Subject: Re: NetBSD on PowerBook G4
To: None <>
From: Martijn van Buul <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 08/31/2005 20:02:57
It occurred to me that wrote in gmane.os.netbsd.general:
> Beside of that, what laptop is the best for NetBSD ? Is there
> anything fully compliant with NetBSD ? (any Arch)

I'm quite happy with my IBM Thinkpad A31, although it's a bit on the heavy
side. All hardware works (Well, I never bothered to get that modem working,
but I seem to recall that there's support for an AC'97 modem in -current).
Video works (1024x768), audio works, network works (fxp), wireless LAN would've
worked if my model had it installed (Which, unfortunately, it hadn't at the
time it was bought, so IBM decided to save out on the antenna as well), but
the cardbus card I'm using for that works OK.

Drawbacks: * It's heavy. And big (15"). And it'll toast your lap.
           * It only has USB 1.1 (So you need a cardbus solution for 2.0)
	   * It's not the fastest machine - 1.4 or 1.6 GHz P4-m. Video
	     performance is similiarly dated.
	   * It doesn't have the enhanced Speedstep of the later centrino
	     models. It does have SpeedStep, which NetBSD does support,
	     but that'll only switch between 1.4 GHz and 1.6 GHz.
	   * Battery life could be better. I barely get 2 hours under NetBSD.
	     There is room for improvement there, Windows will usually "do"
	     3 hours under a comparible load.
           * Whoever decided that "esc" should be *above* F1 deserves a kick
	     in whatever painful spot is available. Really. Then again, mapping
	     the rather useless multimedia key that sits where escape is
	     supposed to sitting to 'esc' helps. A bit.

OTOH, It is built like a tank, it can be had quite cheaply second-hand, it's
got a nice keyboard and it has a trackpoint. And yes, that's an important issue
for me. Such a shame that Toshiba seems to have abandoned it.

The only thing that *really* bothers me is ACPI. The system is draining the
battery needlessly - even when idle, it'll be hotter than FreeBSD or Windows,
doubtlessly because of the ACPI sleep state scheduling, which NetBSD doesn't
do. But that's not really a specific issue with this laptop.