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newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 03:51 PM
My gazelle-value laptop from www.system76.com arrived yesterday. I'm going to share first impressions and then as I play with it more I'll add more. I would be happy to answer questions for those interested.

Background:

I am new to Ubuntu - I just installed it dual boot on my home desktop in June, but I committed myself to the Linux and Ubuntu way of doing things. I'm not sure what took me so long to go Linux, as I've being saying I'd do it for a while, but here I am.

Anyway, I needed a new laptop, and I thought it would be nice to get one without windows, and just install Ubuntu. Then after some searches I found system76, which was shipping with dapper, and the prices were reasonable. I asked a couple of questions in the system76 forum and the staff answered them quickly, and support seemed good, so I ordered the gazelle. My specs:



Celeron M 380 1.6 GHz 1MB 400FSB
12.1 Widescreen WXGA (1280X800)
60 GB 5400 RPM
1GB DDR RAM
11.92" x 8.85" x 1.10" (W x D x H)
It has a network card, wireless a/b/g, and bluetooth
A SD/MMC reader
DVD-RW (Dual Layer)/CD-RW


I plan on using this for travel and home.

First Impressions:

It took 3 weeks from when I ordered it to when I received it. Part of this delay was supposedly due to a shortage of Celerons. When the laptop was delayed I received an email letting me know for how long and why.
The laptop was boxed and protected really well.
It looks basic but nice. My wife really liked the display (she has a Dell 12") and remarked how much better it looked. Don't know how she has it configured though.
The package came with a manual whiched seemed to be geared towards users with windows installed. Not a big deal for me as after glancing at it, I quickly tossed it away.
It came with a restore DVD, and a quick start sheet for those new to Ubuntu


Things I noted on first use:



Boots up quick. Screen looks great.
You will still need install current versions of Java, multimedia plugins, and windows codecs if you want them. Same with enabling reading of encrypted DVDs
I was able to setup the wireless to work on my WLAN with a little trouble. Got it working using WPA, with MAC filtering. It seems a little buggy. Sometimes network manager doesn't seem to know I have a wireless card. Most times it just worked, but once I did have to reboot to get it to connect. There is a hardware switch to enable wireless - it seems to have 3 different "modes." I think part of the problem was me having it in the wrong mode, but for most part it works fine. I'll post more about this as I learn more.
Wired networking was fine.
Without changing the battery management settings, I closed the lid, and screen went to sleep, but it did not suspend or hibernate. However when I opened the lid I was prompted for a password. I play with the power management settings more later.
I charged the battery full. Using wireless, multiple terminals, firefox, installing numerous apps, testing a DVD for 5 minutes, running Apollon in the background, and a hundred other tests of software that I just installed, the battery lasted about 2.5 hours. I'll eventually test it watching a DVD and with the wireless disabled.
The touch pad was configured well. Even the scrolling using the side and bottom of the touchpad were working.
Everything seems to run snappy!



I spent some time installing samba on the laptop and my desktop and setting up file and print sharing and permanent mounts, which was a real accomplishment for me since I'd never done that before. Didn't find it too difficult with all the threads here. Not of much interest to most of you, I'm sure, but I was quite happy, as getting that setup and the wireless were my two biggest concerns.

I want to get a bluetooth mouse that will work well. Any suggestions? Or should I just go with a wireless USB mouse?

I brought the laptop to work with me to continue configuring at lunch (I'm addicted).

All in all... so far so good.

fuscia
July 14th, 2006, 03:57 PM
isn't nice not to have to mess with windows and all their stupid popup adds for people with new machines?

K.Mandla
July 14th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Excellent! Thanks for the review. I've been wondering about these machines, and hoped someone would share their experience.

aysiu
July 14th, 2006, 04:02 PM
Thanks for sharing that, newlinux. Please do continue to post your further experiences with the new laptop.

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 04:08 PM
isn't nice not to have to mess with windows and all their stupid popup adds for people with new machines?

Man, I didn't even think of that, but yes you are right. And It feels like in a day I can get my Ubuntu machine configured to my liking with all the software I want and everything. With windows it seems to take years, and with every bit of software I add things seem to get slower and slower...

Brunellus
July 14th, 2006, 04:08 PM
have you tested the SD reader? does it work?

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 04:22 PM
have you tested the SD reader? does it work?

Not yet... I don't have an SD card. But if I find someone with one I'll let you know.

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 04:25 PM
One other thing... I noticed the internal speakers aren't very loud, at least not with the applications I tried them out with. Not a big deal, but it was noticeable to me because my last laptop seemed much louder.

matthew
July 14th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Thank you for posting your experiences. I will be following this thread with great interest.

ubuntu_demon
July 14th, 2006, 04:43 PM
Your laptop might have a function key to get it into hibernation. You should look it up in your manual if you can't find the key by looking and trying.

I like these gazelle laptops from what I have seen on the website. So I'm interested in this thread :). Too bad there is no such laptop shop in the Netherlands (at least not as far as I know of) but then again I have to save some more money until I can buy a laptop.

Brunellus
July 14th, 2006, 05:01 PM
Your laptop might have a function key to get it into hibernation. You should look it up in your manual if you can't find the key by looking and trying.

I like these gazelle laptops from what I have seen on the website. So I'm interested in this thread :). Too bad there is no such laptop shop in the Netherlands (at least not as far as I know of) but then again I have to save some more money until I can buy a laptop.
...but I seem to recall there are at least some vendors over in Belgium who do something similar?

hizaguchi
July 14th, 2006, 05:13 PM
Kinda disappointing about the power management. I would have thought (other than not supporting Windows) the real advantage to a preinstalled Ubuntu computer would be full hardware support out of the box. Maybe you'll find the suspend button and it'll work perfectly, though.

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 05:52 PM
Kinda disappointing about the power management. I would have thought (other than not supporting Windows) the real advantage to a preinstalled Ubuntu computer would be full hardware support out of the box. Maybe you'll find the suspend button and it'll work perfectly, though.

Let me clarify... I'm pretty sure it does support suspend and hibernation, mine just isn't configured to do that upon closing the lid. I have not even looked at the power management settings yet... I will look for a button, sometime today if I get a break. But I'm pretty sure if I click on the battery icon in the systray, I'll get to set it up to hibernate on certain actions.

Next up, I'll test battery settings (I have a business trip next week) CD/DVD burning, and the USB ports. Would like to test the bluetooth as well, but that may not happen soon, unless someone wants to recommend a good bluetooth mouse :)

prizrak
July 14th, 2006, 06:06 PM
I was able to setup the wireless to work on my WLAN with a little trouble. Got it working using WPA, with MAC filtering. It seems a little buggy. Sometimes network manager doesn't seem to know I have a wireless card
Have you commented the wireless card out in /etc/network/interfaces? That is a known bug with network manager.


I want to get a bluetooth mouse that will work well. Any suggestions? Or should I just go with a wireless USB mouse?

I would say that a bluetooth mouse is better just because you don't have to deal with an extra module. On the flip side the bluetooth mouse will be more expensive as far as brands go I would advise on getting a Logitech as they have great quality in my experience. If you want bluetooth you might want to read up on it and how it works in Ubuntu. I'm not sure what profiles are included and w/o a mouse profile a bluetooth mouse is fairly useless.

ubuntu_demon
July 14th, 2006, 06:18 PM
...but I seem to recall there are at least some vendors over in Belgium who do something similar?
Yeah :
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=1216284&postcount=18

system76.com is an affiliate http://www.ubuntu.com/partners/find while http://www.linux-service.be is only listed on the market place.

But more importantly http://www.linux-service.be doesn't have a nice 12" pentium M laptop.

It doesn't matter very much to me personally as I don't have enough money anyway but it would be very nice for my fellow dutchmen if the Netherlands had something like system76.com

fuscia
July 14th, 2006, 06:54 PM
here's the answer i got on sleep from system76...


By default closing the lid locks the computer (it doesn't actually go to sleep.) To enable sleep go to Preferences > Power Mangement. Click the general tab. Change the sleep when inactive or sleep button action to suspend (or both if you wish). Unplug AC power and you will see the battery next to your clock. Click on it and choose Suspend. The laptop should suspend - press the power button to resume. I recommend saving your work before putting the laptop to sleep. Test it a couple of times to make sure it comes back (suspend has been a little flacky for us).

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 09:36 PM
here's the answer i got on sleep from system76...

I'm sad to report that hibernate and suspend didn't work properly. They seem to "sleep" properly, but they don't wake up properly (and I end up having to do a hard reboot). The display doesn't come on (in the case of suspend) or stay on (in the case of hibernate), and I end up with a black screen. I'm sure there are plenty of suggestions in the forums, but I submitted this issue to them since it is supposed to work "out of the box," according to them. And I don't have much time now to peruse the forums. We'll see what they say...

I am happy to report that the USB ports all seem to be working properly, but I wasn't too worried about that.

And thanks for the suggestion about network manager. Got that fixed and the wireless consistently works (in 5 or so reboots that I did after failed suspends and hibernates).

Back to work!

Brunellus
July 14th, 2006, 09:48 PM
*grumble* not much point in an OEM laptop that doesn't suspend correctly.

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 09:59 PM
*grumble* not much point in an OEM laptop that doesn't suspend correctly.

I hear you... I searched through their support and it is supposed to work out of the box. They have already responded to me by saying they haven't had any problems suspend or hibernate on the model I received. I guess it's possible I screwed something up, but I doubt I did much different than others would. They are trouble shooting now...

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 10:22 PM
Your laptop might have a function key to get it into hibernation. You should look it up in your manual if you can't find the key by looking and trying.

It does have sleep function key that can be mapped to locking the computer, suspending, or hibernating. So when I get them working, it will be useful :)

prizrak
July 14th, 2006, 10:44 PM
In my experience with hibernate in Dapper is that after you wake up from hibernate, close the lid and let the screen turn off. Afterwards open it and put your password in and that makes it stay on.

Skia_42
July 14th, 2006, 10:53 PM
Thanks for posting this, I have been considering getting a laptop from system76. Do you feel that the 12" screen is large enough to perform tasks? (My question is is the screen to small?)

newlinux
July 14th, 2006, 11:31 PM
In my experience with hibernate in Dapper is that after you wake up from hibernate, close the lid and let the screen turn off. Afterwards open it and put your password in and that makes it stay on.

Yeah I tried that before and it didn't work, unfortunately. Thank you for the advice.


Thanks for posting this, I have been considering getting a laptop from system76. Do you feel that the 12" screen is large enough to perform tasks? (My question is is the screen to small?)

I had the same concern. My previous laptop was 15", so I was skeptical. But at 1280x800 I think it's fine. I was on it for hours last night. Although, when I went to my desktop (19") it seemed HUGE after that. I think it more depends on what tasks you want to do. I had no problem with evolution, web browsing, and doing configuring....

newlinux
July 15th, 2006, 02:13 AM
have you tested the SD reader? does it work?

SD card reader doesn't work either, although I didn't expect it to. It's not even advertised as being a feature of the laptop. The parts they use (Asus?) must just come with the SD card reader. I know they said that the 4 in 1 card reader on their other laptop model (pangolin) is not supported... yet... But they plan to support it in the future.

So even assuming that the hibernate and suspend on my machine is an uncommon problem, there still a little work to have most of the things working out of the box. But I am still happy with my purchase... And i support what they are trying to do.

Skia_42
July 15th, 2006, 04:47 AM
I had the same concern. My previous laptop was 15", so I was skeptical. But at 1280x800 I think it's fine. I was on it for hours last night. Although, when I went to my desktop (19") it seemed HUGE after that. I think it more depends on what tasks you want to do. I had no problem with evolution, web browsing, and doing configuring....

Cool, Web Browsing was my main concern. I am sure that the 4 seperate workspace windows also help. Thank you for your input.

fuscia
July 15th, 2006, 12:45 PM
The parts they use (Asus?)

as far as i know, the gazelles aren't asus. the rest of the system76 laptops are. unfortunately, i deleted the email i had from them saying what they were. it was something with a bunch of initials, as far as i can remember.

frainbart
July 16th, 2006, 04:36 AM
I am new to Linux as well, and I have a Gazelle Value (12.1" screen) with 1 GB RAM and an Pentium M 740 CPU (I got mine in a week). I've had my laptop for about a month now. My suspend and hibernate worked out of the box initially, with my only problem being getting the wireless to wake up after hibernate. After a few automatic updates the suspend doesn't work properly anymore, when I wake the computer up I just get a blank screen which requires a hard rebooot. My hibernate still works fine though, so for now I have disabled suspend. I fixed my wireless problem with some suggestions found in these forums.

My other impressions with the laptop... Other than the suspend problem I haven't had trouble with anything else. System76 tech support is fast and when you call them, a real live person picks up! I initially had some issues with playing media files and they walked me through some solutions. The laptop hardware is labeled MSI-1012 which you can search online and find as a DIY laptop system. I haven't tried the bluetooth yet, because I don't have any devices to test. The shortcut buttons near the power button are customizable in the Keyboard Shortcuts control panel which is cool. The speakers are pretty weak, but what can you expect with a notebook of this size. The keyboard is not too small because the dimensions are slightly wider than most 12" laptops on the market (so you can't use smaller laptop sleeves). The screen doesn't span the whole width of the chassis. The SD card reader does not work (putting in the card does not mount). Battery life for me using the wireless and surfing the net lasts about 3 hours. I think the HD is below where your right palm rests and can get pretty warm, it's the hottest part of the laptop. I use the qsynaptics to get all the functionality of the touchpad, like scrolling and multitap.

My next project is to span the desktop over 2 monitors. Video mirroring works fine with the hardware keyboard shortcut (blue function key). I am eager to see if you can get your suspend/hibernation problem worked out.

newlinux
July 16th, 2006, 03:48 PM
I am new to Linux as well, and I have a Gazelle Value (12.1" screen) with 1 GB RAM and an Pentium M 740 CPU (I got mine in a week). I've had my laptop for about a month now. My suspend and hibernate worked out of the box initially, with my only problem being getting the wireless to wake up after hibernate. After a few automatic updates the suspend doesn't work properly anymore, when I wake the computer up I just get a blank screen which requires a hard rebooot. My hibernate still works fine though, so for now I have disabled suspend. I fixed my wireless problem with some suggestions found in these forums...


In some ways it is good to know that normally the hibernate and suspend do work (but it make me wonder what is up with my laptop). Thanks for posting. It is also good to know the it isn't just my speakers. They are loud enough (and can always be amplified with some external speakers if necessary) but softer than all other laptops I've used (although, I've never used a 12" before).

They are still working on why my suspend/hibernate don't work. I think I may try a few things on my own while I wait. I can certainly agree that they respond to support requests very quickly.

newlinux
July 16th, 2006, 07:42 PM
frainbart, can you post your /etc/default/acpi-support file? I want to compare it to mine...

newlinux
July 16th, 2006, 08:51 PM
Update - I have gotten hibernate to work - but not suspend yet - by changing a couple settings in acpi-support. Still waiting to see what system76 recommends (it is the weekend)...

reacocard
July 16th, 2006, 11:57 PM
you might want to take a look at suspend2 for hibernation/sleep. i just got it working completely today and it's awesome. see my sig for the link.

newlinux
July 17th, 2006, 05:15 AM
you might want to take a look at suspend2 for hibernation/sleep. i just got it working completely today and it's awesome. see my sig for the link.

Thanks for the tip I may try this out if I don't get a fix for s3. I'd like a solution more integrated (working with my suspend command from the power management app). Do you do s2 commandline only? I'm doing okay with only suspend to disk right now, but it would be nice to have a slightly faster suspend.

reacocard
July 17th, 2006, 03:01 PM
the suspend2 packages from that link have a new acpi-support file that integrates it perfectly into gnome.

frainbart
July 17th, 2006, 11:55 PM
frainbart, can you post your /etc/default/acpi-support file? I want to compare it to mine...

Here you go. I think it is identical to the what is posted on the System76 forums...



# Uncomment the next line to enable ACPI suspend to RAM
# ACPI_SLEEP=true

# Comment the next line to disable suspend to disk
ACPI_HIBERNATE=true

# Change the following to "standby" to use ACPI S1 sleep, rather than S3.
# This will save less power, but may work on more machines
ACPI_SLEEP_MODE=mem

# Add modules to this list to have them removed before suspend and reloaded
# on resume. An example would be MODULES="em8300 yenta_socket"
#
# Note that network cards and USB controllers will automatically be unloaded
# unless they're listed in MODULES_WHITELIST
MODULES=""

# Add modules to this list to leave them in the kernel over suspend/resume
MODULES_WHITELIST=""

# Should we save and restore state using the VESA BIOS Extensions?
SAVE_VBE_STATE=true

# The file that we use to save the vbestate
VBESTATE=/var/lib/acpi-support/vbestate

# Should we attempt to warm-boot the video hardware on resume?
POST_VIDEO=true

# Save and restore video state?
# SAVE_VIDEO_PCI_STATE=true

# Should we switch the screen off with DPMS on suspend?
USE_DPMS=true

# Use Radeontool to switch the screen off? Seems to be needed on some machines
# RADEON_LIGHT=true

# Uncomment the next line to switch away from X and back again after resume.
# This is needed for some hardware, but should be unnecessary on most.
# DOUBLE_CONSOLE_SWITCH=true

# Set the following to "platform" if you want to use ACPI to shut down
# your machine on hibernation
HIBERNATE_MODE=shutdown

# Comment this out to disable screen locking on resume
LOCK_SCREEN=true

# Uncomment this line to have DMA disabled before suspend and reenabled
# afterwards
# DISABLE_DMA=true

# Uncomment this line to attempt to reset the drive on resume. This seems
# to be needed for some Sonys
# RESET_DRIVE=true

# Add services to this list to stop them before suspend and restart them in
# the resume process.
STOP_SERVICES="mysql "

# Restart Infra Red services on resume - off by default as it crashes some
# machines
RESTART_IRDA=false

# Switch to laptop-mode on battery power - off by default as it causes odd
# hangs on some machines
ENABLE_LAPTOP_MODE=false

newlinux
July 18th, 2006, 12:51 AM
Thank you, frainbart. That is what I had originally. Wonder why my gazelle has problems. They are having a hard time recreating the error as it works on their setups. Sure wish I had tested it before I went off installing a whole bunch of things and messing with configurations. Oh well, at least I have hibernate working for now, and an option for suspend2 should I want to try it...

frainbart
July 18th, 2006, 12:56 AM
Thank you, frainbart. That is what I had originally. Wonder why my gazelle has problems. They are having a hard time recreating the error as it works on their setups. Sure wish I had tested it before I went off installing a whole bunch of things and messing with configurations. Oh well, at least I have hibernate working for now, and an option for suspend2 should I want to try it...

I just filled a trouble ticket as well, just so you aren't the only one. Hopefully we can get it to work. I dunno if this was from the recent updates to various software that has been occurring automatically, lately. I think there was a System 76 driver update in those series of updates... (You can check my posts on the System 76 forums as well).

Slugger
August 12th, 2006, 04:40 AM
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flaak_monkey
August 12th, 2006, 07:34 AM
its August where are those servers? :P