The Chromebook Pixel gets a thumbs-up from Linus Torvalds
By Katherine Noyes, PCWorldMar 6, 2013 8:26 am PST
Reactions to Google’s new Chromebook Pixel may have been mixed so far, but at least one high-profile figure in the world of IT can’t seem to say enough good things about the device.
“I’ve joined all the cool kids in having one of the new Google ‘Pixel’ laptops (aka Chromebooks),” wrote Linux creator Linus Torvalds in a Google+ post on Tuesday. “And it is a beautifulscreen, to the point where I suspect I’ll make this my primary laptop.”
Despite believing that laptops should generally weigh 1KG or less—the Pixel tops that by 50 percent—Torvalds added that he’s willing to make the sacrifice “because the screen really is that nice.”
‘A lot of polish’
Following hard on the heels of the growing success of Google’s low-priced Chromebooks, the introduction of the $1300 Chromebook Pixel has left many scratching their heads.
After all, with a 2560-by-1700-pixel resolution touch screen, an anodized aluminum chassis, an Intel Core i5 processor, and 32GB of storage, the machine’s specs are far more than what’s necessary for Chrome OS or an essentially cloud-focused device.
“That’s a lot of polish and performance for an operating system that revolves around a Web browser,” as my PCWorld colleague Jared Newman recently put it. “And at a starting price of $1299, it’s hard to imagine the Chromebook Pixel selling well.”
‘Even the cellphones will start laughing’
For Torvalds, however, the Pixel’s high-resolution screen is a critical selling point, and in fact his praise of the device is not the first time he’s spoken out on the topic of resolutions.
Last fall Torvalds actually posted a Google+ plea to the industry to make 2560-by-1600 pixels the new standard laptop resolution.
“1366-by-768 is so last century,” he wrote at the time. “Soon even the cellphones will start laughing at the ridiculously bad laptop displays.”
This week, he reiterated that view. “One thing that the Chromebook Pixel really brings home is how crap normal laptops have become,” he wrote. “Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more? No wonder the PC business isn’t doing well, when they stick to just churning out more crappy stuff and think that ‘full HD’ (aka 1080p) is somehow the epitome of greatness.”
‘I expect to install a real distro’
Torvalds did say he’s also impressed by the Chromebook Pixel’s form factor.
“I despise widescreen displays, but I had gotten resigned to them,” he explained. “Until now. 3:2, baby!”
As for the operating system, Torvalds said he’s still running Linux-based Chrome OS, but he has bigger plans.
“I expect to install a real distro on this soon enough,” he wrote. “For a laptop to be useful to me, I need to not just read and write email, I need to be able to do compiles, have my own git repositories etc.”
Therein, of course, lies a key point. Maybe the Pixel’s display is better than really makes sense for a cloud-focused portal, but Torvalds has no intention of restricting his use of it that way. By installing another Linux, he’ll effectively turn the device into a more traditional laptop, put its specs to better use, and finally enjoy a resolution he likes.