On Zareason

These views are my own, and not necessarily those of Canonical.

Some time back the always awesome Earl and Cathy from Zareason loaned me one of their Strata laptops to play with. I met them at an event some time before, and while I had heard of Zareason, I really knew nothing about them. Since then I have learned about their work and played with the Strata. I just wanted to share some thoughts.

Zareason are a company that I think really gets Open Source. They are a small organization and incredibly supportive of Open Source in the local area and wider USA. They pre-install Ubuntu on their machines, focus on open hardware, and one really nice touch is that they include a small screwdriver with each machine because they believe that everyone has the right to be able to open up their machines and peek inside. In this age of screwless, inaccessible boxes and restrictive end-user license agreements, this is a refreshing change. Like most, I would never actually use said little screwdriver…but it is a strong statement of Zareason and their culture. Kudos!

So, as for the machine, it is a zippy little monster and works great. The pre-installed Ubuntu worked great out of the box, with pretty much everything running as expected. One thing that really struck me, is regarding build quality. I consider build quality an essential ingredient in a laptop. Laptops move around a lot, they get thrown into bags, and they get picked up, dragged around and balanced in precarious ways. The Zareason Strata I tried felt incredibly durable…as in…Thinkpad durable. I absolutely adore Thinkpads for this very reason, so again, Kudos Zareason.

Finally, a big decider for me in a laptop is the keyboard. There are many great laptops with horrible plasticky keyboards. The Zareason Strata has a really comfortable, useful, and durable keyboard. It feels strong but not difficult to use. Again, kudos Zareason.

So, Zareason produce great, solid, hardware pre-installed with Ubuntu, they are actively supportive of the Open Source community, and they affirm openness in both the software and hardware. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. :-)

  • http://shanefagan.com Shane Fagan

    I totally agree but I havent used one of their machines yet. The fact that zareason and system76 are around is absolutely awesome.

  • http://freeit.inf.br Luis Fernando Planella Gonzalez

    I wish there were companies like Zareason or System76 here in Brazil. There are a few companies which sell computers Linux, but most are netbooks or very underpowered computers… Not even Dell sells Ubuntu computers here… :-(

  • http://pablorubianes.wordpress.com Pablo Rubianes

    Yeah, here in Uruguay we have the same problem, and you end up paying for windows when you don´t want it. Hope Zareason or System76 starts sell computer worldwide!!!

  • http://edward.oconnor.cx/ Edward O’Connor

    I recently picked up one of their Terra HD netbooks, and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s a great little machine.

  • Jonathan Thomas

    They also seem to be the only ones that’ll preload Kubuntu on their machines in addition to Ubuntu. +1 Zareason.

  • http://scottlinux.com Scott

    I got to hear Cathy talk at a local LUG meeting. Very awesome person. If Ubuntu had a ‘store’ and sold computers, it would be Zareason.

  • http://www.nixternal.com nixternal

    ooh, mines better. I would have posted it today but I foobarred my router and have been without Internet all day long. No way I was going to write something like that up on my droid :)

  • Eddward

    I bought one of their Limbo desktops with Ubuntu Studio. The system has worked great. The only problem I had was ‘skippy’, ‘crackly’ sound. Since I’ve never had good sound on a system running Pulse Audio and I have always gotten good sound without it (removing it if needed), I don’t blame the hardware.

    The system performs good, it’s quiet and it is the first system I’ve trusted hibernate on. Now I just need to figure out wake-on-lan.

    ZaReason was easy to work with to customize the machine. They have been good with questions after the order and they’ve even checked back some time after the order. And the screw driver really was a nice touch for making a point.

  • Janet Henry

    I live in Thailand, they were always rebuilding my windows with bogus windows, so I switched to Linux. I love Linux. I’m not as sophisticated with computers as you are, but I am looking to purchase a new machine. I now have a ThinkPad T40 which I am constantly using the “screwdriver”

    Do they sell these ZaReason in Thailand? If so, what is the weight, and how much in America. I pay 100% tarriff on electronics brought into Thailand.

    Thanks.

  • http://mackenzie.morgan.name Mackenzie

    ZaReason ships to Brazil.

  • Ryan

    What about battery life? If the battery doesn’t last, then it’s really just a funny-shaped desktop.

  • http://freeit.inf.br Luis Fernando Planella Gonzalez

    I didn’t know they ship to here. The problem is that the computer shipped to Brazil would be overpriced, because we have a 60% import tax (!?!). Yeap, that’s true. So, for example, the Terra HD, is a glorified netbook which starts on US$ 449 = R$ 795. With the import tax, R$ 1272. Plus the shipping rates, which are not specified on the site (but wouldn’t be low). Maybe an equivalent one would cost about that price (maybe even a little more), but what to do if something go wrong? One can’t ship back to US. But I might consider it for a future computer (right now I already have a desktop, a laptop and a netbook ;))

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  • http://mackenzie.morgan.name Mackenzie

    You could’ve played with my laptop in Dallas! All you had to do was ask :P

  • http://www.gerv.net/ Gerv

    Yes, I second the battery life question…

    Gerv

  • http://rootzwiki.com Steven

    I am hoping Cathy loans me one (I might end up paying for it and keeping it if I love it). I cannot wait to do a thorough review on one as soon as I can.

    Steve