If you are looking to limit your software costs, the Strata 7440 laptop by Zareason should be on the top of your list. Aside from its technological advances, such as the chipset, it is made even more useful with the help of two the best open source OS’s; Ubuntu and OpenSuse, with their arrays of more than equal open source software. In life, every action has a reaction. In computing life, every paid software title has an equally powerful open source title that is as good, if not better, for free.
Lets look at what the Strata 7440 has for starters. Then, lets show you how it can perform better with its full line of open source options. As reviewed, it was armed with the following, including the Libre Office Suite;
- The Linux distro of your choice
- 4th Gen Intel® Core i5-4210m processor(2.2 up to 3.40GHz – 6MB cache – 4 Cores – 8 Threads)
- 14.1″ 1920×1080 IPS, Matte Finish
- Intel® Iris Pro 5200 – 128 MB eDRAM
- Up to 16 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MHz (Standard with 8 gigs)
- 250 gb SSD as well as CD/DVD RW
- 3× USB 3.0, SD Card Reader
- Multitouch Clickpad, Chiclet Keyboard
- Gigabit Ethernet, Intel® Wireless-AC WiFi
- HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
- Stereo Speakers, Stereo Mic, Headphone Jack, Mic Jack
- 720p HD Webcam
- Kensington® Lock
As you can see, the stock potency of this laptop can mimic most if not all laptops in any office or boardroom. When paired with the vast array of open source software, a little song by Dionne Warwick comes to mind. It starts “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” It was put to the test with typical fashion.
- Setup process
- Software install
- Graphics processing
- Computation via spreadsheet app
- General word processing
- PDF Processing
First of all get rid of any preconceived notions of “other OS’s”. All that had to be done, was to turn it on. It took less than 3 minutes to gain WiFi access, set up a user name and start using the Strata 7440. These versions of Ubuntu and OpenSuse appear to be the most user friendly of GUI’s. This is including OSx Mavericks and Windows 10.
Once that was done, a standard (proper) shutdown and then power up were done. Shutdown took about 10 seconds and startup took just over that. This is due to the SSD, but also the thinness of the OS’s. This system is truly optimized for speed.
Both distros come with Libre Office installed. It is a great open source office suite. Additionally, Open Office was installed manually, while still keeping Libre Office. As a side bar, you can look at an earlier article written on free and open source office suites. You can also visit Source Forge, which is the only open source repository you will ever need. In regards to the installs, it only took about 30 seconds or less to install most apps. Other apps that were installed, included GIMP (graphics), Xtreme Music Player and Radio Tray for streaming music. Each install was lightning fast and none of them required a reboot.
Installing a printer and printing was just as fast and simple. If the linux driver is not available on the manufacturers site, there are open source apps that are universal. As for printing, there were no noticeable differences between either OS. It was fast, both in terms of sending the job and completing it. It made no difference whether printing to the HP Office Jet 4650 printer or the HP Photosmart 7520 which were both installed wirelessly on the Strata 7440. One caviat is that on OpenSuse, If you want to configure a network printer, you will first need to specify the type of connection in YaST. Choose “Print via Network” from the menu option on the left and then on the Connection Wizard on the bottom. It is an extra step, but flawless after.
As stated earlier, GIMP was downloaded for graphic processing and manipulation. GIMP is not just for Linux. It is available in an array of OS’s including OSx and Windows as well. Either way, it is free. In terms of processing high res pics, the Strata 7440 was almost instant in opening and updating. Ubuntu so far, when installed on the Strata 7440, appears to have no bottlenecks. Communications was tested via the skype app and built in camera. There was no lag at all. The sound, as well as the video, were crystal clear. Also tested were old school IRC apps, which performed flawlessly.
As far as spreadsheet processing, testing was done on spreadsheet app that comes with OpenOffice (simply “spreadsheet”). Whether it was a complex formula or simple addition or subtraction, the solution was instant. There was equal speed when using the word processor (simple “text document”). PDF processing was excellent and it is noted that no additional software is necessary as itt creates PDF’s, prints and edits them right from Libre Office on either distro.
As you look at the technology, speed keeps improving, graphics get crisper, music gets louder, etc. With those advances, the OS’s that operate the technology and the software that makes the human productive keeps moving their prices higher as if there was no competition. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Ever since the advent of laptops, desktops and computing in general, there has been one constant question as far as operating those devices. That question is, “To pay or not to pay?”
It is time for you to make the decision. Do you continue to pay for high priced software and upgrades, or do you by the one laptop that comes with the last OS with great apps that you will ever NOT have to pay for? In essence, the laptop is simply a host for the OS and software you choose to pay or not pay for. At under $800, Zareason is quite in check with other laptop manufacturers. What sets them apart is the lightening speed of the open source software. Just imagine though, for a moment that you have bought a laptop. If it is from Zareason, that, is all you pay for. All of the software is free, and frankly, performs better that the industry giant software.
They also have desktops as well as servers and a host of Linux bling. Learn more at www.zareason.com.