Regular readers will remember that I run Ubuntu on a MacBook pro. Why?
- I'm a contrarian sod.
- It's the machine work gave me.
- I can do everything I need to do with Linux without having to deal with OSX or Windows.
What can I say, it works for me! The only problem is that the MBP is heavy. Much to unwieldy to carry around without a decent rucksack. The keyboard - while delightfully backlit - isn't ergonomic. I rely on an ergonomic keyboard and a vertical mouse.
Basically, I need a portable, battery powered, screen - and a keyboard like this:
So, can I find a "laptop" which runs Linux and doesn't have a keyboard? I guess I'm looking for the mythical Ubuntu Tablet...
Straight out of China we find the i7 Cube Tablet with Ubuntu for a shade Under £500.
It looks like a fairly capable device - but, as with lots of products from Shenzen, it's hard to get a direct price quote for the exact Ubuntu model. It appears to be reasonably compatible with the latest version of Ubuntu - but there are a few tales of woe spread around the web.
Newcomer MJ Technologies has a (launching soon!) Ubuntu tablet for $400.
Looks good - decent size, range of ports, wireless connectivity, and charges via USB! One less cable to carry around.
The kicker will be in support - will the tablet cope with updates? Will it actually ship? What will support be like in Europe?
Biggest concern is that they're currently crowd-funding with an expected shipping date of June 2016. That's a bit long to wait - assuming that they're successful.
@edent Linux on a surface pro??
— Lozil Noronha (@Lozil) January 13, 2016
@edent looks like the Surface can run Ubuntu, there were a few deals on that Pro3 recently now that the 4 is out
— Sam Machin (@sammachin) January 13, 2016
It looks like the Surface Pro 3 is compatible with Ubuntu and all the hardware seems to work well.
Despite being discontinued, the prices are still fairly high.
They're cheaper second-hand - around £500. It'll mean paying the Microsoft tax for an OS I won't use, but they're popular machines so support should be decent.
Similarly, the Lenovo Yoga Pad 3 appears to be compatible with Linux.
Around £500 - £700 on the second hand market. Has the advantage of a built in keyboard if needed, which doubles as a stand.
Giving In And Just Buying A Damned Laptop
Their XPS and Precision workstations start at £1,000 and go up to as much as you're prepared to spend. Pricey, but they do look like good machines.
There are a few HP Ubuntu Laptops at eBuyer.
Again, pretty good price and spec - but stuck on an old version on Ubuntu. Apparently HP aren't providing wireless drivers for later versions of Ubuntu.
UK company Entroware do a range of Linux laptops.
I do rather fancy that MacBook Air clone...
So now what?
The hunt continues. Have you spotted an Ubuntu tablet which meets my needs? Or found a laptop which runs Linux and has an ergonomic keyboard?
If so, please let me know!