Try using a LiveCD.
Edit or wait you didn’t have the laptop yet. Then google part by part with the term “linux”. But I thing almost every part is compatible with Linux accept the Network card which can be a little tricky to get working
This seems a strange area, little information as to which lap-tops will work and some still have a lot of work to be done.
Would any one manufacturer be a better bet?
[It just needs to have wifi and dvd writing capabilities plus usual]
I don’t need speed and do not play games, just email, web browsing and open office, and digital picture [digikam]
Anyone got one out of the box recently and loaded say Suse 11 with no problem?
It’s up to you - I still prefer 11.0.
If you want the support, get 11.0 now and 11.1 from a magazine or download.
Most things now work pretty well in linux, so although you may not get some of the more advanced features you might in Windows, everything works well enough to make it more than adequate.
What I hate is manufacturers who advertise linux compatibility on their packaging but don’t support it.
I don’t know if that helps you but I give you a short description of what works and what not in Opensuse 11.0 on a Samsung Q35 Pro Barnit.
The chipset is Intel and although not too young, some of the component may serve as example.
To make it short: once installed, everything but the winmodem runs out of the box.
Better, while the installed Windows Vista Business was not working stable from the first moment (6 explorer crashes in 1 hour) and the machine was heavy and sluggish, with Opensuse the laptop performs significantly better in all aspects. I am also using a Huawei E620 PCMCIA cardmodem with an Italian Wind sim card without problems. The only bug you encounter is that once you decide to switch to wlan you can do so from umts, but then the card will work only if you reboot the machine.
I would say that if your book has a recent but not brand new Intel Chipset you just install and that’s it. It is good to try a life CD. The most problems I hear of are:
WLAN chips (especially n-class), some ATI graphics hardware and some card readers. Winmodems generally are not working.
Note about proprietary EISA partitions: these partition was present on the book and made it impossible (at least for 10.1 installation to do the partition. I had to eliminate the partition through a Knopix life cd, anyway it was eating up nearly 10GB and was only for restore reasons (and for dvd function I was not interested in.
If you have less the 3 GB of ram I would reccomand to use 32bit version even with a Core2Duo.
Hope that was of somehow useful.
I myself have an Acer Aspire 5920G, OpenSuse 11 worked well. With OpenSuse 11.1 works basically fine except for some minor issues.
By the way I have a dual boot laptop with Opensuse 11.1 and Windows Vista