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Linux (probably Ubuntu) on a laptop

Discussion in 'Linux & Open Source' started by Shoseki, 7 Nov 2006.

  1. Shoseki

    Mobster

    Joined: 12 Jan 2004

    Posts: 3,172

    Location: Brighton

    Hi guys,

    Am thinking that as a fun exercise (and with a bit of money to blow) it might be useful for me to get to combine two experiences - getting a laptop, and getting Ubuntu for it.

    I have seen some nice laptops (such as the Sony VAIO's) which I would have snapped up in a second, except when I spoke to (insert atypical purple shirted laptop sales company) they don't have anything to do with linux.

    I am specifically thinking to install Ubuntu, as this is what I have installed in my university machine (installed by myself, very easy). However, I am extremely worried about getting in over my head with random proprietry drivers and unknown devices installed within a laptop, and instantly killing any support by removing the default OS.

    So my questions are :

    a) Are there any "default" excellently supported (in terms of drivers) laptop manufacturers that I should be concentrating on?

    b) I am not too concerned really about performance, more that it is extremely lightweight, power efficient, and a clear screen... a 3D graphics card would be nice but I don't intend to play games on it, maybe a little 3D development. Therefore I could easily settle on a 64-128M graphics, and I would like wireless connectivity. So my question is... if I get an onboard 3D graphics card, will I struggle getting drivers for it, as opposed to a laptop that says "NVidia" as its graphics supplier?

    In some ways, my ideal solution would have been the uber laptop of yesteryear, at todays prices... super slimline, nice screen, much lower performance (which I can live with).

    Any thoughts? Any brands I should steer clear with?
     
  2. EirePlane

    Hitman

    Joined: 3 Aug 2006

    Posts: 613

    Location: London, UK

    I dont think I would be allowed to say anywhere you can buy them but a quick search for "linux laptop" (without the quotes) on Google with only pages from the UK returned somewhere selling laptops with Ubuntu 6.06 pre installed
     
  3. Shoseki

    Mobster

    Joined: 12 Jan 2004

    Posts: 3,172

    Location: Brighton

    Oh, no no no I am not asking for suppliers or manufacturer names... just whether anyone has managed to install ubuntu on linux, what the major issues were, etc etc...

    Wondered why no-one was repling :(
     
  4. Una

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Nov 2004

    Posts: 2,471

    Location: Reading / Lake District

    You won't struggle with an integrated gfx chip depending on what it is. I have an intel 950 integrated in one of my machines and it works fine.

    You are best off in finding a few laptops you like then searching around to see what support is like. You could even post the spec here and people would be able to give you a better opinion if everything will work or not.

    So long as its not cutting edge technology you mainly will be ok for drivers.
     
  5. 900I

    Gangster

    Joined: 27 Jul 2003

    Posts: 336

    Location: Wakefield

    HP and IBM/Lenovo are safe bets.
     
  6. growse

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 7,139

    Location: Ironing

    I installed Ubuntu on a Thinkpad T40 a while back. I remember being amazingly impressed that the volume up/down buttons a) worked and b) put a nice graphic on the screen telling me the current volume level. Much nicer than windows.

    Thinkpads seem to be quite well supported, depending on what wireless you have. I had a cisco aironet in my T40, which occasionally failed to load when ubuntu loaded. I'd have thought a more standard intel wireless would be more reliable, can't say for sure though.
     
  7. QuantumXP

    Gangster

    Joined: 20 Dec 2002

    Posts: 376

    Hardware support is usually very good so any new laptop should be well supported. My advice is to choose a laptop then look around the linux forums and see if anybody else has one working successfully. Once you know about any limitations you can choose to buy or not.

    I had problems with my laptops graphics (VIA Unichrome), i had them working under the vesa driver but that wasnt great, a basic unichrome driver allowed a better experience. 3D acceleration for me was not possible.

    Newer laptops are going to be less well supported. If a new laptop has a fancy new feature ie TV tuner, you might find it doesnt work initially. There is a good chance that over time the extra features will become supported.

    Researching your purchases is the best way to avoid disapointment. What you might want to watch out for are laptops with large ammounts of memory at lower clock speeds. Memory speed should match or exceed the cpu fsb speed, otherwise you are going to lose the performance in the bottleneck. Some laptop manufacturers user faster memory than others as standard.
     
  8. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 31,672

    Kubunto installed fine here on an IBM T60P
     
  9. EirePlane

    Hitman

    Joined: 3 Aug 2006

    Posts: 613

    Location: London, UK

    I installed Kubuntu on a friend's Compaq somethingorother a while back and it's been working well. The install was exactly the same as a PC except when it sets up the name of the computer it is {username}-laptop instead of {username}-desktop
     
  10. Freakish_05

    Hitman

    Joined: 1 May 2006

    Posts: 810

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Another vote for the above.

    When you get confortable with linux you can start having a look at some of the more advanced distro's. Gentoo is very popular due to its focus on user-specific customisation.