Creating the Ultimate Mobile Developer Computer: Lenovo X61

As a developer, I long for two things that rarely ever come together well. This Christmas, I have been able to do just that, and I love it! I am always on the lookout for something that will give me the power of a desktop, but the mobility and function of a tablet computer. Three years ago I had bought a Toshiba m205, which some may know, was one of the first tablet computers to really make a mark on the market. I really enjoyed it, as it was very nice, but it was quickly outdone by the market. It really couldn’t run Vista, and XP Tablet version has never been developed enough to get the full potential from a tablet computer.

IBM has outdone themselves with the x61. The x61 came out about a half a year ago, and this Christmas they had a one week deal that dropped the price down by nearly 50% of the overall Cost. I jumped at the prospect, even though I had decided to wait another 6 months to replace my aging Toshiba. Let me Introduce you to my new computer.

Lenovo X61

  • Dual Core Centrino Pro 1.8Ghz with 4Mb Cache
  • 3Gb 533Mhz DDRII Ram (Max 4Gb)
  • 100Gb 7200rpm Hard Drive with 1Gb Cache for speed boost
  • Multi-Touch Monitor (Touchscreen and Stylus)
  • Multi-View Monitor (Indoor and Outdoor - full sunlight does not affect viewing enjoyment. ** Max resolution is only 1024 x 768)
  • Tablet Mode (monitor swings around and lays flat)
  • Vista Business
  • Intel 965 Integrated Video with 128Mb dedicated memory
  • 3 usb 2.0, Gigabit Lan, Wifi A/B/G/N, SD reader, PCMCIA slot, 1394 Firewire, VGA out, onboard Mic.
  • 4-Cell Battery (8-Cell available) @ 2.5 hours of power
    So as you can see, this thing flies! It’s a tablet computer that weighs a mere 3.77 lbs with the battery in.

Now to the good stuff, what this is intended to do.

First thing I did was install VMware Workstation 6. This is a virtualization software that will allow me to do what’s next in the list.

Next I downloaded Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10 in live cd Iso format. Then mounted the ISO as a virtual CD drive. Fired up VMware and created a new virtual computer, which was subsequently loaded with Ubuntu.

While in Ubuntu, I then installed Quanta+, Apache, PHP5.2, MySql5, RapidSVN.

Quanta has quickly become my chosen editor when it comes to developing. It’s fast, sublime, pretty and full of features, including auto finishing words you are typing based on a history of the words you have typed. The rest of the LAMP install is too long and also reproduced many times over (check out the forums on for more details if you are interested in this) to repeat here for the 10 Millionth time.

While VMWare is running the Ubuntu machine, that I dedicated 512Mb Ram to, I started network installing Microsoft Office. I really really enjoy using OneNote, which is one of the greatest Tablet Tools that is out there.

After that was all said an done, I know have a mobile computer that packs a serious punch. I am running Vista using OneNote to take notes, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Safari and Opera to test web pages, virtualized Ubuntu Gutsy running my editor and Webserver, so no matter where I happen to be, I can easily program and test via a single powerful machine.

Such an amazing combination, I am sure many of you also would consider the same.