eRacks Systems Tech Blog

Open Source Experts Since 1999


It’s been our goal for some time to bring compelling value to Linux Laptops, in a way that truly surpasses whats available from a Windows or Mac laptop, beyond just “Almost as good but cheaper with free software”, which seems to be one of the prevailing current perceptions we need to overcome.

The lovely style and features of Sony laptops and notebooks, have always generated inquiries from our customers about our plans to carry them.  (Also others, like Lenovo, which we already carry).

This series of posts is about our ambitious plans to add value, and truly make your Linux Sony Laptop experience from us far superior to what it would be from a run-of-the-mill vendor.

Read on.

The OOB (Out of Box) Experience

Windows Tax, File Format leverage, and FUD

For years, we’ve sold laptops with Linux only, and with no “Windows Tax”.

Although this has been good, and has been well-received by the market and the Open Source community, Microsoft and other proprietary software vendors, notably Intuit, have been tenacious about leveraging control of their file formats, limiting control over your own data, and using the usual other vendor lock-in techniques to ensure you can’t move away from their products without severe switching costs, “Compatibility issues”, and other FUD (fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and FUDlike behavior.

“I’m your new bookkeeper.  I assume you have QuickBooks?”

“Hi, joe, this is Fred, your CPA – do you have those latest QuickBooks files of the company’s books, so we can get your taxes done on time?”

And so forth.

True Value

With this in mind, we are introducing some solutions, courtesy of Virtualization (specifically, KVM, the excellent and well-received hypervisor built into the Linux kernel – not the proprietary VMWare, although that could be used, too), which will allow the best of all possible worlds –

  1. Native Linux compatibility and raw speed
  2. Complete windows compatibility and instance, with full control or greater
  3. Isolation from viruses and other malware
  4. Ease of backups, system administration, and forth
  5. Freedom from restrictions controlled by proprietary vendors (Sony, Microsoft).

Coming Up

In this series of posts, we will be going over many things – the installation process, moving partitions around for both OSes, running windows “In Place” with the original licenses, etc, reviewing various linuxes (Linuces?) for their hardware compatibility, Dual Boot vs Virtualized Windows-in-a-window, “Tech Tips” and what we did to get things working, how it works and what it does, in the end – and so forth.

This concludes “Part 1 – the OOB Experience” — Stay tuned, as it were…


May 27th, 2009

Posted In: Uncategorized

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