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LinuxPlanet: .comment: The Christmas List, or Wantin' Ain't Gettin'

Dec 06, 2000, 15:41 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

"Hence the machine that I think we'd all get one of if only they were made: A little dedicated Linux machine with a keyboard, some kind of built-in pointing device (preferably not a touchpad or, worse, touchscreen) that is easily upgradeable and that costs about $500."

"It wouldn't be that difficult. You'd need a big hunk of ROM, a decent amount of RAM, ports, and little else under the hood. Many of us have burned a new BIOS. It's not beyond the reach of anybody outside of Palm Beach County. Linux, which is to say the kernel and the little dab of modules it would need, would be downloadable as a piece. A drastically pared-down X Window System would be included. A parallel, serial, USB, or NIC connection would allow users to build such userspace applications as they cared to run, and burn them into ROM, too. In fact, everything except /home would be burned in; /home would like in RAM. A deluxe version might even employ one of those matchbox-sized 1-gig hard drives that IBM has been hawking, and some sort of provision for wirelessness, at least until that fad has happily passed into oblivion. The chip could be something new -- hello, Transmeta! -- or something cool like the already-existing MachZ chip from ZF Linux Devices, which provides much of what I've described."

"This machine would need a usably sized keyboard with a decent click to it. Modem and NIC could both be put on the system board and share an RJ-45 connector. I suppose that there should be a PCMCIA slot. The screen probably should be unlit monochrome -- I'm thinking of battery life here. A nice, rechargeable battery should be easily removable and interchangeable with a AA battery holder, included. (Such a gadget ought to be included with every portable computer.)"

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