Why it's a bad time to buy a laptop right now
I don't want to indulge in product placement but the Asus U30Jc looked quite sexy to me: a moderately fast i3 processor, 13 inch, not too heavy, widescreen, 8-10 hours battery life, at least a partial aluminium case, hybrid graphics and significantly cheaper than a comparable MacBook Pro (and before daWuzzzz starts a war in the comments section: the hardware-optimised OS on the Mac is no good if you intend to run Linux...)
Ay, there's the rub: hybrid graphics on Linux is still in early development, and apparently the Nvidia Optimus technology (check out this Nvidia whitepaper for specs) would need a major Xorg makeover to function.
I'd consider just getting the machine and waiting for Xorg/driver updates, if I could at least use the Nvidia chip all the time or manually switch with a server reboot, but apparently one is confined to the Intel-on-board chip right now. Nvidia blames Xorg and has better things to do than work towards a solution and the Linux hybrid graphics hackers concentrate more on getting the conventional switching setup to work.
I really don't like settling on an older model just for compatibility reasons and I have forsworn ATI forever (don't start me on driver issues), so I'll see what transpires and in any case wait for the USB3-capable chipsets to become standard.
I think I'll have to go on a major frustration shopping spree now - in this town, it should be easy to spend the equivalent of a quite high-end notebook on shoes and handbags.
Update (7/26): There seems to be slight progress on the vga_switcheroo front with the nouveau drivers on an Asus N61 with an Optimus card according to the hybrid-graphics mailing list - they didn't specify the exact model (hopefully the N61Jq, it's the only one with Optimus).
Posted by avocadohead