Monday, 07 June 2010
Apropos Matthew's post...
I picked up a cheap netbook for Jo a couple of months ago, an Acer Aspire One 751. She liked the look and feel of the machine, and it was much smaller and more carryable than the massive old Dell "slab" she'd been using previously. Got a very good deal on it too, as it was the last one in stock at the local Comet store.
All went well until we got it home and I started playing with it. That was when I found the painful truth: it was based on the Poulsbo, using Intel's crippled GMA500 graphics chipset. Up until then, I'd been very happy with buying Intel kit: for the last few years it's been a sure sign that the hardware would work well with Debian and Linux. Now they've come out with a crappy product that has destroyed that goodwill. I spent many hours working through various options to try and get this new netbook up and running properly using Debian, but to no avail - the various binary blobs wanted newer versions of code than was in Lenny and (by then) older stuff than was available in Squeeze. In the end I gave up and installed an outdated version of Ubuntu on the machine just so Jo could have it working for her when we went on holiday together.
Since then, she's had to get used to the machine locking up once or twice a day while she's using it (something I can only assume is caused by the shitty drivers). She's happy enough in that it's much better than her old Vista-infested Dell machine, but it's really not a great experience for her compared to the Thinkpads she sees others using reliably and flawlessly at home.
At some point I guess we'll simply ditch the machine altogether and get something less nasty. Thanks for the good stuff you used to make, Intel, but you've lost your way. I'll be damned careful next time to avoid this trap.