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  1. #1

    Is linux a good choice for a notebook?

    I have a Toshiba Satellite L10-202 which comes with Windows XP HE. First of all Windows runs great, power management works fine, all this because of the Toshiba's utilities. I also have a PC (ADM Athlon XP 2000+, 512MB RAM, ATI Radeon 7000, ...) on which I run Slackware since September 2003. I think that my first contact with linux was in February 2003 when I installed RedHat 8. I am now surrounded by CDs with linux distribution like Slackware from 91. to 10.2, RedHat, Fedora SUSE, Gentoo, Mandrake... and two versions of FreeBSD... to many CDs but I don't know what to install on my notebook... for a PC it would be easy... Slackware but let's talk about a laptop:
    I need the hardware to work 100%. at this part I am afraid I wont be able to use ACPI without any problems. (I have a poor dial-up internet connection so I am looking for distros that run great on laptop without downloading additional software). I installed SuSE 10 yesterday... it works fine although all the stuff with "config in one click" seems so alien to me because I am used to configure things just by modifying some text files. The fan starts from time to time so I guess acpi works.. but it doesn't works great because the power management in KDE tells me the acpi is partially working. I checked in /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/THRM/ (I think this is the path) that the CPU(Celeron M 1.6 GHz) temperature is 51-57 degrees Celsius. Is that OK for a Celeron or it is too hot? So if I install Slackware and recompile the kernel 2.6.13 (or 2.6.14) the acpi would run OK, or I would have problems with acpi or with some drivers and I have to spend hour in front of it to make it work and to transform my laptop in some sort of test ground? I don't like this. I like to edit text files, see how the system really works, tracking processes(I am not a great Slackware user, I know little about servers and networks because of my poor connection to Internet but I am used to use Slackware as a desktop, modifying it to look and work OK - but that's on PC). I like to know the kernel fully supports my hardware.
    Using Windows isn't such a nightmare to me. I need an operating system that enables me to edit documents, see movies, listen music, program in C or JAVA... and linux distributions mentioned above have all the necessary software.

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast carlosponti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    i have acouple of older laptops that use linux. Sony Pentium III 650 and a Dell Athlon 850 and both are fine. i have managed to get most components working correctly on first install. sometimes people have problems with touchpads and such not working.
    Registered Linux user 396557

  3. #3
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I'd be more worried about your dial up. ACPI is becoming really good these days. I always recommend Suse for great hardware support and it has swsuspend built in now. Mandriva is god too, I used it for years. Only grief apart from that is 3d support on a Radeon under linux.

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  5. #4
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    Though I currently have Ark linux installed on my lappy, I always found SuSE worked great almost out of the box. It was easy to set up my wifi, and it had power save packages on the media. This was SuSE 9.3 pro.

    It took awhile to boot...but I'm thinking of putting it back on there.

  6. #5
    Linux Engineer d38dm8nw81k1ng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    i'm using SuSE 9.3 pro as well. it's excellent. i'm lucky enough to have a geforce go on mine, but i still needed to run the script as yast wouldn't work.
    Here's why Linux is easier than Windows:
    Package Managers! Apt-Get and Portage (among others) allow users to install programs MUCH easier than Windows can.
    Hardware Drivers. In SuSE, ALL the hardware is detected and installed automatically! How is this harder than Windows' constant disc changing and rebooting?

  7. #6
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    I have recently joined this Linux on Notebooks Bandwagon....and find it to be mostly ok.....though it is completely distro specific.... My Favourite is Madrake on a desktop....but couldn't get it working on my Dell Inspiron 6000, tried Ubuntu, Sound worked..but Video...didn't, tried FC 4, worked cool, except for sound....tried FreeBSD versions....they worked great...and finally shifted to Open SuSE, and it works like a charm....I have completely fallen in love with this piece of Art Work..I should say....SuSE 10 or Open SuSE...I couldn't have asked for anything better........ Just that MP3 and WMA, formats aren't supported due to Licensing issues, for which I will have to get the codecs, but otherwise, SuSE rocks.......


  8. #7
    Linux Newbie beachboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Rockford, MI 49341
    I have Suse 9.3 on mine and i love it better than windows.
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  9. #8
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I have run Slackware, Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu, SuSE, RH/Fedora, and a few live distros on some older laptops (about 5 or 6) and in general i had an average of 95% hardware compatibility without too much configuration. "Out of box" i would recommend Ubuntu or SuSE... and look out for broadcom wifi chipsets in AMD based systems ... the driver is still under development so don't get too frustrated when it doesn't work... most Intel based laptops with built in wifi will work off a fresh install ... so to answer your question, yes ... Linux is a good choice for a laptop.


  10. #9

    Thumbs up

    i've used suse since 7.1 on my dell lattitude cpx never had any serious problems, running suse 10 on it now with wifi pcmcia card, so i'd say yes
    SLOMO: acer extensa 5235 2.2ghz,2gb ram 160gb hdd wireless
    SPEEDY: homebrew desktop,Amd x2 dualcore,2gb ram,500gb +1tb( 2x500gb) hdd suse 11.3,32mb fibreline
    registered linux user #401845

  11. #10
    I would *highly* recommend using Linux on your laptop, it will allow you to get more out of your machine thatn you'd have ever expected.

    I run a gateway M250 with a 1.6 Ghz Celeron, 512 meg of RAM and the default battery. I can get, on average, an hour or more longer out of the battery doing the same tasks than I could get in Windows just because of the lower overhead.

    I would say that your real choice isn't distro so much as which window manager. KDE and Gnome are popular, especially with new users, but they are major resource hogs and don't accomplish anything you can't accomplish without them. I use Xfce, it's quick and easy to configure, and it's very light on resources.

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