About 18 months ago I had a very nice perfectly configured Debian T42p Thinkpad stolen at a conference. I had less than two weeks before the next conference and I didn't have time to fiddle with my OS to get a new Thinkpad up and running with Debian. It also annoyed me that there was no way to buy a new Thinkpad without paying Microsoft for yet another Windows XP license I would never use. So I swallowed some Open Source pride and bought a Powerbook G4. It took a bit of getting used to, but overall it was a pleasant experience for a while. It was a Unix laptop which just worked and I was up and running quickly.

The Powerbook hasn't done so well over time though. It is not nearly robust enough for my hectic travel schedule which include plenty of mad dashes through airports in strange countries. The clasp to hold it closed broke long ago. The power plug thing is so bent out of shape it won't hold the power connector solidly. These two factors probably contributed to my battery completely dying after about a year and I had to replace it. Also, whenever I put it down the CD Rom tries to eject a non-existant disk, and the screen has a long dent in it which causes a dark area on the display. The cheap silver paint has rubbed off the case where my wrist rests, the key labels are disappearing and my cursor-left key isn't there anymore. Half the time it won't come out of sleep mode requiring a reboot and the other half it simply turns itself off. It also gets amazingly hot. I do have full Applecare on it, but it doesn't appear like they will fix any of this stuff because the 4 or 5 big dents in it is obvious signs of it being dropped and they state they won't fix damage due to a drop.

I have of course been eyeing the new MacBookPro, but I see no signs that it would be any more robust. And even worse, now with their Intel move they are using Intel's Trusted Computing Platform for who knows what. I haven't seen much on what they are doing with the TPM beyond tieing the OS to the hardware, but since they are not a member of the Trusted Computing Group there is no oversight. I also find myself using very little Apple software. It is shiny and pretty for the most part, but not really something an old UNIX hack like me would use on a day to day basis. Compiling things on a G4 is painful. gcc and gdb do work, but Valgrind and Callgrind don't which means I can't do any serious development on it.

So, back to the Thinkpad. With Lenovo's announcement that they will sell the T60p with Suse pre-installed I am assuming this means I can finally buy a Thinkpad without paying the Microsoft tax. Combine that with the amazing improvements of Linux on the desktop spearheaded by Ubuntu and it all means that my Apple experiment is coming to an end after about 18 months.

Of course now I need to figure out how to navigate the Lenovo ordering process. It doesn't appear that they have this non-Windows T60p available yet. Probably need to wait until after Linuxworld next week. Will also need to figure out whether EPP (employee) or SPP (stockholder) pricing is cheaper, or if there is some other mechanism to get a bit of a discount. How about an AOSD (Annoying Open Source Developer) discount?

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