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I'm a web developer trying to choose a linux/BSD distro for my laptop, any recommendations? It's important that I get my wireless card working so If you know any distros ...
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  1. #1
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    Best distro for wireless support


    I'm a web developer trying to choose a linux/BSD distro for my laptop, any recommendations? It's important that I get my wireless card working so If you know any distros that are easy to configure with my card let me know.

    Idealy I would like this pre-installed:

    Apache/MySQL/PHP
    a GUI/desktop
    Firefox/Thunderbird
    Wireless support

    I'm also hoping to have a relatively lightweight instalation (If you can call Linux with a desktop environment 'lightweight'). Although I'm not particularly short on diskspace I just don't want to install a load of apps I don't use.

    So far I have a shortlist of:

    simplyMepis (easy to install)
    gentoo (harder to install)
    freeBSD(??)

    freeBSD is on the list because a lot of my websites are hosted on a friends freeBSD server and I'd like to learn a bit more about it.


    Hardware:

    Dell Latitude 110L
    Celeron M 1.3ghz
    512mb
    10gb to spare on HD
    Mobile intel 915GM/GMS,910GML
    Intel Pro/wireless 2200BG
    Sony DVD +-RW DW-D56A

    Cheers for your advice

  2. #2
    Linux User truoc444's Avatar
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    SimplyMEPIS, Suse, Xandros, and Ubuntu are the only ones the picked up my wireless out of the box, but i've gotten (at least one of my 3 wireless cards) working on each OS i've tried so just check out a few and see which one you like better and go with it. I'm pretty new myself, the 4 OS's i listed are all easy to install. SimplyMEPIS is what i currently run on the Laptop though.
    Desktop: Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz 1.5 GB RAM Ubuntu/XP Pro
    Laptop: Macbook 2 GHz C2Duo 3 GB RAM OS X/ Ubuntu/ XP Pro
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    Go 'Stros!

  3. #3
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    Another vote for Mepis here: it always seems to succeed at wireless when others have failed.

  4. #4
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    I've had no problems with SUSE for wireless, I use an atheros chipset in my two WiFi cards. That said Mepis was the first distro that I used with WiFi without any configuration. It just worked out of the box, and Kwifi just worked for me. It was great. Always have good things to say about Mepis, great distro.

  5. #5
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    I wanted to know teh same thing...

    ...does mepis have any power save features? Or maybe an add-on pack for laptops? Cause I wanna be able to get the 2.5-3 hrs I get in windows.

    aaaand, does mepis load faster than SuSE 9.3? Cause it takes awhile to load on my laptop (specs in sig).

  6. #6
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    You could always just get a distro and download the wireless drivers, and set it up that way. I mean, if you want to keep it lean and nice

  7. #7
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceSquad
    ...does mepis have any power save features? Or maybe an add-on pack for laptops? Cause I wanna be able to get the 2.5-3 hrs I get in windows.
    It used to come with Klaptop, which is now Kpowersave. You can throttle the CPU and set powerschemes. Pretty good, works great with acpi. This is one of the main advances in laptop linux, the great strides made in power management.

    As for the other question up there about slow booting, I find that out of the box most linux distros take about 1 minute to boot, but can be tweaked to boot faster. KDE after that can take anything between 15 secs to 1 minute beyond depending on distro and system specs. Though I boot slax from USB stick (Corsair Voyager, with very fast memory access) and KDE loads in about 10-12 seconds.

  8. #8
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    Mepis = Me-piece (of $#IT)

    Friends,

    Let me begin by stating that I do not engage in posting on forums. I Googled to find someone's opinion of the best Linux distro for wireless support. After installing Mepis (twice, the first time it failed miserably), and wrestling with it for a few hours, I felt compelled to create an account here for the single purpose of slamming this ridiculous excuse for an OS.

    Not only does Mepis refuse to connect to my UNSECURED, OPEN home network, but the stupid network-monitor-thingy in the taskbar is useless. It doesn't give any options to configure it. It doesn't list available networks. It merely lists a handful of mostly irrelevant, poorly-labeled, and cryptic stats. I had to dig and search just to find anything that could actually configure the card, hidden away in a lost corner of the random mess they consider an interface. Configure is perhaps too strong a word here. It's more like a handful of poorly-labeled options which don't work and don't explain why.

    Aside from the ineptness of this distro's networking, the desktop is hideous. Appearance options are less than limited. It won't even fill the screen on my laptop, because it didn't have a driver for my older GeForce (nvidia), and it won't give resolution options higher than 1024 X 768. Every bit of wordage looks like it was written by a grade-school dropout or someone who speaks English as a second or third language.

    Ubuntu, SUSE, Xandros, Kubuntu, ALL BURY this pathetic distribution.

    -Samcastic the Annoyed

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samcastic
    Friends,

    Let me begin by stating that I do not engage in posting on forums. I Googled to find someone's opinion of the best Linux distro for wireless support. After installing Mepis (twice, the first time it failed miserably), and wrestling with it for a few hours, I felt compelled to create an account here for the single purpose of slamming this ridiculous excuse for an OS.

    Not only does Mepis refuse to connect to my UNSECURED, OPEN home network, but the stupid network-monitor-thingy in the taskbar is useless. It doesn't give any options to configure it. It doesn't list available networks. It merely lists a handful of mostly irrelevant, poorly-labeled, and cryptic stats. I had to dig and search just to find anything that could actually configure the card, hidden away in a lost corner of the random mess they consider an interface. Configure is perhaps too strong a word here. It's more like a handful of poorly-labeled options which don't work and don't explain why.

    Aside from the ineptness of this distro's networking, the desktop is hideous. Appearance options are less than limited. It won't even fill the screen on my laptop, because it didn't have a driver for my older GeForce (nvidia), and it won't give resolution options higher than 1024 X 768. Every bit of wordage looks like it was written by a grade-school dropout or someone who speaks English as a second or third language.

    Ubuntu, SUSE, Xandros, Kubuntu, ALL BURY this pathetic distribution.

    -Samcastic the Annoyed
    A highly articulate rant. Well done. I'm not going to leap to the defence of Mepis, it's a distribution that I've never used, but I will point out one or two things...

    It could well be that the documentation and words actually were written by someone who speaks English as a second or third language. Maybe you'd do better finding the original docs in their original language and using that? If you dont speak that language, then I feel it's unfair to berate a distribution producer who struggles with your language, yet does a better job than you do with theirs.

    Secondly, have you thought that the users/producers of this distribution want things to be the way they are? It might just be that having it more difficult to set up and use than SuSE, Ubuntu or Fedora might be the goal here. The beauty of Linux is that it encourages variety, if you dont like a particular distribution, then use another one. There are many to choose from.

    Slating one distro because it doesn't meet your individual needs is neither helpful nor productive. If you really want to change the situation, then passing constructive criticism back to the distro's producers is significantly more helpful than making flamebait posts on a forum like this.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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    More wireless issues?

    I think the fact of the matter is... just like any decent *nixer would know... is that because of strange laws regarding radio frequencies... and the wireless folks creators willing to sell their souls... that wireless and *nix are going to have troubles.
    That being said... I agree with the previous poster... that flaming stuff on here really doesn't get much accomplished (unlike a little creativity and maybe some outside-the-box-thinking... but that's why you chose linux in the first place... um..er... so I thought). Personally.. I run PCLinuxOS on my Dell Lat620, simply because it's Debian-based (I'm an apt-aholic)...AND.. it had ndiswrapper built right in to the "Management Utility" (SuSE users... think "YaST") Since I run XP on half of it (only for music software)... it read my drivers and adapted perfectly! Even if it's "fuse" plugin gives you trouble... then just use SLAX to copy the drivers from your NTFS filesystem to your ReiserFS (ext3.. whatever)
    Also... I've had some luck with Sabayon in my "testing" box with several wireless cards... but for a Gentoo build, it does have a little too much "extra crap" on it for my taste.
    Other than that, I run SuSE on my monster (Athlon X2, 4GB RAM).. and has never had a hiccup.. and currently swap between Fedora 7 and Ubuntu on the "test-box" (P4, 2GB DDR2.... hehe.. not bad for a $100 computer).
    All in all.. whatever distro you go with... go with what you like the most... because I promise you there's enough community support (flame-asses NOT INCLUDED) that you'll find a board, post, or even a nice person to chat with that will help you get your wireless running fine.

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