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Thread: Darter Ultra?

  1. #11
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    I must say, I'm kind of troubled by this development. My DarU2 is brand new and it's already no longer being sold?

    I definitely appreciate that it will continue to be supported as long as there are DarU2s in the field, but "supported" tends to be a lot different from a device that you're still selling and hence still concentrating your R&D efforts on to make it work. This thing doesn't even work entirely and it's already being obsoleted?

    If I were to guess, this move has something to do with all of the problems the DarU2 has been causing with its funky acpi interrupts and other power management problems. That's fair. And, before anyone starts in, yes, I know: This is a Linux laptop. It's not going to be all roses all of the time. Laptops have lots of little components, many of them non-standards-compliant, and this makes things difficult. I would expect to have a lot of the problems I've had with the DarU2 on any laptop that I could just pick up and run an Ubuntu CD on. That being said, part of the reason I went with System76 was the tacit understanding that they were working hard making Linux on a laptop a viable option. That they had chosen models that were fully-supported by Linux, and hence could charge more than just a barebones system of the same model. In other words, that going with them would be better than just buying a barebones system from newegg or something. That's what I paid for, and I paid it gladly because I love Linux, and I want to see a small company succeed by selling real, working Linux laptops with real support. (And the support HAS been excellent. I had a spill and had to send my laptop in for a motherboard replacement. Thomas was very good about this and I really feel as if he is my advocate in this whole thing, but there's only so much you can do from that position.) The problem is that it seems I'm doing just as much tweaking and fooling with this thing as I would with a laptop I could have paid a lot less for.

    The System76 drivers really seemed like a cool thing to me. It said to me: "we knew little tweaks would be needed here and there for stability, and we're working on that for you." It meant to me that I wouldn't NEED to do all of those little tweaks I'm used to doing. When I got my laptop and it couldn't hibernate (now it can hibernate but can't suspend), I was told "R&D is focused on getting that fixed". Now it seems as if they were focused more on other things.

    I guess what I'm trying to articulate here is that I feel as if I'm a casualty of a bad choice in OEM vendor, and I feel let down that it seems as if R&D efforts are focused more on finding a new model that works better rather than helping Linux work on the brand-new model I already own and paid a premium for. Had I known about the problems it had and that it would be replaced by something "really special" less than 5 months after I bought it, I would have stuck with the clunker I had and waited rather than dropping $1600 on a DarU2 with all of the trimmings.

    ...is it too much to hope for a trade-in program?
    Last edited by walkeraj; June 12th, 2008 at 03:53 PM.

  2. #12
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    Quote Originally Posted by walkeraj View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to articulate here is that I feel as if I'm a casualty of a bad choice in OEM vendor, and I feel let down that it seems as if R&D efforts are focused more on finding a new model that works better rather than helping Linux work on the brand-new model I already own and paid a premium for. Had I known about the problems it had and that it would be replaced by something "really special" less than 5 months after I bought it, I would have stuck with the clunker I had and waited rather than dropping $1600 on a DarU2 with all of the trimmings.
    I guess I'm having trouble understanding why you feel like a casualty. You got a great product at a great price with what is probably the best product support I've ever experienced.

    The old adage, "You pays your money and you takes your chances," applies somewhat, but products change. In this industry, you typically get a 1-3 year life cycle out of a product. If System76 came across a better product (or and equal, but easier to support product) or a better priced product, they are obliged to shift their resources in that direction. You and I will still get great support for our Daru2s. Of course, I'm not new to buying a new toy and seeing the upgraded version or lower price announced the next week. It happens all the time.

  3. #13
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    Quote Originally Posted by imhavoc View Post
    In this industry, you typically get a 1-3 year life cycle out of a product.
    1-3 years?? Dell seems to only keep one laptop model on the market for 6-9 months! Any time you buy technology, it is more or less obsolete as soon as you open the box.

    Nothing wrong with the way System 76 changed models.

  4. #14
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    Quote Originally Posted by imhavoc View Post
    I guess I'm having trouble understanding why you feel like a casualty. You got a great product at a great price with what is probably the best product support I've ever experienced.
    I never said the support wasn't excellent (in fact, I said QUITE the opposite). That's not the point. As to the price, that's debatable, but, as I said, I'm cool with paying more so long as there is something to it. I COULD have had the barebones for less, but I didn't want to. I wanted to support this company (still do), and I was under the impression that the premium I was paying came with some assurance that this was a tested and workable system.

    The old adage, "You pays your money and you takes your chances," applies somewhat, but products change. In this industry, you typically get a 1-3 year life cycle out of a product.
    Of course, but at least it usually works for those 1-3 years. In this case it seems as if this thing has never been fully supported. Right off the bat, I had to choose between whether I wanted accurate charge reporting or the ability to use advanced power features. In a laptop that shouldn't <i>be</i> a choice. First hibernate doesn't work, then suspend doesn't work. In this latest case, sure I can understand that a kernel change borked it, but wouldn't you think that some more research would have gone into picking a model where all of these things worked if you're going to sell a "linux laptop"?

    If System76 came across a better product (or and equal, but easier to support product) or a better priced product, they are obliged to shift their resources in that direction.
    I agree, my problem is that it seems that not a lot of thought went into this model in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by ejhayes View Post
    1-3 years?? Dell seems to only keep one laptop model on the market for 6-9 months! Any time you buy technology, it is more or less obsolete as soon as you open the box.

    Nothing wrong with the way System 76 changed models.
    Again, though. You would expect those to at least suspend and resume properly when you get them, wouldn't you? Or, at the very least, support the ability to scale down your processor and accurately report battery usage without having to make you choose between the two?

    No, there is nothing wrong with coming out with new models. The DarU2 was a new model compared to the other laptops that they sell, but you'll notice they still sell those... why is it that the Darter has been discontinued while all of the older models are still sold? If they had suddenly said "oh, we have a new, more powerful model available now", it would have been a case of "well, that's product obsolescence for you", but it seems more of a case of "this model sucks, let's cut our losses while we can", and, yeah, that kind of makes me feel like a casualty.

  5. #15
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    Essentially I have no real right to speak about this, since I own a MSI PR200 (System76 doesn't ship to Europe) but...

    Apart from the fact that pulling the daru2 might or might not have had anything to do with the battery and power management issues.
    And apart from the fact that, like thomasaaron has said, the people at System76 are still doing all they can to resolve the issues on Hardy...

    Is their something we (as the community/customers) can do to assist in any way to getting things resolved?

    I myself only have mediocre linux knowledge, an almost no knowledge at all when it comes to kernel programming or anything like that. But I'm sure that if we all pull our (limited) resources together, we could be useful in a way.
    Like e.g. with testing, bug reporting, brainstorming, etcetera. Which we could/should do anyways, but this time more focused on the suspend & battery problems.

    The bazaar model has proven its worth before, so why not now?

    Or am I being waaaaaay too naive here?

  6. #16
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    I would like to offer some clarification here, to clear up any misunderstandings about why we discontinued the Darter.

    The average life span of a product in this industry is about 6 months. We actually kept the DarU2 in production for about 9 months.

    Since its inception, System76 has had approximately 40 different products, only 10 of which are in our current line-up. That means about 30 of them have been discontinued.

    Yet, we are still actively supporting products that were discontinued almost 2-1/2 years ago -- keeping them running right in Hardy! With every new Ubuntu release, we fire most of them up and start testing and patching.

    There have been tons of people who have purchased computers a month, or even a day, before they are discontinued. Yet they and their computers are still receiving support.

    The point is, a product being discontinued is in no way indicative of the future support it will receive. This is what we pride ourselves on. It is one of our core values.

    As for the DarU2's acpi problems, we are constantly testing it and searching for solutions. We will find it. The oldest of our Servals (the SerP1) now has a working webcam, and it has been discontinued for almost a year and a half.

    It was just time for the DarU2 to go so that we can make room in our line-up for newer technology.
    To err is human, to forgive is very ... dog-like.

    Thomas Aaron
    FetchMasters, LLC

  7. #17
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    When will DarU2's replacement be ready though?

  8. #18
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    Quote Originally Posted by guX View Post
    When will DarU2's replacement be ready though?
    Since System76 is an opensource company, the only correct answer can be, "when it's ready."

  9. #19
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    Re: Darter Ultra?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomasaaron View Post
    I would like to offer some clarification here, to clear up any misunderstandings about why we discontinued the Darter.

    The average life span of a product in this industry is about 6 months. We actually kept the DarU2 in production for about 9 months.

    Since its inception, System76 has had approximately 40 different products, only 10 of which are in our current line-up. That means about 30 of them have been discontinued.

    Yet, we are still actively supporting products that were discontinued almost 2-1/2 years ago -- keeping them running right in Hardy! With every new Ubuntu release, we fire most of them up and start testing and patching.

    There have been tons of people who have purchased computers a month, or even a day, before they are discontinued. Yet they and their computers are still receiving support.
    I can vouch for that as I got my daru1 days before it was replaced by the daru2. Then I found out there are early daru1's and later daru1's - oh well, still love the little thing!

    The point is, a product being discontinued is in no way indicative of the future support it will receive. This is what we pride ourselves on. It is one of our core values.
    I have gotten nothing less than excellent support on a laptop that was discontinued within days of receiving it. I can't say enough good things about System76 and the support they provide.

    As for the DarU2's acpi problems, we are constantly testing it and searching for solutions. We will find it. The oldest of our Servals (the SerP1) now has a working webcam, and it has been discontinued for almost a year and a half.

    It was just time for the DarU2 to go so that we can make room in our line-up for newer technology.

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