Friday, March 22, 2013

Well worth the wait

It was time for a new laptop and being me, the machines on the company "approved list" of laptops just wouldn't do. As I often travel with 2 laptops one of my objectives was to get some weight of my back. Therefore, an Ultrabook was just the ticket and with lots of help from my manager I got approval for a Lenovo Carbon X1 with an i7 CPU. At the time the order was placed the machine I wanted was not yet in production and I knew I was in for a wait. However, there was hope that the new toy might arrive some time around Christmas. Well, Christmas came and went and there was no new laptop and no news of when it might actually be arriving. Thus, for my first trip of the year, in January, I was still stuck with, what I will now call 2 luggables (Lenovo T400). Finally after being patient for a long time the new machine arrived about two weeks ago, just a couple of days prior to the openSUSE 12.3 release. Presents in March, hurray, I like presents.

With the release of openSUSE 12.3 imminent and not having had any time to do much testing with 12.3 it was time to jump right in and install openSUSE 12.3 on the machine. Conveniently our openSUSE install images are built as hybrid images, thus I could just download the ISO file and dump it onto a stick. No fiddling required. There was a bit of fiddling required in the firmware to make the machine boot from a stick rather than trying to get me into the hideous pre-installed software. I do not considered the pre-installed stuff worthy of being called an OS. Once I was done walking through the openSUSE 12.3 install procedure and clicked the "Install" button the speed of my new toy was immediately apparent. The progress bar for the package installation was flashing like crazy and the distro was installed in no time. Of course I ran into the secure boot hiccup we had in the RC and I needed to temporarily disable secure boot to finish the configuration during install. This snafu was fixed before we released openSUSE 12.3 and was already known by the time I ran across it.

After the initial install it took me a while to move all my stuff from the old luggable onto my shiny new machine. Well it's not really shiny,the finish is a mate, soft to the touch, black, very nice. Busy with work and liking my dual monitor desktop setup in my office the machine spend a quiet first week in my possession. The first battle test occurred this past week with the first trip when the laptop turns into my main working machine.

I just love how light the machine is, a big plus. Shlepping only one luggable made a big difference immediately as I headed out the door early Monday morning. Despite its very slender appearance and light weight the laptop feels sturdy and robust, ready to take the abuse of the road. As far as the performance is concerned, I am more than happy. The laptop boots faster than my phone and everything works right out of the box, well I haven't tried to set up the finger print reader but I do not consider that part of the hardware all that important. Wireless, USB Ethernet dongle, Camera, Speakers, and touchpad all work without me having to fiddle with anything. Yes, it just worked. I have not had the need to work on battery power for an extended period of time, thus I have no idea how the battery holds up. However, no matter how long a battery lasts, battery life is always too short. Therefore, I am not overly concerned about battery life. I am certain the battery will last longer than on the T400 luggable I used to haul around with me.

Well, I am very happy with my new machine and am glad I waited until it was available now I got what I wanted. What else can I say, openSUSE 12.3 on the Lenovo Carbon X1 is a winning combination for me.

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