Hypothetical Laptop notes

Let’s say you wanted to design a laptop, preinstalled with Linux and for a linux-user audience. This is mostly my own notes about what I’d like, but I wouldn’t mind some feedback.

  • Pixel Qi screen 14″ inches if possible, for power and daylight readability.
  • Arm SOC (Tegra?)
  • User-replaceable battery and RAM.
  • Ideally, off-the-shelf batteries. Are cellphone batteries now good enough that you could line up four of them to power a laptop? Could be, could be…
  • Casing that was meant to be disassembled, insofar as possible. Not junk, but not triwing-five-point-torx screws, either.
  • Built-in software-defined-radio-usable chips, two of them, and significant antenna.
  • Bluetooth 4, usb3. Wifi, obviously.
  • HDMI out. It’d be nice to know if a chip existed that could support HDMI-out and the Pixel Qi screens, that sounds like the best of both worlds.
  • Nonjunk touchpad.

What am I missing? Anything else?


  1. Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    drivers that actually support everything properly.

  2. Mike Hoye
    Posted October 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    True, true.

  3. gnomon
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Two SD[HX]C card slots, either or both of which can be set as a boot device. (recovering a potentially compromised device is so much less stressful when you can start with a boot from a removable device that features a hardware write protect toggle)

    Two GigE ethernet ports, ideally one of which can light up the charge circuit with PoE.

    I would stay away from Tegra until such time as NVidia actually delivers something like their promise of OSS Linux drivers, since they have a history of dissembling and flat-out lying about that kind of thing.

  4. Todd
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    – a decent sound chip
    – at least 4 usb ports, spaced sanely
    – ideally, support for the “extra power” usb “standard” that apple uses; their USB ports can (on some models) put out up to 2100mA at 5v, which is rather more than the 500mA stock USB can put out — this is important when charging things like phones
    – a good keyboard with full-sized keys and a sane layout
    – personally, I’d carry around a 5cm thick laptop if it got me a proper full-throw mechanical keyboard

  5. Posted October 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink


  6. Posted October 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink