Hey I’m looking to set up a laptop for a girl I know. She wants it basically for battery life, wireless connectivity, and Video Calling VIOP like Skype. I’d like to know what a good laptop that is completely supported so as to make the transition from windows much easier for her, because nothing says friendly like fighting wifi drivers for 3 hours.
I have set up some laptops when giving private support, and HP and especially Lenovo / ThinkPads have been the ones with the least pain. However, I generally recommend researching the Linux support after narrowing down the choice to some models.
I have horrible experiences with Acers and Packard Bells. Specs different from used parts, that kind of stuff.
The one in my sig is my 3rd ASUS, it’s a true linux laptop. Ran lots of LiveCDs from it, it all just works (wouldn’t that be a good line for a marketing campaign). The specs on their site made me buy this one instead of my first choice ( a HP with NVIDIA, but a broadcom wifi chip that was not yet supported ). Pleased, very pleased with it. Mind, I replaced the HDD with an SSD, it does not belong to the model.
My recommendation, when considering any laptop for use in Linux, is to always search to see if anyone has used the same laptop under any Linux distribution, and even better under the same Linux distribution that one likes to use. There are specific web sites with this information (listed in our laptop stickie).
If one can not find any users who have used Linux with the laptop that one is considering, then the next step IMHO is to check each component in the laptop, looking for assurance of EASY Linux compatibility. Note the caps for “EASY”. Specifically for a laptop I recommend one focus on the Graphics, Wireless, Webcam, Sound, and Power Management compatibility. I see keymapping, HDMI and bluetooth compatibility as secondary, although not everyone will agree with me.
Nope, unfortunately not. I have a Dell Latitude E6510 with an Nvidia graphics adapter.
OpenSuse 11.3 with KDE starts only in fail-safe mode. Same thing for 32 and 64 bit.
The problem is obviously the Nvidia card, nouveau driver probably not good enough yet.
Installing Nvidia’s closed driver helps for that part.
But with Nvidia’s driver you cannot run Xen (I believe this was the same for 32 and 64 bit and is somehow a known limitation. Don’t quote me on this, I’ve forgotten the details…)
Virtualbox does not start in 32 bit with Nvidia driver. Gets a floating point exception.
(Kubuntu Maverick starts with Nouveau, but gets stuck after typically 20 minutes. Might be a Nouveau problem)
The BIOS change log for this model looks kind of frightening. Hangs etc. So I decided to update my BIOS. Dell used to have nice Linux tools for doing this. But no longer. The support has not been updated to OpenSUSE 11.3. I got it working under Ubuntu, just to find out that Dell has not updated the BIOS firmware packages for Linux. No package available at all for this model. (I finally managed to update the BIOS using FreeDOS, but I don’t think there is no magic improvement wrt the graphics & freezing issues, if any at all)
That much about Dell and its support for Linux. Probably some models work better, but there is no guarantee by just going by vendor name.
P.S. The WLAN chip is actually fully supported. It works so well that I haven’t been forced to check what circuit it is…
One can not just grab “any” Dell nor HP laptop PC. Some work. Some do not.
I have a Dell Studio 1537 laptop that works great.
OpenSUSE-11.3 with KDE starts with no problem. Runs fabulous. Same thing for 32 and 64 bit. Runs great.
As for nVidia driver, on different (desktop) hardware (3 different PCs) with the nVidia driver, Virtualbox runs fabulous. This is with both the 32 bit and 64-bit Nvidia driver. I gets no floating point exception. I can NOT reproduce the problems others report.
Indeed I agree with that. Some work. Some don’t.
I have my own stories to tell about HP, but I do note some HPs work well with openSUSE, and some do not.
Thanks soo much for what you guys have done soo far, but she has to choose a laptop quickly. She needs one with a built-in Mic, DVD-RW, Webcam, Internal Wifi, and decent battery life. She does however like the laptops on LinuxLaptops, but I’m trying to give her as many options as possible to weed out the best deal.
I’ve got that the Dell Studio 1555 is fully supported, and I’ve read mention of some HPs, but any particular models that would be snazzy and easy for her. Also be aware that she doesn’t live close enough to me for me to be able to set this up for her. I’m going to have to walk her through it, which may or may no go over well.
It makes me wonder if it is possible to do a remote install over the internet, where she inserts the liveCD and boots to it, she give you her IP address, then you ssh into the PC and conduct a text install, while she is available on the phone to do anything that may be needed … but thats wild speculation on my part.