Any suggestions on what netbook to buy?
Scroll past the ranting for the functional requirements.
I've had a TF101 for a couple of years, and I'm fucking sick of it.
Because it's a tegra2 (ARM), I can't upgrade the kernel without doing
a ridiculous dance using an x86-only binary reflashing tool from
nvidia. And I'm sick of not being able to use an external screen or
bluetooth or have accelerated 2D graphics. Even the onboard speakers
don't work and the headphones get interference from the backlight
unless the brightness is 100% or 0%.
And my storage is only an eMMC and an SD card, and I removed the ext
journal from the SD card and now whenever I try to read or write to
some directories the shitty Asus-supplied Android-flavoured kernel I'm
running (with an equally ancient Ubuntu userland) just koopses and
reboots. (And dd'ing the fs onto a fresh SD card didn't help.)
None of those are show-stoppers, but the whole reason I bought an
ARM was because BATTERY LIFE! and I want to believe that current-gen
x86-64 netbooks can compete with ARM there. If that's so, there's no
need to put up with ARM vendors' idea devices are MAGICAL UNIQUE
SNOWFLAKES protected from any expectation of interoperability.
I had a look at the Asus T100 which looks to be their current
x86-flavoured equivalent of the TF101, but it ships with a 32-bit EFI,
which mjg59 says is VERY VERY STUPID and phoronix says makes life
gratuitously hard when using stock x86-64 bootloader/kernel/userland.
So my requirements (RFC 2119) go something like this:
MUST run Debian jessie without too much hassle.
Hardware that Debian can't drive that doesn't count.
MUST be around 10" (12" is too big, 7" is too small).
MUST be around 1kg.
MUST have onboard keyboard & screen.
MUST accept an SSD as primary storage.
(Either 2.5" SATA or mSATA/PCIe are fine.)
(It need not ship with an SSD; I'll buy a good one.)
MUST have 802.11.
MUST have at least one USB host port.
MUST have onboard speakers and/or a 3.5mm speaker jack.
SHOULD have at least 12h battery life.
On the basis that vendor lies, Windowsisms and wear will
reduce this to an 8h battery life after two years, which is
about the minimum I want.
I'd like this to be a "MUST", but I doubt x86-64 can manage
it within the volume/weight constraints.
Plan B is "FFS, just buy a second power brick".
SHOULD have video out. I'd prefer DisplayPort over HDMI, but I'll
take anything that Debian can speak. The intention is for
day-to-day use to be with an external keyboard & screen.
SHOULD ship with at least 2GB RAM.
SHOULD accept at least 4GB RAM.
SHOULD have hardware virtualization.
SHOULD have a micro SD slot.
SHOULD have bluetooth (for keyboard).
SHOULD be available off-the-shelf in Melbourne.
I like kicking the tyres before I buy stuff.
SHOULD be around A$500 to A$750.
SHOULD have passive cooling.
 I could even fix some of them -- like not being able to access
/boot from the running system -- if I was prepared to piss about
building a new rootfs and reflashing it. But I'd rather not do
that while it's my only computer.