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. :-)

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