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Oooohh.. Day two of Pixel porn.

So ChromeOS wasn't horrible, but running a native environment (currently still testing using a livecd just to see that it all works) really makes the screen come to its own. The ChromeOS browser decision to do scale things by double pixels is probably the right thing for introducing people to this screen, but it also holds you back from seeing just how nice the screen is.

Sure, with the true resolution exposed to the web browser, things are small. Just how I like it. You can have two browser windows open side-by-side, and they both look beautiful. The people who think that wide-screen displays are better because you can do that side-by-side thing don't seem to realize that you can do the same thing with full-sized screens, and just get more vertical space too.

Of course, I don't actually do two browser windows side-by-side, I read email in one browser and have a few terminal windows open, and often cut-and-paste between the two (with "git pull /paste-from-email/" being one of the more common things I do).

I think ChromeOS isn't necessarily a bad idea, but I think Google is being a bit too timid about it, and limiting things a bit too much. And that may make sense if your hardware is limited (ie slow Atom or ARM CPU, cheap 1366x768 panel), but on this machine it's really holding the hardware back.

Of course, if you really believe in touch-screens, you can't have those tiny graphical elements. With the kind of small detail I want, my fingers look like Godzilla-like sausages trampling all over Tokyo. No fine control.

So I kind of like the concept of touch-screens, but at the same time I don't really see how you can get the required precision.
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Try crouton. It's a complete chrooted Ubuntu environment. It might just do the job of giving you both Chrome and Native at the same time.
Tom Nardi
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I think the raw power of the Pixel hints at some more local functionality coming to Chrome OS.

It does seem counter-intuitive to make an OS that aims to load everything from the web, and pair it with this sort of horsepower.
 
First mention of Godzilla today. +1
 
My principal objection to HTDV-subverted 1920x1080 displays is that I miss those extra rows.  I use them, and even just between 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 I'm strongly aware that those 120 rows are missing.

Of course, this is one reason why I'm now using a 2560x1600 30" monitor.
 
You should try it with a stylus. It gets really useful when you want to explain stuff or you want to sketch stuff.
 
My little girl (4 years old) would LOVE the pixel touch screen. She currently is doing well on my laptop with the touch pad, but because she spends so much time with my phone she is instinctively trying to do things directly on my laptop screen.

She's still too little to use my mice (i use massive gaming mice on my desktop/laptop) I think the latop/touch screen combination will be fantastic to people who really enjoy touch screens. 
 
Great and insightful overview Linus.
 
+Matthew Graybosch, actually the main thing I really wish for in X11 on high-resolution displays is the ability to scale up the mouse pointer or make it a contrasting color.  A standard X11 mouse cursor sprite can be difficult to find on a very large screen.
 
As for touchscreen, an aftermarket stylus made for capacitive touch may give the desired fine control. I rather liked that aspect of early touchscreen devices, and dislike the clumsiness even of smartphone touch displays.
 
So the 'desktop' isn't quite dead just yet after all, then - despite the regular pontifications to the contrary. Which I'm quite glad about, really, as being forced to use a touch screen for everything would annoy the hell out of me too, for the same reason.
 
I'm absolutely with you on liking small/fine graphics elements. I've already resigned myself to having to use some kind of stylus if I ever get a touchscreen with that kind of display style supported. It may feel a bit like I'm playing with my son's 3DS, but it will be worth it.
 
The stock storage options seem a tad small. Is the SSD swappable? 
 
+Linus Torvalds, how does this compare to a macbook pro retina in your opinion. 
2. Where all is it doing the pixel doubling? That usually kills the MTF. 
 
+Brandon Gagne in the days of the NEC MobilePro 880, I was often moving around a compact USB mouse while holding its stylus between two fingers of the same hand like a miniature pool cue. The hybrid pointing action was a little weird at first, but actually was more efficient at some tasks.
 
I don't see why people need touchscreens on a laptop. A trackpad or external mouse will always be an order of magnitude more accurate than a touchscreen. And touching the display leaves smudges and fingerprints!

(The only exception is if the screen had a high-quality stylus+digitizer, similar to what Samsung has done with the Galaxy Note. That would be cool).
 
What do you mean about being too timid?  What kinds of things are you thinking they should be adding to better exploit the hardware that they have?

Also, on the issue of touch screen, I sometimes wish my laptop was touch.  I realize that the targets are small, but I don't want to do day to day things.  I really just want to tap +YouTube windows to pause and resume videos quickly rather than fidgeting with a mouse pointer.  I want to swipe away entire windows here and there, and I want to pinch-zoom pictures that show up too small at times.  That's basically it for me - though I realize that might seem like far too little functionality to be including an entire touch panel for.
 
+Phil Stracchino I have a 2560x1600 30" and a 1920x1080 24" screen on my ubuntu machine and have the same problem finding the mouse sometimes.  I added the "eyes" on the top panel and that help a lot of the time.
 
I think the touchscreen implementation will be more important for webapps, rather than general use. Open up Google Maps or Earth and then use your fingers to manipulate the image. I think that's where the strengths will come in. 
 
so basically, what is needed is programmer's laptop (+Michael Dell , are you listening?) -
screen with ultra-high resolution but squarish aspect ratio;
touchscreen but with sensitive touchpad and mouse;
running Linux variety with almost zero maintenance but still with decent SSD harddrive.
 
As a writer, I also miss vertical screens, or those that could pivot from vertical to horizontal. You just can't get them anymore (even though Linux has no problem with them). I'm guessing vertical screens would also be helpful for coders.
 
+Matthew Graybosch: no, I left the fonts at their default values. I have a laptop that much closer to my eyes when I work on it, I really want the fonts to be small. On laptops with bad resolution they just aren't readable enough when they are as small as I'd like them to be.

+Amit Agrawal: I think the retina MBP screen is entirely comparable. I think the rMBP is absolutely a lovely machine (the 13", not the 15" which is not only too big but also has that crazy dual-GPU setup). I'd rather take a machine designed for Linux, though. 
 
.. and I realize that many people want a bigger disk. I don't actually worry too much about that - I don't do photography or video, and I actually used to have just 80GB even in my desktop for a while, and used the EeePC with its tiny (12GB?) SSD for a while for my portable work. 
 
+Renaud Lepage: crouton is probably fine for some people, but since I need to be able to not just compile the kernel, but also test it on the run, I definitely need a full Linux installation. 

Of course, if ChromeOS allowed you to replace just the kernel and then do Crouton on top of that, that would work for me. But that's not the case right now..
 
I just hope all the other manufacturers are taking notice and will start producing high-res screens en masse now. My old laptop was 1920x1200 and I loved that, but now it's dead and it is so maddening how nearly impossible it is to find a laptop that's even 1080 resolution, let alone higher, and they are all $1000+. There's no reason for this. I shouldn't have to buy all the latest and greatest (and most expensive!) hardware just to get a decent display!
 
+Linus Torvalds size of local storage also really depends on what you're doing with a device. If you want to go somewhere with no net connection and watch a bunch of movies, you might need more; but day-to-day stuff, and even developing on a Linux kernel with six different upstream sources, may well only take a few GB of local space to do effectively.
 
I'd like to believe soon there will be a major OS upgrade for the Chrome Pixel hardware, like you said the current OS seems a legacy for just making the hardware usable out of the box, and required to sell the computer publicly so that it gets in the hands of key developers like yourself... are you hiding something ?  ;)
 
+Todd Vierling: I have a 64GB SDXC card for extra storage. You can get bigger ones if you want, although they're spendy. Of course, people who worry about the SDXC cards being spendy aren't going for the Pixel anyway ;)
 
Wait, Linus, you can't run Linux on your desktop because it sucks and is unusable -- Miguel de Icaza said so!
 
I get the impression that ChromeOS will undergo a transformation with the Pixel this year - they added touch for Anrdoid apps in my view not for ChromeOS. ChromeOS and Android will merge somehow soon and this will make this device entirely different. I so want this - f*ck the price.
 
+Colin Harrington if the Pixel is at all like its predecessors, the Search button is that meta-key (meta4/Super), only treated as Search in CrOS.
 
Can't you just setup your display server to have the proper DPI setting for your screen (physical dimension and pixel pitch), and then the window manager/desktop environment will automatically scale everything accordingly?  And if you want smaller print, just turn down the font size settings; viola: large (typical) sized UI elements, with smaller print.

The separation between "UI/system" fonts and "print" fonts isn't well defined, but in things like Chrome, the application usually provides an override that will achieve exactly that.  I have a feeling that most apps would also take the liberty of scaling any application rendered UI elements at similar scale, however.  I would fault the app for that at that point; when I say "font size," I mean font size, not "DPI scale."

Apologies for the brain dump.
 
+1 for Godzilla-sized sausages.
Maybe they expect you to use a stylus?
 
+Todd Vierling I have a Commodore Brochure which I discovered whilst cleaning up in brand new condition that I will scan and put out to the world. I have looked at other commodore sites but i have not seen one in this condition before. I will put it on Google Plus soon as an image share - its a real classic from the 80s ;)
 
I personally don't get the touch screen thing...that's what my phone and tablet are for. I don't want to constantly have to reach out to smudge up my nice monitor all the time.
 
+Linus Torvalds +Todd Vierling  If one needs to store large movies, etc for travelling, one could also get a big USB drive which would be a lot cheaper than SDXC, although heavier, but still do that job.
 
Vertical touch screen = crap. Touchscreen on desk based machine = crap.

Dunno about you guys but typically my screen is out of convenient arms reach when on my desk, so touch = retarded....

Tablet? Sure....
 
+Jethro Rose: I could see myself changing workspaces with touch. And some games definitely get better with touch. On the whole I do share your doubts, though.
 
Eh, I've found that some tasks are greatly improved by touch (though just as much as touch by an external physical mouse -- instead of a trackpad), such as doing text-range or image-rectangle selections.

I used to much prefer "eraserhead" trackpoint controls, and I'm happy Lenovo still makes them...
 
Touch is for other things. Imagine saying:

"So I kind of like the concept of a mouse, but at the same time I don't really see how you can type with it."

Pretty much nonsense, right? Different forms of input suit different purposes, though some things can be done more than one way.

Unless you're coding in something like LabVIEW, I can't imagine you'd use touch for coding. You'd have to be dealing with gross objects that need to be connected somehow and maybe need some switches thrown, like visual command line pipes. Mac OS Automator maybe?
 
"Of course, if ChromeOS allowed you to replace just the kernel and then do Crouton on top of that, that would work for me."

Pretty sure bet you know but for other eyes (and for the record), the machine does allow that, if I understand your meaning, but whether you'd find the work flow changes preferable is another question altogether.  

If your kernel is compiled to support what Chrome OS rootfs needs (like dm-verity), then you can use Chrome OS (rootfs partition + stateful partition that you added crouton to), except the whole caboodle is being run with the kernel you compiled.

You boot your own kernels by wrapping them so the normal Chrome OS firmware doesn't choke.  Use vbutil_kernel for this, it is right there in Chrome OS.  Then dd the wrapped kernel onto KERN-A or KERN-B partitions (use root -s to figure out what you're booting to presently, you probably want to dd to the opposite kernel partition), then reboot to your new kernel.

To get the firmware to boot the right kernel, you have to toggle some partition label flags, depending on what you're aiming to do.  But that's a scriptable one liner too.  You'll need to understand how the Chrome OS updater works, and what the firmware might do under various circumstances.  So there's a small learning curve in all of this.

You have no verified boot since you can't sign your kernels with Google private keys, so I guess you have to want/prefer the Chrome OS browser and window manager.
 
Do you think the hard drive is enough? 32GB or 64GB for now is kinda too limited for me.
 
I understand the attraction of high res, but why is it that only fonts do sub-pixel rendering?  This would be an obvious boon for realism in gaming, say.  It seems that higher resolution technology for some means that this obvious improvement will never be made :(
 
If you have more than 32gb or 64gb on a machine running ChromeOS, you're not living in the cloud, which is the whole point.
 
Nice review.  I don't have a machine running ChromeOS yet, but am interested.
I don't think Google has been timid, as much as waiting to find out which comes first, the chicken or the egg.  The previous line-up of ChromeOS hardware was sufficient (mostly) for what the OS asks of it.  But I think as more HTML5 and NaCl apps are developed, the hardware limitations of the old boxes become obvious.

I think this new Chromebook is Googles way of removing the limits, and enabling the next generation of web-based applications that actually perform like native apps.

You have to have some hardware available before anyone will write the software...
 
+Linus Torvalds still keeping chrome os on day 2 , is a big credit for Google, after all 
 
I got a ChromeBook ($200 US) just for this cruise vacation I'm on.  The device is pretty much not used as much of the functionality and basic operation of the machine requires a network connection.  There are some 'offline' apps that you can setup, but there are many things that prevent usability without a network.  Thank goodness I brought my Motorola Xoom with me.
 
Thanks for the info. I'm in the watch and wait mode, maybe this fall...
 
+Thomas Gahr: too late now. It doesn't have ChromeOS on it any more, and I'm in the process of building my own kernel now...
 
Dam fat-fingers vs touch-screens and tiny res... lol
Carl
 
I'm interested in the "git pull /paste-from-email/"
 
I saw a package manager out there for ChomeOS somewhere. I'm fairly certain its a variant of Gentoo under the hood.

At any rat what distro are you going with +Linus Torvalds ? OpenSuSE again?
 
Are the RAM and SSD easily upgradeable? 16GB RAM and 128GB SSD will be somewhat ideal for me.
 
shut up. shut up. shut up. shut up. shut up. shut up.

must. resist. urge. to. shell. out. more. cash.

f**k.
 
+Linus Torvalds Wasting time answering the crappy questions on your G+ posts? or enjoying it? Admitted. This is one of them.
 
Use debian peeps, if god existed, he'd use debian too.
 
Same here if it can run Linux I am all in!
 
I didn't know you could run a liveCD on a Chromebook, but heck I'm all for it. I would probably just replace Chrome OS with Linux anyway. As much as I love Google and Android, Chrome OS just feels like a glorified web browser. And while it may be great for internet tasks I'd much rather have a fully functional OS.
 
+Linus Torvalds thank you for your review and wisdom, this generation and several generations to come will be better because of the massive contributions you have left with us. I find myself reading more and more of your content because of your attention to detail translates into awesomesauce. IMHO you singlehandedly have more contributions to technology than Gates and Jobs combined.
Thank you!

Now to see if there are comments from you on the recent Mir announcement. 
 
Would a stylus help the fatfingers problem at all?  (assuming the touchscreen tech in question could be used with a stylus)
 
Nice writeup, gets me thinking ;o)
 
Godzilla-like sausages trampling all over Tokyo. Love it!
 
You said really right, if the hardware is capable, how come it can't work like a normal computer.
 
Whenever i read, that you like your fonts tiny, i wonder, if you don't have any problems reading text. When you are getting older, and afaik you are as old as i am ('69 was a great year), you get some trouble with farsightedness. How do you deal with that, Linus?
 
+Andreas Blochberger Well how do you deal with near-sightedness? Wear glasses, doh! Simplest and most effective technical fix to a health problem yet.
 
Linus always makes sure to highlight the goodness of anything that runs on Linux. He's okay with few shortcomings as long as it is powered by his baby, the Linux.
 
Add in pytyle to the mix and you have a few very nice shortcuts to instantly tile and resize windows on top of most window managers, such as Kwin. Works great for high resolution desktops.
 
Fonts and icons are never too small. You're just not looking close enough.
 
Hi Linus, how is the touchscreen accuracy with this pixel density? Do you use it often (or at all)?
 
side-by-side ? like titling wm?
 
Will the 4.0 kernel be sub named pixel perfect?
 
The Pixel is one of the most beautiful laptops I've ever seen. Too bad about Chrome OS, it just doesn't do the 30% of things I really need a laptop for.
 
I'm sure that ctrl-a and ctrl-e work just fine for "move to start of line" and "move to end of line"
 
Don't you thing we should have much more browsers?
 
awesome thx for the review Linus =)
 
+Ovidiu-Florin Bogdan Linus uses emacs to edit (at least he used to, and that's one of those things that people don't change unless they have to).  In emacs, almost everything is bound to a control or alt/meta key.   ctrl-a moves the cursor to the start of line.  ctrl-e moves the cursor to the end of line.  These bindings precede windows by about a decade.
 
Microemacs and emacs have the same keybindings for basic cursor movement.  Linus probably won't miss the lack of home and end keys (which was where this sub-thread started).
 
Always interesting to see Linus talking about... anything 
 
Umm... cheap? Last time I checked it was like $1300 or $1400 on the Play Store
 
+Kamryn Spinelli try to find another laptop with the same quality screen for anything close to that price.

You can install ubuntu on a pixel now.  It's possibly the easiest dual boot computer Google has made so far.
 
Talking generally of screens and laptops specially, I don't like of the tendency of those glossy mirrors, anyway here at Milan we havo only some Samsung laptops with a matt screen. On the pictures of Pixel I can't see how it's made?
2. Clouds? I have my money in bank, even if I sometimes are asking "why". Clouds are not under my fingers? I haven't so big trust of bigG and company.l
 
I would like to second the inquiry as to which LiveCD +Linus Torvalds  is trying out.  After daily Phonon and Plasma crashes, I had to part with KDE 4.9.
 
Chrome OS sucks, which makes this laptop a shitty deal unless it is completely open and it's possible to install linux as the only operating system.
 
+ankit pasi It is possible to install "a second os" and have the system boot to that one all of the time.  That second OS can be linux or anything else that will run on the hardware.  It is not possible to remove the Chrome OS image and get clean booting without some hacking.
 
In the Android Chrome port, there is a nice feature : a zoomed panel poped up when you touch a place containing many links. It's like a Tokyo having a protection again sausages.
 
can you send me one of these Pixel-thing? :-P
Have a nice day!
 
Thanks for the terrific reports on the Pixel Linus. Most of the reviews I see are from people who don't really understand it or it's purpose.
 
Thank you Linus, for pushing toward general purpose computers with decent display resolution.
 
Hey +Linus Torvalds  isn't the XFCE built-in to ChromeOS good enough for having a "real distro" and everything? I saw this video where the guy runs both sessions at the same time and it looks pretty nice... I thought you might like it - that is if you don't already know about it. :)
 
Anybody had a look at the Dell sputnik? It seems a worthy contender.
 
If touch-screens were left in the realm of consumption, then precision would not be an issue (IMHO).
Because creation requires precision, I hope the mouse never dies! (unless it can truly be improved apon).
 
hay !!!!!!! I am Bangladeshi guy ..........I am Complicated diploma in engineering (Electronics).I am interested Finnish jobs.Plz help me...............
 
Resolution is good thing but I feel that touchscreen on laptop would be useless, because if you already have touchscreen what are you need keyboard for and reversed. If we are discussing about good piece of hardware, than either make great laptop or great tablet, but when it comes to Google, the most important thing unfortunatelly is to make more place for ads aaand to learn more about end consumers so you can sell stuff easier. OH GOD, IT'S ALLWAYS ABOUT MONEY!
 
 
The wide screens are definitely better. Put them on their side and you get even more vertical space. Great for coding! Touch screen is not as good for precision, but it would be handy for gestures like pinch zoom scrolling in every direction. 
 
+Frank Forte How would you rotate the screen on a laptop? It's not nice having to rotate the screen. Why not just use a proper screen like the one on the Pixel?
 
By typing sideways, of course!
j/k,  I use a second external monitor that is on its side.
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