritate you, you can switch to the mouse. If you are interested in getting a refurbished laptop, here is a link to a company I bought an older R30 from. The prices are pretty good, they refurbish the laptops and usually replace the battery if needed before they sell it.

http://www.usanotebook.com/index.php

My problem is now I am spoiled by my Darter. Everything works, nothing to Tweak. So far its been as stable and reliable as my PowerBook, and noticably faster, and that's saying something.

Joe

icewater
February 27th, 2007, 03:47 AM
It's odd that you'd see a lot of System76 notebooks...what kind of conference was this?

it was PyCon 2007.

maniacmusician
February 27th, 2007, 07:05 PM
it was PyCon 2007.
ah :) I see

demarcoc
February 27th, 2007, 09:29 PM
I've been using a new Pangolin laptop for about a week now. Here are my experiences thus far.

You should know that my knowledge about Linux in general, and Ubuntu in particular, going into using this laptop was zero. I had already been using open-source software, particularly OpenOffice.org, Firefox and Thunderbird, but I knew nothing about the OS (and I still don't know much).

Here are the pluses and minuses thus far from my experience...

PLUSES

+ The laptop is very attractive, as is the Ubuntu OS itself.

+ The customer support, which seems to consist of a single individual, is excellent. I've called the tech hotline more than once, and had zero time on hold. More importantly, the tech support guy (Carl) was very helpful, and actually asked me additional questions about how the new laptop was going. I've never, ever, had anyone in tech support do that before.

+ Basic functionality on everything was there out of the box. In particular, my wireless networks both at home and in my office were recognized easily, and connected right away.

+ The GUI interface (GNOME) is easy to navigate, and made sense to a total newbie like myself. There was no need to run any commands in Terminal to get things up and running, to install and update programs, etc.

+ The "one-click" update for all the installed software is extremely convenient. On first boot, only two updates were applied to the OS, which is Ubuntu 6.10.

+ Installing a printer on this is a dream compared to my old Windows laptops. My two HP printers were autodetected, and drivers were installed very quickly. I was up and printing on both machines within a minute. In particular, you don't need to install the tons of software that HP includes on their install disk, nor do you have the associated tons of HP processes constantly running in the background.

MINUSES

-- The build quality on the laptop is not the greatest. On my particular machine, the keyboard isn't seated properly, with a small warp towards the back of the keyboard, and an associated large ridge on the panel in front of the display. I will probably take the thing apart to fix this, but not until my warranty expires.

-- The laptop has no hardware volume control.

-- The speaker quality is quite bad for a recently built laptop.

-- Neither Suspend nor Hibernate work properly on the machine.

-- There are random intermittent failures of keyboard shortcuts in OpenOffice.org; for example using Ctrl+O to open a file works maybe half the time.

-- The touchpad occasionally doesn't work at bootup, requiring a reboot.

I've been an early adopter of a lot of open source software, and I've found that the ones that hang around get substantially better over time. I'm hoping that some of the glitches I'm currently facing will be addressed in subsequent versions of Ubuntu.

Overall, I'm happy with my purchase, and with getting out of the Microsoft lock-in plan...

aysiu
February 27th, 2007, 09:46 PM
I copied demarcoc's post in here just so that people have a one-stop resource for System76 experiences.

ddreier
March 4th, 2007, 05:26 AM
I'm very glad that people really like their S76 laptops, I've been in 'the market' for a new one ever since I got a retired Dell Latitude CP from the bank at which my Dad works. I'm planning on buying the Gazelle Value once I can get some more money. Can't wait 'til I get it!

klato
March 18th, 2007, 01:17 AM
I just got my Gazelle Performance today. This laptop is to replace my 5 year old Dell Inspiron 4150.

Screen is a very good size, widescreen. I got it tricked out with a 2GHz processor and 1 GB ram. This thing is definitely fast. Beryl is flying on the nvidia graphics (first thing I installed hehe). It's also much lighter in weight than my old Dell. Couple other things I noticed are that this thing is QUIET as hell and it produces very little heat. Also the touchpad is very spacious...I'm gonna have to get used to that! ;)

System76 also upgraded my shipping to FedEx 2nd day which I thought was very cool (unfortunately, the buzzer at my apartment is busted! I had to go pick it up myself...Doh!)

The only have 2 problems at the moment: 1 is that I can't get any sound output from the laptop speakers. I've got the volume all the way up, but when I play audio files or videos, I don't hear anything (even with my head up against the speakers...any ideas?) I remember that I heard sound when I first booted up the computer, too.

The second is that the webcam looks like it has a sort of bluish tint in Ekiga (I don't even use the program, I just wanted to see how the webcam worked :) Maybe it's just the software though?

Anyway, other than that, this is a nice friggin unit.

Cheers!

update: just rebooted, sound is back. rock.
update2: installed camorama and the webcam color is fine. cool!

update numero 3: this thing DOES have issues. when i resume my computer from suspend, my network connection is suddenly gone (network manager no longer running), so i just rebooted to get it back. only now...sound is gone again...sigh

afilonov
March 20th, 2007, 05:09 AM
I ordered Gazelle Performance (black) in November 2006 on the website. Received email next day that shipping is expected in about 2 weeks. But two days later I received email that system is shipped. Received two days later. First impressions:

Packaging is just perfect.
Ubuntu is not installed.
Only documentation included is Asus documentation.

No problem, installed Ubuntu Edgy from downloaded CD. Installed Nvidia drivers, everything appeared to be working. Some problems which I found out later:

1. Screen shifts after suspend. It's still not resolved, but I found a workaround. I have a thread here:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=317152

2. Card reader worked only after cold reboot. Didn't work after suspend/wake up. About a month and a half ago problem disappeared, now SD card reader works perfectly, although a little bit slow to recognize card first time. Don't know what fixed it, maybe udev update.

3. Suspend sometimes caused hangs either on suspend or on wake up. Problem disappeared after last kernel update, my uptime is 37 days now with several suspend/wake up cycles per day.

4. Suspend/wake up only worked with Nvidia binary drivers. I don't know if it's still the case, I'm using binary drivers. With open source nv driver machine hangs on suspend.

Overall pretty good impression, I'm happy with my laptop. Possible improvements:

It would be nice to have preinstalled system.
It also would be nice to have some kind of logo on the laptop (guys are doing a pretty good job, could as well advertise themselves).

Things which are good:

1. Beautiful screen.
2. Wifi works better than on my Thinkpad T41 from work.
3. Good CPU cooling: it only goes to about 55 C during full backup using mondo. T41 in the same mode goes up to 76 C.
4. Nice to have 1Gb network.
5. Nice to have 4 USB ports and firewire, all on the right side.

Pragmatik
March 21st, 2007, 12:06 AM
I thought System76 installed Ubuntu already? That's weird, but awesome that you got it working easily:)

unique
March 21st, 2007, 12:35 AM
My Gazelle Performance arrives in about 10 hours. I will post pics and let you know what I think as soon as i can.

I ordered it Last friday (March 16th) They upgraded my shipping to fedex 2 day for free and I got it in 3 bussiness days! Now thats Fast!

Can't wait to see how Beryl preforms on this badboy.

riven0
March 21st, 2007, 07:30 AM
My Gazelle Performance arrives in about 10 hours. I will post pics and let you know what I think as soon as i can.


Yes, pics please!

MarkID
March 23rd, 2007, 03:02 AM
Well, my Darter arrived this afternoon, and the first impressions are favorable. Here are a few first impressions.

The machine is slick looking and a pretty snappy performer. It seems to be sturdy and reliable. Also, there is no doubt that the Darter is an Asus z35f, which is no bad thing. I know because there's a sticker on the bottom that says "z35f." The machine is not all white; the bottom part is silver/gray. I like the looks even though I didn't think I'd like a white computer.

This is Linux for the rest of us. I've been a Linux user for about ten years, but the S76 machines can be recommended for anyone, no what matter they've used before. It all just works right out of the box, like a computer should. I turned it on and it detected my wifi network right away. Even the clock was set to the right time.

A pleasant surprise was the laptop shoulder bag. I'm sure I didn't specifically order one, but it looks like one is included with the Darter.

The smartest pleasant surprise is that the three USB ports are arranged with one on each side, and one on the back. No more straining to get the USB cord around to the USB ports, which are typically in the least convenient place.

The screen is bright and sharp, and a real pleasure.

I was concerned that the Darter might be too small. But my worries were misplaced. The screen is a pleasant size and proportion. The keyboard is easy to use and feels good, not too small. Unless you're going after Value, or must have the webcam and accelerated graphics, the Darter is the way to go.

akniss
March 23rd, 2007, 04:34 AM
I am sooooooo jealous....

aysiu
March 23rd, 2007, 04:45 AM
I hope you don't mind--I'm trying to keep the System76 experiences all in one thread for easy reference, so I've merged your post in here. Glad the Darter's working out for you!

MarkID
March 23rd, 2007, 04:58 PM
Don't mind. Though I thought of my post more as a Darter mini-review than as a S76 experience.

Anyhow, here's my comment on the S76 experience.

Except for the volume question, which is the subject of a separate post, everything so far seems to be going well.

I used the How-To in the S76 Wiki to download and install media drivers, codecs, and the like. The cut and paste set up worked really well. I just followed the instructions, and everything was done in a few minutes, and seems to working just as it should.

S76 is doing Linux "for the rest of us." If you just want an out of the box experience that just works, that's fine. If you're a hacker type and you want to type in your own drivers, that's fine too. If you know something about Linux, but want the convenience of cut and paste instructions (I'm somewhere in this middle group, having used over the years slackware, Mandriva, SuSe, and other flavors) then that option is available. I really respect the effort that Carl and the folks at S76 have put in to make Linux work like they have done. It's not just about the machine -- though the Darter is one sweet machine -- it's about the support, information, and backup that S76 provides. So far, so good. Keep up the good work.

MorphWVUtuba
March 24th, 2007, 02:16 AM
I ordered a S76 Gazelle Value shortly before Christmas 2006. I got the quick update emails that the company is quickly earning a well-deserved reputation for, and not long after that I got an update saying the DVDRW drive was on backorder. I waited a little bit, and then asked them to ship it with a CDRW if it wasn't available by such-n-such a date. They complied, and I was very pleased with this. I would not have been surprised to have been haggled over such an arrangement, and WAS surprised when they shipped my DVDRW drive without charging me for it, which I expected to and may have offered to, if I remember correctly.

Through the result of a PEBKAC error, I had to make a call to support because I couldn't get my Gazelle to connect to my wireless. After a couple unsuccessful attempts to get a person on the line, I left a message with my number not really expecting the return call the message said would come. It came. The associate was more than friendly and courteous, and did an excellent job of helping me troubleshoot the problem, which was the dumb user hadn't hit the wireless button above "F2" to turn the wireless on. Bam. Connected right away. I was embarrassed, but he treated me with nothing but respect throughout the call.

I've had a couple of general support questions here and there which have been answered within a couple of days, which I consider perfectly fine for an email request.

While the hardware supply issues were somewhat less than satisfactory, it was an extremely busy time of year, compound that with a healthy snowstorm in Denver which knocked them off the map for a few days, these seemed to be factors outside of System76's control. What they can control is treating me with the utmost respect an courtesy. I feel like they went beyond the call of duty in this department. THAT'S worth my money every time. :KS

On the minor inconveniences side, the keyboard is a little chincy compared to my wife's Acer from Circuit City, but I'll deal with that without selling my soul to an ms-oem-puppet. And doggone it if S76 didn't release a new, better looking, and less expensive Gazelle Value within a month of taking delivery! :(

Very pleased anyway. Laptop is great. WILL definitely recommend and buy again when the time comes. It RAWKS! Thanks System76!
:guitar:

Rotarychainsaw
March 24th, 2007, 04:06 AM
Just received my Darter! So far, I love this thing. Its actually a step up speed wise from my main rig, which was a pleasant, but not entirely unexpected, surprise.

Everyone knows about System76's service and all that (very good!), So I was just gonna post my thoughts on the darter.

Very Solid - I was worried about getting a laptop made of plastic due to my old dell. That thing flexed like the tacoma narrows bridge. Darter is solid.

Beryl - works better than my main rig which has a nvidia card and all that. Truly a great experience.
Suspend - works, crucial.
Wireless- worked as soon as I turned it on, perfect!
Screen - yeah the resolution is not as high as I would wish, but the colors and brightness are great.
Keyboard - a little cramped, but it is a 13 inch notebook. Clicks sound and feel like quality, thats all I got on that.

CONS

trackpad - feels cheap, gotta get used to it. My old trackpad was sunk in, so you could move your finger to the right edge and scroll like that. This one you have to feel for the little line.

Thats all I have tried right now. Seriously though, this thing rocks!

tux_rox
March 25th, 2007, 02:52 AM
Ubuntu isn't installed. ...No problem, installed Ubuntu Edgy from downloaded CD.

Hold on a sec - installed or not? If it isn't, my world is crashing before my eyes - really don't want to install it myself (I don't know any penguinistas).

MarkID
March 25th, 2007, 03:14 AM
Hold on a sec - installed or not? If it isn't, my world is crashing before my eyes - really don't want to install it myself (I don't know any penguinistas).

Don't worry. Ubuntu is installed. And everything works right out of the box. The computer in question must have been an anomaly.

crichell
March 26th, 2007, 05:11 PM
Don't worry. Ubuntu is installed.

Yeah - I was shocked to hear that one - definantly an anomaly. Ubuntu is installed.

pppetter
March 29th, 2007, 02:05 AM
I want one too! and I also want system76 over here in sweden :P

If I would have the money I would have tried to open a "franchise" or whatever here in sweden ;-)

madcitybrit
March 30th, 2007, 04:17 AM
All support, technical and otherwise, both pre-sale and post, doesn't get any better than System76. I originally purchased a Gazelle Performance, then changed my mind after it had been shipped. Upon receiving it I contacted System76 to return the Gazelle for a Darter. Response was very quick and friendly. Because I was exchanging for another machine they waived any restock fees so all I was responsible for was the shipping (my mistake only cost me approx $14, which I was perfectly happy with, esp. now that I have my Darter in hand!). I didn't have to wait before ordering my Darter either; instead of waiting for System76 to receive the Gazelle and issue me a credit for the full amount, they let me order right away then issued a full refund as soon as they received the Gazelle. It doesn't come any easier, polite, timely, friendly, or professional as this. And now I have my Darter which is full on quality! The screen is gorgeous, the build solid, and the keyboard is far better than most other laptops I've owned. And best of all, everything works! Fired up Ubuntu, logged in, and hey presto my wireless network. Bluetooth also worked out of the box (I synced some stuff with my Sony Ericsson phone), as does hibernate, suspend etc. This is a speedy machine too. I've only had it a few days, and unfortunately I am away this weekend where the laptop isn't allowed (my girlfriend's fault!), and I'm going to miss it greatly. I went with the full 1.5Gb of RAM and the T7200 processor. Sweet!

Great company, great product. Nothing out there matches my experiences with System76 so far. Then there's System76's home heare at Ubuntu Forums too. What more can I say. Superb! :D

Oh yeah, and it came with a free laptop bag which was unexpected, and it's good quality too and a perfect fit for the Darter.

7an
April 1st, 2007, 08:28 AM
Hello,

I've had my Gazelle Value for a few weeks now. The ordering/delivery process was fast and flawless. All communications with the company (mainly Carl) have been fantastic -- very responsive. No complaints at all in that area.

As for the laptop itself, only two things annoy me:

1. The LCD panel leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps it's the price point of the Gazelle Value, but the screen suffers from severe graininess (solid colors appear dithered); the color representation is relatively bad (lots of earth tones appear gray, light yellows appear gray, problems with grays/blues -- this makes it impossible to use Gimp for any real graphics work); the response time isn't the best (text flickers while scrolling, for example); and the viewing angle is less than optimal.

2. Suspend doesn't work at all; the machine locks up and needs a cold reboot to come back alive. I followed the suggestion to change the ACPI_SLEEP_MODE from "mem" to "standby" and it works part of the time, but the machine consumes so much power that suspend is useless. If I leave it in this mode for more than a few hours, the machine discharges completely. So I end up shutting it down completely overnight and when traveling.

There are some other minor annoyances but none worth mentioning. Overall I'm very happy with this machine, Ubuntu and System76. The cause is good and I'd be willing to support it again when the time comes.

Best regards,

/Juan

matthekc
April 1st, 2007, 09:28 PM
hey juan i don't work here just curious but maybe you could post a screen shot from your machine that sounds like a display problem needs to be addressed

unique
April 2nd, 2007, 04:48 AM
Yes, pics please!

Here are a few pics of my pimped out System76 Gazelle Performance Laptop!
Click here for Photos! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/geddes/442727760/) :)

7an
April 2nd, 2007, 04:49 AM
Hi there,

Thank you for your response! I am attaching three screenshots where I have tried to capture the issue. On the left is the Gazelle Value and on the right is my Apple PowerBook for reference. You can see the dithering effect and the color difference in the yellows and browns, for example.

Best regards,

/Juan

tux_rox
April 2nd, 2007, 05:13 AM
Hey unique,

That shiny black theme (on your Feisty screenshot @ Flicker) is fly - where did you get it?

unique
April 2nd, 2007, 05:19 AM
Hey unique,

That shiny black theme (on your Feisty screenshot @ Flicker) is fly - where did you get it?

It's called "Elegance" I got it right here: http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Elegance?content=44495

matthekc
April 2nd, 2007, 07:54 AM
Juan the first thing i noticed is how much nicer apples default fonts look. I also did see a color difference between some of the pixels. What video card and driver are you using and what are your display settings? It really is hard to tell but i'm sure the differences are easier to spot in person

7an
April 2nd, 2007, 08:50 AM
Hi again,

Yes, Apple's fonts are very nice and easy to read. My Gazelle Value has the Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics. I am not sure what driver it uses. My display settings are 1280 x 800, which is native to this LCD panel, so it's not a resolution issue. The graininess was hard to capture with my camera but it does come across to some extent in the pictures I attached. As you suspected, it's quite noticeable in person.

Best regards,

/Juan

matthekc
April 2nd, 2007, 11:39 AM
The screen does have some minor failings, though. It has a slight grain, so whites don't look pure white but slightly murky

http://forum.onmac.net/archive/index.php/t-1194.html

there seems to be many stories like yours available through google it looks to be the lcd design too bad can't really fix that... you could try to get an exchange or buy a nice home monitor for serious work. :(

Pobega
April 2nd, 2007, 02:25 PM
I bought my System76 laptop in late November, hoping to finally ditch Windows and get with GNU/Linux.

When I got it I was extremely happy with it, I bought a Pangolin Value and I still think it is the sleekest looking of the System76 laptops.

It came with a "Powered by Ubuntu" sticker, which was nice to have.

I enjoyed my time on Ubuntu, but eventually came to realize that Ubuntu was making most of the decisions for me. I took a deep breath and installed Debian onto the laptop, and it went very smoothly; Everything but my widescreen and wireless worked out of the box.

sudo aptitude install 915resolution ipw3945-modules-`uname -r`

And I was set to go!

I finally removed the Ubuntu sticker, and replaced it with a Debian sticker, and I found an Intel Core 2 Duo sticker on the back of the handbook.

Now my laptop runs perfectly with Debian, I have no troubles and System76 still gives me tech support even though I removed the original OS.

I love System76, and I recommend them to everyone I know.

7an
April 2nd, 2007, 05:16 PM
matthekc,

Thanks again! I've seen some threads like that, but thankfully my PowerBook display doesn't suffer from any problems and is of very high quality (I've actually never seen any Apples (or modern Windows boxes) with those problems). I'll have to stick with PhotoShop on OS X for my graphics work.

Either way, I enjoy all the other things I can do with open source on my Ubuntu laptop.

Best regards,

/Juan

eg-maverick
April 2nd, 2007, 06:08 PM
I've had a
Machine: Pangolin Centrino Duo 1.667, 1GB RAM.
since September 2006.

Overall impression: good quality and great value.

There are some driver/install issues that nag a bit but Carl and others are very responsive in getting things resolved (such as WIFI and touchpad problems).

Bottom line: if I order another Linux machine, it will be a System76. Just not sure I can keep on hoping and waiting for business level desktop applications to appear.

Craig

Pragmatik
April 3rd, 2007, 01:52 PM
Unique, was there a label/decal on your Gazelle's outside?
Great photos, btw:)

unique
April 3rd, 2007, 03:33 PM
Unique, was there a label/decal on your Gazelle's outside?
Great photos, btw:)

Yes there was... It was a thick sticker that said System76 on it.... It was cut a little to big and the edges where curling up on it and I could not stand it so I decided to take it off.

firelord901
April 8th, 2007, 04:42 AM
Here are a few pics of my pimped out System76 Gazelle Performance Laptop!
Click here for Photos! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/geddes/442727760/) :)

Where'd you get the cruzer icon? I also have that flash drive and would love to have it resemble it. Also, where did you get those wallpapers?

Gargamella
April 8th, 2007, 08:32 PM
How many customers!!!

I have to say you having a good success ;D congrats

Ryochan7
April 12th, 2007, 10:59 AM
I have had a Gazelle Value for a couple of weeks and I have been very satisfied with it so far. One thing that I would have expected to be setup by default would have been cpu frequency scaling. It didn't take much time to find a guide and get it working myself though. I can usually get about 3 hrs. 30 min. battery life but I have gotten up to around 4 hrs. I am really happy with the laptop and I really like supporting a company that supports Linux.

epp_b
April 14th, 2007, 04:08 AM
The more I read this thread, the more I'm liking the prospect of buying something from System76. My Grandparents are going to be looking for a new laptop soon, and I refuse to let them be sucked into the Hollywood/Microsoft vortex lock-in...

I am going to strongly recommend to them a System76 Gazelle! :)

xang
April 17th, 2007, 02:11 PM
I ordered my Darter on April 12th! Got the quick email notification and it was off to manufacturing. I will post photos and analysis once the machine arrives. Cannot wait!!

snoop
April 17th, 2007, 05:06 PM
I ordered my Darter on April 12th! Got the quick email notification and it was off to manufacturing. I will post photos and analysis once the machine arrives. Cannot wait!!

Nice! Looking forward to seeing the photos and reading the analysis, I am interested in purchasing one myself.

jparadis
April 17th, 2007, 06:10 PM
Hi,
I purchased a black Gazelle Performance for System76 about two months ago. I've been very happy with the system. The only dislike I have is that the keyboard has some flexing when I type. It takes a bit getting use to.

The system has run all the games I've installed, such as Glest. The screen is wonderfull except now I wish I purchased a notebook with a larger screen. :-(

jp

klato
April 18th, 2007, 02:43 AM
wow that's a nice looking theme. i can't seem to get my bottom panel and any of the menu items or tasks to use the same colors though...any ideas?

aysiu
May 12th, 2007, 02:30 AM
Another experience here:
Ubuntu, it's catchy... (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=440326)

godd4242
May 13th, 2007, 11:11 PM
Hi icewater - Sorry about the delays with the extra battery and not getting back to you. Please shoot another email to sales (at) system76.com and I'll make sure it's picked up and handled. (Our manufacturer has missed their battery shipments for 3 months. I have an extra battery at the Denver office I'll get right out to you.)

Carl is made of win and dedication :)

perce
May 23rd, 2007, 02:43 AM
I have received my new Darter almost a week ago, and this is my impression so far. The Darter is a good computer, which however has some annoying flaws. In my opinion its weakest point is the keyboard; it's uncomfortable, and I don't exclude to get an external one very soon to keep in my office.

From the comment of the forum I was expecting a very quiet machine, but the truth is a bit more complicated. In fact the fan is indeed very quiet and cycles normally, but it never stops completely. This means that the Darter is quiet in the average, but it's never completely silent. This can be a problem or not depending on where you use it: if there is any other noise around you'll not hear it; in a completely silent room it will become annoying after a while. I must add however that the Darter is much quieter than the laptops of my two officemates, so maybe I was having a too high expectation.

Suspend and hibernate are broken on the new darters. This is a serious problem on a laptop, however Tom told me that they are working on it. I don't know how long it will take; I'm looking forward to have a completely functional laptop.

Now - I'm sorry - I have some criticism about how Ubuntu was installed. The standard installation doesn't have separate root and home, a configuration which can cause users to lose all their data if the system gets corrupted. Moreover, the microphone and the external monitor didn't work out of the box. Tom and the Ubuntu forums were very helpful when I was trying to fix them, nevertheless it took me one afternoon each to have them work. The fixes were not hard, but they required to manually editing a configuration file and a good dose of command line, so they shouldn't left to the end user. I hope Tom and Carl will not be upset, I made this criticism because I really want them to be successful.

Something I haven't figured out yet is the battery life. 4.5 hours seem a bit too optimistic to me, and something more than 3,5 hours closer to reality, but I haven't done a careful test yet, so I might be wrong.

On the positive side the Darter is very light, it doesn't get hot (usually from 51 to 55, with an average of 52-53 centigrades) and the screen doesn't make me miss my old 14'. And, of course, with beryl it's very sexy; my new officemate took it for a Macbook at first sight.

xang
May 24th, 2007, 07:29 PM
I am still working on my mini-review for my Darter. Time permitting, I should have it completed this weekend. I found this link on osnews.com today..

http://www.osnews.com/story.php/17971/Review-Darter-Ultra-Notebook/

Enjoy!


Xang

aysiu
May 28th, 2007, 04:02 AM
Another review (Darter) here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=2733299&postcount=639).

MauiKaren
May 28th, 2007, 04:27 AM
So far I've had my System76 laptop for 2 days. First I gotta say I am a complete newbie at linux (only a little unix experience 20 years ago).

I got my computer sooner than they said I would.

I had a little trouble connecting to my wireless router because my son who is the equipment whiz is away and I had to actually figure it out myself:eek:. So first when it didn't run I went to system76 help and discovered that I needed to change the router to WEP or else download some stuff for WAP. I figured it was easier to change my router so I did.

But then it still wouldn't work (who knows what I was doing wrong - by that time I probably had messed up whatever would have made this easy) but I went online and searched and found a post saying the guy had to set the access to OPEN and then his Ubuntu recognized his network and he was able to change it back to keyed and all was copacetic. Well, it worked fine with me but didn't work when I changed it back (of course in the mean time I'm clueless about routers too). So I kept it open and just filtered the sites (limited to the MAC number of my laptop and desktop) and hid it. Figured that would do it for security even tho it remains open.

So this was more of a router problem.

The really great thing is that every time I got stuck I could google an answer and it came right up. (With the vista computer, I couldn't ever find what I needed)

So I don't know how System76 support is because I did all this on the weekend evening and didn't even bother trying to contact them...figuring I'd call them next workday if I couldn't get it straightened out.

They also sent me a bag and I didn't even order one!

So, in less than 2 days I am pretty much up and running with Dreamweaver (for Windows), lots of old DOS and Windows games (not to mention linux games), all my productivity tools (spreadsheet, writer, etc...I had already dumped microsoft office in favor of open office on my windows system any way.), ftp-er, etc.

After a week my vista laptop still wasn't up to where my System76 is in 2 days.

So far I am an extremely happy System76 customer.

Karen on Maui

dunkgreen
May 28th, 2007, 12:45 PM
I want to say thank you. I am very pleased with my Darter. It was couriered via DHL and arrived in Toronto the very next day!

I vowed for my next PC not to pay the M$ tax and I looked around hard to find a company with a quality Linux product and a good reputation.

Having put Linux on other PCs I know that often there can be a few quirks that need to be worked though. Sometimes the sound won't work or the screen resolution is off. With my system76 laptop, everything worked 100% out of the box -- even the SD card! I was also impressed with the sturdiness of the construction. I am confident this laptop will last a long time.

If there is any room for improvement it would be the choice of AMD64 Ubuntu.

Thanks again. I will certainly be directing my friends and colleagues to your site. You sell great PCs!

Best regards,

Bill Dunk-Green
Toronto ON

greg_g
May 30th, 2007, 02:26 AM
Just got my system today (Ratel value). Everything worked great. Even my Acer widescreen monitor that had problems with other video cards. I only had to change the resolution (from a higher to the correct) using the gnome screen resolution gui box. No xorg.conf editing!

Hardware wise, no problems yet.

And this comment might sound dumb/weird to some, but I appreciated the fact that both the computer and the speakers (that were separately shipped) came in reused boxes and in the case of the speakers, reused packing material.

Thanks System76 for providing a great product with great support.

Greg

tedrampart
June 2nd, 2007, 09:41 AM
well, today I recieved my Gazelle Performance via DHL, and after a day of using it, I figured I can give somewhat of a review of my experience so far.

my biggest complaint so far has been with the shipping. Though it was really fast, I had a bad experience with the courier, so I can't really blame system76..but I'll save that for another rant.

the customer service so far has been extremely helpful. I've never in my life experienced a reply to a problem that fast. It wasn't even one of those "we received your inquirery and will look into assisting you shortly", this was an actual response. I'm not sure Dell will offer such support with their ubuntu-packaged machines..

my first attempt at ordering the system was unsuccessful, as their anti-fraud system had conflicts with Canadian customers. however, that was resolved, and Erik called me to confirm my credit card number when asked, right down to the exact minute he said he would!

So far I've encountered one issue with the laptop. This is an issue that's being worked on which could be related to the cdrom. but like I said before, the customer service has been outstanding. I don't suspect this will be an issue for much longer.

the build quality is very impressive, far better than the HP pavillion DV6000 I replaced with this machine.

everything is as it should be with this laptop (well aside from the lockup issue thats being resolved).

the only things I would suggest would be:
1) use a different courier
2) set /home as a seperate partition, makes it easier to reinstall later

both suggestions aren't a big deal at all.. which says alot about the company.

I would STRONGLY recommend system76 to any linux user in the market for a new laptop.

edit - I should also point out, that suspend would disable wireless, but that was fixed by editing a file, and that hibernate doesnt work either (though, I haven't even glanced at how to fix that yet).

perce
June 2nd, 2007, 04:47 PM
edit - I should also point out, that suspend would disable wireless, but that was fixed by editing a file, and that hibernate doesnt work either (though, I haven't even glanced at how to fix that yet).

On my Darter hibernate didn't work out of the box because the swap partition was not enabled. After enabling it (acrually after reinstalling) it works. You should check if swap is enabled, and if you have an option resume=... in your boot entry in grub, where ... should be the device name or the UUID of your swap partition.

tedrampart
June 3rd, 2007, 01:16 AM
On my Darter hibernate didn't work out of the box because the swap partition was not enabled. After enabling it (acrually after reinstalling) it works. You should check if swap is enabled, and if you have an option resume=... in your boot entry in grub, where ... should be the device name or the UUID of your swap partition.

turns out my swap wasn't on. perhaps this will solve some issues. thanks. I've got my swap fixed, and I'll look into the grub entry in a second.

greg_g
June 3rd, 2007, 08:21 PM
So, from this it appears that purchasers of System76 computers should familiarize there selves with how to activate swap partitions. In my experience the disk is formated correctly but the settings are not correct to utilize the swap partition.

Hope this will be resolved so that things can work better "out of the box."

Thanks

greg

ncappel1
June 3rd, 2007, 11:30 PM
You should check if swap is enabled, and if you have an option resume=... in your boot entry in grub, where ... should be the device name or the UUID of your swap partition.

Did you use a specific post from the forums? if so which ones? if not, could you please let us know with a little more detail how to activate the partition?

thank you!

greg_g
June 4th, 2007, 12:26 AM
ncappel1,

Here is the thread I started because my swap was not setup correctly.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=460210

If you follow what I did, make sure you use the correct identifiers for your partitions, mine was sda5 but yours might be different.

Goodluck,

greg

ncappel1
June 4th, 2007, 02:12 AM
Thanks, will try it out (if necessary) on my Gazelle performance when it arrives. Will post the results here.

organicveggie
June 6th, 2007, 09:20 PM
Overview
In April I bought my first laptop: a System76 Gazelle Performance. Except for problems with suspend/hibernate, I love the laptop and I have been very happy with System76.

Background
Long time listener, first time caller. I first started using Linux casually in the around 1995 or 1996 with Slackware. Until 2003, I ran both Linux and Windows at home. In mid 2003 I finally migrated to using Linux full time, blew away my Windows installation and have never looked back.

In late April I decided to buy my first laptop and obviously wanted something that would run Linux. Even though I consider myself fairly knowledgeable when it comes to Linux, I no longer have a desire to spend hours tinkering with my OS. I wanted to purchase a laptop that either worked directly out of the box or would would accept a Linux install without building custom drivers and/or recompiling the kernel. Ideally, I was looking for a laptop that did not come with Windows.

My initial efforts with Google led to a few a companies, including System76. After reading some of the reviews here, I felt that System76 was probably my best bet.

Initial Contact
Prior to ordering my laptop, I sent the sales team at System76 a few questions regarding the imminent release of Feisty. They responded promptly and answered my questions entirely. This reassured me immensely. ;)

Shipping
They shipped via FedEx and required a signature. On the one hand, given the cost of the laptop, I'm glad it required a signature. On the other hand, I work full-time and can't be home to sign for a package. That meant I had to make a special trip to the FedEx warehouse on the other side of town. It would have been nice if System76 had let me know that it would require a signature, so I could have had it shipped to my office instead.
Despite that, shipping was very prompt and the package arrived in excellent condition. It didn't hurt that System76 had done a superb job packing the laptop: one rigid cardboard box inside another rigid cardboard box inside another box filled with packing peanuts.

Initial Impressions
Wow. I personally really like the look of the laptop. A nice clean black with the System76 name in white and a silver catch to release the lid. I installed the battery, plugged it, turned it on and it just worked. Let me repeat that: it just worked! The laptop booted up, took me through some basic setup, autodetected my wireless network and connected after prompting me for the password. Voila! I had been secretly hoping that would happen, but I honestly didn't expect it to work so flawlessly.

The laptop had shipped with Edgy, but Feisty had made it's official debut in the interim. So, I took a deep breath and upgraded. It took an hour or two, but everything worked flawlessly. I then installed the Kubuntu packages, which also went flawlessly. Finally, I topped it off with Beryl/Compiz, which also "just worked". Wow.

Shortly after I got the laptop, I noticed that System76 had dropped the price. Since it looked like the price dropped between the time I ordered and the time I got my laptop, I was a bit irked. I contacted them and politely inquired what, if anything, we could do about this. I got a fairly prompt reply letting me know that the price reduction was due to a rebate and they mailed me a refund for the difference. That definitely impressed me!

Ongoing Impressions
I have now been using the laptop for over a month and I'm fairly happy with it. During this past month I lugged the laptop to and from work nearly daily without any major issues. The only problem I ran into there is that the laptop doesn't seem to automatically connect to the LAN via the built-in ethernet on startup; I have to manually disable the device via KNetworkManager and then re-enable it. However, it does automagically connect to my WiFi network at home without any difficulties.

I also hauled the laptop from Wisconsin to Tokyo and back (roughly 30 hours of time in the air) with only two complaints. Battery life seemed a shorter than I expected: I generally got 2 to 2.5 hours per battery. Casual observations suggest that the Nvidia 7300 Go video card is power hungry, because I get slightly longer battery life when I don't use Beryl. The other problem is that suspend/hibernate does not work, which is rather unfortunate, but not the end of the world.

At some point I managed to screw up my Xorg settings after setting up dual monitor support. Not only did I hork up the use of the accelerated driver, but I also lost my touchpad settings.The ability to restore the default xorg.conf file from System76 was a life-saver!

Another positive thing is the WiFi reception. I built a wine cellar in my basement and track my collection on the computer. Unfortunately, the wireless access point is on the second floor on the opposite side of the house. My girlfriend's MacBook has trouble getting a consistent signal, but the Gazelle Performance works like champ.

Pros

Excellent price/value ratio
Seemingly well constructed
Works out of the box!
Reasonably light weight
Excellent WiFi reception


Cons

Suspend/Hibernate does not work
Shorter battery life


Overall
I'm very happy with the laptop and would recommend it to nearly anyone. The fact that it works out of the box is incredible and makes it a viable option for non-power users like my mother. :) The folks at System76 have been very polite and prompt in our interactions, which is another plus from my perspective.

-Sean

octathlon
June 7th, 2007, 04:05 AM
Cons
* Suspend/Hibernate does not work

There seem to be conflicting reports on whether suspend and hibernate work on the Gazelle. Have you tried to resolve the issue? (I'm trying to decide between and Gazelle Value and a Darter).

perce
June 7th, 2007, 04:30 AM
There are conflicting reports about the Darter too. In my case, neither worked when it arrived, and both are working now. I don't really know what make the change, maybe the reinstall, maybe some tips from the forum, probably a combination of both.

octathlon
June 7th, 2007, 05:16 AM
I guess I just need to make my choice and see what happens. It looks like whatever problems come up wind up getting solved thanks to System 76 reliable support. I just hope the suspend/hibernate problem isn't one of those things that has to be re-fixed whenever there's a kernel update or whatever.

The only thing holding me back from the Darter is wondering whether screen and/or keyboard might present any problems due to the smaller size (and my over-40 eyes). How do you like them? I like the idea of lighter weight and longer battery life. Also, do the 3D effects work OK for you on the Darter? I don't think I will care about them for myself, but since I'll be carrying ths laptop around with me, I'd like to show them off to people to impress them with Linux. :)

organicveggie
June 7th, 2007, 02:21 PM
There seem to be conflicting reports on whether suspend and hibernate work on the Gazelle. Have you tried to resolve the issue? (I'm trying to decide between and Gazelle Value and a Darter).

Sadly, no, I haven't taken the time to try and resolve the issue. I purchased my laptop right around the time Feisty came out and I emailed System76 to see if suspend/hibernate worked in their initial tests under Feisty. Their answer, at that time, was no. Since the problems with suspend and hibernate are fairly annoying for me, but not a make-or-break type problem, I haven't bothered to investigate since.

It's definitely on my list of things to try to fix in the near the future. I did find this bug:

Gazelle Value 3 does not resume from suspend
https://bugs.launchpad.net/system76/+bug/108253

It is marked as "fixed" and Carl indicated we should expect a new version of the driver tomorrow or early next week. I'll give this a try this evening.

-Sean

thomasaaron
June 7th, 2007, 03:18 PM
The Darter's keyboard works well for me. It is pretty comfortable.

As for suspend/hibernate, we've now fixed it on most of our laptops.
The last barrier is the Gazelle, and we're almost finished solving it's hibernate issues too.

octathlon
June 9th, 2007, 06:12 PM
I've put in my order for a Darter! :)

ncappel1
June 10th, 2007, 05:35 AM
As for suspend/hibernate, we've now fixed it on most of our laptops.
The last barrier is the Gazelle, and we're almost finished solving it's hibernate issues too.

::with an air of giddy excitment:: how much longer do you think it will be?

IgnacioMiller
June 11th, 2007, 12:07 AM
I wrote a review of my Gazelle value here (http://www.dmil.name/?p=28)! (pictures of it are at the link)

Regards,
Dan

beuno
July 5th, 2007, 11:45 PM
I already praised them in: http://beuno.com.ar/archives/29

They rock :D

toddpedlar
July 13th, 2007, 12:06 PM
Hi -

Brand new here. I just ordered a Serval Performance (what happened to Bonobo? The website doesn't even mention it, and when I asked last week about 17" laptops, I was told they are looking into it, but don't sell any at the moment) so that I can do the number-crunching kind of research work I do when on the road. Order was placed yesterday at about 11:00 CDT, and by 11:45, I had not only a confirmation of my order, but a message that it was sent to manufacturing... now if they can keep this pace up, I'll be thrilled! :)

Todd

logical_thought
July 16th, 2007, 11:55 PM
I bought my Gazelle value laptop about three months ago and I've had nothing but problems.

* I'll first start off by saying that it has nothing to do with its software or the support *

Over the last 3 weeks, I've lost a speaker and the laptop's casing has cracked. I lost my speaker after accidentally playing an audio file at full volume for about 10 seconds (the time it took me to mute it). I'll admit that the blown speaker was my own fault, but what kind of a speaker blows after just one mistake?

Just yesterday I discovered that my laptop is cracking around the corners. I don't know why this is happening. I take *very* good care of my laptop so these cracks should not be there.

In the end I support what system76 is doing, but I would like some better quality.

surajvijayan
July 18th, 2007, 12:32 AM
I bought a Sable performace system about a week back. System76 is quite professional and knowledgeable. Carl/Tom are quite open - no marketing blitz. The system I ordered:

Memory: 1 GB DDR2 667 MHz
- Processor - AMD 64 X2: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2 GHz D
- Operating System: Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) Linux
- Hard Drive: 160 GB SATA II 300 Mbps 7200 R
- CD/DVD Drive: CD-RW / DVD-RW (Dual Layer)
- Graphics: Integrated nVidia GeForce 6150
- Speakers: 5.1 - Creative Inspire T5400 - P
- Keyboard and Mouse: Logitech Internet 350 Desktop

cost $1100, a bit on the higher side I think. I'm quite pleased with system, it is very quiet and sleek. Initial shipment missed keyboard/mouse. it was shipped by DHL very next day after I called them up.

Possible improvements:

1. Pre-packaged ALSA sound drivers were very limited, I installed a TurtleRock Riveria sound card and had to donwload/compile/install drivers by hand.

2. The package shipped from System76 did not have a manual or detailed instructions on settin the system up.

Kevanx
March 8th, 2008, 03:24 AM
I'm pleased.
This is going on the second week. I ordered a pangolin value (more on that later, though).
The communication was terrific, even when a shipping notice was sent to me by accident - moments later, an amendment was made.
It came as quickly could be expected given that it had to go through Canadian customs.
It appears as though I got a free upgrade, as well. The specs are the same, but the body appears to be a serval performance, despite ordering a pangolin. The System76 driver program confirms this, and the keyboard is a beautiful matte black, which I don't mind. I wouldn't count on that happening, but I can't even imagine that kind of lovely surprise passing with any major supplier.

I even compared my laptop to a dell XPS head-to-head, and it was at least $200 cheaper before taxes, so unless you're going for bottom line dell, the prices are not better. And it feels really good to be financially supporting open source.

I've had some difficulties gaming, but that's usual linux vs. microsoft fare.
The webcam and bluetooth worked out of the box, which is a treat. The webcam had apparently been an issue before. Cheese is the only program I've gotten it to work with, but it wasn't a huge interest for me, anyway.

I can honestly say that it has been the most effortless experience I've had since moving to linux about a year ago.

Vadi
March 8th, 2008, 05:18 AM
I'm quite happy with the serval that I got a month ago.

While hibernate doesn't quite work for me - it hibernates and resumes fine, but ah, it does it at once (hibernates, and resumes. No pause!). That's not a worry because suspend works just fine, and the laptop is extremely efficient while suspended - I'm not sure how, but the battery only went down 3% for 7 hours of being suspended. So frankly, I was just too lazy to look into hibernate and just use suspend.

Sound also gets confused with headphones - sometimes it can play sound both in speakers and headphones. Unplugging and plugging headphones back in solves this though, and I think hardy with pulseaudio will fix it too.

Now, on the awesome side of things - the laptop looks absolutely nice. I get people twisting their necks in the lecture hall trying to see the laptop from sides (when asked which is it though, I say "custom built" and point to the system76 logo on the back of the screen). It performs quite excellently too - setting the game settings of etqw on "high" makes it work without a hitch, and with 2gb ram, windows in virtualbox + firefox + OOo work just fine.

On the software side, flash, java (the icedtea one) were already pre-installed, which made things really nice. I think a bunch more tweaks were done specifically for the laptop, because it starts up really quickly after logging in (like 5 seconds), which people usually are reporting longer times on similar/better hardware setups.

Overall, I'm very pleased!

Pethegreat
March 9th, 2008, 02:13 AM
I bought a pangolin value laptop about a month ago. I got added the t5250 processor and 8600gt video card to bring the price close to $900. So far I am extremely happy with my purchase.

What I like:
Everything worked out of the box. I just had to change my setting to get the compiz effects to my liking, and installed virtual box and wine. Other than that everything worked just fine. I was able to watch things on you tube with sound(something i have yet to get to work with desktop) I have never been as blown away by a new computer as I was with my pangolin.

What I did not like:
The windows key. A penguin or Ubuntu symbol on it would have blended much better.

I don't know when I will need a laptop again, but I will look at system 76 for sure.

Bllz
March 25th, 2008, 10:31 PM
I have nothing but good things to say about the product itself. The Serval Performance model has more processing and graphics power than most off-the-shelf desktops, it looks very good, it's solidly constructed, and it has a simple, intuitive interface.

Whereas some have lamented the lack of hardware controls for a number of things, I've actually been very pleased with the minimalist-ish setup. The only one I would use, is maybe a hardware off switch for the track pad... that having been said, this is not System76's fault and they have made a very intelligent choice in their case selection.

My experience buying the laptop, on the other hand has been fairly poor, but I'm wiling to believe that it's one of those one-in-a-million flukes. The lappy came 3 weeks late and then died. When I sent it back, it somehow got damaged in shipping. What ensued was a month-long debate over responsibility for the damage. In the end, I got my laptop fixed free of charge, but somehow the wireless card ended up getting lost. I'm being sent one now via overnight express, so I guess all is well that ends well. They're going to help me install it over the phone. But now my right-side USB ports don't work and I'm holding my breath for the verdict ... will I have to send it back? Will DHL or whoever damage the computer again? I digress...

My point is that the product is very solid, and that while I'm sure my experience is not typical, it's been very annoying. In the final analysis though, I have a nice computer and I am pleased. My USB ports will get fixed somehow or another. Patience is a virtue, I guess.

Just a word of advice. If you must send your computer back in, over-protect it. Package it like you're sending a nuclear bomb in the mail and take pictures. Take what you think is reasonable and triple it.

mdozurk
April 4th, 2008, 09:45 PM
I purchased a gazelle value for my mom a couple of months ago. Had some problems with the mic and somewhat got it resolved.

Handed it over to my mom as a replacement for her IBM laptop also running Gutsy. I think she prefers running her old laptop to the new one even though the new one is much faster and has a built in cam. I think the microphone problems caused her to shy away from the system. She is OK with using Linux as long as things work as expected...

My personal opinion:
The sales and delivery were good
The system was heavier than I expected and had a "cheap" feel to it: a no-name laptop with a sticker on it.
I was very disappointed by the fact that the hardware on the system does NOT all work with Ubuntu. I would think that was the point of getting a pre-installed system: everything works out of the box.
I'm hoping the upgrade to Hardy will improve things but I'm not holding my breath.
The internal mic sucks, the wireless internet performance is bad.

Will I buy again? Maybe. Won't be my first choice though. I probibly will buy a Lenovo or HP and install Ubuntu on it myself and hope for the best.

kevin11951
April 5th, 2008, 12:05 AM
I purchased a gazelle value for my mom a couple of months ago. Had some problems with the mic and somewhat got it resolved.

Handed it over to my mom as a replacement for her IBM laptop also running Gutsy. I think she prefers running her old laptop to the new one even though the new one is much faster and has a built in cam. I think the microphone problems caused her to shy away from the system. She is OK with using Linux as long as things work as expected...

My personal opinion:
The sales and delivery were good
The system was heavier than I expected and had a "cheap" feel to it: a no-name laptop with a sticker on it.
I was very disappointed by the fact that the hardware on the system does NOT all work with Ubuntu. I would think that was the point of getting a pre-installed system: everything works out of the box.
I'm hoping the upgrade to Hardy will improve things but I'm not holding my breath.
The internal mic sucks, the wireless internet performance is bad.

Will I buy again? Maybe. Won't be my first choice though. I probibly will buy a Lenovo or HP and install Ubuntu on it myself and hope for the best.

What version was this? i.e. gazv4?

pgDev
April 5th, 2008, 02:38 AM
I got my Serval in Nov 2007 running 32 bit Gutsy. 4GB RAM / 120 GB HDD(upgraded from the out of stock 80 gb for free!). It was not cheap but I dont mind paying for quality and service.

Everything worked fine but I was not blown away with its speed. I am a web developer and I run 8 desktops on 2 monitors. I routinely have an XP and RHEL virtual machines running with 6 or 7 of the desktops in use but never have software issues. It just works...gotta love Ubuntu and good hardware.

About a month ago I did a bare metal install of 64 bit Gutsy and am very impressed with the speed increase. Everything just seems quicker. The XP vm will boot in about 20 sec...

The only problem with the Serval I've had is now my sound is hosed. It never worked after the 64 bit install. I have been working with Tom to resolve the issue and will post elsewhere when we find a solution.

The System76 folks are great. Tom and I have been trading emails and phone calls for a week trying this and that. I appreciate their patience and professionalism.

Does anyone know of a good visual query editor for PostgreSQL? Or has anyone got PG Lightning Admin to run in wine?

Thanks
pgDev

Bllz
April 6th, 2008, 08:10 AM
I figured I'd post an update to my previous statement (in case you guys care).

My Serval is now fully fucntioning after (yet another) motherboard swap. Carl upgraded the shipping both ways to DHL overnight, and ran all of the hardware diagnostics. I have to say, it was a pain to get here, but I'm really happy now.

My only concern now is that the guys at System76 hate me. ;) My Serval ran through 2 motherboards and had numerous other issues.

All is well that ends well, and I have to say that Tom and Carl take their sales very seriously, so all issues will get resolved in the end. I guess this is the world of technology -- the more complex it gets, the more can go wrong.

Despite all the trouble, I would recommend System76. The hardware is AWESOME, and the people give a damn.

abulluck
December 5th, 2008, 02:20 PM
I have read what reviews are out there on 76 hardware, but there seems to be a lot of 76 owners here, and not a lot of reviews on the hardware.

So if you own one, start a thread on your model and give us a good review on the hardware (keyboard, touchpad, case, display, battery life, performance, etc). Try to keep the reviews under their model specific thread.

I know one reviewer also came back after his first initial review and provided an update, which isn't a bad idea as the honeymoon effect probably factors into the first one.

aysiu
December 5th, 2008, 04:02 PM
I have read what reviews are out there on 76 hardware, but there seems to be a lot of 76 owners here, and not a lot of reviews on the hardware.

So if you own one, start a thread on your model and give us a good review on the hardware (keyboard, touchpad, case, display, battery life, performance, etc). Try to keep the reviews under their model specific thread.

I know one reviewer also came back after his first initial review and provided an update, which isn't a bad idea as the honeymoon effect probably factors into the first one.
It hasn't been updated in a while, but you might want to read some of the reviews in thread I merged yours with.

EnderEcho
December 5th, 2008, 07:24 PM
Thats a great review of the product as well as the producer. I get my Darter on Tuesday. I have off work so I'll spend my day exploring. Eventually I'll put up a review also.

Thanks again!

DeadSuperHero
December 12th, 2008, 04:41 PM
Does anyone have the Gazelle Ultra? After looking at their site, it looks utterly fantastic, and sounds like a great deal.

However, my concern is the graphics card, as it's an Intel X4500HD. Is that a decent enough card for gaming/rendering videos in an editor? If so, that's all I need to know. I'm thinking of getting one either for Christmas or graduation this year.

thomasaaron
December 12th, 2008, 04:46 PM
Nobody has one yet. It just went online this morning.

The Intel HD4500 works fine with 3d rendering, etc... It's not a slow card by any means.

DeadSuperHero
December 12th, 2008, 05:31 PM
I just read Phoronix's review of the card. It seems like it can handle a great deal, which is good enough for me!

I think I'm going to buy one, that seems like:


1) A great way to support Linux

2) A good deal all around.

And the reviews here seem to be highly in favor of it.

Nkosi
December 26th, 2008, 12:33 PM
My Gazelle has been out of the box great -- 2 years now. Support's been huge. Wireless no problems. Just 2 things would make laptop perfection: battery life longer than 1 hour and a DVD that works. I'll be plunkin down money again for a Sys76 machine if they can fix these small issues.

thomasaaron
December 26th, 2008, 07:58 PM
Nkosi, I don't think there's an easy fix for battery life on your computer. After all, it's two years old, and batteries wear down.

Please add details about what is wrong with your DVD. (And you probably should start a new thread on it, since it's a separate support issue from this thread, or you can send me an email about it: support(at)system76(dot)com).

digitalbigsky
June 7th, 2009, 07:25 AM
Love my max-loaded Bonobo. Everything worked and looks great. Sad to say, speakers are cheap & tinny which does detract from movie watching. My Toshiba's sound is far superior. Movies look perfect. I count 3 USB not 4 as on website.

Esau.ie
June 8th, 2009, 02:33 AM
I can't believe how disappointed I am with my purchase of a Pangolin Performance last October. First of all the laptop's appearance was sub-par, with no professional branding or anything to make it look like a serious machine. I work in a graduate lab and regularily attend confrences, so I think this is important. It features a plain black back of the LCD, and a non-matching white keyboard.

But the serious problems: There was no CD included with the laptop, always a problem. Dual-booting and installing windows was very difficult, and then I had to download all the drivers, which took awhile. I actually had to contact their technical support before I was able to install Windows.. and I have 3 years of experience working in the IT field.

Secondly, the machine was manufactured by a company called CLEVO out of Taiwan. I still doubt that the hardware and software support will be reasonable, seen as it is from a rather obscure compnay. Also, I was upset at the fact that on the bottom of the laptop, there was nothing but a sticker covering CLEVO's brand name.

Lastly, the hard drive just failed, and I am unable to reinstall Windows or Ubuntu. Ubuntu cannot even edit the partition table, and GRUB won't load.

I had high hopes for System76's product. I really wanted to 'vote with my dollar' for an open source system, but now I just wish that I had purchased a Dell ubuntu laptop.

jmwink
June 8th, 2009, 03:17 AM
I can't believe how disappointed I am with my purchase of a Pangolin Performance last October. First of all the laptop's appearance was sub-par, with no professional branding or anything to make it look like a serious machine. I work in a graduate lab and regularily attend confrences, so I think this is important. It features a plain black back of the LCD, and a non-matching white keyboard.

But the serious problems: There was no CD included with the laptop, always a problem. Dual-booting and installing windows was very difficult, and then I had to download all the drivers, which took awhile. I actually had to contact their technical support before I was able to install Windows.. and I have 3 years of experience working in the IT field.

Secondly, the machine was manufactured by a company called CLEVO out of Taiwan. I still doubt that the hardware and software support will be reasonable, seen as it is from a rather obscure compnay. Also, I was upset at the fact that on the bottom of the laptop, there was nothing but a sticker covering CLEVO's brand name.


Clevo isn't really all the obscure. Most of the boutique laptop manufacturers are repurposing Clevo machines. You'll find the hardware inside the case to be top notch.

Sorry your experience was so poor, and I doubt you would have fared any better with a Dell ubuntu device, except of course with regard to your first point about your personal status anxiety.

Bummer about the HD failure. If you're concerned about the data but can't get anything to work, I recommend a piece of software called Data Rescue. It worked wonders for me when I had an external hard drive failure...

As for me, I couldn't be happier with my Gazelle Ultra.

betrunkenaffe
June 8th, 2009, 06:23 AM
Strange, there must have been a change since then because I bought a Pangolin in Jan, has System76 branding on the black background, Ubuntu stickers, etc. Branding is definitely there. The keyboard is white vs. the black monitor, I don't find this to be a huge problem, as I'm more concerned with a functional computer than some paint job (however I do like how it looks, it's different than all the 'all black/striped' notebooks)

Complaining about the rebranding of a specific hardware manufacturer's machines seems like complete silliness to me, many of the hardware you find out there is packaged (if not always by the company you are buying from). I've had no problems with my machine so far and the hardware specs are very good, I should know since I looked at them and all the components they come with in comparison to some of the "deals" that other brands were offering (Dell included). Yes, there is indeed a sticker over the Clevo one, I personally prefer that since I'm not dealing with Clevo in the event of failures.

Hard drive should be covered afaik from warranty, I don't remember at this point every detail of their warranty. Maybe you should use a HDD recovery as suggested, get your non-backed up and obviously non-critical data off and then speak to System76 about the warranty.

Finally, I'm sorry you had problems installing dual boot on it, this is not a System76 issue. They have provided instructions to try and assist you in every way possible, provided hardware that works with Linux and Windows and will even answer questions. Your decision to install an OS that wipes GRUB was just that, your decision. Working in the IT field for 3 years should have provided you with more than enough background to perform a simple (by IT standards) dual boot (with instructions, freely available on the internet and from system76). The CD is available on the Ubuntu website, I know the burning of a CD does cost you a buck but since not everyone is dual booting, I will thank them for saving the environment, we all have to do our part.

Currently I'm setting up dual boot on my desktop with an older XP CD (which doesn't support >130GB HDD partitions). Admittedly, it's not system76 (completely custom built) however it hasn't been a "killer install" requiring me to "Geek Squad" it.

Hope your experiences improve and sorry to hear you had problems, but lay the blame where it's due.

wwillard
June 8th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Sarcasm gets lost in the translation sometimes, I guess...

rumpledge
June 8th, 2009, 11:21 PM
Got a pangolin performance.
superquick review.
Live in canada. good shipping ect. about 50$ duty. despite the fact I phoned and was told I would not get charged any duty. However, it was still a relatively good deal. I live in Ontario and didn't have to pay Canadian taxes.
The laptop itself is pretty good. I opted for the nicer screen. It is very nice. Everything works out of the box. minus the fingerprint reader, O except I have never actually tried the fingerprint reader. No problems except for the usual Ubuntu specific difficulties.
The battery life is pretty poor. Don't get this laptop if battery life is a priority. I only get about an hour on a full charge.
Overall I really like it. It has been maybe 6 weeks and I'm using it FULL time and no problems. I always think it can be risky purchasing online especially from a small outfit. But so far completely satisfied with the product. I don't have any experience with the support.

bill516
June 9th, 2009, 01:06 AM
I took delivery on a new Pangolin this past October. I carefully compared the S76 Pangolin with comparable configurations from Dell and HP. I posted my initial reactions to the machine on the Extreme Tech website at this location:

http://discuss.extremetech.com/forums/thread/1004432711.aspx

Several questions before and after the sale were answered with surprising speed & accuracy by Thomas Aaron.

A few weeks ago my CD/ROM drive failed just as I left on an extended trip during which the laptop would be essential. Mr. Aaron quickly arranged to deal with my problem as I traveled, something I cannot imagine a larger vendor doing.

My machine arrived with 8.10, which I continue to run because it is absolutely trouble free on this machine.

In particular this machine hibernates and suspends more reliably than any combination of hardware and distribution I have used under Linux. For the first time I have a linux laptop that does what it is supposed to do.

I cannot see any performance boost in terms of speed between this 64 bit 8.10 and the 32 bit 8.10 I ran on my earlier machine. (Both have 2 GHz CPUs.) But the improved hibernation/suspension may be a consequence of that change.

One quirk: Virtual Box will not allow me to run 64 bit systems as guests. I thought all dual-core Intel processors possessed the Intel VT-x technology utilized by virtual machines. That apparently is not correct. The T6400 lacks that capability and as a result Virtual Box will not handle a 64 bit guest. It identifies the host as a 32 bit system, which obviously is incorrect.

Suggestion: If you work frequently with Virtual systems on your laptop (in fact I do not and the problem is not all that critical for me), check the specifications on your processor before you select it. Make certain it is VT-x capable.

That little glitch aside my Pangolin has been a good purchase. Customer support as provided by Thomas Aaron is exemplary.

You may deal safely with System 76. If they have what you want I think you will be pleased. I would deal with them again in the event I needed another machine.

ShowMeGrrl
June 9th, 2009, 08:20 PM
I have just posted a review of the System76 Starling Netbook. You can see the review at:

http://tinyurl.com/lkexet

You can leave comments on the Starling or on my review at my blog:

http://jah46.blogspot.com/

thomasaaron
June 9th, 2009, 08:30 PM
Great review.

By the way, I did respond to your email. I remember it. You may want to check your spam folder.

Locello
June 10th, 2009, 05:42 AM
I just received a System76 netbook from my buddy a few weeks ago, Now i have been following system 76 for awhile but he bought me one to help me study for my Linux Certifications. I love this little Starling.


Pro's for a netbook pretty fast, I have tried pushing it and it can take a beating. Its compact enough and easy to place away, I do love that it dosnt take much space(as a netbook should)

Plugged a USB bluetooth adapter, netbook automatically picked up the device and was running the program to link up my devices.

Plugged in my external dvd burner, again automatic and it responds well to both devices.


Cons: The only problem I have been having is connecting wireless to unsecured networks, I just havnt found the time yet to figure if this is a glitch or a security feature, but when connecting to secure wireless it connects fine with no hassle and the speeds are very nice.

I have been trying to convert people to system76, there prices are not that bad compared to some of the notebooks out there.

If you get one I do hope you enjoy it.

I have been promoting on my blog about system76 any chance I get to boast about it.
locellocert.blogspot.com

slackwidow
June 18th, 2009, 06:43 PM
I just bought a new Pangolin Performance (June2009) and love it.

I wanted an affordable laptop with the fasted hardware for the price, and (this is really important to me) a high-resolution screen (my 8-year-old Thinkpad screen is 1400x1080 -- that's good enough for me). I also wanted a laptop that I could be sure would have all its hardware well-supported by the latest Linux drivers.

And (this was REALLY important to me) I wanted it for $1500 or less, tax included.

Well, as I found out years ago with my Thinkpad (the first distro I installed was Debian with a 2.2 kernel), the latest hardware isn't guaranteed to work with the latest versions of the Linux kernel. Especially troublesome on my old Thinkpad were video cards and sound. As of Debian 3.0, my Thinkpad worked pretty well, though.

I also learned, as I shopped, that not very many companies ship laptops with linux, precisely because not all cheap proprietary hardware works with linux reliably (or at all). Dell, once the great hope of linux geeks, only ships one model. Most of the small resellers are simply removing windows from models that can run LInux and pre-installing. That adds the Micro$haft tax to the price.

ASFAIK that's not the case with System76. My Pangolin came with a 1680x1050 17" screen, perfect for what I need to do (which is write large documents with lots of fine print). Everything works great. But there are few things I'd have liked to see, however.

1) A unit shipped with ext4 instead of ext3 as the root file system. I just repartitioned and migrated all my data to ext4 filesystems and everything works fine, cuts a few seconds off of Gnome's load time, makes everything a little more perky. However repartitioning and moving data off of the same hard drive is royal pain. You have to edit /etc/fstab by hand as well as /boot/grub/menu.lst, which is a tedious and error-prone task.

2) A transparent way of seeing what drivers System76 has installed on your machine, as well as easy access to the source code of those drivers. Which brings me to point

3) An installation of Slamd64 or Slackware64 on a System76. When Slackware64 comes out, we'll see how that works. I like Slackware -- while it's harder for beginners, its stability and speed are pretty much unrivalled. To have 64-bit Slack on this laptop would put me in geek heaven.

So all things considered, this is an awesome laptop and an awesome company. I wish System76 all the best of success!

thomasaaron
June 18th, 2009, 07:40 PM
A unit shipped with ext4 instead of ext3 as the root file system.

We only ship with ext3. I think you meant that the other way around. We'll be releasing systems with ext4 once it becomes the default fs for Ubuntu. Probably in Karmic, I think.


A transparent way of seeing what drivers System76 has installed on your machine

http://knowledge76.com/index.php/System76_Driver_Changelog


as well as easy access to the source code of those drivers

http://planet76.com/repositories

Georgesl
June 19th, 2009, 06:51 AM
I have just posted a review of the System76 Starling Netbook. You can see the review at:

http://tinyurl.com/lkexet

You can leave comments on the Starling or on my review at my blog:

http://jah46.blogspot.com/

Thanks for your review! I am waiting for my Starling to arrive (my wait period has been longer, it must be getting more popular!) and your review answered several nagging questions for me.

There is one point that I think that was misinterpreted. The Starling, like most notebooks, has a rectangular hole for attaching a Kensington lock, but I did not interpret the System 76 website as saying that a lock was actually included with the computer.

Vadi
June 19th, 2009, 09:27 PM
As far as I know, the locks aren't included. (doesn't make sense to include them either I'd say)

bakelitedoorbell
June 19th, 2009, 11:51 PM
Here is my experience. I entered my order on the System76.com website using their shopping cart. I was able to select exactly what I wanted with no problems. My order was for a Serval Pro laptop with the higher screen resolution and a faster low power processor. The order went on in May 19, and went to "manufacturing" status.

I received an email saying they expected to ship the laptop within 8 business days. Eight "excruciating" business days later, plus weekends and a holiday (I am so impatient!!) there was no word so I emailed to ask about it. The processor was out of stock so there was a delay. The computer did ship on June 9th.

There was an issue with me being out of town when it was originally going to be delivered (before the delay). System76 was willing to change the shipping date to accommodate me, which in the end wasn't necessary.

The tracking code was posted on the order page on the website. I don't remember if it was also emailed to me. The laptop was well packed, check out these unboxing photos on flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/9037177@N06/3623079438/in/set-72157619609691745/).

I have had my Serval for about a week and am still exploring what it can do. This is a youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4jk_F4CdcQ) of what it looks like.

Robert

time is a river
June 20th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Okay, I am thinking of taking the leap, which will be a big one for me. I have had it with Vista-had it, had it, had it. So my question is which computer would be better for me: Gazelle or Darter? I want a small portable laptop that is very reliable. Nothing fancy--no gaming, connecting with other computers etc. I don't care about the speakers. Other questions:

Can you use Itunes on these computers?

What word processing software works? I guess not Word Perfect (the absolute best), which I just bought--sniff, sniff. I also have bibliographic software--Nota Bene. I am familiar with Open Office, but not entranced with it. I only use Firefox. Now am using Thunderbird and am not entranced with it either.

How do you download pictures? I have software that came with my camera--can't remember what it is.

Oh, and what about Powerpoint? Is there any replacement for it? Could I take disks burned on this system and run them on Windows computers?

Wow, so many questions--maybe I should go somewhere else on the forum. Anyway, thanks for any feedback you may have.

drewbenn
June 20th, 2009, 08:46 PM
Can you use Itunes on these computers?
I've heard of people trying and there seems to be some limited success. You might try taking a look at SongBird (www.getsongbird.com), though (it runs on both Windows and Linux).


I am familiar with Open Office, but not entranced with it.
Try AbiWord (http://www.abisource.com/ also runs on Windows). Not necessarily better than Open Office, but a decent alternative.


How do you download pictures? I have software that came with my camera--can't remember what it is.
Do you have an SD card? If so, just put it into the SD slot on the side (maybe front?) of the laptop and copy the pictures off of it.


Oh, and what about Powerpoint? Is there any replacement for it?
OpenOffice.org's Impress.

P.S. I've had my System76 Pangolin Value for almost 2 years and still love it.

time is a river
June 20th, 2009, 09:34 PM
Thanks, drewbenn. I looked up info on songbird and apparently it can import your itunes library. But how about buying songs? Can you use it to buy songs, or do you, say, buy them on itunes and then import them?

solotwit
June 20th, 2009, 10:26 PM
I have a Pangolin Performance with jaunty installed. I had an iMac g3 666mhz for about 8 or 9 years. Never had any problems with it, loved it, knew it inside and out. But was so sick of paying out the nose to keep up with the jones's.

I mainly use my Pangolin for entertainment; movies, music, internet. I love this thing. It all works. And if it doesn't, it's really fun to get on these forums and get personal tech help and using the terminal makes me feel like Matthew Broderick in WarGames.

I read about the Karmic Koala release coming up and instinctively felt a pang of regret for not waiting for it to come out, then I remembered, it's free!. Unbelievable. For every Mac program I've used, there are several to choose from for Ubuntu. If you use Photoshop and Illustrator there is Gimp and Inkscape, which come with system76 computers, and are easy to learn.

Suspend/hibernate always works for me.

Shipping was about 8 days, I ordered from the website, no problems.

Every media file I open just plays.

People are very curious about the system76 logo when they see it. The amount of people who have no idea what Linux/Ubuntu is is amazing, and it's really cool to be able to show people what it is, and then tell them that it's all FREE!

minor problems:
no streaming Netflix, which is Microsoft fault apparently.
my new Nano is read only.
battery life is about an hour, hour and a half.

But let's be honest, you're gonna need PATIENCE.

jdb
June 21st, 2009, 12:18 AM
Okay, I am thinking of taking the leap, which will be a big one for me. I have had it with Vista-had it, had it, had it. So my question is which computer would be better for me: Gazelle or Darter? I want a small portable laptop that is very reliable. Nothing fancy--no gaming, connecting with other computers etc. I don't care about the speakers. Other questions:

Can you use Itunes on these computers?

What word processing software works? I guess not Word Perfect (the absolute best), which I just bought--sniff, sniff. I also have bibliographic software--Nota Bene. I am familiar with Open Office, but not entranced with it. I only use Firefox. Now am using Thunderbird and am not entranced with it either.

How do you download pictures? I have software that came with my camera--can't remember what it is.

Oh, and what about Powerpoint? Is there any replacement for it? Could I take disks burned on this system and run them on Windows computers?

Wow, so many questions--maybe I should go somewhere else on the forum. Anyway, thanks for any feedback you may have.

OpenOffice can read & write all (at least the ones I use) msoffice files.

The spreadsheet program doesn't support pivots, but if you ask me that's a plus :)

The power point program works good but it is probably the least compatable of the suite.
A friend sent me a powerpoint that had sounds in it & I couldn't get them to play.

jdb

savantelite
June 23rd, 2009, 12:23 AM
My new wild dog was so quiet, I thought I turned it off. I started hooking up the hard-drive (while running) and the system gave me a beep... I checked the front of the case and there were the only indications it was on, two little blue lights and no fan sound.

Awesome experience out of the box, very happy so far.

Premium product, dent me if you have questions about the box identi.ca/hammerandbank

Georgesl
June 24th, 2009, 11:58 PM
Absolute newbie here typing on my new Starling.

Ordered on the evening of June 8 by my loving wife. Delivered today (June 24) around 1:00PM. Box was in good condition, no crunched corners as is the norm for most UPS deliveries. Packing was secure, computer in fitted box surrounded by peanuts inside another box. Only two sheets of documentation in the box, but they had pointers to System76's database. If I didn't have another computer handy I wouldn't have been happy.

Unboxed the computer, installed the battery and set it up on the kitchen table. Plugged it in and hit the power button. Computer came up, asked for language, timezone, keyboard,and then had me create a user. and settled into the Ubuntu Netbook Remix home screen.

A popup reminded me that there was a wireless network available, so I clicked on the icon, selected the appropriate network, and entered my key. It connected right away. I brought up Firefox and navigated to a couple of sites, including Youtube. Everything functioned as it should.

Next on the agenda was hooking up my printer, an HP Laserjet 1018. I plugged in the USB cable, powered up the printer, and the system said that no driver was available but that I could download one from HP. I did so and finally came to the point of being asked to print a test page. Hit the button , the pop-up said something like "Test Page Printing" and "Job 1 sent to printer" but absolutely nothing happened at the printer. Hmmm. Plug printer into another laptop and print something. No problem. Plug it back into the Starling. Same symptoms, the message says it is printing but nothing happens at the printer end. I went back and tried installing the printer again. This time it recognized what kind of printer it was attached to and installed it. Tried another test page and, after a pregnant pause, it successfully printed the test page. I also printed a test doc from OOO and a PDF from a web site. I tried shutting down the computer and restarting it and it didn't seem to find the printer until after I cycled the power. I'll have to play with it a bit to home in on the issue.

My wife came home and so we explored some of the software and she was impressed with some of the games and other toys.

The keyboard is a bit smaller than standard, but I don't have much trouble typing on it. The touchpad is pretty sensitive and doesn't seem to tolerate momentary touches while typing. Suddenly I'm typing in an entirely new part of the page!

Next adventures are trying out the DVD drive and seeing how it works with USB drives and SD cards.

So overall first impressions (remember, I'm a total Ubuntu newbie):

1. Good overall quality feel. Screen and keyboard are nice.
2. For a newbie, it would be nice to have better step-by-step startup documentation that is specific to the Starling and Ubuntu Netbook Remix. It should step the newbie through the initial startup, getting connected to a network. At that point, the on-line documentation could take over.
3. It is so nice not to have a desktop full of crippleware on initial startup.
4. It is doubly nice not to have to enter a single zillion-character software key!

drewbenn
June 25th, 2009, 08:59 AM
Thanks, drewbenn. I looked up info on songbird and apparently it can import your itunes library. But how about buying songs? Can you use it to buy songs, or do you, say, buy them on itunes and then import them?

You can use Songbird to buy songs, but not through the iTunes Music Store. With Linux, you might have to more-or-less give up on music from the ITMS. The DRMed music you download from there can be played on your iPod, but not on your computer.

(There may be some exceptions. Some software may be available to play DRMed music, or even purchase from the ITMS. I wouldn't count on that always working, though, and it may take considerable effort on your part to get things set up. Still, a lot of people want to get iTunes working on Linux, so there is always some activity in that direction.)

I don't have an iPod, so I don't really follow this stuff too closely -- maybe I'm a year out of date and someone can describe a better way of doing things for you :)

ackey
June 25th, 2009, 08:10 PM
Getting away from iTunes and DRM is the way to go. There are some ways out there to convert a DRM library to un-DRM music, but they aren't technically legal. We switched from Windows to linux and had a large library of mp3's that all came from iTunes - because of the DRM they couldn't be played on linux. My illegally downloaded mp3's (no DRM) had no problem - funny pattern. I can't play DRM songs in my pocketPC or phone, which I usually use for music anyway.

I use amazon to download mp3's. They have a download program for linux, so I click a button and it makes sure the download of a mp3 album is sucessful. And no DRM! I usually use rhythmbox - I can pop songs from an ipod to my computer and back, no problem. I haven't tried songbird, but rhythmbox is everything I want in a mp3 player.

philcamlin
June 25th, 2009, 08:11 PM
i got free stickers :popcorn:

asmiller-ke6seh
June 25th, 2009, 11:36 PM
I bought the Serval Pro model 2 about 2 years ago (ordered end of March, 2007). I ordered the model 1, but they changed models ust after getting my order (I think I may have the very first Model 2, shipped).

It's a very well built box, and System 76 has been very supportive - except...

They have been promising a driver update for the built-in webcam all this time, and this has yet to be forthcoming.

Other than that, I have been very happy with it at home and on the road. The nVidia graphics system provides a very pleasant experience. I use a Western Digital MyBook external drive for my multimedia files, and it is quite responsive as part of my desktop use. The card reader and USB support my Cowon D2 Personal Multimedia Player faultlessly. The wireless card works great with WICD (I don't use Network Manager, preferring the higher functioning of WICD). I have yet to get the FireWire port working with my Sony DV camera, but that is another story, probably unrelated to anything that System 76 has done (or not done).

thomasaaron
June 26th, 2009, 03:03 PM
They have been promising a driver update for the built-in webcam all this time, and this has yet to be forthcoming.

Actually the driver is ready and is being integrated into the next version of the System76 driver. Send me an email, and I'll show you how to enable it. (support(at)system76(dot)com.

cprofitt
June 28th, 2009, 09:49 PM
Glad I found this thread. My LoCo will be putting on an event and we hope to feature two computer models from System76.

slackwidow
July 1st, 2009, 01:34 PM
We only ship with ext3. I think you meant that the other way around. We'll be releasing systems with ext4 once it becomes the default fs for Ubuntu. Probably in Karmic, I think.



http://knowledge76.com/index.php/System76_Driver_Changelog


as well as easy access to the source code of those drivers

http://planet76.com/repositories

Thanks Tom for making it easier to find the desired information.

Incidentally I must retract what I said about ext4 -- it DOESN'T work well with the current Ubuntu kernel, at least not with the default Gnome installation on this (Pangolin Performance) hardware.

I've used ext4 on older (AMD Athlon X2) hardware using Kubuntu 9.04 without any filesystem errors. However on this Pangolin Performance my /home directory was badly corrupted twice -- all files were recoverable but not the directory structure or filenames. So ext4 is definitely not ready for all hardware just yet.

gamerchick02
July 12th, 2009, 01:56 AM
I bought two System76 machines several weeks ago (middle of June) and received them June 30th and July 2nd.

The first one I ordered (my "main" laptop) was a Pangolian Performance.

Thoughts:

This is a really, really nice laptop. Everything works out-of-the-box, as they say, with no problems. I had an issue with nautilus, but it was my own doing (an issue with UbuntuOne) and I fixed it.

The camera works fine (with Skype), Flock works perfectly, games (installed from repos) are smooth. Graphics are top notch.

The fingerprint reader works, but I'm not sure exactly what I'd be doing with it... maybe a login, but typing a password is no big deal.

Here (http://amysramblings.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/new-laptop/) is a write-up I did after I got it.

Second system: Starling Netbook, with Ubuntu Netbook Remix (my "portable" system).

Thoughts:

Again, another very nice laptop. The keyboard is small, but I expected as much with a netbook. Typing isn't a big deal (my hands are small) but the touchpad is small, so that is a slight issue. I usually plug in a wireless laptop mouse, so the touchpad isn't an issue.

The machine is well built. Small, sturdy, light-weight (sans battery), and excellent battery life. I get more than 4 hours, with the wireless going. The screen is small, but very, very clear. Ubuntu Netbook Remix does a good job using the available screen space to the max.

Flock, Skype, gwibber etc all work just fine.

The only issue I have with this netbook is the wireless. It "craps out" after so many feet even though I have a very strong connection (95%+). I realize it's a reported issue. I'm waiting for the drivers to be updated so I can use my Starling outside my house!

My blog post about the Starling is here (http://amysramblings.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/starling-netbook/).

~~~

My overall impression with System76? I'd definitely purchase another machine from them. I ordered in the middle of June and received my order at the end of June/beginning of July. It's not next-day-shipping, but I understood that when I ordered.

Both of these machines are well-built. The cases both seem sturdy and the keyboards are high-quality. The Pangolian doesn't run very hot (my old Gateway MX3225 ran hot enough to fry an egg!) and neither does the Starling. Both are quiet. The suspend and hibernate work on both machines.

All-in-all, I'm very happy. I'm looking forward to having a chance to take one of my machines to the coffee shop and impress people with them. :) MacBooks, take notice!

epetete
July 27th, 2009, 05:18 AM
Just got my new gazelle ultra; "everything just works" is right No problems with desktop effects, network, wireless, suspend, hibernate, video, DVD, sound is weak but it's a laptop so who cares.

I ordered the laptop on the 76 website and had no problems with that prosses however it did take a few weeks to get the laptop in. Ordinarily I would not have a problem with that but after I ordered I received an EMail stating that the build time would be 8 days and after 2 weeks i sent a reply asking where it was at. The return reply from Amanda stated that they were being delayed by the artist who hand painted the lids.

After 3 weeks my new lappy was shipped and It arrived 3 days later. The box was well packed for shipping in the usual way and everything worked out of the box after doing the initial upgrades and installs of my fave software and restricted drivers.

ShowMeGrrl
August 4th, 2009, 06:23 PM
I've updated my review of the Starling netbook to describe my experience since I bought it and first posted my review. The updated review is available at http://tinyurl.com/lkexet

Vrekk
August 5th, 2009, 03:55 AM
Now that i own a computer from System76 i can share my experiences with them.

I am currently using the Starling netbook and im loving it. When i first turned it on everything just worked, but that didnt matter much because i reinstalled Ubuntu to use an EFS, just in case it gets stolen. After i got that done I just ran the system76 driver and it made almost everything work. The only things that didnt work were the wireless (BUT they have a patch for that comming out soon) and the microphone. For some reason i only get clicking sounds with it. Dosnt matter i never use the mic.

There support is good as well. If you post on the forums you there are lots of people who would glady help, and Tom responds to emails pretty quicky (just check your junk mail, thats how i missed my first one. ](*,))

Would I buy from them again? Yes i would, they have great support and they sell great computers. If you are looking for a computer will Linux preinstalled, I would highly recommend System 76

thomasaaron
August 5th, 2009, 03:42 PM
Hey, Vrekk.

Your mic will work. If you want to get it going, shoot me an email or create a separate thread (recommended, as it might help others too).

Ibbins
August 31st, 2009, 04:04 AM
Since this thread was instrumental in my own decision to buy a System76 laptop, I felt obligated to :bump:

I got a Pangolin Performance, with a few specs above the defaults, including the higher-res screen (1680x1050) that's simply gorgeous. Laptop is very sleek and good-looking, and so far works great. Internet via ethernet and wireless both worked right off the bat. The laptop's touchpad doesn't have a built-in on-off switch unlike my previous laptop, but I was able to do one better and google a script that turns the touchpad off on start-up if there's a usb mouse plugged in(yay, Linux!)

mhedges48
August 31st, 2009, 02:54 PM
I love my Serval!!!

marshmallow1304
September 2nd, 2009, 01:06 AM
The laptop's touchpad doesn't have a built-in on-off switch

Fn + F1

jpongin
September 2nd, 2009, 03:52 AM
Got the serval 1920x1200 / Quad / 4GB config. Love the laptop, love the service, loved the order process:

Here's my review:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1250931

Ghidora
September 2nd, 2009, 11:59 PM
I bought the Starling netbook back in May before going on a road trip to visit the family. Shipping was quick. The Starling worked okay in my house on my wireless network. I couldn't connect to the wireless network in a hotel I stayed at in Kansas. At the time, I thought this was an issue with the hotel's network not liking Linux, but that may have been an issue with the driver. I have had no wireless issues since the updated driver was released.

I will defitely consider buying from them again when I need another computer.

williamjems
September 3rd, 2009, 06:31 AM
Hi Everyone..

I have read some reviews here and there about System76 and while they seems positive, I am wondering if anybody here actually has experience with the company itself and some actual hands on time with any of their products.
Any opinions or thoughts would be welcome.

jdb
September 3rd, 2009, 01:45 PM
Hi Everyone..

I have read some reviews here and there about System76 and while they seems positive, I am wondering if anybody here actually has experience with the company itself and some actual hands on time with any of their products.
Any opinions or thoughts would be welcome.

Just about everyone who posts here owns a System76 product.

Thomasaaron works for System76.

This forum
http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=341
is chock full of posts by people with
"actual hands on time"
and their
"experience with the company itself"
.

jdb

Teasdale
September 3rd, 2009, 03:11 PM
I bought a Ratel Value and liked it so much that I bought a second one six months later for my kids. Both have been solid, reliable computers. I've asked questions here on this forum about minor glitches and always gotten a response, and I emailed the company about hardware on another model and got a response the next day. I've read reviews about other computers where people have a problem and when they call tech support, the people on the other end don't even speak English! Or their only recourse is to send their computer overseas to get it fixed. I've been impressed with how accessible Thomasaaron is. I don't know that I'll ever buy a computer from anyone else again.

I'm hoping to get a Starling next. ;)

Ibbins
September 14th, 2009, 04:29 AM
Fn + F1

Oh, sweet. I hadn't taken a good look at the Fn functions-- and that's a play/pause button under the tilde! Yay!

TheBuzzSaw
September 14th, 2009, 05:56 AM
So many good reviews!

*posting from my daru2*

bezoar
September 14th, 2009, 01:31 PM
I am 9 days into my 10 days waiting for "manufacturing" to be changed to "shipped" for my little Meerkat. Put my order in on the 1st of September. They said it "could" take 10 business days. Looks like they are using it all.

I have no problems with System76 other than my own impatience. I look forward to a long association.

I just fear being like the guy that waited 39 days for his system.

This kind of wait is hard on an old heart.

Take pity on an old man and ship the bloody thing!

Please and thank you right kindly.

Have a NICE day.

Iteria
September 14th, 2009, 02:23 PM
I've had my pangolin for a week or too and I like it. Unfortunately, I run an Ubuntu variant (like Xubuntu, not Linux Mint), so I don't get all the extra out of the box niceness that I would get otherwise.

Still all my hardware is supported without me having to do anything, which is much better than what I've had to put up with in the past. Plus System 76 has been kind and prompt in answering my questions.

The only gripe I have is that System 76 should support Xubuntu and Kubuntu too, since they are official variants. It would have been nice not to have to manually map my function keys, or figure out which nvidia driver I need.

These are little things and I fully plan to buy from them in the future.

thomasaaron
September 14th, 2009, 05:33 PM
The only gripe I have is that System 76 should support Xubuntu and Kubuntu too, since they are official variants.

You might be surprised at the amount of bandwith it takes to support just Ubuntu. Hopefully we will be able to support the variants as we grow.

Eyore15
September 14th, 2009, 11:17 PM
<quote>

I am 9 days into my 10 days waiting for "manufacturing" to be changed to "shipped" for my little Meerkat. Put my order in on the 1st of September. They said it "could" take 10 business days. Looks like they are using it all.

I have no problems with System76 other than my own impatience. I look forward to a long association.

I just fear being like the guy that waited 39 days for his system.

This kind of wait is hard on an old heart.

Take pity on an old man and ship the bloody thing!

Please and thank you right kindly.

Have a NICE day.

<unquote>

I agree ... I ordered my starling on 4 Sep and check daily to see those magic words -- shipped (Yes, I know they said 10 business days, but one can hope). Everything I researched about system 76 was complementary. I also read through a ton of posts here and was very impressed with Mr. Aaron's responses. I don't know who else is in the company, but he's sure a great representative for everyone else. Even my dog can't wait for the computer! It's destined for my classroom (I'm a teacher), but I suspect that it will supplant my laptop for conferences, etc.

My experience in getting questions answered before I purchased was outstanding. Ask your questions;l you'll get answers. :P

mcm

mark c. miller
Indianapolis IN

Natr0n
September 15th, 2009, 12:38 AM
I don't know what to think. I ordered a Starling on August 21 but, as of September 14, it has yet to be shipped. Needless to say, I am growing more and more irritated every day. I'm wondering if anyone else has ordered a Starling since August 21 and, if so, has it been shipped yet?

jimmie-watters
September 15th, 2009, 01:36 AM
Wow that's discouraging, i ordered my Starling on Sept 3 and was told they expect to ship in 7 business days which would be today. Hopefully the Starlings ship soon.

macabrem
September 15th, 2009, 03:21 AM
Yeah, I ordered a Starling on around the 8th or 9th. It said 7 business days, so I'm not panicking yet or anything, but what I'm hearing on here is discouraging. Maybe somebody from the company can respond and let us know if there are any issues.

thomasaaron
September 15th, 2009, 03:58 PM
Hey, guys. I don't get a lot of data on this sort of thing in the tech support department.

However, I know that we're growing at a break-neck pace and there is some re-organization happening in the way we handle our supply and manufacturing lines in order to keep up with growth. In other words... growing pains.

We've started a customer service department (headed by Mandy) in an effort to provide a steady flow of information to customers. That is quickly coming up to speed. I'm providing less and less of the customer support and focusing my department on pre- and post-sales technical support.

We're working hard to do things in such a way that we can grow without sacrificing the personal touch.

So for what it's worth, this isn't a matter of somebody sleeping on the job. It's a matter of a lot of people working around the clock to resolve things and grow a unique kind of company.

I've pointed my supervisors to this thread.

If you have a question about your particular order, you'll get better information by emailing Mandy directly... mandy--at--system76--dot--com.

Hope that helps.

bezoar
September 15th, 2009, 04:19 PM
GEEKS are like 3 year olds. We want it NOW!

And would be the first to whine if quality control was not up to par.

I was figuring it probably was growing pains. Rather it be that than going-out-of-business pains.

I will, personally, try to be more patient and less whiney (on the formum anyway).

Wouldn't be here if I wasn't sure it was worth the wait.

But thanks for the rsponse, it's nice to know the whines are listened to.

Natr0n
September 15th, 2009, 04:40 PM
My Starling shipped today. Now it just needs to survive UPS. I just wanted to let every one know since I was complaining about it in my previous post. Thanks for your comments, thomasaaron, I am glad to hear that System76 is doing well. By the way, I have had some correspondence with Mandy and she has been extremely helpful.

macabrem
September 15th, 2009, 05:02 PM
Thanks thomasaaron for the response on the forum. I'm excited about buying my first linux pre-installed computer. I'm sure I'm not the only first time System 76 buyer that gets a little nervous about possible delays. I purchased the Starling after reading the great reviews so I am looking forward to adding my own positive review about the Starling and System 76.

Natr0n
September 15th, 2009, 05:07 PM
GEEKS are like 3 year olds. We want it NOW! I know you're trying to be funny but I don't much appreciate being called a whiner. Especially not since I was told initially that my netbook would ship in 7 business days but it actually took about 15. I don't think complaining about that qualifies as whining. In addition, I don't think that System76 should be telling people
We expect to ship your laptop within 7 business days. if there is a high chance that it won't, or if, like a lot of people have been saying in this thread, it ACTUALLY takes 10 days.

I am a paying customer with a legitimate concern regarding a product I purchased. I am not a whiner.

macabrem
September 15th, 2009, 05:11 PM
I know you're trying to be funny but I don't much appreciate being called a whiner. Especially not since I was told initially that my netbook would ship in 7 business days but it actually took about 15. I don't think complaining about that qualifies as whining. In addition, I don't think that System76 should be telling people if there is a high chance that it won't, or if, like a lot of people have been saying in this thread, it ACTUALLY takes 10 days.

I am a paying customer with a legitimate concern regarding a product I purchased. I am not a whiner.


I agree completely. I, personally, based a large amount of my decision to purchase from System 76 on the timeliness of being able to receive my netbook within a reasonable amount of time. If it says within 7 business days, I would expect it to be within that time frame.

dlavi1976
September 15th, 2009, 06:12 PM
I ordered my Starling on 9/1 and was told 7 business days. I emailed on 9/11 and was told it would ship that day. When it did not ship on 9/11 ,I emailed on 9/14 and was told it would ship that day. It did not ship on 9/14 either. I am looking forward to getting my Netbook, but I have to admit I am a bit discouraged by the wait and apparant lack of internal communication at System76.

bezoar
September 16th, 2009, 01:31 AM
I know you're trying to be funny but I don't much appreciate being called a whiner. Especially not since I was told initially that my netbook would ship in 7 business days but it actually took about 15. I don't think complaining about that qualifies as whining. In addition, I don't think that System76 should be telling people if there is a high chance that it won't, or if, like a lot of people have been saying in this thread, it ACTUALLY takes 10 days.

I am a paying customer with a legitimate concern regarding a product I purchased. I am not a whiner.

I was trying to keep it light. If anyone took offense, I apologize and will not post again.
Not going off in a huff but I find this kind of thing ugly and unappealing. Life's too short.

G'day

macabrem
September 16th, 2009, 01:03 PM
I was trying to keep it light. If anyone took offense, I apologize and will not post again.
Not going off in a huff but I find this kind of thing ugly and unappealing. Life's too short.

G'day

Hopefully you don't quit posting. We need as much community support as possible. I think emotions are just running high - hopefully we all get our Starlings soon without too much more delay.

johnubunt
September 16th, 2009, 05:44 PM
I was thinking about buying a netbook. Possibly the Starling or the Darter Ultra. Is everybody experiencing delays with all orders or is it just the Starlings?

Tart
September 16th, 2009, 05:53 PM
I ordered two Starlings in the beginning of the September. My ordred was shiped yesterday. It took 10 business days. "We expect to ship your laptops within 7 business days." is an expectation, i.e. mean, there could be some variability. So i'm totally cool with this. In addition, it looks like there were several Starling orders at the same time period. This could explain slight delay. Check also Thomas' post from yesterday - they are rapidly expanding and experiencing "growing pains".

Can't wait to get my Starling .......

samalex
September 16th, 2009, 06:12 PM
For me I ordered my PanP5 on Wed, July 29th and it shipped on Wed, Aug 5, 7 days later which was exactly what they estimated. I picked it up from the local UPS office on Friday, Aug 7th.

For me this turn around time was excellent and faster then I expected.

Sam

johnubunt
September 16th, 2009, 06:45 PM
Thanks for the input. I guess I may wait a little longer before deciding. I don't know if I can stand too long of a wait once I order.

jimmie-watters
September 16th, 2009, 09:48 PM
My Starling shipped yesterday which i think was day 8. Now the UPS watch is on.

Can't wait for my Starling ...


bezoar i second macabrem's statement about keep posting!

HotShotDJ
September 16th, 2009, 11:53 PM
I just this very moment ordered my Pangolin -- the level of pre-sales support/information is exceptional. Tom Aaron seemed to take ownership of me as a potential customer and gladly answered all my questions and concerns via this forum, by email, and by phone. I feel very comfortable spending my money with System76.

biprauk
September 18th, 2009, 01:18 PM
Nice and informative post. Keep up the good work.

Natr0n
September 18th, 2009, 10:37 PM
So I received my Starling yesterday and I couldn't be happier with it. It's an awesome little computer. Well worth the wait for sure.

macabrem
September 18th, 2009, 11:01 PM
So I received my Starling yesterday and I couldn't be happier with it. It's an awesome little computer. Well worth the wait for sure.

Awesome. I can't wait to get mine. I was told that mine should ship today, but I still haven't gotten an email or account update saying it has shipped. I'm still holding my breath for a couple more hours...

Natr0n
September 19th, 2009, 12:41 AM
Awesome. I can't wait to get mine. I was told that mine should ship today, but I still haven't gotten an email or account update saying it has shipped. I'm still holding my breath for a couple more hours...

I actually got my status update the day after it shipped. I'm guessing that's because it shipped pretty late in the evening. So my computer actually shipped on Monday the 14th at around 7 or 8 PM and I received the notification the next morning.

macabrem
September 19th, 2009, 01:58 AM
I actually got my status update the day after it shipped. I'm guessing that's because it shipped pretty late in the evening. So my computer actually shipped on Monday the 14th at around 7 or 8 PM and I received the notification the next morning.

Thanks, that gives me some hope. I just checked again and it still said "manufacturing." I'm not sure how late System 76 workers work, or if they work weekends or not. As you know, the waiting is the hardest part - I'm hoping I don't have to wait until Monday for a status update.

pla
September 19th, 2009, 01:17 PM
I have 2 pain points so far: ordering process and shipping delay. I placed my order via the web for a Meerkat ION NetTop on Wednesday 2 September, 2009. The next day I received an email stating I needed to contact System76 regarding my shipping address. "Due to recent fraud we must verify with the credit card company all orders where the shipping address doesn't match the billing address". I use my work address to receive goods. I had to call my credit card company. They don't have a mechanism to store shipping addresses but they said they would put my work address in the comments. I then called System76 to inform them that I talked with my credit card company. The order was then sent to maufacturing where it remains today. I called on day 14 to check on the order status and was told they were waiting on the motherboard and that it had just arrived. I am considering cancelling my order and building a system from a Zotac ION MOBO instead. I just wanted to give some love to a company selling Ubuntu machines but I could have easily have built a system by now.

Thanks, Patrick L Archibald

Lee_Machine
September 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM
I have 2 pain points so far: ordering process and shipping delay. I placed my order via the web for a Meerkat ION NetTop on Wednesday 2 September, 2009. The next day I received an email stating I needed to contact System76 regarding my shipping address. "Due to recent fraud we must verify with the credit card company all orders where the shipping address doesn't match the billing address". I use my work address to receive goods. I had to call my credit card company. They don't have a mechanism to store shipping addresses but they said they would put my work address in the comments. I then called System76 to inform them that I talked with my credit card company. The order was then sent to maufacturing where it remains today. I called on day 14 to check on the order status and was told they were waiting on the motherboard and that it had just arrived. I am considering cancelling my order and building a system from a Zotac ION MOBO instead. I just wanted to give some love to a company selling Ubuntu machines but I could have easily have built a system by now.

Thanks, Patrick L Archibald

Sounds like your order got stuck in backorder limbo, it happens. Remember these guys are not Dell; which is a good thing. A buddy in my Linux Users Group had his Mini get stuck in backorder for two months.

But kudos for supporting the company, and of which they stand for.

jdmelton
September 19th, 2009, 04:22 PM
pla,

I believe that your experience with System76 is not typical. I now purchase new equipment exclusively from them for my company and clients. I switched to System76 after continued poor support from Dell with Ubuntu systems. Other than being a customer, I have no other affiliation with them. I use both 32 and 64 bit systems.

I used to build all of my own systems. I still build them for friends, yet for business use I find that it is much better in the long run to let System76 keep up with new hardware and drivers.

My experience with their support over the last 3 years has been great. They very actively support this forum and are readily accessible by other means as well.

I must admit that I have not had the type of problem that you are experiencing, however I recommend that you give them a chance. All companies have problems, and sometimes their underlying vendors fail to deliver on time, as well.

macabrem
September 19th, 2009, 04:26 PM
I think better communication from S76 would help. If an order is delayed (past the 7 or 10 business day estimate), the buyer should be informed. Also, I don't understand why some people are told their orders will ship on a certain day and then they don't get shipped.

I'm wondering how many people end up canceling their order because they don't want to wait forever to receive it.

jdmelton
September 19th, 2009, 05:05 PM
"We've sent your order into manufacturing. We expect to ship your desktop within 7 business days. We will update you with the tracking info once it is available. Thank you for your order and please let us know if you have any questions."

Perhaps System76 should capitalize the word 'expect'. The order that the quoted sentence above came from actually shipped 9 calendar days later. I received an email the day it shipped with the UPS tracking number. Of course, 'business days' normally means Monday to Friday.

I experience the same problem in my company. I try to keep my customers informed about expected delivery dates. When I built systems for customers, I kept an inventory of parts, but no assembled systems. As a small-timer, I did not always have everything on hand that a customer wanted. Other times, a brand-new component on hand would fail during burn-in. Once, I smoked a completed rush-order system while rushing to get it tested. It was a 24 VDC system and I gave it a 240 VAC power source. Dumb. The rush order had been promised to ship on a certain date, and I could not deliver. Please note that System76 does use the word 'expect'. I believe that is an honest attempt on their part to try and keep their customer informed. They also send out emails with UPS tracking numbers on the day the product ships.

My point is that all companies experience problems while trying to service their customers. I know it is very frustrating to have a bad experience, and it is even worse to have continued bad experiences. Dell is a great company, yet I no longer do any Linux-based business with them due to continued poor support experiences. Dell may have changed, I do not know. I still order from Dell for Microsoft-based customer systems.

Perhaps System76 should generate a follow-up email with a short explanation, if an expected ship date is not met. Such an email could probably be generated automatically. I suspect their order update emails are already generated automatically but do not know.

Kendall_Tristan
September 20th, 2009, 02:16 AM
I've had my Darter Ultra for about a month now. No issues whatsoever. What's cool is that I priced out an identical Sager system with no OS installed and it ended up being within a dollar of the price I paid to get my System76, so yay. Anyway, write me off as another happy customer.

jimmie-watters
September 24th, 2009, 04:40 AM
Received my Starling today! So far so good. i think mine shipped on day 8 not on day 7 the hardest part was waiting for UPS. but it is here and working as advertised. Other then my own impatience a very positive experience. Now i just have to train my hands to type on the smaller keyboard.

thanks to Thomas and Mandy from Sys76 and all the users hear who helped me make the decision on the Starling!

bezoar
September 30th, 2009, 01:04 AM
Just received (yesterday) my Meerkat. The ONLY thing I find wrong with it is that the dvd drive is not slot load. Given an option I would have upgraded to that.

Drive started off real slow. Stopped and restarted and it is now running fine. Was just watching "Underworld".

My two day experience has been a good one. I have it set up, so far, the way I want it.

Things go well. It is almost totally silent. And just as pretty as a picture.

Mandy and Co at System76 took, with good grace, my impatience to get my system and treated me very well.

If things keep on this way, I may have to get a Starling.

Just wanted to let people know I am well and truly pleased.

Skip

Eyore15
September 30th, 2009, 01:46 AM
Trying to set up my Starling for use through a video projector today and learned a few lessons; haven't been able to go back and sort it out yet so this may all be normal.

I had a usb drive connected to the system when I had to re-boot. System would not re-boot until after I removed the usb drive. I'm presuming the bios are set to look for one/all the usb ports at start up.

It also doesn't work if you boot with the external monitor connected to the VGA port. Once I had the system booted,then I could plug in the cable that runs to the video projector. Since the automatic function can't find the projector as a known monitor, it takes a bit of finessing to gert everything set properly. Through trial and error I'm sure I'll get it down to a system that works.

The wireless adapter is giving me little tiny fits. There are two wireless access points available in my classroom: NHS Guest and NHS Data. The system defaults to NHS Guest. I then have to go in and manuallhy tell it to look for NHS Data. I can't figure wout when it's picking one over the other. My first thought was that it was selecting the port with the strongest signal, but that's not borne out -- NHS Data has the stronger signal.

Having to make these tweaks is cementing my status as power user; always helpful when you need something from the tech department.

In my case it's working fine, I'm just having to adjust to it.

regards

mcm

macabrem
September 30th, 2009, 12:42 PM
I received my Starling yesterday. I am extremely impressed with this netbook. It is very solid, and all of the software and hardware seem to work together well. The only problem I have had is trying to set up a wireless network using my iMac as the access point (I don't have a separate router, my iMac creates the network) - I can connect other devices to my network but not my Starling. I mentioned this on another thread so I'm still hoping to have the resolved.

Other than that, I feel that System76 really delivered on a solid product that can be used by beginners and pros alike - without booting Windows. As of now, I wouldn't hesitate to order another computer from System 76. It really takes any hassle out of linux by having System 76 ensure the hardware works with the software and their drivers.

I waited about 20 days for my Starling, but it was definitely worth the wait.

thomasaaron
September 30th, 2009, 03:34 PM
Eyore15,

Email me if you need help with those issues.

AutoLink
October 4th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Does System76 have phone support? I couldn't find it on their website. It looks like ZaReason does, though it is listed as a "last resort."

macabrem
October 4th, 2009, 05:10 PM
I've never had to call them, but I believe it is the # listed at the top of their home page:

888.468.6482 (it's by "Log In", "Cart Contents", etc)

I believe I have read on this forum that others have called and received help. I believe that phone support is included with your 1 year of technical support (or more if you upgrade).

But, they are very good with helping through the forums and email also.

Eldera
October 4th, 2009, 08:13 PM
but I believe it is the # listed at the top of their home page:

888.468.6482

+1 Tom's extension is 603

Rayve
October 5th, 2009, 12:52 PM
Having read through the 20 pages of this thread, I have to say System76 definitely sounds good. Windows has finally forsaken me for the last time and I've decided my next computer (projected to be bought after Christmas this year) will run Linux, and as I'm not confident (or savvy) enough to put one together myself just yet, S76 seems perfect.

I'm noticing most reviews are for laptops, but my first purchase was to be a desktop to replace my current one. Does anyone have experience with the Wild Dog, or even the Leopard Extreme models?

And since I'm quite new to Linux (viewing and responding on Linux via a very small Wubi-assisted dual-boot, but otherwise on a Windows machine), when the new distributions come out and (if?) I upgrade, do I lose any files? I think my brain is associating "upgrade operating system" with something akin to "format and reinstall" and that frightens me. o.O

Thank you all for the reviews, and thanks System76 for what appears to be an excellent company with great customer service. :)

Eldera
October 5th, 2009, 01:57 PM
when the new distributions come out and (if?) I upgrade, do I lose any files?

There are several ways of upgrading, some of which preserve your data. Some of the experts will be making suggestions soon I am sure. Now a word from a non-expert: it is a very simple thing to copy your data onto a USB stick or a DVD and have a backup. I just copy and paste. (There are more complicated ways that also preserve some of your settings. I just save data) Sometimes, even when using a method that should preserve your files, accidents happen. If all goes well and you don't need the backup you have only lost a few minutes making it.

Upgrading is not that big a deal. This from a 74 yr old, self-taught hobbyist.

Re-installing is easier to do on a S76 machine than it would be on something that started out with a Windows OS. There is adequate info on how to in the 76 Knowledge base.http://knowledge76.com/index.php/Main_Page Between making mistakes and changing my mind about how I wanted my partitioning, I have done it between 15 and 20 times on my Pangolin. I would not touch the partitioning on the Acer running Vista with a 10 foot pole.

Rayve
October 6th, 2009, 06:43 AM
Eldera,

Thanks for the reply! I'm all about backing up my data, I suppose it just sounded like a more complicated process than it truly is. :)

jeamer
October 7th, 2009, 08:10 PM
So I killed my work computer (really killed it dead... take that, power supply, RAM, mobo etc hahahahhaha now I get a new one) and have been forced to work off my Pangolin VALUE 3 (over 2 years old now) for the last couple weeks. This is my shoutout to Sys76 products.

I've been running Vbox with some intensely bloated software on the win2000 virtual machine (ArcGIS, ENVI, PCI...etc) with a dual monitor setup pretty much every day for 8 hours a day through that time period. SysINFO screenlet constantly reminds me that both my CPUs run at 99% and at ~70 degrees, with my RAM at about 95% (no swap) and my GPU running at ~ 75 to 80 degrees... constantly.

Has it froze? Yes, I wont lie, I've killed a few projects mid-save, but hey, this baby's still going, and still going strong. The bloody virtual machine runs better than my old work computer on an XP OS did! I just wanted to share how impressed I am with how well this "value" machine is still performing (knock on wood!). I'm definitely a Sys76 customer for life... time to replace the 12 yr old HP desktop at home (but hey, been saying that for a year now).

Jordan

rrazian
February 9th, 2010, 05:45 AM
I bought a leopard extreme a few months ago.

It arrived, worked beautifully, and has ever since. I tried for years (10?) to make the switch to linux, but the driver issue killed it every time. This was set up perfectly, and requires no effort. The speed is excellent, hardware support is great, and I am so happy to get away from Windows.

I will buy my next computer(s) from them. (As much fun as it was buying a dell every 6-12 months before it failed.)

oleink
April 16th, 2010, 02:15 PM
Thanks for the posts guys. My dc Jack is loose and as soon as i got the cash this is the company I'm buying from. I am looking at their high performance because of the graphics card but if they update the ati card I wouldn't mind spending the 100s less haha

tc101
July 17th, 2010, 09:28 PM
Only two posts here in the last year. I System 76 still a good place to buy a computer with ubuntu installed? I'm thinking of buying their netbook:
http://www.system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=105

Any reason not to?

HotShotDJ
July 18th, 2010, 09:19 PM
Only two posts here in the last year. I System 76 still a good place to buy a computer with ubuntu installed? I'm thinking of buying their netbook:
http://www.system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=105
I have a Pangolin and my friend has a Starling. Neither of us would buy from anybody but System76.

After my friend got his Starling, I played with it for awhile, and then went to Best Buy and played with some of theirs. The Starling seems to be more sturdy and has a better "fit and finish" than other netbooks in that price range. I've looked at the new Starling that will be shipping soon, and it looks like it will be even better than the last one. There were two things that I found problematic with the first generation Starling... the Touch-Pad button placement and the placement of the Fn and Ctrl buttons. Both issues are corrected in the new Starling.

Bottom line -- to your question if System76 is still a good place to buy a computer: An unqualified YES. IMHO, it is the only good place to buy a computer. And if you are in the market for a netbook, then the Starling is a good choice.

bruvverjak
July 19th, 2010, 12:23 AM
Only two posts here in the last year. I System 76 still a good place to buy a computer with ubuntu installed? I'm thinking of buying their netbook:
http://www.system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=105

Any reason not to?


I have both the Starling and a Wild Dog. I have Win7 in VirtualBox (never use it unless I absolutely have to) on the Wild Dog just to remind myself why I switched to Ubuntu.

My Starling was DOA, but there was a reasonably quick turn-around and it has performed flawlessly ever since. I use it a lot every day.

I've had only good experiences with System76 and all of those wonderful people who share their skills here in this forum. I've been able to find fixes for just about every software problem I've encountered thanks to the "ubuntu" philosophy of the users here. I haven't needed to ask questions to find the help I needed. I just visit this forum regularly and stay read up on what's going on.

I had absolutely no excuse for purchasing the Wild Dog other than wanting to have owned at least one REAL desktop before they become extinct. The only word I can think of to describe it is "awesome".

Whatever my next computer will be, I'll most likely get it from System76.

garublador
July 19th, 2010, 08:44 PM
Only two posts here in the last year. I System 76 still a good place to buy a computer with ubuntu installed? I'm thinking of buying their netbook:
http://www.system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=105

Any reason not to?I see no reason not to. I just got a Pangolin and it's wonderful. The next time I buy a computer System76 will be the first place I go.

Flyers2391
July 19th, 2010, 09:33 PM
Only two posts here in the last year. I System 76 still a good place to buy a computer with ubuntu installed? I'm thinking of buying their netbook:
http://www.system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=105

Any reason not to?

I purchased a nettop for a friend several months ago and have had no problems with it. It took longer than I expected to ship (even though the site does say 7-10 business days, I expected it to be less since it was just a base config) but we weren't in a rush so it wasn't a big deal.

zitch
July 19th, 2010, 09:44 PM
After more than a year (it was shipped to me in April 2009) of owning and heavily using my Serval Profession (serp5) for work, I have to say I've had a very good experience with System 76. The system I had ordered was the following:

1 x Serval Professional (SER-P5) = $1,888.00
Bluetooth Bluetooth
Car AC Adapter Car AC Adapter
Display Resolution 15.4" WUXGA Matte Finish LCD (1920 x 1200)
Extra AC Adapter Additional Adapter
Extra Battery no extra battery
Graphics nVidia GeForce GTX 260M with 1GB DDR3
Hard Drive 320 GB 7200 RPM SATA II
Hardware Warranty 1 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and Technical Support
Laptop Bag no bag
Memory 4 GB - DDR3 1066 MHZ - 2 DIMMs
Operating System Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) 64 Bit Linux
Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-RW
Processor Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 3 MB L2 (25 Watt)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 - 802.11A/B/G/N Up to 450 Mbps

I got this system mainly for the 1920x1200 video resolution, the dual core CPU, the 4 GB of RAM, and it ran Ubuntu linux right-out-of-the-box. And I have to say it has been a work-horse for me. I run several virtualboxes with it (mainly a Windows XP Pro VM for certain things I had to have windows for like Flex Builder and to test sites with IE, and often various linux servers for development and testing purposes), eclipse IDEs for PHP, and MySQL and PostgreSQL for database tests, all at the same time. Even with these CPUs, the laptop almost never feels warm to the touch, and the laptop feels very sturdy. And for a laptop keyboard, I really like how the keys feel to press; to the point that I don't even want an external keyboard to type on.

Until the beginning of this month (July 2010), I was running Ubuntu 8.10 (You know, don't fix what isn't broke?), but I went ahead moved to Lucid 10.04 a few weeks ago as stuff like security updates and the like will let me stay on this LTS release for a long time. I backed up my databases, backed up the old harddrive to an external 500 GB USB drive, swapped in a new harddrive (though same capacity and speed: 320 GB 7200 RPM), installed 10.04 on it, and proceeded to setup all the programs I needed and transfer the data I needed from the backup.

Swapping the harddrive was dead-easy (though I knew what I was doing): turn off the system, turn it over, remove the battery, and remove the 7-8 screws that hold the main large cover. Unscrew and remove the harddrive, transfer the mounting hardware to the new drive, and reverse the process to put everything back together, then install Ubuntu 10.04 from the CD. I have the old harddrive in a USB enclosure, and after I am very sure that I have everything I need from it, I'll wipe the drive and use it as an external USB powered drive.

The few downsides were that I never could get 802.11n wireless working under Ubuntu 8.10 (never tested it yet in 10.04), and the webcam on the system seemed to have died a few months in of owning it, but I've yet to be in a location with an 802.11n network only and the 802.11g networking works just fine and the webcam was always just an extra for me and I never used it outside of playing around with it in cheese and skype. Another minor issue is the placement of the DVD drive eject button (I seemed to accidentally press it all the time at first when I grab the laptop), but a slight adjustment to how I pick up the system avoids that. And as a want, more USB slots would be nice; two on the right side + two on the back (one of which is an e-Sata/USB2 combo) sometimes feels tight when I already have a wireless Logitech USB mouse and a USB HD plugged in back, but a USB hub would probably aleviate that at work.

Even so, my experience with the laptop has been wonderful! I've yet to use System76 support outside of these forums, but that's more of a testament to the quality of the hardware! At this point, System76 will be my first stop if I need another Linux machine, and will probably even get heavy consideration when I need a Windows system. Though they seem to be higher in price than Dell (especially when I was considering one of their Ubuntu machines), System76 didn't cut corners on last year's Serval Pro; the screen hinge still feels solid after a year, and there are barly any scratches on the cover around the the keyboard and on the back of the screen. As such, my Windows 7 Desktop at home has been relegated as the Gaming machine. When I want to browse or do actual work, the System76 Serval Professional has been my go-to machine!

dsutherland
January 8th, 2011, 04:43 PM
I couldn't find a better place to post this question;

I'm going back and forth between buying a new mainstream laptop (ThinkPads are my favorite, and the one in question), or buying a system76 system, with the intention to install Ubuntu only on each of them. The pricing between the two are somewhat comparable. One of my friends got a Pangolin Performance, and had a hell of a time with it with regards to ethernet for internet access on the MIT network, so that induced some hesitation and deliberation. I currently have a ThinkPad T400 (and a MacBook Pro, which I'm looking to detach from Apple permanently) with 10.10 running beautifully on it, and will be looking for a new laptop in the next year or so right before I head to grad school.

Do you think it is somewhat disadvantageous to purchase a system76 as opposed to a mainstream laptop, with regards to compatibility with networks, quality of construction (ThinkPads are legendary of course), and hardware warranty? Thank you for your time reading this post, and if you feel this question would be better posed in a different section, please let me know and I'll move it.

jml
January 9th, 2011, 01:48 AM
I have owned two IBM ThinkPads and three System 76 laptops over the years and I think that they were all very well built and reliable computers. Both companies tend to sell Linux friendly laptops. I would recommend that you choose the laptop based on your specific needs.

A System 76 laptop has the major advantage that it comes with Ubuntu installed with virtually all of the functionality working out of the box. On any particular laptop they sell, if there is a bit of hardware that does not work well with a standard install of Ubuntu, System 76 writes special software drivers to make the hardware work properly. I never had problems connecting to either open or encrypted networks. If the network you want to connect to uses a form of encryption not supported in Linux you may have problems. I suggest investigating what are the specific requirements to log onto your grad school's network and make sure that that protocol is supported by Linux.

In my opinion, System 76 laptops have one weakness, battery life. With standard batteries, the Serval gets about one hour of running time. The Pangolin gets 1.5 hours. The Lemur gets about 2 hours of battery life, and the Starling gets 3 hours with the standard battery and 5-7 hours with the extended battery. If you need longer battery life, then you will need to buy extra batteries to swap out when one battery dies. I do not know how these run times compares to the ThinkPad.

Good hunting!

Joe

rbosaz
January 9th, 2011, 11:48 PM
I bought a Pangolin Performance back in April 20101 and I have been very impressed.

This computer kick-*** and have been very impressed with their support!

Bluebearbevis
January 11th, 2011, 08:37 PM
Hello Everyone,

Can't say I've read all the pages of this thread, so I can't quote percentages, but call mine a 99% positive. The only reason I subtract the 1% is because after 3 weeks I had to call System76 to find out why I had still not received my Pangolin. An LCD glitch rectified, an improvement in staff implemented, and one week later "Panny" arrived. Since then, 101%! My machine performs as many things as fast as I want, what more can I ask?

I don't think it's necessary for me to retell my story, sufficient to say: 1) Do your homework, and; 2) Then buy the best System76 model you can afford and welcome to a world of Overwhelming support.

System76: Quality Product, Reasonable Price, Fantastic Support

Thank you for listening,

Richard

silverhammermba
January 12th, 2011, 07:29 PM
I bought a Starling netbook about 4 months ago and overall I'd give it around an A-

I love how almost everything worked perfectly right out of the box. Compared to a fresh Windows system, the amount of tweaking I've had to do has been relatively minor.

There are only a few cons with my netbook:
I chose the SSD option and was a little disappointed that the OS was not pre-tweaked to take advantage of this. Not a major issue though because a quick google search pointed towards all of the optimizations I could perform.
Customizing the touchpad is not as easy as it should be and, in fact, does not work as advertised on the System 76 wiki (the touchpad config won't launch on startup). But it's easy enough to work around this (e.g. make a key combination load the touchpad config).
The battery life isn't quite what I hoped for. 2 hours with a 3-cell is decent, but considering the SSD I was hoping for more. I'll probably be upgrading to a 6-cell soon anyway.
The keyboard is a bit crappy. Some keys are iffy and can be pressed in a way that doesn't register the keystroke, but for typing it's usually not as issue.
The "System 76" sticker on the back of the screen looks nice, but it rubbed off after a few weeks of me carrying my netbook around in my backpack.


All other issues I had were specific to Ubuntu (bad preinstalled software, trouble connecting to my School's network, etc.) so I don't consider them to be downsides of my netbook.

ZeroAdam
January 13th, 2011, 04:32 AM
I ordered myself a Pangolin for Christmas. I've had other laptops that I removed Windows from and installed Ubuntu, they all work great of course, but my new Panp7 just feels like it was made to run Ubuntu.

I sprung for the 500GB HDD (didn't do the SSD), 4GB RAM and Core i5 processor, I also went with the top end wireless card offered(Intel ultimate i believe). I just love everything about it, and with the 64bit version, it just seems to fly. I've enjoyed switching other PCs and installing Ubuntu myself, but like someone mentioned above, having a preinstalled system with all the drivers and everything done out of the box is just nice. I haven't had to "tweak" anything other than my background picture!

I haven't experienced any of the problems mentioned above, someone had a negative about the keyboard, mine is just fine. I also haven't had any problems connecting to any networks yet either, though I've only had it connected to work and home.

Over all, I guess I'm saying I feel like I've received a product I would expect from any of the large manufacturers. I couldn't be happier!

themrfreeze
January 14th, 2011, 01:30 AM
For what it's worth, I bought my 9-year old son a netbook from a different Linux-only vendor for Christmas. He primarily plays Flash games and videochats with relatives out of state. It arrived two days before Christmas, and out of the box, the webcam, microphone, and left mouse button all didn't work right. Powering up requires holding the power button for 5 seconds (I was told it's a "design feature"). Heck, the company's logo was even mis-molded on the screen bezel. After spending lots of time troubleshooting and talking to tech support, I was told that it's probably hardware, and *I* would have to pay the ~$40 shipping to send it back to them to look at it. Having no faith in the long-term durability of this machine, I simply returned it for a refund (minus a 15% restocking fee), and ordered a Starling netbook from System76.

System76 told me that it would take up to 8 business days before it would ship. It took them 4 days to ship it, and they shipped it 3-day select, so it arrived today, one week later. Nice!

Out of the box, *everything* works. Webcam works great. Microphone is nice and clear. Mouse button isn't loose and sticking. And like the countless thousands of laptops I've supported in my many years of working in IT, it powers up as soon as you press the power button. My son finally has his Christmas present, he loves it, and I'm a very happy camper. *Many thanks* to the folks at System76!

So yeah, the next time I need a laptop, guess where I'm getting it from. :)

pauljw
January 21st, 2011, 09:49 PM
Like several others here, I don't have much of an experience to talk about. I ordered a Starling Edubook for my daughter's birthday. Took a little longer than I thought it would to arrive, ordered on Jan. 3rd and arrived on Jan. 17th. Didn't matter to me, her birthday is tomorrow, the 22, so all is good. I opened the box and did some configuration prior to giving it to her today. Everything just works, she loves it.


I currently use a Dell Studio 15 that I bought w/linux pre-installed. I love it, too. But Dell has cut back on the number of choices for linux machines it seems, so when I need to buy another laptop, I'll be ordering from System76.

Thank you System76 for continuing to provide viable alternatives to that other OS.

Paul

imercury
January 22nd, 2011, 12:23 PM
I purchased a System76 starling netbook and the screen failed within a month. The product itself is of cheap design not rugged and definitely not worth the extra cost. Even though the company agreed that their was a design flaw the wanted me to pay for the fix. See new thread I posted System76 inferior design - The customer service and support were not helpful. Buyer beware!!! It is better to install Ubuntu yourself on a quality built machine.
If you are interested in who some of their suppliers are
http://www.clevo.com.tw/en/products/index.asp
http://www.sagernotebook.com/ does the install
imercury
Peace and love

IAmWhatWasDavidBowman
January 23rd, 2011, 10:44 PM
I purchased a System76 starling netbook and the screen failed within a month. The product itself is of cheap design not rugged and definitely not worth the extra cost. Even though the company agreed that their was a design flaw the wanted me to pay for the fix. See new thread I posted System76 inferior design - The customer service and support were not helpful. Buyer beware!!! It is better to install Ubuntu yourself on a quality built machine.
If you are interested in who some of their suppliers are
http://www.clevo.com.tw/en/products/index.asp
http://www.sagernotebook.com/ does the install
imercury
Peace and love

This doesn't sound like what others have said about System76 and it's definitely contradictory to my experience. Also, if the screen failed, shouldn't the warranty have covered that? Or did you screw around with something?

YMMV, but my machine (PanP7) is a beast and I love it.

wazoo
January 24th, 2011, 01:41 AM
I ordered the ment3 Meerkat Netop. It was relatively inexpensive, I'm an Ubuntu user, and System 76 is a Colorado business (where I am).

It arrived in a timely way (before Christmas) but I waited to open it. No problems, really. I leave it running all the time to let my family use it as a print server. It's fast, reliable, and I haven't had to contact support because nothing has gone wrong with it. Isn't that refreshing?

patjennings
June 27th, 2011, 02:08 AM
I personally love my lemur laptop, I switched to 10.10 32 bit, and the guys from 76 were really helpful in explaining how to reinstall the 76 drivers. Great piece of kit, highly recomended.

cbennett926
August 3rd, 2011, 05:56 PM
I personally love my lemur laptop, I switched to 10.10 32 bit, and the guys from 76 were really helpful in explaining how to reinstall the 76 drivers. Great piece of kit, highly recomended.


That's the one I have been looking at! Do you think you could do a more thorough review?

jr223
August 3rd, 2011, 06:51 PM
Please find the following link which is to my review of my System76 Ratel.

This is more for seeing what the box looks like when it arrived and the unpacking process.
I have been very pleased with the performance, speed boot time and the way the Ratel operates as a whole.
Software selection is great, however I just have one minor item I would like to be added to the Ubuntu Software Center which is Citrix.


Please see this link for the doc.

http://ubuntuone.com/p/18As/


Cheers
Jr223

macpj
August 4th, 2011, 12:13 AM
I bought a Meerkat NetTop back in January. It was my 1st 'straight' linux machine (uBuntu 10.10). After a few months I liked having a linux machine so much, I bought a full sized tower (Dell) wiped the hard drive and installed uBuntu on. The Meerkat I turned into a HTPC & it's running great. I installed XBMC on it and it's perfect for HTPC use. Sometime down the road I'd like to buy one of the higher end System76 machines.

slavinzing56
August 4th, 2011, 06:27 AM
Been playing,...err working with my new Darter for about a week now. It still rocks in my opinion. I carry it to and from work and its nice to have such a light weight piece of hardware. Battery life seems pretty good. I say seems because I have not had to rely on running only on the battery yet, but judging by the battery indicator, I should get about four hours of use from it. The fit and finish is very good. Screen looks great, and the wide screen format really is better for watching movies.

jr223
August 4th, 2011, 12:16 PM
Been playing,...err working with my new Darter for about a week now.

Hi!

What's a Darter?

Thanks just curious.

macpj
August 4th, 2011, 03:37 PM
Hi!

What's a Darter?

Thanks just curious.
System 76 Darter Ultra,
Here are the specs:
- 13.3-inch widescreen WXGA display
- Weighs 4.3 pounds
- Ubuntu Linux OS
- 2.33GHz
- 1.5GB of DDR2 RAM
- From 40GB to 100GB hard drives
- Dual-layer DVD burner
- 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth, Ethernet
- 4-in-1 card reader
- ExpressCard slot
- VGA / S-Video out
- Three USB 2.0 ports
- Audio in / out
- FireWire
- Up to 4.5 hours of battery life

jordan313
August 6th, 2011, 08:35 AM
I have a month old Serval Pro 15" 2720QM i7 (SandyBridge), 8GB 1600MHz RAM (another 8GB is on its way from newegg), Nvidia GTX 580M, and 500GB HDD

I love this computer. I have been able to configure an awesome crunchbang linux install - looks exactly like I want (gorgeous), is super mega fast (flawless), and has all the apps/utilities I need to do everything I need to do (efficient).

The only problems that I had was with drivers for the GTX580M. Before anyone gets concerned about this, you have to understand that (1) I was trying to install unsupported distros (2) when the laptop was delivered the card was setup properly (3) the card was SUPER MEGA EPIC BLEEDING EDGE NEW when I got it, so there were very few people who had them, and fewer still that are worried about. I was able to resolve this issue with assistance from the great team from sys76 on this forum.

Finally, the thing that impressed me most about sys76is this: when I originally made my order I had selected the GTX485M and 1333MHz RAM. About 5 days after I ordered, I got a phone call from sys76 telling me that the 485M had just dropped in price dramatically, a new card the 580M was being released at the price I was going to pay for the 485M, and the memory had also dropped price about $50 or so. I was given the option of being credited the difference after they adjust my order to match the new prices or to upgrade to the new 580M and different RAM (I went with 1600Mhz RAM). I was extremely satisfied after this phone call. I may be wrong but I feel like many companies would have tried to hide these price changes from me,hope I never see it/mention it, and make me jump through hoops to have it changed if I did notice. Sys76 on the other-hand took care of me, and in the process earned my respect, trust, and gratitude.

Thank you System 76!

jordan313
August 6th, 2011, 08:35 AM
I have a month old Serval Pro 15" 2720QM i7 (SandyBridge), 8GB 1600MHz RAM (another 8GB is on its way from newegg), Nvidia GTX 580M, and 500GB HDD

I love this computer. I have been able to configure an awesome crunchbang linux install - looks exactly like I want (gorgeous), is super mega fast (flawless), and has all the apps/utilities I need to do everything I need to do (efficient).

The only problems that I had was with drivers for the GTX580M. Before anyone gets concerned about this, you have to understand that (1) I was trying to install unsupported distros (2) when the laptop was delivered the card was setup properly (3) the card was SUPER MEGA EPIC BLEEDING EDGE NEW when I got it, so there were very few people who had them, and fewer still that are worried about. I was able to resolve this issue with assistance from the great team from sys76 on this forum.

Finally, the thing that impressed me most about sys76is this: when I originally made my order I had selected the GTX485M and 1333MHz RAM. About 5 days after I ordered, I got a phone call from sys76 telling me that the 485M had just dropped in price dramatically, a new card the 580M was being released at the price I was going to pay for the 485M, and the memory had also dropped price about $50 or so. I was given the option of being credited the difference after they adjust my order to match the new prices or to upgrade to the new 580M and different RAM (I went with 1600Mhz RAM). I was extremely satisfied after this phone call. I may be wrong but I feel like many companies would have tried to hide these price changes from me,hope I never see it/mention it, and make me jump through hoops to have it changed if I did notice. Sys76 on the other-hand took care of me, and in the process earned my respect, trust, and gratitude.

Thank you System 76!

slavinzing56
August 9th, 2011, 03:44 AM
One further observation on my Darter. I find that the signal strength and therefore the connection speed to my wireless network is much better with the Darter than it was with my ThinkPad plus NetGear WG511T wireless card. From a distance of about 25 feet through thick plaster and lath walls my Darter shows a signal strength of 4 bars (nearly 100%,) from the same location I would get at best two bars (about 35-37%,) with my ThinkPad. Not sure if this is a configuration proble, or a problem with the Atheros Drivers installed by Ubuntu. I also am now picking up two outside access points I never new I was within range of. One is encrypted, but one is wide open.....But I'm being good,....really. :smile:

iandouglas
August 9th, 2011, 10:17 PM
Starting a new job soon and was pleased to find System76. Never really considered them in the past but not sure why. I bought a Dell XPS15 laptop in February and have struggled with little things like cooling issues, no hibernate/suspend, and of course the silly hybrid Intel/Nvidia graphics stuff.

I asked my soon-to-be-boss if I could get the 17" laptop from System76, mostly based on the experiences I've read from other users here about their support, etc.

kokoshmusun
August 11th, 2011, 04:06 AM
After trying to buy an Ubuntu (or no OS) laptop from Dell and HP and having a terrible time, we got a Starling netbook for my wife from System 76. We had the best experience calling them, and received it in the mail lightning fast. Everything worked beautifully out of the box, and it looks great. We are extremely happy with our choice and hope that this company continues to grow without sacrificing their amazing customer service and product quality.

securitymeddler
August 12th, 2011, 03:09 AM
Hey guys,

Just about to order a Syste 76 but rumor has it they have their own custom installs and setting to tweak the system? If I reimage how do you go about restoring those settings?

Feeling nervous about spending $700 on a product I can't touch first from a brand I have never used before.

Eldera
August 12th, 2011, 10:47 AM
how do you go about restoring those settings?

There are detailed instructions at

http://knowledge76.com/index.php/Restoring_Your_System

Have a great day.

bstudent
August 24th, 2011, 04:35 PM
Got my Starling a couple weeks ago and I love it. It's small, light, simple, inexpensive, and has great battery life (6-cell). And everything worked out of the box.

The only real problem I had is with the touchpad. It's too sensitive; I was having some annoying accidental click-touches while typing. So I decided to turn of "touch to click". The general online help didn't work, but the instructions at http://knowledge76.com/index.php/Star5 worked perfectly. And the instruction at knowledge76 tell you every single step, so even a complete linux noob can follow them.

Thanks for a great product!


- wdb

CaptSaltyJack
August 25th, 2011, 02:44 AM
Got my Bonobo last night, it rocks, but I'm having some issues. Namely, one of the USB 3.0 ports seems to have some trouble if I plug in a USB thumb drive and transfer large files over (some sort of splicing error). And the laptop battery is forever "estimating..." I haven't heard a peep from support yet.

On the positive side, though, the laptop is really sweet, and Ubuntu 11.04 runs like a dream on this thing (80GB SSD!).

d3v1150m471c
August 25th, 2011, 02:58 AM
System76 +1 for linux compatible hardware
- i will not buy system76 however, because i can buy the same quality components for less money.

CaptSaltyJack
August 25th, 2011, 03:09 AM
System76 +1 for linux compatible hardware
- i will not buy system76 however, because i can buy the same quality components for less money.

Really? I priced a Clevo laptop (which is exactly what System76 uses and rebrands), compared it to their Bonobo and it was the same exact price. I believe the Sager NP8170 (same laptop) is around the same price too.

Besides, the advantage of going with System76 isn't necessarily price or hardware, but the fact that their drivers fix Ubuntu's little quirks so it runs much better than it would on some other laptop.

cbennett926
December 6th, 2011, 09:48 AM
Starting a new job soon and was pleased to find System76. Never really considered them in the past but not sure why. I bought a Dell XPS15 laptop in February and have struggled with little things like cooling issues, no hibernate/suspend, and of course the silly hybrid Intel/Nvidia graphics stuff.

I asked my soon-to-be-boss if I could get the 17" laptop from System76, mostly based on the experiences I've read from other users here about their support, etc.


I was just about to order an XPS15 and thank you for letting me know the issues with it! Definitely going with S76 now!

Janeleaper
December 20th, 2011, 08:38 PM
My Meerkat Ion Net-Top was delivered yesterday.

This is my first System 76 computer, and my first time with Ubuntu 11.10. My other machines run Ubuntu 10.04, except for my Asus X101 netbook, on which I've replaced MeeGo with Lubuntu 11.10.

System 76 have a very generous 30 day approval period, within which you can get return the machine and get your money back. However, I'm in Canada, so the delivery charge and the import fee were a significant part of the cost (14%), and if I send it back I'll have to pay that again.

Manufacture and delivery were also fast -- 11 days from order to delivery. It would have taken 8 days if System 76 hadn't given UBS the wrong street number, but if I'd checked the order confirmation email, I would have seen that System 76 had the wrong address.

There was no documentation with the package. I didn't really need any, but it would have been nice to get a copy of the 11.10 CD.

I had no significant problems with set-up.

First impressions were that the case is neat, but the fan is noisy (as other Meerkat users also report). From the two threads on the fan, it seems System 76 are in denial over this issue. It would be nice if they could get over it and find a quieter fan. I haven't yet decided whether it is a deal-breaker for me.

It's a trade-off between size and noise. I had to put my tower PC under my desk, but the Meerkat can go on my side-table, next to the printer, which means it will be easier to keep dust-free, and I don't have to get down on my hands and knees to insert a USB.

There were no hardware compatibility issues. I'm pleased to find that my HP Deskjet 845C still works with the latest edition of Ubuntu, even if only for the black cartridge. I bought it in a car boot sale and it must be more than 10 years old. Longevity of compatible hardware is one of the big pluses of using Linux over Windows.

I've now updated and installed the additional programmes I use -- Writer's Cafe, Gramps, Gnucash, Drop-box and Google Chrome. For my photos I've decided to try out DigiKam, rather than F-Spot, which I've used previously.

So far, I've got mixed feelings about Oneiric Ocelot.

On my last PC, running Lucid Lynx, I had a problem with Ubuntu One, which kept stalling, but, with the exception of Tomboy notes, file synchronisation is working flawlessly on Oneiric --at least so far. So, with some trepidation, I'm going to try using it for regular scheduled backups. Scheduled backups were not offered on 10.04 either, and that is a welcome innovation.

So far, I can't get Tomboy notes to synchronise. The U1 control panel is not showing my notes, even though they appear on my account on the U1 web-page. My notes do not contain a Ph.D thesis, just shopping lists and notes of bus stop numbers, but I do find the synchronisation useful when I'm travelling. Even if I can get the synch to work eventually, it is irritating having to spend time on the issue.

I'm not enthusiastic about the Unity desk-top either. I'm finding it difficult to find minimised windows, and not sure how I avoid opening double instances of applications. I expect I'll get the hang of it eventually. Every version of Ubuntu seems to be less customisable than the last, and on Oneiric it is limited to the background. I prefer to have more control over what I see on screen. I'll try it for a few days before making a decision whether to change back to the old gnome desk-top.

Libre Office is running more smoothly on Oneiric than it did on Lucid. On Lucid, the main problem was that it opened very slowly and sometimes greyed out. So far, that's not happening on Oneiric.

I like to listen to BBC radio on my PC, but I've experienced difficulties getting the BBC iplayer to work, with every version of Ubuntu. Oneiric is no different. So far, I can't get the BBC "play again" programmes to play. This is the usual problem. However, there is an alternative way of listening to BBC programmes on the Beebotron site. I've managed to get that working, by following the Comprehensive Multimedia and Video how-to in the Multimedia and video forum.

bluesloth
December 21st, 2011, 10:58 AM
I ordered a Gazelle Professional the day before Oneiric was released. I got order updates by email to let me know what stage of the process it was at. It was supposed to come with Natty, but it came with Oneiric. Maybe it would have gotten here a bit faster if the switch to Oneiric didn't happen right then, but in the long run I suppose it worked out for the best.

I didn't choose a bag, but it came with one anyway. That was good since it doesn't fit in my special laptop carrying backpack (I've never had a laptop that fit in there LOL).

It was covered in lots of protective plastic. Most of it came off ok, some of it required tweezers, and two tiny pieces are still there because they're actually stuck in seams. Maybe years from now I'll look at them and remember the day I got the computer.. like little souvenirs. LOL

I've seen complaints here about the system76 logo coming off. Mine is still ok, but it hasn't been in and out of the bag very often. It does seem a bit flimsy. It's ironic because this is the first time I've had a computer with a logo I've actually wanted to show off to boost brand recognition.

I like the shape of the computer. It's the easiest to pick up and put down of all the laptops I've ever had. I care about that because no matter how solidly built a laptop seems, I'm always very paranoid and very gentle with them (even when they're off). Having an easy place to grip it helps with that.

Booting it up for the first time went well until Lightdm tried to start, at which point nothing happened. It was a permission problem with /var/lib/lightdm (probably bug 877066 (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/lightdm/+bug/877066)). It makes me wonder how everybody at Canonical and System76 missed that. It seems like Lightdm not working should be pretty noticeable. (I suppose they're all wondering that too)

It came with everything on one big partition (not including swap). I made 3 more: one for another OS (which will probably be Debian), one for /home, and one to store stuff on long term and mount read only most of the time. A gparted live CD shrunk the 690 GB root filesystem down to 60 GB with no problem.

I'm not going to review Unity and explain why I'm using Xfce now. Stuff like that is already all over the internet, and it has more to do with Ubuntu than System76.

There's nothing about the computer which is making me wish I'd gotten a different one. The keyboard's nice, the screen's really nice, and the speakers are actually not bad for a laptop (an actual physical volume control would have been nice, but the last time I got a computer with one of those was 1999, and I'm getting by just fine without one). I ordered it with a quad core CPU, and it still runs cool after sucking in 2 months worth of dust.

Fortunately I can't review System76's tech support, since I haven't needed it (although if I wasn't an experienced Linux user I definitely would have needed it to sort out that Lightdm problem).

I can't guarantee my next computer will be from System76, but it's not unlikely.

bk7777`
January 1st, 2012, 06:53 AM
My System 76 Leopard Extreme after 18 months......
500 GB SATA II 300 Mbps 7200 RPM 32MB Buffer
Core i7 930 2.80 GHz L2 8 MB QPI 4.8 GTs
Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) 64 Bit Linux
6 GB - 3 x 2 GB - Crucial Ballistix Triple Channel
1 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and 1 Yr. Technical Support
1 GB nVidia GeForce GTS 250

Cost with shipping just short of $1,600 in June of 2010.

Based on the money spent and effort put into system to keep reliable I would have to get it two (2) stars out of five (5).

The system was not reliable at all for almost 45 days. System 76 tech support while helpful left the impression that there hands were tied on what actions could be taken. We went back and forth with ideas to trouble shoot the system. It almost got to the point of getting a refund till someone here on the forums suggest "memtest".

Come to find out there was a bad DIMM all along. Once replaced for the most part we were good.

While all of this was going on it was thought that the hard drive was bad and replace as well since it had come out of its cradle in shipping and got the hell beat out of it.

Item three: I purchased the system to be a home theater system that would attached to my receiver and TV with full 5.1 sound. To get it working was a pain in the a$$. Realtek drivers were not loaded for HDMI and spdif sound to work. I never could get sound to work over the HDMI connection. Ended up using fiber to get HD sound to the receiver.

Here is the kicker that now after 18 months really pisses me off. I was told and asked the question specifically to system76 before purchasing that to insure they install the spdif cable from the mother board to the sound card, which I read about on another review that it was not being installed by default. I got there assurance and took their word for it.


I just took the system offline to blow the dust out of it and did a critical inspection that I should have done when I purchased it:

1) two (2) screws missing holding mother board to chassis.

2) Internal spdif cable was not installed. Had to order one. Good reason for sound not to work through the GTS 250.

3) Due to missing screws the mother board has warped causing e-sata and a few usb ports to become unusable due to out of alinement with the back I/O plate. The weight of the heat zinc is warping the board due to missing screws.

Bottom line to fix it, it is required to gut the case and do what is necessary to get the mother board back in alinement.


Minor note the case needs better anchors for the hard drives. The case is much louder than it should be when the disks are thrashing.


I know this is not putting system76 in a good light as I prefer to work with independent system builders. Hopefully S76 can learn from this to do a better job.


Thanks,
Brian

bk7777`
January 8th, 2012, 10:04 PM
Follow up,


I did gut the case and gave the system a complete review. The short answer is the quality assurance was sorely lacking.


The basic problem was missing or lose screws and stand offs. Once I tighten up the case, reinstalled all the components and replaced the missing screws the boards lined up as designed.


System 76 you have got to watch your quality control.


Thanks,
Brian

CaptSaltyJack
January 9th, 2012, 12:46 AM
You realize System76 doesn't actually build those laptops, right? They have nothing to do with quality control.

atl4s
January 10th, 2012, 11:44 PM
I received my panp8 (Pandolin Performance) System76 laptop in the mail just a few days. I have to say, it's everything I ever wanted out of my computer. I'm using 8 GB RAM, 2.20 Ghz Intel i7 processor, and the 120 GB SSD (I wasn't too worried about space). Everything seems to be working perfectly so far - specifically, I've had zero issues with sleep/hibernate, battery life, audio volume/quality, screen lighting, or any of the other more common issues I read about on this thread before buying the laptop.

Although it cost me a whopping $1300, I don't think I will be needing a new computer any time soon. This guy is just a complete powerhouse. I wrote some C scripts parse web page source code in parallel, and the cores are bloody fast! Speaking of cores: if you open up the system monitor, Ubuntu actually thinks it has 8 cores at its disposal. I think it's because each core is hyperthreaded (they take 2 threads at once, each), so four cores show up as eight threads - but Ubuntu can't tell the difference!

I definitely recommend the panp8 to anyone using a slightly older computer right now. This is my first Ubuntu-only computer (my last one dual-booted Windows), and while it's a little scary to let go of what seems to be mainstream consumer OS's, I know I can't consciously buy into that Windows/Mac crap anymore. So, thank you System76 for giving me the chance, and at a competitive price, too!

Cheers.

Porcini M.
February 5th, 2012, 06:59 AM
I think it's because each core is hyperthreaded (they take 2 threads at once, each), so four cores show up as eight threads

Yes. I have a single-core Intel Atom-based fileserver which shows up as 2 cores for the same reason.

isantop
February 6th, 2012, 05:14 PM
This is it; the System Monitor Application (as well as the underlying Linux system) don't detect physical CPUs, they detect execution threads, which are what the OS can actually use. Thus, the hyperthreaded CPUs we sell will have twice as many threads as they do cores.

ranjan_mg
February 8th, 2012, 07:00 PM
My thoughts -
I bought a System 76 laptop two years ago. Pangolin 6 - nvidia GPU. Obviously, I wanted a laptop where all the hardware worked out of the box. I am sure I paid more to get a "certified" linux laptop.
I am currently running Ubuntu 11.10. a While the machine runs as expected, there are a few things that are broken,(see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1919468) and system76 response is "we don't have any control over upstream software" - I sure understand that, but never expected a system to go out of current in two years.
So, my frank suggestion would be - Even if you want linux, buy a comparable machine from Dell/Toshiba/HP etc - and keep the extra $$. The so called Linux support from System 76 is sort of myth. If the hardware does not work a year from now because of a newer Ubuntu release, tough luck - You are on your own.