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Linutop 2.2: A desktop where smaller is better

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Linux
Hardware

A shift from multi-core power-gobbling monsters toward whisper-quiet systems with single-digit power consumption is rippling through the desktop market. This trend plays right into the hands of a Paris-based company called Linutop, which offers a miniature Linux-based desktop system. The latest version of the machine appeals to customers who are in the market for a machine with green credentials and low maintenance costs. After testing one myself, I found the tiny desktop has a lot going for it.

Linutop arrived in a tiny box that is even smaller than the Mac mini packaging. The contents of the box are refreshingly minimal: a Linutop unit, a power supply, and a power cord. There are no printed manuals, quick start guides, backup DVDs, or other paraphernalia. But you probably won't miss that stuff anyway: the information necessary for setting up and configuring the machine is available on Linutop's Web site, and if you want to back up your system software, you can do it using Linutop's own software utility.

Despite its minute size (the machine measures 14x14x3.5cm or about 5.5x5.5x1.4in and weighs only 580g), Linutop is built like a tank.

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