Well, I finally have a new laptop. Got it yesterday, spent about 3 hours installing and downloading all the software, and then let rsync run all last night to transfer over my home directory. Of course like any good Debian user I've filed a detailed installation report.

(Update: See kodama for current details on getting Debian running on this laptop.)

I'm fairly pleased with the fujitsu p7120 so far. Compared to my old p1100:

  • The keyboard feels larger, and the couple of keys that were moved around all make sense, except for delete. The right shift key is enormous, larger than that key is on a regular full size keyboard, and the other non-alphanumerics are also very nicely sized. Even the spacebar is larger than the usual laptop chiclet. I'd not realised how dead my old laptop's keyboard had gotten until keys started falling off; typing on this new one is just fun. Sorry for the length of the resulting blog entry..
  • It runs a little bit hotter, but still seems quite nice for a fanless laptop with a fairly modern processor in it (1.2 ghz).
  • The screen is much nicer, very bright. Was worried that it would be too reflective, but situations where it is seem rare. It's very nice to be able to see the screen outdoors; I'm writing this in direct sunlight.
  • The touch pad is very small, but very responsive. I can't normally use touch pads and I wasn't able to consider buying this laptop until I got a chance to try it out at DebConf. With that said, the lack of a middle mouse button is very annoying, and I'm looking for some way to bind keys in X to a) paste and b) touch pad disable toggle. I'm still having significant problems with reliably dragging to highlight text too, about 10x as slow at is as I was with the old laptop's pointer. You don't realized how often you copy text around that way until it becomes easier to just re-type it.. The two mouse buttons are not very conveniently placed, their positioning makes it hard to do a one-handed click and drag.
  • The case doesn't feel as solid as my old laptop's. It's also an inch longer, which makes it seem less safe to toss it in the bottom of my backpack and run around with it than the old laptop, which was basically an indestrictible little lump. All the other changes made to the case design seem like improveents, except they used a blue LED for the power indicator, which like all blue LEDs is too bright to be comfortable at night. I'll probably use some whiteout on it.
  • The battery lasts 4.5 hours real usage without any tuning beyond cpufreqd, which is quite nice. I haven't felt the need to add in a bay battery yet; that battery should bring it up to ~11 hours.
  • The drive is one of those new really tiny laptop hard drives, and it's whisper-quiet. I have to put my ear right on the bottom of the case to hear it.
  • The speakers are quite a lot better (for laptop speakers). The internal dual microphone array seems to not be very sensative at all, I wonder how much work the windows drivers for it do in software? The keyboard sound controls don't work in linux, which is a pity.
  • The fingerprint reader and card reader are the only bits not yet supported by linux. If you care about non-free firmware, only the wifi needs that.
  • 3D works; I can finally try out most of the new games that have been written in the past 6 years or so. Whee..