The Novice Guide To Buying A Linux Laptop

by on May 21, 2010 · 184 comments· LAST UPDATED June 5, 2012

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All major laptop (notebook) hardware is supported by Linux. The important things to take into account when looking to buy a Linux powered laptops are as follows to avoid any hardware compatibility problems. Selecting correct specification is important. In this first part, I will cover what to look out for when buying a Linux powered laptop.

Laptop Usage

First, you need to decide and define the purpose of your laptop. Linux laptop can be used for simple office tasks and browsing the Internet or sending e-mails, than a mid-range laptop may be good enough:

  1. Define your budget
  2. Define screen size notebook (13" or 15" or 17")
  3. Define your tasks such as Internet, sys admin, software development, some gaming using Win Vista / 7, dual booting etc.
  4. How many hours of battery life do you need?
  5. Define optical media types - Do you want to watch movies using DVD or Blu ray? Do you want to burn DVDs?
  6. To play games you need a top spec laptop. Please note that Linux has limited support for popular PC gaming titles. So you need to dual boot your laptop with MS-Windows operating systems.
  7. Finally, some people prefer desktop replacements with mobile workstations.

In short, decide how you are going to be using the Linux laptop.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

CPU is the brain of your laptop. Linux supports all sort of mobile cpus. Linux does supports SMP cpus on servers and it does support portables cpus too. The following are well know mobile cpus:

  • Intel Atom
  • Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Intel Core i5 Duo
  • Intel Core i7 Duo or Quad
  • AMD Athlon 64 Mobile
  • AMD Turion 64 X2

The speed range from 1.3GHz to 2.2GHz or more. The number of cores plays an important role too. Naturally, a quad core CPU should be able to increase the number of calculations. This is useful when you run multiple applications, you will get fast and smooth response from the system. The Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Turion 64 II (dual core) is pretty popular choice for CPU. My advice is go for 64 bit CPU with 64 bit Linux distro.

Video Card and X Server

This is the most important part in Laptop which is used by X Windows. However, selecting correct Video card is important; otherwise you will end up with 3D hardware accelerated card with 2D Linux driver or just basic display. So make sure your video card with 3D acceleration is supported under Linux. Nvidia has pretty good support with a proprietary driver which can deliver full 3D acceleration with 24 bit color. On other hand ATI drivers are open source. My advice is simple visit the following driver pages and make sure your video card is fully supported including 3D acceleration:

Low End Video Cards

The following list summaries low end fully supported Linux video cards:

  • Intel GMA 4500MHD
  • Intel 945GM
  • Intel 950 GMA
  • Intel X3100 GMA
  • NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M (256MB)

Mid to High-End Video Cards

The following list summaries mid-high end priced fully supported Linux dedicated video cards (useful for playing 3D videogames or engineering Linux apps or video / photo editing):

  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M (1024 MB)
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 2800M (1024 MB)
  • NVIDIA Quadro NVS 3100M (256 or 512 MB)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9300M
  • Intel GMA X4500 HD
  • ATI FirePro M7740 (1024 MB)
  • ATI Radeon HD 3650 (512 MB)
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD4650 (1024 MB)

Finally, make sure external X display to your desktop monitor is fully supported. This can come handy when you want to watch movies, play games or do business presentation.

RAM

RAM (Random Access Memory) is another factor which can boost your speed easily, especially if you use RAM intensive apps like virtualization desktop software (e.g., VMWare or VirtualBox), photo editing (e.g., Gimp), video editing etc. 2 to 4 GB should be more than sufficient for most apps. A few high end laptops can support upto 16GB ram and Linux can access more than 4GB ram using PAE or 64bit kernel out of the box.

Hard Disk

Hard disk is used to store all your data and boot into Linux. Hard disks are cheaper, nosier and stores data on moving parts called rotating platters. You can have 7200rpm drives. Another option is to use SSD ( Solid State Drives ) as storage device which offers the following benefits:

  1. Speed (2 times faster than hard disk)
  2. Lighter and quieter (no moving parts)
  3. Consume less power
  4. Faster booting time.

You can add additional storage using USB or Firewire ports (i.e. external hard disk). My advice is go for SSD.

Optical Disk

Linux does support DVDs, Blu ray and other optical formats. This is useful for playing DVDs or backing up data via DVD/CD burner. DVD burner is fine for most applications. But, if you are interested in playing movies using Blu ray (HD DVD / Blu Ray disks), you will need to get Blue ray optical drive which can read and write DVDs too. However, the AACS 'Digital Rights Management' system in most HD-DVD and all Blu-Ray discs attempts to stop consumers from exercising fair use rights, including - playing purchased Blu-Ray and HD DVD films using Open Source software. To play Blu ray you need the latest version of mplayer and DumpHD to perform the decryption necessary to play the film. If you can afford go for Blu ray. See how to play Blu-Ray and HD DVD video under Ubuntu Linux.

Power Management: Suspend and Hibernate

Linux supports both AMP ( Advanced Power Management ) and ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface ) which allows you to hibernate the system to a disk partition using swsusp (Software Suspend). It is a suspend-to-disk implementation in the 2.6 series Linux kernel. However, some laptop may give you problem with swsusp. You may also need to compile kernel to include swsusp support. Make sure you get ACPI compliant BIOS and you should be fine with power management. Some time you may need to download a patch from 3rd party or vendor site to enable suspend and hibernate support under Linux.

Wireless 802.11

Another hardware device may not work at all; if you do not pay attention to wireless devices. Most laptops comes with on-board 802.11 (a/b/g/N) wireless cards. Not all card supported so make sure you get Intel Pro series card such as 3945 or Atheros based cards. My advice is use Google to search for your driver or use specialized databases (a more or less complete listing of wireless devices with information about the chipset they are based on and whether or not they are supported in Linux) to search for your laptop card.

Biometric Fingerprint Scanner

Fingerprint scanners are security systems of biometrics. If you work for Government, DoD, police, security industries and, if data security and authentication is your top priority, you need "Biometric Fingerprint Scanner". Every fingerprint is special and different from each other. You can use Linux PAM to hook fingerprint reader with KDM, GDM, sudo, su and many other services. The fingerprint scanners on the following models are known to work:

  • IBM ThinkPad T and X series selected models (see list of supported devices)
  • Dell Latitude selected models
  • HP Pavilion (selected model)

Please refer the following additional pages and make sure your laptop model is supported:

  • The fprint project aims to plug a gap in the Linux desktop: support for consumer fingerprint reader devices.
  • Fedora project wiki page describing supported devices and software for fingerprint devices.

Fn key (BlueKey) Support

Fn, or Function, is a modifier key on many keyboards, especially on laptops, used in a compact layout to combine keys which are usually kept separate. It is mainly used for the purpose of changing display or audio settings quickly, such as brightness, contrast, or volume, and is held down in conjunction with the appropriate key to change the settings. These features may be supported under Linux via driver or software. I found most laptop from reputed manufacture (such as Dell, IBM) does supports Fn keys.

Ports

The following are common ports for laptop:

  1. USB - It is well supported under Linux for external hard disk, pen, mouse, keyboard and much more.
  2. FireWire - It may or may not work out of box. In most cases you need to compile the Linux kernel so that you can access Zip drives, hard drives, and CDRW/DVD drives. However, support is limited. See Linux kernel IEEE 1394/ FireWire drivers wiki page for more information.
  3. eSATA -External SATA provides a variant of SATA meant for external connectivity. It allows you to connect external SATA hard drives directly to the SATA bus. You get faster speed as compare to USB or Firewire external hard disks. This may or may not work out of box.

Sound

Most on board sound card should work fine with Linux. You can play all sort of music file such as .mp3, .wav, .ogg and much more. Linux comes with various playback and mp3 players. You can rip audio cds too.

Docking Station (Port Replicator)

A Docking station and port replicator provides a simplified way of “plugging-in” an electronic device such as a laptop computer via common peripherals. You can plug desktop monitor, keyboard, printer, mouse, Palm Pilot and so on. Most docking station should work out of the box. Just confirm this with your vendor.

Ethernet (NIC)

Most NICs are supported but it is a good idea to go through Google and make sure your Ethernet card is supported. Usually, Intel and Broadcom (tg3) Ethernet cards are well supported. See Linux PCI ids database and search for your sound and Ethernet card names. Usually, most drivers are included in running kernel. In rare case you may have to compile the kernel or driver to support your Ethernet card.

Tip: Test Your Laptop With Linux (Try Before You Buy)

Most vendors have a showrooms and shops. Visit nearest shop with Linux Live CD (such as Knoppix or Ubuntu or Fedora ) and ask them to boot laptop using Live CD. See if it works or not; boot into Linux. Make sure you can see X Windows, connects to the Internet via wireless card and so on. If you get 100% result, then just purchase it.

Recommend Linux Distribution

Linux is all about choices. Personally, I use Redhat v5.x 64 bit at work and Ubuntu Linux 64 bit at home. My recommendation:

  1. Ubuntu (any flavor) Linux - For the average user, with a strong focus on usability and ease of use and installation.
  2. Fedora Linux - Another popular disro for the average user with rpm based packages. Fedora is also popular among Windows and UNIX sys admins.
  3. OpenSuse Linux - Easy to use and certified on selected HP / IBM laptops.
  4. Debian Linux - For the advanced users, sys admin and academic researchers.
  5. Slackware Linux - One of the oldest distro, preferred by sys admins, BSD lovers and academic researchers.

Linux Laptop Vendors

Now, you know how to choose a laptop, especially you need to pay attention to wireless, video card and Ethernet card. And here is exact model names & number that will be fully compatible to LINUX and vendor website (the list is for information and ready references only; please do your own research before purchasing system):

  1. Dell sales Ubuntu Laptop in USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Latin America. (See official Ubuntu page). Dell India also sales high end Redhat Linux based laptop for business use.
  2. HCL provides Ubuntu / Redhat / Fedora Linux based laptop in India.
  3. Acer India provide Aspire series Linux based laptop in India.
  4. HP Novell / Suse Linux certification and support matrix for HP laptops.
  5. Asus Linux based eeepc netbooks in USA, India, UK, and various other places across the globe.
  6. EmperorLinux provides Linux laptops with full hardware support under Linux in USA.
  7. LinuxCertified provide Linux laptop and support in USA.
  8. Linuxemporium provide Linux laptop and support in UK.
  9. System76 provides Ubuntu Linux laptop and support in USA and Canada.
  10. Zareason provides Ubuntu Linux laptop in USA, but claims to ship to many other places across the globe.

Got a Linux laptop brand you trust for its reliability and support? Add your experience in the comments below.

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{ 184 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rawnix May 21, 2010 at 10:29 am

Thanks for very useful info.

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2 Drew Eckhardt October 1, 2010 at 2:38 am

While the ATI drivers are open source, some versions have power management problems so that your laptop fan will be running constantly and battery draining at 35W instead of 21W with the closed-source driver.

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3 Eric May 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

Hi,
I’m wondering why you didn’t mention any of the AMD CPUs that are available. If someone goes for a laptop with an AMD processor then he/she can save some money to improve on other parts of the laptop, since AMD CPUs are considerably less expensive.

Kind regards,

Eric

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4 nixCraft May 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

Eric,

Good point. The post has been updated. I think HP and a few other vendors do provides AMD based laptops. Appreciate your post.

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5 noone December 5, 2010 at 11:19 pm

AMD CPU-s are good, but the problem with the AMD CPU-s is that their motherboards use VIA chipsets, which are REALLY LOUSY, specially on 3D. Anything with VIA or SiS is pretty awful. So, mathematicians, who do only number crunching in big clusters, supercomputers, are really well off with AMD, but anything that has to do with 3D support, should avoid AMD due to the chipsets that are used with it.

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6 Lazlow St. Pierre January 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

This isn’t true. Some motherboards for AMD processors might usa VIA chipsets, but the past 3 PCs with AMD CPUs I owned had nVidia chipsets. There’s no reason if you go for an AMD based computer that you need to end up with a VIA chipset.

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7 Michael November 9, 2011 at 3:55 am

AMD owns ATI, so it is common to find ATI video in AMD chipsets. The new E350 CPUs have ATI 63XX video INTEGRATED WITH THE CPU. These are very low power/cool running solutions designed for netbooks, low end laptops, and HTPCs.

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8 Michael Shigorin April 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Completely baseless pack of statements.

I work in HPC related company now, most x86 clusters run Xeon 5xxx CPUs since Woodcrest due to its optimized add-multiply.

I used to prefer AMD CPUs since Athlon; K5/K6 have had their weaknesses with FPU and early Athlons were worse than PIII in terms of power/heat but much better than P4, and Athlon XP/64 fixed even that.

The current king of the hill is Intel IMHO (they stole a bunch of Russian IP originating from Elbrus project and kicked their P4 marketing d**kheads giving preference to Israeli folks who made Pentium M as a continuation of PIII microarchitecture).

The problems with chipsets are rather on par to me by now (and we tend to buy nvidia+intel workstations for the last few years).

Anything you told seems to be rooted in 10+ years old experience or rumours and is COMPLETELY stale by now. Sorry but I prefer you to stand corrected, and wish you well. :)

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9 liju May 21, 2010 at 11:31 am

Hello,

Very useful.. But most of the ppls looking on price and brand type only, I think. Nobody hasn’t any idea about the cpu load what they actually going to use.
Aren’t forget to include the Centos5 Support ?

There is a case on Lenova G-series that Graphics card doesn’t probe the Fedora 11 installation but did it on Centos5.4 nicely.

Thanks,
Liju

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10 nixCraft May 21, 2010 at 11:34 am

You can get price information from vendor site (see bottom of the article). In some case you need to call sales.

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11 Anonymous May 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

I’ve bought laptops preinstalled with Ubuntu from System76 and, so far, I’ve been quite happy with them.

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12 nixCraft May 21, 2010 at 11:43 am

Thanks! The list has been updated.

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13 Brad May 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Hi

I have been using a Sony Vaio with ubuntu for several years and the only problem I have had is the fingerprint reader. Everything else works wonderfully although I have never had reason to try the firewire port so can’t vouch for that.

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14 Pat-o April 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I have been using a Vaio, and all I had was problems.

First off, the monitor isn’t detected so you need to edit the xorg config files, and provide a binary EDID file for it to work.

Then the motherboard had problems, and Sorny support sucks majorly… I have sent it 6 times for repair and they have yet to fix it properly…

It may be under warranty still, but it still cost me a lot of time, and gas and parking money for them to dick me around… not to mention I had to buy an Asus netbook so I could work while they “fix” the laptop… or the fact that I haven’t actually had a laptop for the last >3 months.

I would recommend an Asus, Toshiba or HP over a Sorny any time.

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15 chuck April 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm

:nutter:

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16 Michael Shigorin March 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm

The article is mighty wrong on relating fingerprint scanner to security: the authentication using cold fingerprints on some polished furniture has already been demonstrated. Just think: you leave your passwords all around you. :)

This was the reason for me *not* to set it up at all on T43/X60t/X61t, actually…

It should be noted that modest integrated videochip is *way* more reliable than a separate one (it was THE problem of many IBM Thinkpads, my A30p and T41 fell prey to it); and I’d rather avoid (well, I actually *do* avoid!) buying the “top notch” GPU for a mobile device for the simple reason of heat and power consumption (the first thing that’s going to regret it is the battery, then the fan).

The overall build quality does matter a lot too.

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17 Jenny April 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm

True! The power consumption on my T61p is unbelievable even with a new branded Lenovo extended battery and my fan recently bit the dust, thankfully just within warrenty as the part is integrated with the heatsink and heatpipes and therefore isn’t a cheap option.

That said I HATE using a proprietory driver (though I could use the O.S. one, but the performance is V good, but for MOST use it is crazy, meaning that if you are a portable user you are best having two machines, one for performance and one for power saving, a bit crazy really, shame there is no way to turn off the GPU, hint, hint, Lenovo!

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18 Linuxuser May 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Don’t forget ZaReason.com, they are an excellent independent Linux computer vendor. ZaReason and System76 are, in my opinion, the best Linux vendors for US customers. Thanks for a good detailed post, especially the video information!

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19 JB December 7, 2011 at 4:45 am

I would warn against buying from ZaReason. Proprietary drivers are the the Achilles’ heel of GNU/Linux and if you are going to buy a Linux laptop then you shouldn’t have to put up with it. With proprietary drivers and firmware you can’t be sure about future support and in many cases can make your system highly unstable (NDISWrapper).

Debian, Trisquel, ALASA, and other projects are working hard to remove such drivers/firmware or have never accepted such drivers/firmware.

I have a list of a few companies to warn about which purport to be free software supporters and fail to live up to the ideals and one that actually does:

laclinux.com/gnu – Even the free software foundation has recommended them, but sadly they don’t ship systems that are compatible with free software. They only appear to be contributing financially. This company sells Lenovo systems and such systems are problematic with many distributions. Lenovo, HP, and Toshiba include digital restrictions management software right in the BIOS! This prevents you from replacing the Mini PCIe card and installing a free software compatible wifi card.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuPre-installed

Here we have a list of companies which whom some are purporting to support free software and GNU/Linux. One is and one isn’t.

http://www.inatux.com/ is listed as only selling free software compatible systems. This is not accurate. They ship systems with NVidia graphics and NVidia does not support free software in any manor that is sufficient. The same is true of VIA. ATI and Intel are the only two graphics chipset manufacturers which are actively supporting free software and doing a good job. The other issue I have here is they are selling a Toshiba laptop. Toshiba has the same problem Lenovo and HP have. They restrict the wifi cards that can be installed. This limits the support in GNU/Linux. The other issue is you are being forced to contribute to a company that is actively stifling free software through licensing agreements from the company which they get there laptops from (Microsoft/Toshiba).

As bad as the others are there is some light at the end of the tunnel. http://www.thinkpenguin.com/ appears to be doing a really good job of supporting free software. They clearly list the chipsets and I can verify those chipsets do have excellent support for free software. There is also no Microsoft Tax or other digital restrictions built-in. They also explicitly support Trisquel. Something nobody else appears to be doing. If that didn’t beat all they have Trisquel and powered by GNU/Linux case badges!

The only thing I will frown on is they don’t ship with a free BIOS. That isn’t generally a problem for users or a fair criticism really. It wouldn’t be feasible without a significant investment from a major market player to put out such a notebook. There would be a number of limitations too. It would not be X86 based. There is only one system which has ever sold which has been completely free (supposedly). It was a netbook from a chinese manufacturer. It did not run X86 software, was very slow, and for all intensive purposes not something any normal human being could survive on. Richard Stallman owns one and is the only person I know who somehow manages to survive :). He is not a normal human being. A god maybe. But human? No way.

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20 Kevin Bush May 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hi,
Looks like you left out Zareason from your linux laptops list. I’ve heard great things about them.

http://zareason.com/shop/home.php

Thanks,

Kevin

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21 Walt May 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm
22 SileNT May 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Don’t be too fast with this statement: “all Intel graphics is supported”.

Intel GMA500 (Poulsbo) is *NOT* supported by Linux / x.org, and you will have lots and lots of problems getting it to work with resolutions other than the lowest (VESA). And even if you finally get it to work with other resolutions, stability, suspend to RAM/disk are totally bad.

So if you can, avoid Intel GMA500.

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23 nixCraft May 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I’ve removed Intel GMA500 from list. You can get it work under Linux but it is not optimal 3D rendering and it has a few bugs. So, yes it is best to avoid GMA500 based laptops such as Dell mini 12″.

Wikipedia has more info about Linux support:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_GMA#Linux

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24 nixCraft May 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm

@Linuxuser / Kevin

Thanks for the heads up!

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25 Ashwani May 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Very smartly written …article bravo!!

but alas people just dont care about what stuff shold be inside they only care for Looks…. :D

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26 mario May 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I’d advise against buying a Laptop with ATI graphics card. AMD is not very supportive. Only the most current graphics cards are supported with their binary driver. As your laptop ages, it will go out of support. Many ATI Linux users run an older X11 or distribution or quirky setups because of that. The open source ATI driver does only provide substandard performance at the moment. So again: AMD/ATI provides less Linux support than Nvidia and Intel.

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27 mangoo May 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm

@mario: ATI is very well supported with open source drivers, including the oldest cards not supported by the binary ATI driver.

Note: you may need a very recent distribution/kernel/open source drivers to make sure your ATI card is supported (i.e. the newest Mandriva or Ubuntu should work just fine).

And I agree that binary ATI drivers are crap.
I’m running a RV730XT [Radeon HD 4670] card with open source drivers and it works fine, 3D is supported etc.

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28 Ant May 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm

But 3D acceleration sucks in the open source drivers. :(

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29 Embedded May 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

ATI binary drivers work fairly well but they unsupport their mobile chips very early.

Open source drivers will not at this time provide any way to go from built in screen to docked to dual view. I have tried with ATI M200 with no success. Since Xorg was updated on my distro the old ATI binary drivers no longer worked either.

The difference to Nvidia gx360 that supports dual view easily on Dell Precision M4300 (Red Hat Certified) or to a HPdv2840 with Nvidia 9100 mobile that can dock and undock easily is night and day.

At this time I could not not recommend ATI mobile video chips with open source drivers. Standard Laptop issues such as different video modes from the onboard LVDS panel and offboard HDMI/VGA/DVI/Dock ports just are not addressed.

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30 Saverio May 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I have a Compaq laptop, the Presario V3000 (AMD Sempron version) and with Ubuntu and ubuntu-based linux distro it works perfectly. The only two things that don’t work out of the box are the nVidia GeForce Go 6150 display adapter and the Broadcom BCM-4311 Wi-Fi adapter. I recently installed Linux Mint 9 in my laptop. Soon after starting the system I was invited to download and install the proprietary driver for both my adapters (it works the same way with any ubuntu based distro). After doing that, one reboot and, oilá: everything works! :-)

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31 Colin Brace May 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Thanks, Vivek, for a very useful review.

I bought a laptop with the Intel GMA-500 video chipset last fall, and I tried without success to get this video card working under various distros. Avoid Poulsbo like the plague. Shame on Intel for really shoddy Linux “support” for this chipset.

The new Asus PC 1201T sounds promising:

[...]
Few laptops straddle the line between netbook and notebook more than the Eee PC 1201T. On one hand, the recently released Asus system has the telltale Eee PC branding of many netbooks, and its thin “seashell” design would be right at home around an Atom processor. On the other hand, the 1201T defies netbook convention with a 12.1″ 1366×768 display, an AMD Athlon Neo processor, and Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics.

At this point, the distinction would normally come down to the Windows 7 edition included: Starter for netbooks or Home Premium for the rest. But guess what? The Eee PC 1201T doesn’t come with a full operating system. Asus ships the Eee PC 1201T with only its ExpressGate instant-on OS, which provides Internet access, web browsing, and other basic functionality.
[...]

See: http://techreport.com/articles.x/18883

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32 Jim May 22, 2010 at 5:34 am

This is a novice guide? I understood it but I wouldn’t expect a novice to do so. No wonder Linux has a reputation for being for geeks only.

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33 prasad Gopale May 22, 2010 at 7:33 am

nice article

but ….!is there any info abt sony laptops?

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34 jony bravo December 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

hi.Sony Vaio VPCEB35FGW IN STORE Core i3 2.4 GHz, 4GB, 320GB, 15.5″, ATI 512 MB Graphics, DVD +/-RW +/-R DL/RAM Writer, BT, Motion Eye Camera, Win 7HP 64-Bit
Price : $998.00
Item No : 30661

* SONY VAIO 15.5″ VPCEB35FGW – Glossy White – Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
* Intel Core i3 370M Processor (2.4 GHz)
* Memory 4GB DD3 RAM (Upgradeable to 8GB)
* 15.5″ VAIO Display (1366×768)
* HDD 320GB SATA
* DVD Burner
* 512 MB DDR3 ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
* HDMI output
* Motion Eye Web Cam (640×480)
* Integrated Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11/b/g/n
* Integrated Bluetooth Ver 2.1+EDR
* DLNA Certified
* Microsoft Office Starter 2010 Included
* 3x USB 2.0 Port & 1 eSata/USB
* VAIO International Repair Service Included
* Weight: 2.7 kg (including supplied battery)
* Battery Life (included): up to 2 hours of use.

Model: VPCEB35FGW
Stock Level: Medium
( For Store collection Processing Time Required )
SC: 1M#1BW
Warranty: 1 YEAR
Manufactured by: Sony
Shipping Weight ( Inc Box ): 4.03kg
source link as- link

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35 prince January 28, 2012 at 6:26 am

thanks for your kind information

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36 Colin Brace May 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

@Jim: installing Linux on a laptop is not probably not a good idea for complete beginners. I would qualify this article as targeted at Linux users new to installing Linux on a laptop, not people new to Linux.

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37 Paul May 22, 2010 at 10:15 am

it’s just “X” or “X window system”, please don’t call it “X Windows.”

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38 Anonymous May 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm

> A few high end laptops can support upto 16GB ram

You are kidding right? I don’t think so any consumer laptop out there supports 16GB.

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39 Embedded May 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Actually a two year old Dell precision M4400 supports 16G ram, has nvidia fx770 with 512M Video on board, dock with two external monitors and intel wireless. (And RHEL certified.)
Walmart at this point does not have laptops with over 4G memory on board.

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40 nixCraft May 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

Yes, DELL does have M series laptop with RAID1, RAID 5, 1GB Nvidia and upto 16GB RAM support. Certified on RHEL. However, those are expensive laptops and you will not find them in average store consumer store. Prefect for video, photo editing or running vmware and other stuff. As I said earlier it all depends upon your needs.

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41 sims May 24, 2010 at 12:44 am

Vivek, I’m wondering why you are recommending 64bit? From my limited understanding, 64bit OS consumes a bit more memory than a 32bit OS due to the larger memory addresses. So I would say that if you plan to use more than 4GB of RAM with your machine, go 64bit. Otherwise you could actually be using resources unnecessarily.

Nice article, BTW. I often get asked this. I can send them here now. d

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42 nixCraft May 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm

64 bit is way to go as there are no drawbacks (may be flash can give you some trouble with 64bit linux but than again I don’t watch streaming stuff via tube sites). And I’m not aware of any memory consumption issue with 64 bit version. May be I’m not following you. Can you explains a bit more?

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43 Walter July 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Well he’s probably referring to the fact that pointers are 64-bit in length on 64-bit OS as opposed to 32-bits on 32-bit OS, so memory usage increases as a result. I would however submit that it makes a fairly negligible difference for the most part and the benefits from 64-bit likely outweigh the slight increase in memory use.

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44 Ata February 20, 2013 at 7:43 am

can anyone figure out what are the advantages of 64 bit system (either on winodws ,linux, unix , or other) over 32 bit systems ????
What is the logic behind switching to a new hardware platform(from 32 bit to 64 bit) if the existing one works perfectly fine ??? (if , not only generating new sales pitch and forwarding the economy and creating some new job opportunities etc.)
Actually , there are certain disadvantages —
1. consumes more power ,
2. in some cases 64 bit is slower than 32 bit versions .

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45 Anders October 3, 2010 at 11:35 am

I would say if you have more then 3G you should go for 4-bit. As 32-bit only can address 4G, some of that memory area is used for I/O, like video. So usually you can only us up to about 3.5GB RAM in 32 bit OS.

Then you miss a major thing with 64-bit instruction sets, and that’s that the OS and programs in 64 bit mode can use new faster instructions, which you can’t if you have to be restricted by 32-bit instruction set.

So yes, there are some small price in more memory use, but that is compensated by the use of faster execution. And if you want to use more than 3G RAM, 64-bit is the only way to go,

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46 foobar November 1, 2010 at 2:01 am

32-bit Linux with PAE support allows having an address space up to 64 GB. The addressing is slightly slower, but 32-bit applications are smaller.

@Vivik, you can test this yourself by installed 64-bit and 32-bit versions of the same distro on the same machine. The 64-bit version uses a bit more memory. IIRC, it’s something between 10..50% more for typical desktop applications. If your CPU has a small L2 cache, the x86-64 might actually be slower. E.g. intel e2160 runs faster in 32-bit x86 mode.

64-bit instructions aren’t radically faster. The biggest advantages of 64-bit distros are a) possibly better static instruction scheduling because of different compiler options b) availability of SSE2+ instructions vs i586 or i686 optimized binaries c) twice as much registers available d) wider registers.

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47 Anders November 3, 2010 at 12:18 am

Of course, you should always test if you can. And with OSS you can.

I would be supriced if any typical desktop applications would go as far as 50% more memory use.

I would not use PEA, as it is slower. If you have more than 3G RAM, you should go with 64-bit systems.

As you wrote.
The 64-bit mode has faster instructions and has dropped some unused old feature which gives you cleaner and easier design, which is good.

The 64-bit mode has twice as much registers which are used by the compilers. And THAT make a large difference in speed. I have written some small compilers, and more registers are merrier. The previous x86 CPU:s had problems with a shortage of registers. Wider is a bonus, but usually only for special programs. The larger native address space is more important.

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48 Ata February 20, 2013 at 7:51 am

good point foobar .
Did a search for the ” advantages of 64 bit over 32 bit ” , but could not find any good reason , can anyone please figure it out …..

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49 Janet Swisher May 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Although you can no longer buy a Lenovo ThinkPad pre-loaded with Linux, the Linux driver support for ThinkPads is very good. Since ThinkPads are standard issue at IBM, and there are many Linux enthusiasts who work for IBM, they help ensure that the drivers are up to date.

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50 alvaro cervantes March 18, 2011 at 3:23 am

I would not buy any laptop if it is not IBM/Lenovo for running Linux, jjust from experience and history. Qualitywise, HP for instance break too often, and no support and they are not responsible for their bad motherboard design which fails on the video chip coming unsolder. Laptops should last at least 6 years inmy opinion, and Thinkpads, I have some that have more than ten years so I will stick to them. I just wish Lenovo will give you the option of removing Widnows from Factory (hate making Bill richer).

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51 Steve Pinkham May 26, 2010 at 2:09 am

Thinkpads are great hardware, and usually Linux compatible. The only thing to look out for is the wireless card, make sure that is supported by whatever distro you wish to run.

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52 Leo Rockway May 26, 2010 at 6:57 am

It would be nice if you could specify which stuff works with free software and what needs only binary firmware / drivers, for those interested.
You recommend NVidia, yet it would be a good idea to let people know that the free driver is not 100% perfect yet. Or, for example, you talk about Intel WiFi and it only works with nonfree firmware. I’m not asking you to be a zealot about it, but this is information that some people would like to be notified of.
Same thing with the distro choices: making people aware that some are more freedom friendly than others would help them pick their distro better.

By the way, this is the first time I comment on your blog, but a lot of sysadmining stuff has been really helpful for me, so thanks a lot for your great posts.

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53 Vamsi May 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Very Nice post sir .
btw flash will be no longer required to watch youtube videos.
html5 FTW ! :D

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54 Kevin June 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Youtube will never switch to HTML5 because it is way to easy to download the videos because there is no way to hide the video URL.

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55 Colin Brace June 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

YouTube already enables HTML5. It is an option that you can select if you have an HTML5-aware browser like Chrome. I view the videos there in HTML5 all the time.

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56 Kevin June 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Thanks sooo much. Flash is unsupported enough on linux and I use x64 so flash is a but broken. This will really improve my video watching experience.

If Microsoft doesn’t give in and youtube full releases HTML5 version IE might just about go extinct.

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57 Anders October 29, 2010 at 2:12 am

You might want to log in at YouTube and then go to this URL first to set HTML5-rendering.

http://www.youtube.com/html5

HTML5-rendering of Videos fly on any machine compared to Flash.

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58 ÐeXTeR June 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Nice Post thanks a lot

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59 Russell June 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Hey, nice article, I noticed a spelling mistake though (Very Minor). You put “glob” instead of “globe”. This was a good article, hopefully I will be able to point friends toward this.

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60 nixCraft June 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thanks for the heads up!

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61 Russell June 9, 2010 at 11:25 pm

No Problem! :)

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62 Annoyamouse August 6, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I’m new to linux. I’ve used ubuntu & mint for over a year now & tried a number of other distros. What should be my main considerations for a fully linux compatible self-build high-end desktop pc with a wireless touch-screen UI. I want to self-build as I only use linux and want to customise for compatibility & performance. How about an article on linux desktop self-builds for first-timers with recommended part-lists & example builds? Great article btw!

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63 Dan August 10, 2010 at 1:09 am

I am interested to buy a new netbook, but the Linux version which I want to use is to be Backtrack…. How well can you advice me, I did a bit of research and what I found a good netbook is a Asus HA model…..

But i am interested in new advices too….

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64 Raj August 11, 2010 at 3:43 am

I don’t think that purchasing a linux laptop directly from vendor makes any cost benefit.

We could buy regular laptop and install ubuntu…

Because, a normal laptop with ubuntu should reduce the cost involved in OS license (like for windows) So, any ubuntu laptop (for eg.) should be $300 – $350 over $500 for windows laptop… as a comparison

Anyone not agree?

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65 Anders October 29, 2010 at 2:19 am

That is an awfull idea.

You should ALWAYS ask if they have or support Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution. That will help Linux come up on sale persons radar.

Yes, there is a benefit. You should be abel to ask for a refound for the MS software if you have to by an computer with MS pre-loaded. It should be something around $100-$150 for OS and a MS Office package.

You prob. have to ask your country helpdesk number for this. You have to ask a couple of times and be persistent. Tell them that you have not used the software, not accepted the EULA and want a refound for the software you do not need because you use a Linux (or other free OS) and OpenOffice instead of MS Office.

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66 Balaraju/Aniruddh Divy Tej August 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

woder and thanks to all who working for above
I really appreciate the team

Aniruddh here

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67 Buzzy September 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm

for example i have hp530 and ubuntu 10.04 , it’s working without any problems

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68 Joe September 5, 2010 at 3:12 am

ThinkPenguin sells the only line of laptops that are designed for GNU/Linux. They don’t use non-free drivers or firmware. Want to run GNewSense? Guess what. You can (at least if you update kernel, audio drivers, etc. distro is a little outdated)! Want 3D acceleration to work without sucking your battery life? It won’t. Want to want HD content? You can. There are a million and one reasons not to go with the other vendors. At one time I bought from LinuxCertified, EmperorLinux, and others because they were the only guys in the business. Not any more though. And Dell? Well… lets not go there. They don’t even put out working systems let along working GNU/Linux systems. Then again half the GNU/Linux vendors don’t either. I even got a LinuxCertified system with MS Windows sticker on it and I thought I wasn’t pay the Microsoft tax. So much for that. At least EmperorLinux didn’t tell me I wasn’t paying for it. If you’re going to un-bundle it fine-but LinuxCertified didn’t as I could still install MS Windows with the same key.

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69 joe September 5, 2010 at 3:15 am

Ohh I almost forgot. I did buy a Dell GNU/Linux system. It didn’t work right with GNU/Linux with the configuration I got.

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70 Bart September 26, 2010 at 11:03 am

One feature that is becoming highly important for desktop users is HD video decoding with a graphics card. Unfortunately only nVidia’s binary drivers currently support a viable solution so that might be an important factor for purchase.

For a developer, I think a good CPU with hardware virtualization extensions and enough RAM is important.

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71 Ikem September 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I would divide the “Harddisk” into two subjects: “Harddisk” and “SSDs”.

> Hard disk is used to store all your data and boot into Linux. Hard disks are cheaper, _nosier_ and stores data on moving parts called rotating platters.
You mean “noisier”, right? :)

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72 Ikem September 30, 2010 at 11:13 pm

To check if your hardware is supported under Linux, run a Live-CD, open a terminal and run “lspci -n”. Copy the output to the clipboard. Paste them here* in the box and click on the button “Check”.

*http://kmuto.jp/debian/hcl/index.rhtmlx

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73 Graham G. October 28, 2010 at 1:10 am

I find it hard to believe that nobody has brought up the issue of hard disk protection systems like the active protection system featured in the thinkpads. Somebody hasn’t done their homework…

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74 Raja October 28, 2010 at 3:40 am

I could not believe the price portion is not mentioned in this article. Is it because it is a paid article?

A windows laptop that is $500 with a profit of $50 for Manufacturers and $100 for the OS should essentially bring down the cost of the same laptop with Ubuntu/Distro to $500 – OS Cost – [0% to 50% of the OS profit ($0 - $25)] = $350 – $400.

Anyone disagree? NEVER GO FOR LINUX LAPTOP. Buy a Windows laptop do a DUAL BOOT or SINGLE BOOT as per convenience. So, you get the benefit of Windows License and to use MS Office (Wine Office Alternative). If you buy linux laptop, probably you’re spending more as the linux laptops are costlier than windows laptops, you can check anywhere online, whereas it is suppose to be atleast 20% cheaper.

Thanks, Raj!

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75 Anders October 29, 2010 at 2:26 am

What is this?
ALWAYS go for a non MS Windows preloaded laptop.
Most MS Windows games can be operated from within Wine. There is NOTHING for a ordinary user in MS Office that you can’t find in OpenOffice.

Because your don’t need to pay for the software, you can add to quality on hardware with OSS software on your computer. And the reseller could argue that you get much, much more software in the Linux version

But usually the added cost for OS, Office etc software is not 20% of the price. More like 5-10%. Which still is money.

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76 Raja October 29, 2010 at 2:31 am

Hi Andes

You’re not getting my point.

I said be Linux user. But, there’s NO SINGLE VENDOR who gives Linux pre-installed laptop for cheaper price when compared to the same laptop with Windows installed. So, I suggested you buy regualr laptop and do a dual boot or just wipe out and ubuntu. Still you’ve the Windows OS license …got it?

Anyways, thanks

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77 Anders November 16, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Yes, I get you point and totally disagree with it.

Why, you might ask.

The market is about selling, and IF you dont tell the companies what you going to spend money on, they will continue selling computers with nothing else than MS Windows. They dont know, and dont care, if you doesnt use Windows after they have sold the computer to you.

So, by doing like you say, we will never be abel to by a computer without have to pay for something we dont want or need.

I dont mind them selling computers pre-loaded with Windows. I just want to be abel to get one without paying for the useless software, which is so easy to remove by the sales personell when you by the computer.

And yes, there are some that sells Linux preloaded. But the big ones dont sell to private customers, just to companies. The small ones could sell you one without MS Windows, if you ask. But usuall the computer is more expencive, as it is with computers like that they can compete with.

So. Always ask about linux/ubuntu when you buy a computer. Ask i the hardware is supported by linux/ubuntu.
Ask how to get refundings for Therese software you will not use.
Always, as it will increase awareness among sellers, and manufactures.

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78 Raja November 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm

You made a point. Agreed.
But, what I was emphasizing is that if a novice or non-OS aligned user wants a laptop obvoiusly they’re going to look for cheaper one (when they’re satisfied that linux outperforms windows in every other way)
Yet, to bring the awareness your point makes sense. but, getting a laptop with windows as OEM and avoiding buying other Windows software makes the software vendors to turn to linux. right?
Perhaps your point is valid yet wondering why would someone pay for getting a laptop with free linux on a higher price than a non-free windows on a lower price.
Anyways thx!

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79 Anders November 22, 2010 at 8:01 am

Please read my post again.
If we dont ask for Linux, Linuxsupport for hardware AND our money back for software we dont want when we buy our computers and make it a lost sale if not. The we will NEVER see a change.

Attitudes like yours is countraproductive. Please reconsider.

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80 Raja November 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

Anders

Agreed! I being passionated can spend like the way you said. I will!

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81 Sandy June 12, 2013 at 8:54 am

As a Linux virgin, I am only now researching my first Linux computer purchase. For my needs, I must have a laptop. I found the article helpful and informative, if a bit daunting.

Thus far in my shopping, I have found that similar hardware configurations from Linux vendors versus from Costco and Fry’s Electronics are lopsided price-wise, with the Linux unit costing nearly double the cost for a comparable Windows unit. Quite disappointing.

While I agree we all need to vote with our wallets and avoid enabling the evil empire, I am hesitantly concluding that I cannot afford this particular campaign. Laptops configured for my needs sell for around $1000 at Costco and over $2000 at System76, ZaReason and LinuxCertified. :-(

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82 Mike Irwin June 12, 2013 at 11:56 am

What are your needs? I have a System-76 Bonobo which, admittedly, cost the best part of $2000 some 18 months ago. However, the nearest Alienware machine, for example, starts at $2600 today, and I then have to add RAM and hard disk space …

My use: I run multiple virtual machines in order to work with MS SQL Server and Oracle database software, using two or sometimes three at a time, so lots of RAM was my concern.

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83 Mel June 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm

This is because all those vendors are trying to rip you off in order to make a living. They sell unknown cheap brands and making you think that is the best product for you.
Try LINUX CITY (www.linucity.com), thank me later.

Mel

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84 Ata February 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

u can always get DOS preloaded laptop which will be much cheaper than any system with preloaded OS

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85 nixCraft November 16, 2010 at 7:18 pm

> Is it because it is a paid article?
You are kidding, right? Why purchase Windows based laoptop and dual boot computer. Also, I spend tons of time writing articles and tips here. Nobody pays me to write anything, especially companies. Linux is not about price. It is about freedom to modify / view source code and redistribute under GPL or BSD or whatever license it came with. I also purchase Redhat and other Linux software for my personal use. This is the only way we can support people and companies providing FOSS solution.

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86 Raja November 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

hey Vivek, yes I was kidding never mind. I know you’ve been doing more than a great job and I follow your site. That’s just to show my anguish about market being not peneterated by linux. thanks for taking it lightly :-)

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87 Eric D0rk November 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I have several laptops all running Linux and One of the best low end laptops for complete out of the box support in Ubuntu Fedora and Mint is The Compaq Presario CQ62 which Linux runs flawlessly on and it is $350 at BestBuy.

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88 Peter November 27, 2010 at 2:28 am

The biggest problem with Linux is you cant get a Linux laptop.
I can go to Walmart get a decent laptop for $498.00 or even $349 clearance with windows 7. So in theory you should get one for $398 or $249 no OS but no such thing.
Sure you can go to some specialty site and pay lots more, or go to Dell and get one but its the same price as one with win 7 on it. What’s happening is you are paying for windows whether you want to or not.”feeding the monster”
What does this have to do with Linux business or gaming or even a future “everything”

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89 Lisa November 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Hello,
Core i5 duo and Core i7 duo or quad doesn’t exist. :)
There’s Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7/Core i7 extreme.

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90 David December 17, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Hi:
I was wondering if you can tell me what flavor of ubantu i should download for my laotop. I have a dell studio xps dual core. I see no version for laptops on the ubantu website, there is choice for desktop, netbook, and server.
currently i have windows 7 professional running on the laptop. also if you could tell me how much room should I set aside for ubantu, is 50 gig enough?

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91 nixCraft December 18, 2010 at 6:54 am

Go for desktop version. Size depends upon your work load. 50gig is a good starting point.

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92 factotum18 January 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Just for the heck of it I thought I would throw out that I have an ATI Radeon HD 3650 (512 MB) on my Acer Aspire 6530. The performance of this card under Linux is marginal at best. It’s the only graphics card I’ve owned that works better without 3d enabled via Catalyst, radeon, or radeonhd.

Choppy video playback, choppy rendering when moving windows around, the card can barely keep up with the likes of Nexius or even Urban Terror without it starting to burn my legs. It’s turned my laptop into a space heater.

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93 Aviv January 31, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I have got my linux ubuntu at LINUCITY.COM.
They have the largest selection of laptops and desktops and what looks to be the best prices.

http://www.linucity.com

Mitch

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94 hgoebl February 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I’m using a Lenovo T410i (2GB RAM, 4GB added, Intel i3, Intel Graphics and Sound, WLAN, Blutooth, DisplayPort, Docking-Station, additional bay with 60GB SSD instead of DVD).

I Installed Linux Mint 10 (dual-boot with Windows 7 which I never ever used).
Everything is working optimally and configuration is very easy.

As an alternative I considered Asus P52F-SO121X but I didn’t find a docking station which promised to work under Linux. And the last resort would have been MacBook Pro but I do not have any trust in Apple providing anything for free and besides I hate glossy displays – I already have a mirror in my bathroom ;-)

I’m very happy with my T410i and I can recommend it at least to all who do not play 3D games (I never tried, maybe it works).

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95 Mika Heinonen February 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I have to disagree that Ubuntu is the easier for the users, it’s actually the hardest, most bugged and unusable Linux of all. It’s worse than Vista was before its initial release.
Debian is the easiest, fastest and most functional, which suits as well new and experiences users.

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96 Anders February 18, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Get real and drop this bashing!

Because Ubuntu is based on Debian, it can’t be so big difference between them.

I uses both, Debian since 2002, and would say that there isn’t that large difference. Use whatever makes you happy. I put Ubuntu on any new users computer, and run Debian on most of my own machines.

If you are a beginner, use whatever your friends recommend. If you don’t have any friends that uses a Linux, use Ubuntu, Mint or some other distribution that looks ok.

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97 the dsc September 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm

While I don’t completely agree with the bashing, the fact that ubuntu is based on debian isn’t that much of a guarantee of a small difference. Package management/upgrade policies and things like that can have a much larger effect.

For instance, one can recommend Debian stable as relatively easy and stable, but Debian unstable (sid) is a whole other animal, and even “testing” (currently named wheezy), the fact that it’s still Debian, and yet “more Debian” than Ubuntu does not make it really newbie-friendly, at least regarding stability on updates.

Ubuntu is more or less an in-between, trying to speed up the process of unstable/sid to stable, and change some things here and there, with a focus on desktop more than servers. And they do it with variable success. And herein lie the origin of differences, sometimes troubles, sometimes advantages, sometimes more or less neutral, but people used to Debian would probably not like because it’s not what they’re used to.

The result of this may not be as catastrophic as some may say, but I’ve heard people saying that people who try ubuntu these days are more likely to go back to windows sometime later though. That has been also my perception from people I know who tried ubuntu, although I don’t know so many converts/people who even tried linux to begin with, much less people who tried debian to compare.

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98 Anders May 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Difference between Debian and Ubuntu is a bit more nowdays, as you don’t have Unity on Debian (But both have Gnome-shell, so no need to not use Ubuntu because you don’t like Ubity, just use Gnome-shell or any other desktop, like KDE).

But the relations between them is mostly like this:
* Ubuntu is based on Debian/testing
* Ubuntu makes more decisions for you than Debian does in the initial installation

The last point is what makes Ubuntu a more beginner friendly distribution than Debian. In Debian you have to/can make many more decisions yourself than in Ubuntu.

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99 Ulf February 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm

„If you get 100% result, than just purchase laptop.“?

Than? Then, you mean ;-). http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

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100 Marius March 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Nice article, but unfortunately Linux has a very long way to go. I am an IT professional and have tried Linux on dozens of desktops and laptops. So far I have NEVER found a wireless card that works – I have been trying Linux on and off since 1996, through red hat, suse, mandrake/mandriva, fedora, and now ubuntu. None of them worked with any of my wireless cards – or with any of the wireless cards of other computers I tried.
The same is true with many -mostly ATI graphic cards. At the moment I have two HP’s, two Dells, two Toshiba’s and a Gateway – none of them can install the wireless driver or the 3d proprietary graphics driver. I spent countless hours looking on forums on the internet, trying to find a solution that works – it seems that Broadcom chips, which are the most common wireless chip in wireless cards, simply do not work with Linux. The Broadcom driver ALWAYS crashes when you try to install it wither from System>Administration>Adittional drivers, or from the console. Same with the ATI drivers.

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101 Anders April 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm

As an IT professional, which have used Linux from around 96-97 and exclusivly Linux since 2003.
I have not had any problems with wireless cards on any of my many laptops I have installed Linux on the last 4 years.
Yes, there was lot of problems in the beginning, but as more manufaturers are aware of Linux, esp. in Android market, they now know that they have to have god drivers on Linux too, or they are out of Android market. As there are no big deal moving Linux drivers from different architectures (which you can’t say about MS Windows last time they even had the OS on other architectures), this is also good for the desktop market.

I have only ATI/AMD graphic cards on my machines, and I don’t have any problems with them either. I can’t say how nVidia are, as it’s a long time I tried a computer with one.
And yes, I have HP and Dell too, this is written on my really old HP Pavillion ZD8180 with a Broadcom chip, and nowdays there is no hands-on configuration. It used to be, because you only could use the BUGG MS Windows driver, but since some years now there is an Open Source that works out of the box for Broadcom.
I use Debian Testing on my desktops, which is newer than Ubuntu. But I use Ubuntu too. No problems.
Yes, I have some problems on occations, but that is usually my fault trying something special which normally isn’t needed on a home computer.

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102 Marius May 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I left that comment a bit over a month ago and, well, the guys at Ubuntu went and released 11.04.

I tried it first on a computer I just built for my little kid (Phenom II x6, 1 TB hard drive, ATI Radeon graphics, a run of the mill Broadcom wireless card). I actually just needed Linux to format and partition the hard drive, so I can install Windows. I could’t believe it when I saw the little message asking me for the network password so it can connect – BEFORE Linux was actually installed. Of course, the machine ended up dual-boot, my son loves Ubuntu. I immediately tried it on my main laptop and the 11.04 recognised and installed my wireless and video cards as well – the one I could never get to work before. I guess they finally figured this out. Kudos to the Ubuntu team – hopefully other distros work just as well.
Now I’m hooked :-)

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103 muggy March 31, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I’m also an IT professional and say the opposite to Marius, Linux is the way forward. I’m not an evangelist and i’ve got nothing against windows appart from the time it takes to boot, but for my home use (internet, video, music and pictures) it is perfect. I’ve never had any issues installing it on any machine (only takes a couple of mins from usb) and it works like a dream. I dont know anything about it, or any linux tech stuff and i dont care, its working just fine. Unless you want to play games or need some specific MS software you would be a fool to fork out for windows.

Got a 32GB SSD and it is the best bit of hardware i have ever invested in. It boots in half the time, under 20secs and everything runs silky smooth (windows boots a lot quicker than normal as well) Got a large usb drive and a NAS to take care of storage. I would say that SSD is the best (not quite the cheapest) upgrade you can do to a laptop as i havent seem Ubuntu use over 500MB of my 2GB RAM yet.

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104 muggy March 31, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Oh! sorry, told a little lie, i got side tracked on this page when i was trying to find out how to mount a network drive at boot, its not so simple… +1pt for windows

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105 Anders April 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Depends.
I usuall have no big problems, unless I want to mount an NFS directory on the Windows machine. But I have installed Samba which usually makes it easier for ny guest to mount the disk when they start.

Samba works on linux, but I prefere NFS there.

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106 q April 13, 2011 at 9:45 am

what kind of guide is this? Seems like Windows.

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107 Anders April 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm

No, it isn’t. Read again.

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108 ht2ht May 2, 2011 at 4:42 am

Vivek,

Big thanks for this article and up-to-date links to linux laptop vendors. Very useful.
Anyone have tried the linux laptop with FreeBSD and Solaris? I hope they should work smoothly and flawlessly with these two OSs.

@muggy: agreed. I installed ubuntu on my old Intel P 800Mhz 1GRAM and 40GB HDD and handed it to my DAD. He did notice some changes to the normal windows he usually used but soon later he had no complain. Just using it happilly. :D (btw, my DAD was 70 years old that time and now (76) still can use computer to communicate with his children and their families :D). I read a article somewhere about a computer usage survey which claims that Ubuntu GUI is very easy to use (compared to other OSs, even Mac OS) for beginner and particular for old peole who had never been using computer before.

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109 gregzeng May 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Needs update now. My notebook (Intel I3, 4 gb RAM, 1tb HDD) only has USB2. Backup to external USB HDD needs USB3.

My netbooks use 7 & 10 inch screen. You seem ignorant of netbooks & tablet PCs. All my netbooks & notebooks VGA or HDMI cable to my 24 inch LED LCD TV – in portrait mode. For us text readers, writers, etc — we need PORTRAIT screens. On 24 inch, Youtube is ok.

My 3 month old Acer only has WLAN-B. So next model PC will need WLAN-G (300 mbps), though an external USB adapter plug could be used.

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110 Col. Panek May 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm

So, I go to Staples & get a HP for $380 with rebate. I put Ubuntu 11.04 on it and everything works. So a machine with Windows 7 and all the trialware is worth, what, $100 less than Linux? That’s their problem, cuz I cleaned the junk off plus I can dual boot. When mfrs. figure this out, M$ is in deep kimshi.

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111 Col. Panek July 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I might add that I tried Bodhi and Mint, but neither would run all my peripherals. Ubuntu just worked. I’m done fooling around, just want to get back to work, thanks.
Of course I had to figure out how to get an extra partition because HP uses all 4 and I wanted to keep my dual boot. Cure: make Win7 backup DVDs (5!) then clean off the backup partition (after cleaning off the trialware to make more room).

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112 sujith May 10, 2011 at 3:10 am

i found this post as very useful for me.I’m gonna buy a laptop and this article definitly helped me. my first choice is dell laptops. thanks for the post..keep them coming..:)

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113 Philippe Petrinko May 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Nice topic, Vivek. Very rich.
Typo here: “and make sue your laptop” : “and make _sure your laptop”

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114 nixCraft May 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

@Philippe,

Thanks for the heads up!

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115 Jeffersonian May 17, 2011 at 2:47 am

FEDORA 13 AND Mint 10 x64 works great on my HP Laptop Pavillon. (802-11g), dual boot.

I also have enhanced the WIFI by using a TP-LINK TL-821N dongle for 802-11N support.

Cannot wait for Fedora 14, and Mint 11, both to be released soon.

J.

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116 hardwareguru May 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

VIA? you kidding me man! You talking at least 7-8 years ago!!!
Modern AMD m/b runs only either on Nvidia or AMD chipset, giving 5.2 MT/s easily, and best price/performance ratio. Plus other bells and whistles as USB3 and SATA3.

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117 RudyD June 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

Hi!

Sorry if slipped throught something. (Became a huge thread)
Just a few points maybe missed out.
Just bought a laptop in last nov. Almost a year passed while I cleared in myself what features I really want.

Just bought an intel core-i proc. with an nvidia video card. Nice to know that there is an intel video card integrated into the core-i processors. I have chosen nvidia becouse I wanted to experiment with cuda too. (Not yet checked since.)

Well – in W7 the switching betwen the i3’s integrated video card and the Nvidia GT330 goes (acceptable) well.
Just installed ultimate edition with wubi to try linux.
Instantly went the compiz desktop, then offered to install nvidia driver. Ruined the whole thing. Since then my linux – if even starts – only shows 2d desktop. No 3d support and the nvidia driver is not working neither.
So I started to look up the issue. It seems that there is a very small initiative with not yet working results. Other hand Xorg should have to be rewritten from the ground up to handle this situation.

So a mention for the reader that there are this kind of issue with nvidia card and intel core-i processors’ integrated intel video is a problematic situation. If I were know this befor I buy my machine….

An I yet have to test If I could use cuda in linux. (Is there an easy test to find out?)..

Other hand! Nice initiative again Vivek! Keep up! There is lot to know and to care of when someone want to buy a laptop and want to use it with linux.

(And yes – there are good games in linux too. Not yet tried oil rush but ultimate – gamer edition have built in several good games.)

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118 Christophe Marbacher June 20, 2011 at 8:59 am

Regarding USB, don’t forget to check USB 3 support.

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119 lilik s June 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm

although not as originally intended, I found out that partedmagic live CD and frenzyBSD could usually shows the degree of GNU-Linux compatibility of the laptop. tested on Toshiba Portege R200, M500/IBM Thinkpad X60s, X40/Fujitsu Esprimo (forgot the exact model :D).
a small note: most of the netbook (with intel atom) will work with ubuntu netbook remix, OpenBSD, and partedmagic. but beware of crappy wireless card such as realtek ones. On the other hand, internal 3G WWAN on most of the netbook seems to prefer Ubuntu :D

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120 Josh June 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm

If you want a laptop ‘designed’ for GNU/Linux you should look at the chipsets to get the most out of it. Most companies with ‘Linux’ laptops aren’t taking these factors into consideration and users pay the price for it from critical things not working to upgrading and switching problems.

AMD (currently, drivers are still a work in progress)
NVIDIA (they only have proprietary drivers available which creates power management issues)

You want to make sure it has Intel Graphics as the source code is available you get proper power management. The older ATI chipsets work too although you obviously can’t get them in a new laptop.

Look for Atheros 802.11N chipset. All the MiniPCI-E cards with this 802.11N chipset have free drivers available. None of the others will work across all distributions and versions (you still need to have a relatively recent versions of GNU/Linux for the chipsets on the market to work, Ubuntu 10.04 stable for instance would be sufficient).

Printers. HP is one of the few if not only companies really supporting free software. Other vendors release proprietary drivers where you may have problems out of the box or in the future getting the printer to work. Even HP isn’t perfect. They have a site that thoroughly documents which printers depend on a proprietary non-free license or partly depend on software under such a license.

You can search for a printer at
http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/supported_devices/index.html and check if it lists the “driver plug-in” as required, optional, or none (not required).

Driver plug-in None See note 8.

USB Wifi Cards are a problem. Most companies don’t indicate which chipset is in use on the box and will frequently change chipsets while retaining the same model number. As a result the lists indicating which cards to buy for GNU/Linux are unreliable. Users will often find that a card that supposedly worked no longer retains a particular chipset and may not even work with any version or distribution of GNU/Linux. Right now the best free chipsets are from Atheros and Ralink for USB wifi cards. AR9170 (802.11N) and RTL8187B (802.11B). There are few places to really knowingly obtain a card with either chipset. The 802.11B is a little easier to find. Cards with both chipsets are available from ThinkPenguin.com.

There are currently no 802.11 / bluetooth combo MiniPCI cards for laptops compatible free distributions. A better alternative to this is getting a USB bluetooth adapter which hides in a USB slot.

If I recall correctly there are some MiniPCI GSM cards available too which work with free systems.

This is a pretty good summary for more popular hardware. There are others I didn’t mention. If you have something of a rarer ask at ThinkPenguin.com. Free distributions are supported so you can be sure you are getting a solid answer to any question about what hardware to get for ‘Linux’.

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121 paco sanchez July 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I would add to your suggested list of distros Arch Linux for several reasons:

1. It takes a KISS method to everything. This may seem like a flaw at first but you will quickly find it is highly advantageous.

2. Although it comes pretty barebones out of the box, the documentation is by far the best for any linux distro (especially the beginners guide). This is especially important for laptops where you need to get odd hardware to work (WWAN cards, fingerprint readers, etc).

3. The community is also extremely helpful. Most Arch users/experts are very willing to help and, unlike some other distros which shall remain nameless, Arch is not being used by hundreds of thousands of P0wn (what the hell does this mean anyway?) and n00b 14 year old idiots.

4. It is a “rolling release” which means that you can ALWAYS be up to date with just one simple command. With other distros, you must do a full upgrade whenever they decide to release a new version. At first I thought rolling release might cause instability in my systems but this has been far from the case. On the couple of RARE occasions when there has been an issue, the forums have proved very helpful and I got it solved immediately.

5. Arch is freakin cool. It is also different. Everyone and their mother uses Ubuntu, its nothing special. Arch has some really nice features like rc.conf (one stop shop file for pretty much all your system config). Arch also has the best package management I have ever seen in Pacman.

That’s it, I will stop evangelizing now :-)

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122 BoBo July 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Arch’s pacman doesn’t have package signing. This is *the single most vulnerable* point of archlinux (assuming you trust the developers) is that any mirror can be hacked and injected with various packages, and there would be virtually no way for an end user to notice this. ArchLinux should sign their release; otherwise it is an open invitation for disaster.

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123 fiddy May 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Arch Linux is in the process of implementing package signing in Pacman. It is already working properly as an optional setting and will become the default soon. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/DeveloperWiki:Package_signing

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124 Anders May 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm

1 and 2 isn’t that good for spreading Linux. It is great if you want to learn more advanced bits of Linux and how the system stick together. But I would not recommend it to beginners.
3 start good but you should drop the elitistic comments about not so knowing and under aged users.
4 Debian testing is the distribution you should go with if you want a rolling distribution. By the way, Debian testing is like many other distributions stable. :) If you run a server, use stable.
5 I do think that Arch is “freakin cool”, but that doesn’t make it a beginners distribution. Neighter a distribution for proffesional computer users. But if you like to customize your computer, I figure it is a great distribution. I have been through many package management system from different Linux distributions since before 2000, and no-one have been better and faster than dpkg (Debians) yet. I might try Arch, if the users don’t think they are to 3l33t, in which case I just sigh and looks elsevere.

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125 Tony Browning July 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I support the 2006 year make Toshiba Model100 Satellite 32 bit w Intel Duo processors and with the Fedora 14 or the new F15 operating system compiled on it, If only Toshiba would build them !!! Thats what I have on mine after I lost the entire Windows XP on it. Now i have Availible Disk Space 74.9 GiB and 992.5 MiB of memory. Both Intel Genuine Processors have 1.73GHz each. Fast Fast Fastest

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126 Pim Dennendal July 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I bought a second-hand Dell Lattitude.

I think it is a great machine including the docking station. The available documentation is pretty OK too.

What sucks, apart from the awful 4-bit colour screen, is the Dell industrial clout. The CPU is an Intel Core-2 Duo: T5500 – No KVM-style instructions – VMWare simply dies on it. No apparent upgrade path, but I suspect a T7600 will do it. Do not try to get anything from Dell – They will not sell outside the USA! Dell in NL do not list the parts!

The great part about 2nd-hand is simple – no O/S – just the machine.

I would advise anyone to go that route for price/performance and learning.

It is in fact my second machine. The first was a Packard-Bell. Their build is so good that you do not even have screw-holes to attach your external monitor cable too. I will never ever buy another one.

I tend to use Arch-Linux on them as well as at home.

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127 Michael Quick July 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I’m a bit surprised that you had not mentioned any of the Lenovo/IBM Thinkpads MANY of the T series W series etc run quite well with Linux from my personal testing… I’m currently using a W510 with RHEL6 and a T400 with Ubuntu 11.04.. and a T61p with Ubuntu 11.04

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128 Michael Quick July 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Sorry, re-read the article, you do … anyway.. good read .. thanks

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129 Charles Tilley August 4, 2011 at 5:51 am

Any word on MSI Laptops & Ubuntu? Mine is the FX603-064US, Intel i5 480M (2.66GHz), 6GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M (1024MB) Primary, Intel HD Graphics (Secondary), Intel(R) WiFi Link 1000 B/G/N, Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller.

This wasn’t a cheap laptop (for me), total cost from Newegg was $749. I can’t afford a SSD, but the Seagate Hybrid is within my budget, a 500GB w/4GB Flash is $99. Fast boot times are reported, the drive gets faster the more it’s used, as it conforms to one’s computing habits.

As for now, I’m dual booting Ubuntu 10.04 & Linux Mint 11 on my elcheapo HP Pavilion MS214 AIO, AMD powered, and for the most part, it runs good. It’s a rather anemic PC (1.5GHz dual core, 256MB video, 4GB RAM) that shipped with Windows 7 64 bit, but Linux Ubuntu/Mint (32 bit) runs nicely. The reason that I chose 32 bit was that my Kodak printer has a 32 bit driver that’s installed simply by the GDebi Package Manager, while the 64 bit driver is a total PITA to install. Being that it’s a budget PC, I really don’t see the need for a 64 bit Linux OS to be installed on it.

But as far as it runs, it runs much cooler on both Ubuntu & Mint, my wired & wireless networks both works, and upon installing, there was an AMD/ATI hardware update to address what I presume to be video, which is decent. Not the best, but quite adequate for my limited needs.

However, I’m interested in a dual boot on the MSI, and with my hardware, I’ll go with 64 bit. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cat

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130 ja August 11, 2011 at 8:10 am

Did you check out http://www.thinkpenguin.com/ ? They have some really good inexpensive laptops. Definitely that would come out in that price range. Even with an SSD drive.

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131 Pim Dennendal August 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

For dual boot, the simplest and easiest approach is “Smart Boot Manager – SBM” available from sourceForge. It is somewhat old and perhaps jaded, but it certainly does the job.

A more professional approach can be achieved with “GRUB” aka “the Grand Unified Boot loader” available at their web-site.

Of course, like me, you can use both – if only just for fun..

If you should ever nees to (re)-instal another manufacturers offering – it will wipe your MBR – Master Boot Record. With SBM it is easy, just boot your floppy and use the menu te (re)-install. Nice.

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132 AVIV August 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I just bought a desktop system from linucity.com, and thought of spreading the word about this great linux store.

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133 Jeff August 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I dual-use my little Asus EEE-PC netbook with Ubuntu and the trimmed (but usefull) Windows 7 it came with. I use it as a companion to my big Windows PC workstation and try to learn some Linux admin skills (ssh terminal all the way.. so old skool :). It allows me to compile Linux software and test network stuff (apache, fms, node-js,.).

Like a remote server really, but with the option to open the lid and get in there if I mess it up :)

It’s a 1015 series with dual core atom 1.6ghz/1024mb, cost next to nothing and works pretty neatly as sidekick.

Tip: since it doesnt have a CD/DVD drive you need to boot from USB to install a new OS.. it took me some time to figure out why it skipped my USB drive. (this may well be valid for lot of other laptops/netbooks)

You need to format the USB Flash drive as a HDD (harddisk, as opposed to Flash drive or removable or whatever), there’s tools for it online. Mine is still a single 8GB Fat32 block, but now as faked disk. Then do the Ubuntu-make-USB-installer on that drive. Reboot with this ‘fake hdd’ inserted, hammer F2 to the bios, select the drive in generic boot order AND ALSO in boot-hdd-order (rank it above the real hdd, this is because now the bios thinks its a ‘hdd’ and not a ‘removable’), check the values then save and and it will boot from it. Later clean it up, (i restored the fast-bios-booster and OEM-logo thing i disabled, and killed Express)

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134 pugsley August 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

I have a few rigs; Dell Inspiron e1505/6400’s, HP dv5000’s, Dell XPS m1710, Dell Precision M6400…
I’ve installed Ubuntu 10 and up, and it’s derivatives, and CrunchBang 9 and 10+
I’ve only run into issues with the Nvidia Geforce drivers, but they are quickly solved in the install process, or right after booting into the desktop. The ATI cards (x1400 and M7740) have had no issues. Ubuntu 11+ and distros in the last 6 months (2011, 3rd qtr) I’ve had no problems with at all, even with a live CD.
The old cons around using linux with support, are being reduced to almost nothing. Short of the occassional odd hardware driver or printer driver (where the printer manufacturer isn’t bothering or can’t afford to release an open source driver) for unusual devices, more and more that gap is narrowing so that if it works, it works IN LINUX as well.
I think it will come down to, more and more, the superficial “looks” (GUI) part of things, and only experienced users will be concerned about EXT4 support or ZIF or whatnot, and how well something like Dolphin can automatically add Samba support or not (like in Kubuntu 11) and then the visual effects of KDE 4+ vs Unity or OpenBox derivatives or Gnome or Xfce or whatnot… things not so important in the end, and a bit like choosing a partner based on what color shoes they wear, right?
…Like you can always get different shoes. And since it’s your PC, no arguments about style.

:P

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135 billy September 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

i want google chrome for buntu please send me email address

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136 the dsc September 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I’ve heard often times that photo and/or video editing don’t use the GPU, as odd as it may sound, so mid/high-end boards are not such a requirement for such tasks. Perhaps it’s just some stages that don’t use it though, like the encoding process. On linux, however, everything is probably sub-optimal when we are talking about high-end desktop hardware anyway. I recall some phoronix benchmarks that had shown that. Low-end video cards had a subtly better performance than the same boards on windows though. I wonder if the trend will progress, as hardware that is now high-end becomes somewhat legacy, linux somehow manages to squeeze the best performance out of it.

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137 Col. Panek September 8, 2011 at 12:39 am

I’m doing fine editing video using OpenShot on Ubuntu Unity, on a cheap HP laptop. G62 with 3 G ram. Cost me $380. Everything worked: wireless, camera, audio, buttons for audio, etc. I’m trying LMDE right now but as usual the audio won’t work. Bodhi, that was kewl but wierd.

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138 Col. Panek September 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm

And, as usual, it’s simple when you find the right setting. I updated my Mint Debian to linux 3 and it’s faster and uses lower resources than Ubuntu Unity, which I tried for 4 months but….never really warmed up to it. And LMDE leaves Windoze 7 in the dust, of course.

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139 chandan September 13, 2011 at 11:14 am

i want to buy pangolin laptop…
can anybody tell me the centre near delhi , dehradun or haridwar where i can buy the pangolin laptop.

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140 chandan September 13, 2011 at 11:15 am

i really interested in ubuntu os.
so i want to buy ubuntu supported laptop..

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141 Sam Tuke September 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Note that Biometric Fingerprint Scanners are pretty much useless. Their purpose is to provide a method of secure authentication, but they fail to provide this, and they can be easily fooled using cheap and readily available materials (this has been publicly known since at least 2007).

Inclusion of a fingerprint reader is irrelevant therefore, and use in government or security critical circumstances is especially inappropriate.

See: http://www.ccc.de/updates/2007/umsonst-im-supermarkt?language=en

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142 wilhelm October 5, 2011 at 7:49 am

GMA 500 (poulsbo) works instantly with joli os (jolicloud). Tried UNR (unikt legion remix) first, horrible.

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143 Jed October 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Just a tip:
SSDs are more expensive but they are much safer, if the laptop is shaken around with a non-SSD hard disk the ‘head’ that reads the drive can hit the disk causing loss of data and inability to boot.

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144 cbemerine October 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Linux is all about being free and able to do what you want. You bought it (hardware) you should be able to install what you want. Here the Linux vendors like ZaReason shine! Glad to see you included them in the list above.

If you buy a Linux PC/laptop/netbook/ from a Linux vendor it will run Windows 7/8 (they are so much better than Vista) whatever. However the opposite is NOT always true, if you purchase from a big box store with a proprietary operating system on the hardware, often you will have to jump through hoops to get around the proprietary chip-sets, bios BS and other junk. This is especially true with tablets and so-called smart phones.

No Root Access ~ Dumb Device.

Always buy from a Linux Vendor as everything works out of the box day 1 and you can even install Windows if you want too…best of all worlds.

I don’t have WiFi, Sound, High Definition H.264 (X.264), etc… problems simply because I only purchase hardware from a Linux Vendor. When the proprietary vendor stops supporting their hardware, I know I can install one of the many Linux distros on the hardware and continue to use it for the next 10 years if I want. I even have a server running on less than 256MB of RAM…love Linux.

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145 Charles Tilley November 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I agree with your post, you’re correct in what you’re pointing out.

However, I’m not paying the price of an iMac to run Linux on. I’ve checked out the list of Linux computer retailers that’s in this thread, and they’re way too expensive. One can buy 8GB RAM at Newegg for $50 during their frequent promos. I’m not paying $200 for a vendor to upgrade RAM for me. Plus, the HDD’s are small, upgrading is pricey there also. These components are easy upgrades for most users, using a couple of simple precautions (to prevent static).

I’ve installed Linux (mostly Mint & Ubuntu) on many PC’s & laptops, usually with no issues. However, on newer computers, there’s so many “hotkeys” that don’t function properly. Turbo Boost, GPU Boost, DYNAUDIO. these type of things don’t work after installing Linux.

However, I love Linux Mint (currently running Mint 12 RC), it runs well on my HP desktop. That PC doesn’t have all of the complicated functions to worry about. Plus, the screen looks so much better (more clearer, sharper images) than Win 7 Pro does. I still have it set to dual boot, but very seldom use Win 7.

I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully installed Mint (or Ubuntu) on a MSI FX-603.

Cat

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146 cbemerine October 25, 2011 at 12:04 am

A few high end laptops can support upto 16GB ram

You are kidding right? I don’t think so any consumer laptop out there supports 16GB.

Memory, Screen Size, HD Size in that order for me for a netbook/laptop.

You should definitely get as much memory as you can afford, when you buy any computer, period. Granted there are Linux distros that will run in extremely small memory footprints (< 128MB), meaning more memory for applications…they run faster! Even a netbook with only 2GB will scream if the operating system (OS) uses less than 128MB…think about it! If a hand-held has 2 or more Micro SSD slots, you can pop in two or more 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or larger Micro SSD card for more storage, swap memory (albeit slower) and swap them out. I can get a ton of pictures on my 4GB Micro SSD card…good to know when you are on vacation! Just bring a bunch of them, the MIcro SSD cards do not take up much space.

ZaReason has a pricey laptop, Chimera which has 12GB (+$99) Triple channel memory; even after adding a 1TB Drive ($89, SSD is smaller and costs more), 17.3″ 1920 X 1080 Full HD screen, still only costs $2,487. If that is too pricey for you, than you can always go with a Teo Pro for $457, but you will only have 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM memory, smaller screen and a smaller 320 GB Drive.

The point is if you look there are multiple Linux vendors with laptops sporting 12GB – 16GB of RAM memory today. And the Linux OS will use up less of that RAM, most less than 512MB used by the OS, meaning more memory for the faster running of applications and getting work done. Especially important if you are editing vacation / Christmas videos is more memory and a larger hard drive!

While it is nice to have a longer lasting battery, if you are using that much memory, you will want to be able to plug it in… so make sure you can!

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147 Steve October 25, 2011 at 12:52 am

It is all about what you will do with your machine.
For 99 percent of people any dual core or netbook will do just fine, assuming they can handle the size of the screen and keyboard. LINUCITY.COM has the best selection in that regards.

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148 ferr November 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

i like the idea of testing the notebook using livecd before buying it..my sifu once told me this :)

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149 pchnkishore November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Can anybody suggest the best laptop for me which supports windows as well as linux. price range(less than 35,000) — Kishore from India

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150 Bob Hepple January 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Avoid nVidia Optimus graphics cards like the plague! nVidia provide NO linux support for them nor are they supported by mainstream open source drivers. Also they eat batteries and the best thing you can do with them is turn them off (if you’re lucky enough to have an alternative graphics board) using an arcane process involving downloading acpi_call and compiling for your running kernel. Some laptops have dual Intel/nVidia boards (like the Dell XPS 15 L502X I’m writing this on) and the Intel board can be used for simple 2D work while the Optimus is bricked. There is a project called Bumblebee which is starting to support the Optimus but I have no idea how far along it is or what it’s limits are.

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151 Mike Irwin January 15, 2012 at 2:14 am

Two months ago I threw $1,500 to System-76 and they sent me back a 17.3″ Bonobo laptop with 12 GB of RAM, and 8-core i7 cpu, and a .5 TB drive. It runs Ubuntu 11.10. I use it for all the “normal” stuff, run my email in a WinXP VM (VirtualBox) because TheBat! only runs under Windows, and work on MS SQL Server and Oracle database servers embedded in more WinXP VMs.

The verdict after 2 months: I could do with a keyboard with an extra column or two of keys, so I don’t have to use Fn to go to the beginnings or ends of lines, but I honestly cannot find anything else to say about it that isn’t very positive. Performance is, as you’d expect, stellar! I’d recommend System-76 any day.

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152 james swarbrick February 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Hi there chaps…
just got a Sony Vaoi VPCSE 15 inch i5 512M ATI radeon 6470M
basically got it over a Dell 15z/Samsung as the keyboard and screen are far better (actually not so reflective and great viewing angles). It is lighter just under 2kgs but a little more expensive of course as it has a vaio on it ;)
Didnt want to pay an extra $600 in Australia for the i7, sure its cheaper in the US.
also for the Dell XPS15z I was anticipating soul crushing switchable graphics/bumblebee/nvidia dramas and I am glad I went the ATI route.

also with the Sony you can get in the back, take the battery out, add SSD, convert the DVD drive to another hard drive etc, unlike those unibodys out there.

Interestingly, the free Mandriva 2011 One went on, everything worked fine. sound, wifi, hibernate etc.

While I could not switch off the graphics in the Bios, I put on the Catalyst ATI driver and its now great, around 1500 FPS in glxgears default resolution, quite as a mouse unless under load. Actually quieter than win 7. :)
Kubuntu 2011/2010 and Linux Mint 2011 KDE versions failed to install unfortunately…. took me months to decide on a laptop! was put off the Dell with countless store visits and typing.

but recommend this one.
(now that it works with 3D hardware accel)
cheers
James

ps it also looks great, very understated and the keyboard I think is the best one Ive ever typed on.
Speakers are crap by the way but who cares – they still work!.

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153 Alex Moldovan February 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Hey guys, if you are in market for buying a laptop you might want to take a look here too: http://www.ubuntu.com/certification

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154 Steve February 23, 2012 at 8:05 am

This is only a partial list. We purchased 2 lenovo systems from linucity – 1 is g570 and the other is ideapad z570. They both great and fully compatible with ubuntu 11.

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155 Cat Tilley February 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

Ubuntu & Mint x64 both works nicely on my elcheapo HP MS214 AIO desktop. The hardware drivers (AMD/ATI) are provided after install. This PC was built to run Windows 7, it still does, but I have my Linux installs on a separate HDD.

The difference between Windows 7 & Linux? Both versions of Linux boots in half the time (or less) than Windows 7 does. Both versions does all that I need them to do, as in safe web browsing, being able with confidence to make purchases/check emails/other transactions w/o the fear of my PC being hijacked.

Being that I have only 4GB RAM, I’m considering a rollback to the 32 bit versions of Linux, due to the lack of Flash updates (what happened there, Linux had 64 bit Flash before Windows did, it was a hot topic on many Windows forums). I don’t feel that my system would slow down that noticeably in downgrading from 64 bit.

As far as the topic on hand goes, if the Linux vendors would stop charging Apple prices, mabye they’d sell. $799 for a i3, 2GB RAM & 320GB HDD is robbery. $200 to upgrade to 8GB RAM, when the same can be purchased at Newegg for $39, sometimes $29 on promo? I purchase & install my own RAM & HDD’s.

Price is why Linux computer vendors is out of range for many users.

Cat

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156 Steve February 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Not all are expensive, check linucity.com where a laptop with i3 cpu and 4gb ram – can be found at : $549

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157 Cat Tilley February 26, 2012 at 4:54 am

That is one of the few exceptions. Won’t find a Linux laptop for that price from many vendors. And a i3 with 4GB RAM wouldn’t meet my needs. I need Windows for some things, after lending 2GB RAM to Win 7, the notebook’s fan would scream, & the RAM & CPU would constantly peg at 100% usage.

Plus, I doubt for that price, you’d not get a dedicated GPU, the graphics are far better with one. Especially for gaming.

Cat

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158 Mike Irwin February 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

You’re right about Linucity’s TOSHIBA L755 having shared memory for graphics, but then again, most Windows systems mention that too – in very small print indeed!

IMHO, if you want to use Windows as well, you should load Oracle’s VirtualBox and run it in a VM. That way you only use the disk space you really really need, and if you try to keep your RAM allocation down your swap file may well end up in RAM too! I’ve converted serveral machines into VMs as Linux versions of various programs – such as my preferred email client, TheBat!, and the systems I work on – MS SQL Server – aren’t available on Linux. I can’t see if Toshiba will admit to being able to up the 4GB RAM to 8, say, but Linucity’s site says they’ll talk about configuation changes, so maybe …

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159 Steve March 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

They have it with 6gb for the smae price, can make a difference with virtualization.

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160 Captain Obvious February 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Just tell me why you can’t buy a laptop without an operating system for cheaper than WITH Windows on it. All I can figure is that Windows is worth -$50.

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161 nixCraft February 28, 2012 at 11:30 am

I’m not sure about your geo location but in India I can easily buy a laptop without Windows and they are always cheaper:
* saholic
* Flipkart w/Linux and Flipkart w/FreeDOS

There are plenty of stores. You need to Google and search them.

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162 Captain Obvious February 29, 2012 at 1:41 am

I went to one of those sites and found the closest to my laptop (HP G6), and it was $560. I paid $380 last May, with Windoze7. Ergo, Windows (and all the other crapware) is worth $-180.

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163 Cat Tilley February 29, 2012 at 2:59 am

If just one of the major OEM’s were to dedicate themselves to just a couple of popular Linux OS’s (one for business & one for personal use), push it in ads & knock part of the MS tax off of it, one may sell.

Don’t know about the business end, which ones they prefer, but there are 2 major Linux OS’s (Mint & Ubuntu), with a fast rising 3rd coming (Zorin OS). That OS, I just installed on my PC yesterday, within an hour, I had a fully usable system, the way I wanted it. Zorin has the potential to attract (& keep) a large number of users. It is the closest looking OS to Windows, with an identical look & feel, being that Windows users are the main target for Linux sales, it may be the one to push.

There are choices with that OS that is appealing to many Windows users, the first of which, you’re given a choice of having the XP or Windows 7 look. This alone takes the edge off the user & helps to learn the OS. I had it fairly much learned by the end of last night, at least enough to steer my way around well.

Too, it would help if the larger Linux PC builder companies would lower their prices & spend some more money on advertising in the right places. Small ads in the corner of web pages won’t get it, these vendors need to take some lessons from the big OEM’s. Perhaps even hire some of those employees from their marketing departments to tutor them. Many are seasoned veterans in sales & know what it takes to sell a product. Also, it can be a struggle in the first years for a startup, both Bill Gates & Steve Jobs found this out. They took some setbacks along the way, but neither lost vision or gave up. Jobs was giving instructions for a new idea less than 36 hours before his death.

Linux OS’s are great choices for both home & business use. It’s just that money needs to be spent on getting the word out, and control production costs. I’ve visited many of these Linux OEM sites, a few has some decent deals, but many are overpriced for what they are. A $1,000 Linux PC ought to have equal (or better) specs than a Windows one does. At that price, one should get at least a rock solid i5 quad core, 8GB of DDR3 1333 RAM, 1TB 32MB Cache, 7200 RPM HDD, a 1GB DDR3 (minimum) dedicated video card, at least 4 USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet & a Logitech Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo (the last option not needed for notebooks). The monitor, if necessary, the consumer can buy, as they usually do with a Windows PC. Also, a notebook would benefit from a docking station, for the extra ports needed for some components.

These type of deals can be found all day long at Newegg for Windows PC’s, take away the cost of the OS, put that money towards advertising, a company who really wants to sell Linux computers can grow fast, or at least a steady pace. Taking Apple’s low-spec, high dollar approach won’t get it. Anyone paying out that kind of cash shouldn’t have to be upgrading RAM & HDD as soon as the box is opened, or worse yet, ordering extra from Newegg before it even arrives. If the MB will hold 16GB RAM, cram it in there, prices are great for RAM these days.

Although some users will want lower cost computers, there’s many who wants performance. I can build the PC that I described above for $650, mabye less, if there’s a rebate/promo on parts.

So a vendor who buys parts in quantities should be able to build the same for $100 less, mabye more. That extra profit has to be spent on marketing, in the proper places. Like in major PC magazines & other national marketing areas. Until then, many Linux users are going to keep what they’re doing, installing their choice of Linux on a Windows PC or notebook. After all, in most cases, that approach works out quite fine for many users.

It’s not the Linux users fault that there’s no Linux notebooks or PC’s in the retail marketplace. A major retailer like WalMart would be a prime national retailer for Linux notebooks. Mabye not so with the higher spec ones, but for a vendor who needs to get their foot in the national spotlight, WalMart can put one there. Fast.

Cat

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164 Cat Tilley May 4, 2012 at 2:34 am

No one has responded to my post, which is of prime importance to this thread. If a vendor would place their ads in the right places, as well as teaming with a national retailer, such as WalMart, the sales would take care of itself. WalMart would gladly work with vendors to maximize profits, as well as playing a part of making the Linux world better known, plus their ads reaches all US homes.

One cannot know any choices other than Windows & Mac w/o spending on advertising, even though many Windows users uses Linux tools to do tasks like restoring from backup & partitioning tools (both are accomplished with Linux boot disks).

Cat

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165 Philippe Petrinko March 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hi Vivek,

typo here: (and style)
“If you get 100% result, than just purchase laptop.”
should be
If you get 100% result, __then__ just purchase __it__ (or “_this_ laptop”.)

KUTGW
–Philippe

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166 Doru March 26, 2012 at 5:26 am

I successfully installed and used Linux on the following laptop models:

Acer Aspire 5349-2592 (Intel Celeron B800, Intel HD graphics, 2GB DDR3 1066 factory RAM) – upgraded to 8GB (two x 4GB) DDR3 1333 – Linux Mint 11 Katya, Gnome 32bit with PAE Kernel
Acer Aspire 9410-4441 (Intel Core Duo T2350 @1.86GHz, Mobile Intel 945GM Express, 1GB DDR2 533 factory RAM) – upgraded to 3GB (2GB + 1 GB DDR2 800) – Linux Mint 9 Isadora LTS, Gnome 32bit with PAE Kernel
Toshiba Satellite A305-S6905 (Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 @2.0 GHz, Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics, 3GB DDR2 800 factory RAM) – upgraded to 4GB (two x 2GB) DDR2 800 – Linux Mint 9 Isadora LTS, Gnome 32bit with PAE Kernel
HP Pavilion dv8301nr (17.0” WXGA+ Display, AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile Technology ML-34 @1.8GHz, ATI RADEON XPRESS 200M IGP graphics, 512MB 333MHz DDR factory RAM) – upgraded to 2GB (two x 1GB) 400MHz DDR RAM, Linux Mint 10 Julia, Gnome 32bit
eMachines M5312 (Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 2400+ @1.8GHz, ATI RADEON IGP 320M graphics, 512MB DDR factory RAM) – upgraded to 1GB (two x 512MB) DDR-333 – Linux Mint 9 Isadora LXDE 32bit and PCLinuxOS KDE FullMonty 2010 DVD Edition 32bit

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, as follows:
Linux Mint 9 Isadora LTS – Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
Linux Mint 10 Julia – Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)
Linux Mint 11 Katya – Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)
Linux Mint 12 Lisa – Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

PCLinuxOS is forked from Mandriva Linux.

Pretty much everything worked out of the box. Very few items needed just a simple install.

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167 Justin Hellings April 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

I recommend second hand laptops. If they’ve been out a couple of years then it is generally very clear how Linux compatible they are.

I have bought 5 year old IBM X-series machines (an X41 and recently an X61s) for about £100 on ebay. I noticed the step up in performance from X41 to X61s but each has felt powerful enough for my PHP/Drupal development work, including running a local webserver.

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168 Square cow April 18, 2012 at 2:29 am

I think I have found a typo that you may want to fix.

You can have have 7200rpm drives.

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169 nixCraft April 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

The post has been updated. I appreciate your comment.

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170 lsa1 May 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Many of these vendors are simply re-selling machines which you can buy directly from the manufacturer, and they are not cheap. But the popular manufacturers always charge the same price, regardless of whether the hardware ships with Windows or Linux. Linux is free, so this means you are still paying $100–$200 for Windows, even when you dont want it. Some people call this the Windows tax; others just call it racketeering. In any case, it does seem like a conspiracy to keep prices high. This is unfair, and bad for the economy. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer really dont need any more of our money.

Many consumers would buy a new computer with Linux installed if they did not have to pay for Microsoft Windows. But if the purchase price is the same, they will not bother to learn a new operating system. The Linux mission of providing free software to the public has been hindered by this unfair hardware pricing policy: Despite our best efforts, there is still no discounted Linux-powered PC for the poor in many countries.

Some people would like to buy a new laptop with a virgin hard drive, or no hard drive, and completely customize the machine. But that is not easy to find either. If you walk into a typical north american retail electronics store, what you are likely to find is something from HP, Dell, Acer, Samsung, Toshiba, Compaq, Asus or Lenovo… all running Windows. These machines cannot be purchased without a hard drive or an operating system. Most of the Linux boxes in India are from the same manufacturers, and do not appear to be truly discounted either. This lack of free choice is frustrating to many people, and they clearly want more options. Where can the consumer find alternative brands without Windows, at a genuine discount… especially in America? Perhaps there should be a web site dedicated to this–or at least another article. =)

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171 Cat Tilley May 4, 2012 at 2:43 am

You bring up a great point. One Laptop Per Child. Where any of these distributed in the US (where their primary funding came from)? I’ve never seen one, nor have I heard on forums of US kids getting these laptops.

What’s the conspiracy here? I donated to this project, & expected to see some at home. That’s a sure fire way to bring Linux to the US, is give our school children the same advantage. These kids would begin with Linux, and may well adapt to it over Windows.

After all, once one learns an OS, they tend to stick with it.

Cat

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172 Alvaro Cervantes May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Good advice from Justin, here in Oregon ,USA, I buy used X200 or any thinkpad and no prblems running Linux. On my X200 (paid from 300 to 500 dollars) I run Fedora 16 but to tell you the truth, Fedora 14 was the only version that worked out of the box; Fedora 16 had a lot of bugs that made me work really hard to have a solid machine again. I am buying Lenovos for all my relatives and installing Ubuntu, just disable upgrades before giving them to them. I recommend installing Wicd as opose to the network manger from Gnome, it does not give me a single problem when connecting to the routers. Intel WiFI chips are very reliable and the range is pretty long. the tablet part I love, specialy when taking notes at school (xjournal). I would like to know of a place where we can upload images of our machines (recovery disk?), so somebody with the same machine can install the Linux OS already working on that machine (everybody duplicates the same effort to make it work and it is a waste of time).

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173 Sadun89 July 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have acer aspire 7750-6423 laptop..
but it not detect my usb dongle.
I have e153 type huawei dongle..

Anyone knows how to solve this problem???

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174 Michael Shigorin July 14, 2012 at 6:53 am

It’s not relevant to the topic at all but still: I would google up the name of the Linux distribution used adding “huawei e153″ to look for a hint. See also /var/log/messages or the output of “dmesg | tail -20″ command to understand whether the device is detected at all. If it is, maybe you should look into NetworkManager settings or PPP configuration provided by the distribution used to set it up.

All of this assumes you’re asking regarding Linux running on that laptop.

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175 Steve July 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

The laptop Linux experience still isn’t fully polished, but its getting extremely close to the proprietary OS UX.

I am running Mint on an oldish Samsung X22 and its not bad, but I can’t seem to get drivers or middleware to be able to use the HDMI port or the ‘blue Fn’ buttons. Otherwise its pretty slick. On the other partition I’ve got Win7 and, I have to say, its slicker… so why do I prefer the Linux OS, still can’t quite figure that one out.

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176 John J. Felczak July 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm

For laptops and other systems with preinstalled Linux, selected, built, and designed with Linux in mind, don’t forget Cosmos Engineering, building computers since 1984, specializing in Linux Since 1996.

http://cosmos.linuxbeach.net/

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177 samspade July 20, 2012 at 1:01 am

when hardware is brandnew – and not too much multi-media … – it should be no problem with e.g. ubuntu (here acer aspire model out of winter 2011 works nullproblemo with ubuntu 12.04). Except I cannot install nvidia-driver, but thats not ubuntu-specific problem – it is bfuggy by nvidia itself. who cares, it works fine with vesa.
Look for simple-built small notebooks without built-in cdrom … there is less trouble when you have an a bit “older” usb-dvd-drive. dont be too demanding … and dont buy a whole “blackboard” as notebook. so far the news for today…

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178 Michael G. January 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Greetings,Linux Ubuntu 11.10. has been running perfectly now for 12 Months on my ASUS X71A. That’s not my problem!
Sure I`ve tried other Linux Operating Systems!
But,I`ve always returned to Ubuntu 11.10!…It`s so Smoooth!
No..My problem is,I`m looking for another Laptop (Notebook) and when I see that Windows Flag on The Dashboard!…
I don`t want to run Dual O.S.`s!…Just Ubuntu!
I try and get rid of Windows!
I don`t want Microsoft`s Windows in my House!
Trying to Install Something else!…More Human!
Then I`m Blocked!..This dosn`t work!..That dosn`t work!..Nothing Works!..When Windows has been Pre-Installed!..
Microsoft Hardware Eeprom`s on The Mainboard?
Undeleatable Software Programming?
The Times I have tried to Stay Calm and The Amount Microsoft has cost me!
It`s not fair!
So I`m looking around for a Laptop (Notebook) on which I can safely Install Ubuntu!
Without The Junk Flying Around!
I`m a Human and Not A Bot!…Yet!
So Boys and Girls…Looking for a Laptop(Notebook) for Ubuntu 11.10!
What please…Have I got to go for?

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179 karl May 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm

ATI Mobility Radeon HD4650?

This card isn’t supported anymore. AMD removed the 4xxx support from fglrx (thank you, idiots!) and the oss-radeon driver isn’t working very well :(

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180 Wilhelm Berrocal July 11, 2013 at 5:10 am

Dell XPS 14 Z works nicely with Xubuntu 12.04.02, kernel 3.5.0-36, Bumblebee, and a few other teawks; the only things thaht doesn’t work is the eject key.

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181 LOL December 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Dell XPS developer edition officially support Ubuntu :)

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182 Bomyne August 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm

You don’t need to dual-boot as Crossover (a commercial wine distro) supports most major games, and works on major linux distros.

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183 bugzeeolboy December 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm

You forgot to include in the wireless drivers about the definition of hassle that is brcmsmac or broadcom drivers. Very good though, helped me out a lot.

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184 bab September 30, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Careful to judge by live boot.
Knoppix for example will boot, and run flawlessly with the exception of sometimes it doesn’t detect sound on Hp2133.
In reality support for Hp2133 is a horrible nightmare.
Great net book if you manage to tweak all of the bugs out though.

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