#MicrosoftTax Refund?? What? We’re not Microsoft!

So I went to the Samsung Service Center downstairs… it’s such a rare event that of course they were very surprised.

Since their boss wasn’t there, they took not of my Samsung contact and case number, photographed the evidences I showed them that the laptop is Windows-free:

  • sudo fdisk -l
  • mount
  • ls each of the filesystems
  • and they also filmed the boot process

Now I’m still waiting for the next steps… sigh


Samsung: We’ll refund your #MicrosoftTax

So I asked Samsung what the procedure would be in order to get a Microsoft Tax refund and they replied:

  1. once bought, don’t turn the laptop on
  2. don’t accept the license terms (which is kind of hard to do if you don’t turn it on, but I guess that’s just for the in case you turned it on… situation)
  3. go the nearest Samsung service center (that’s practically just downstairs, for me, yay!)

Since my laptop was the model on show it was a) already turned on and b) I never booted into Windows after bought and c) I completely erased Windows from my SSD.

I guess I’ll get my Microsoft Tax back. Yay! 🙂

Exmo. Sr. Rui Seabra,

Em resposta à sua consulta em que solicita informação sobre o portátil Samsung, agradecemos o email que nos endereçou, que será objecto da nossa melhor atenção. Informamos que é possível obter um reembolso da licença do Windows, desde que assim que adquirir o equipamento não ligue o portátil nem aceite os termos de licença. Por outras palavras, assim que adquire o equipamento deverá ser reencaminhado pela loja para o centro oficial da Samsung ou contactar a mesma para apagar todo o conteúdo do seu equipamento e que lhe seja devolvido o montante da chave OEM, caso contrário, não será possível. A assistência técnica autorizada pela Samsung é:

Assistencia 35, Lda Lisboa
Rua Jorge Barradas, Nº30 C
1500-371 Lisboa
telf: 214107369

Don’t want no Microsoft tax!

So you might know I bough a Samsung NP900X3C. Yes, it came with Windows. No I don’t use it. Yes I want my money back on that item.

I’ve just asked Samsung Portugal what the procedure is.

Boa noite,

Adquiri um portátil NP900X3C e não utilizo Windows. Desejo devolver a licença de Windows que fui forçado a adquirir na compra do portátil em causa, bem como de todos os softwares incluídos no sistema operativo a devolver.

Desde que o arranquei pela primeira vez que corre GNU/Linux, neste momento Fedora e encontro-me muito satisfeito com o suporte, mas não concordo com a licença do Windows nem posso ser, legalmente, forçado a aceitá-la para comprar um portátil.

Como devo proceder?

Obrigado em avanço,
Rui Seabra

Screenshot from 2013-12-15 01:45:13

Samsung NP900X3C is pretty sweet!

On black friday (we don’t really have that tradition in Portugal but stores are copying it from other countries) I saw this very sweet Samsung NP900X3C (A01PTbut it cost a hairline under 1000€. The ones I was really looking after were the 11.5” ones with Intel Core i7 but they cost around 1600€ over here. Much sweeter, but they’d really set me back a bit too much.

So… I happen to go back to the store a couple of weeks afterwards and it’s now at 777€. Woot! (well, it was the laptop on display, as it was the last one).

Since I wanted it to have 8 GB of RAM rather than the 4 GB it comes with, I asked whether they’d upgrade the RAM. «No problem!» they replied. Oopsie, problem… the RAM is non expandable after all, wielded to the board (the hidden costs of being ultra light and thin) was also a surprise for them, so as I was going to go give up on it they got me a further discount: 699€. Done deal!

So of course I never even booted Windows (the story of the license refund: part I, part II, part III, and part IV should start really soon now) and quickly got Fedora 20 in it. Virtually everything works, with the exception of a couple of minor issues: the keyboard brightness, silent mode and wireless toggle don’t work, but the rest… on man…

  • Boots to graphical login prompt in 6 seconds, not counting the UEFI bios, but it’s also just a couple of seconds more.
  • Intel Core i5 is fast enough, I don’t have the slightest feeling of slowness, it seems faaaaast! Even with the scaling governor in place
  • It’s so light it almost doesn’t feel it’s there
  • The full resolution is there, not Full HD like the ones I was really looking after but 1600×900 is very good. Intel HD4000 is also quite fast, but I already knew that since I upgraded my home media center in the summer of 2012, which came with it.
  • The keys are evenly spaced, it’s quite balanced for my hands and I’m quickly adapting to the layout without any issues other than the arrow keys which are a tad small, but also rarely used.
  • The touchpad is wonderful, before configuration I was hating it (oh… no tap click) but it was just a config away. Two fingers to scroll, three finger tap for middle button paste, and it turns off while typing. Yes! I wonder if there are more gestures…
  • Audio sounds fine, but I use a bluetooth headset anyways (oh yeah, bluetooth works fine as well, already bound the mouse too)
  • Wifi is working fine, and it’s only a bore that ethernet is done via a dongle. It looks like micro-USB, but it’s probably not as the interface is already there before anything is plugged
  • The SD card reader also works fine

Jos Poortvliet’s blog about this laptop is also a good source of what should be happening, and it seems that the buttons that aren’t working should work after some help, but samsung-laptop module isn’t being loadable, so I expect that’s a Fedora beta issue, maybe on the next kernel upgrade it works better 🙂

The only design issue I found, so far, is that the left USB is too close to the power cord, so when it’s plugged it’s hard to put anything in without a short extension cable, but hardly a serious issue when it’s so cool.

I’m only sorry I was in the eminence of having my WeTab just stop working at a bad timing, because even though I got a very good deal, some other important expenses have had to be delayed to 2014…

In the market for a laptop…

My trusty WeTab tablet is starting to give some signs of weariness, so I guess it’s time to get a new portable work device, maybe one where I can actually do some work.

System 76’s Galago Ultra Pro seems interesting, specially with 8 GB RAM and a 120 GB solid state drive, it’s under 1000 €, don’t know yet how bad it’ll be with shipping from US to Portugal, but it’s quite tempting, I’ll have to check it out after FOSDEM because it’ll make quite a dent in my purse and I’d rather not do that with an upcoming journey ahead of me.

The only major problem I see with this one is the size, I’d like those specs but with 12” display size, rather than 14.1, and also below 1000 €.

Any suggestions?

FIT-PC2 is worthless for Free Software business

FIT-PC2 looks quite interesting for making a Free Software multi-media product which could be sold. It’s small. Looks good, has enough interfaces for your needs, and is powerful enough to play FullHD quality movies. nice huh? Except that it will only work on Linux 2.6.24. Except that it will only work on some version of Xorg. Why? Because it uses an Intel GMA500 as it’s graphics card which is, up to today, only supported through either VESA or a proprietary driver.

Now, since the proprietary driver will hold you back to nearly obsolete software, it’s not a possibility. Since VESA is quite the last resort, forget about playing FullHD movies as the hardware decoder will not be available. You’ll only be able to count on the CPU, which isn’t strong enough.

I wrote them asking whether they’ll make a better model in the future, but I can only take their answer as either a sign of sad ignorance or petty insult. Therefore, I strongly recommend against buying the Fit-PC2, or any other device containing an Intel GMA500.

From: Rui Miguel Silva Seabra
Sent: Saturday, April 18, 2009 7:44 PM
To: info@fit-pc2.com
Subject: FIT-PC2 but without GMA500


I was very interested into launching a product with something very
similar to the FIT PC2, it almost fit the bill perfectly.

But it has an Intel GMA500 which doesn’t work with Free Software, so it
is impossible to provide good support for it.

Will you do a better model?


So, the least I could expect is a «No, Sorry.» but hopefully I’d get an «We’re aware of the issue, and we’re studying alternatives.», huh? Well, no… this is what they preferred to answer:

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 17:54:54 +0300
From: fit-PC2 info
To: Rui Miguel Silva Seabra
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook 12.0
Subject: RE: FIT-PC2 but without GMA500


Thank you for your interest in fit-PC2.
GMA500 works in Linux with open source VESA drivers or with proprietary Intel drivers.
We do not intend to offer a different HW architecture in the near future.

Best regards,
«Name Withheld by me»
fit-PC Support Engineer

I guess the bold parts say it all, don’t they? Here’s my answer:

From: Rui Miguel Silva Seabra
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 18:26:29 +0100
To: info@fit-pc2.com
Subject: Re: FIT-PC2 but without GMA500

Thank you for your quick answer.

I must however point out that claiming GMA500 works with GNU/Linux with
VESA is tantamount to undue sarcasm as it will render the chip virtually
useless for multimedia stations.

I must ALSO point out that claiming GMA500 works with GNU/Linux with
proprietary drivers is misleading, at best, since it will only work with
very specific versions of the kernel Linux and the Xserver it was
prepared to work with.

Since you do not intend to offer a different HW architecture in the near
future, I must indeed question whether your reply was truly void of
insult as both options are quite useless.

Best regards,