Seven iBook Logic Boards Later.. I'm Free

by Steve Mallett

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I'm one of those poor saps who got the iBook with the craptacular logic board problems. While I was bitter about the whole thing I've instead taken the Zen path of bending like the willow... I'm going to use Linux full-time on it and kiss hardware vendor lock-in forever and unfortunately OS X.

The replacement iBook comes back today with its fourth logic board (the first iBook had three) and a new hard drive. Here's the plan: Having Bitten the Forbidden Fruit, it Bit Me Back. Six Times.


2004-01-28 08:34:58
Freedom and Knowledge
Some years ago, I bought my second Linux (SCSI) machine - from SuSE.
The graphics card did not run under X11 - calling SuSE was of no use: no, no, we have checked everything, everything's ok, etc

After much scrutiny and quite a bit of luck - I am no hardware freak - we discovered that we had to set some jumpers on the card.

A year or so later, the logic board crashed. At the local repair shop, I na´vely asked if they could upgrade my machine to a bi-processor system.
Well, um, yes, but, Sir, we are no Linux-specialists.
A fortnight later, I got back my machine. It has never worked again. Sychronization (PIC) problems of the processors?
I could not complain as I was warned: they were no Linux-shop. And it was not cheap.

Summer 2002: I needed a new machine. No vendor-lockin: a great idea. I went to another computer shop: we build the computer YOU want.
Yes, I wanted a bi-processor machine with 1 G of memory.
Hard disk: unimportant. Graphics card: high quality in two dimensions. Well, ok, but we strongly discourage the use of a bi-processor system - we are no Linux shop, etc
I needed a new machine: OK then, no bi-processor.
They built the machine, I paid - the first time I tried to boot the system I was welcomed by the BIOS. Fascinating.
The local Linux/hardware guru saved me (a week later): he had to change some wiring on the logic board (RAID related) a fact which took him some time to discover.
Six months later, the 21 inch Iiyama monitor (3 years old) gave a sigh and stopped working.

Countless hours of fiddling and headscratching.
Thumbing through hardware guides about possible error sources.

Time lost - for nothing.
(And I am not telling you the stories about software problems like file system navigators which suddnly stopped working under a new SuSE release - of course, they knew about the problem and were working on it - as the automatic answer tried to convince me)
I'm using now an Apple bi-processor system, a UNIX system which let's me concentrate on my work - using all the free software I need day in day out: TeX, Metapost, Python, etc.

Yes, it's about freedom - not from hardware vendor lockin, but from trouble, random, peripheral problems.

Yes, it's about freedom - the freedom to be able to work on the problems which interest me and not being forced to lose my time on things which do not interest me.

One needs a lot of knowledge, one must be ready to invest a big amount of time to achieve hardware indepence.
And that's for some of us another form of slavery.

Let us hope that the hardware gets more reliable and the vendors better behaved.

2004-01-28 11:43:45
Ooops !
I am sorry to hear that you have been experiencing issues...

I own an iBook, know many people who do and have set iBooks up in many places and never experienced an issue with them...

I really wish that you could give Apple and its products another try !


2004-01-28 11:52:53
Noses and faces
I don't blame you for being upset; putting up with six logic board replacements would require much more patience than even this long-time Mac user has.

But still, it almost sounds like you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. You're obviously reluctant to give up Mac OS X, and I don't blame you. All in some sort of "Fight the Power!" protest. I mean, calling the vendors "tyrannical" is a bit melodramatic, and the whole "vendor lock-in" paranoia is way overblown.

Then again, had I had faced the same problems you have, I'd likewise be upset. But if you enjoy Mac OS X, I'd encourage you to give them one more try.

2004-01-28 12:23:40
Noses and faces
All in some sort of "Fight the Power!" protest.

Well, one of the parts that I left out of the piece is the stonewalling someone can be met with when talking to customer relations at companies. If I really wanted to continue using OS X I'm at their mercy, and honestly, I really felt that way expecially the last time I was on the horn with Apple's customer relations.

The first iBook was replaced after the third board blew, and I was told that it was cost prohibitive to keep replacing them and so a new one was on the way. They told me I could upgrade or whatever, but I really liked mine & figured that the new one was going from the 700 to 800 machine was so it wouldn't be a problem. This time at the third blow out I told customer relations I wanted to upgrade & they told me no. I told them about the last replacement, got a stock answer, I told them that three blowouts in one machine is too much to ask a person to put up with let alone that's it's likely to just blow again. Stock answer.

I was powerless. I'm not fighting the power, as much as taking back my own. In this case.

But if you enjoy Mac OS X, I'd encourage you to give them one more try.

As I said above, I was willing to try an upgraded machine. They just went too far asking me to put up with a fourth logic board. Actually, the hard drive is dying too.

2004-01-28 12:27:57
Ooops !
I can't allow myself the disappointment at the this point. If I use OS X again, and then seventh board blows & I think I would go bonkers.

Again, its really about not having any power in the relationship. See this comment for more.

2004-01-28 12:29:48
Freedom and Knowledge
2004-01-28 14:23:21
This is off the subject but....
According to the numbers Macintouch reported, Apple's PC world share is down to 1.8%. If this is to be believed, maybe a little of this has to do with the product they have been putting out in the last 3-4 years. Look at the AirPort problem . Also, laptops and desktop failures. It is enough to make people turn to another OS. Besides the quality issues, is Apple going to be making computers in 7, 8, 10 years from now? With a market share of 1.8% down from 3%, I don't know. Apple had around 9% PC market share ten years ago and with them virtually locked out of K-12 and the corporate world things don't look to improve. Certainly you hear about Maine buying ibooks and a few other States, but that was commonplace 15 years ago and there is not enough of it going on now. The only way Apple gets back in the game with upward moving stats is to change their game plan. Quality needs to be No.1. If you are the underdog it does not help you to have an inferior product sometimes. For example, my dad uses PCs and sucks at it. I have been trying to convince him unsuccessfully for years to try a Mac. if he did and the logic board broke he would never buy another one. And I fear that is happening more and more these days. I am a diehard Mac user and will always be as long as they offer a computer or OS, but tech Mac guys like me are in the minority (not around this website, but you get the point). I don't think twice about partitioning a hard drive. However, most people buy a Mac, so they don't have to worry about that. Now, with Unix things are a little different some of the true geeks are turned on to OS X. That helps, but those numbers are too small to matter. Just my rant on the subject.
2004-01-28 18:34:34
Apple Launches Repair Program for Some iBooks
Apple Computer Inc. said on Wednesday that it launched a three-year, worldwide repair program for certain of its iBook notebook computers that can have problems with their internal or external display monitors.

"We have determined that a small number of iBooks introduced in 2002 have a display problem caused by a component failure on the logic board," said Phil Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing for Apple in a statement emailed to Reuters.

The program began on Wednesday and applies to iBooks with serial numbers in a range of UV220XXXXXX to UV318XXXXXX and that were manufactured between May 2002 and April 2003.

iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program:

Redundant Yahoo Story:

2004-01-28 18:49:59
Apple Launches Repair Program for Some iBooks
What are the chances!!!!????

I'll state the obvious. This is great.

However; to throw a wet blanket on it... if your car's wheels keep coming off and the dealer you bought it from replaces the tires everytime does that really fix your problem. In my above case my logic board has been replaced seven time. I just don't feel that confident that it won't happen again. So, what is causing all the logic boards to blow???

2004-01-28 21:31:14
Freedom and Knowledge
Thanks for the sarkasm - but it does not address my main point:
I "suffered" from "Linux lock-in".
And had no one to blame.

I buy a mainstream printer from HP - and have to resell it, because there are no GS-drivers for this model.

I must run some specific Windows apps; trying to transform our Windows machine into a dual-booting system failed - the graphics card was "to new". Even with the new drivers from the graphics card vendor the machine had random lock-ups. But no problems on the Windows side.

Those ridiculous experiences can't be described as "freedom".

One could even say that I suffered from "OS lock-in".
As Microsoft said in the context of the recent HP-Apple collaboration: "Windows is all about freedom of choice."
Well ...

2004-01-29 04:58:42
This is off the subject but....
You're right, it's off the subject. It should be classified as yet another Mac hater disguising as a Mac user.
2004-01-29 05:32:14
Freedom and Knowledge
Those ridiculous experiences can't be described as "freedom".

Dude, you couldn't get it work.. how did it even have a chance to lock you in?? (You probably would have been alright using Mandrake.)

Anyway, I think we're both arguing over how unreliable hardware is a pain. Mine ran OS X so instead of continuing I'm making it run something else so -when- the logic board dies an eighth time I know what I'll be using the next day.

I'm solving the problem that I really can't reliable say what I'll be running from day to day.
As of this morning it looks like Apple is going to be doing a lot of replacing. I'm super happy for that for all those folks who weren't getting their logic boards replaced.

2004-01-29 06:13:15
Unclear on the concept
I'm not sure how changing your software frees you from hardware lock-in?
2004-01-29 06:26:01
Unclear on the concept
I can only run OS X on apple hardware. Since my hardware was unreliable I didn't reasonably know what OS I was going to end up using each day. Really.

While I still have my iBook if I run Linux on it I'm not committed in anyway to running Apple hardware. I'm personally not dependent on using OS X.

It's great software, I've never claimed otherwise, but at the end of the day Apple is in charge of what I run. I can't get hardware from someone else if they treat me poorly to run OS X.

Now, they've been replacing my logic boards happily, but seven is a pain & I really have no assurance that the eighth won't do the same. In fact, a dead pool for it might be fun.

So instead of working on OS X, and investing more time in OS X, I'm just going to part ways.

Mind you, if I call today about the replacement program and they tell me they have the logic board problem nailed down I'm in a real quandry aren't I?

2004-01-29 08:59:51
Not true
You have no clue about me. I have always owned a Mac and I also own a Mac hardware business, so you REALLY don't know what you are talking about. I also own one of the ibooks with the logic board problem. But I am mainly upset because the way Apple has been handling some issues and this is going to hurt Apple and it will eventually hurt me. I want Apple to stay in business a long time. Fixing the Logic boards is one good step. I have one that is experiencing the issues and is within model numbers of the ones they are replacing, so I am happy about that. Don't jump to conclusions when you have no idea about a person.
dusantha manoj
2008-07-20 21:45:11
this is helpful for us