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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 07-11-2007, 12:51 PM   #1
ian_w_morrison
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Registered: Jul 2007
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Information for total neophyte!


Hi all

I am a new poster.

I just ordered a Dell Inspiron laptop. It will come loaded with Vista, of course (no option).

I primarily use my laptop for (1) email, (2) word processing, PP and light Excel use; (3) web research; and (4) music and videos adn downloading pictures when travelling (which is very often and for extended periods). No gaming, no intensive graphics.

My understanding is that Vista uses a lot of memory and like most MS products, is probably going to be prone to security risks. I know very little about Linux expect that it reputedly is less subject to these problems and maybe will make my battery life more efficient.

I know *nothing* technically about computers or software and am often far away from technical help for weeks or longer.

My questions are:

1) Would a Linux OS really be an improvement over VIsta for these (or other) reasons?

2) Would I be able to do everything I am doing now reasonably problem free? Are there any serious technical glitches that wouldn't have easy solutions? Any other downsides?

3) How much would it cost to install Linux and any other software I would need? (I'm quite willing to hire someone to do software installation for me.)

4) Anything else I would need to know to make an informed decision??


Any guidance appreciated.
 
Old 07-11-2007, 01:18 PM   #2
tjyorkshire
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Registered: Jun 2007
Location: UK
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well hi there!,
To answer your questions:
Firstly, in personal experience, i have found linux to be much more stable and secure that vista. And contrary to what other people might say - you can do pretty much anything in linux, than you can do in windows. However, some hardware such as graphics cards and wireless adapters can be a little troublesome to install (check the HCL, for compatible hardware). As for the cost, it is pretty easy to obtain (download for free, if you have a fast internet connection, or you can pick them up very cheap if you rather buy a cd set). In my opinion i would go for a distro like opensuse (im currently using it). It has a very useful tool, YaST, which will guide you through a GUI install process and also creates a GUI as a front for most of the configuring that you will need to do, therefore, with a little patience, support from the forums, and willingness you should be ok. Well, i certainly managed it!

Hope this helps!

Tom
 
Old 07-12-2007, 12:07 AM   #3
J.W.
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Distribution: Mint
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian_w_morrison
1) Would a Linux OS really be an improvement over VIsta for these (or other) reasons?

2) Would I be able to do everything I am doing now reasonably problem free? Are there any serious technical glitches that wouldn't have easy solutions? Any other downsides?

3) How much would it cost to install Linux and any other software I would need? (I'm quite willing to hire someone to do software installation for me.)

4) Anything else I would need to know to make an informed decision??
Welcome to LQ!

1. All operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses, so deciding whether "A" is better or an improvement over "B" depends on what's important to you. Does Linux have advantages over Vista? Yes.

2. The term "reasonably problem free" is awfully subjective. The main technical issue with respect to Linux is that certain manufacturers do not choose to offer Linux support (ie, drivers) for their products, so if you happen to own a bleeding edge video card (just as an example) it's possible that getting it configured properly under Linux might require some time Note that this is not a Linux issue, instead it comes down to whether or not individual hardware manufacturers choose to support Linux or not

3. You can install Linux without spending any money at all - there are many versions of Linux (called 'distributions' or "distros") and you can try any number of them for a free trial. You might consider downloading a "Live CD" such as Knoppix, which is a fully functional Linux system that runs completely off the CD itself (nothing is written to the hard drive). So, if you are running Windows but want to give Linux a try and are concerned about possibly messing anything up on your PC, you can burn Knoppix to a CD, put it in the drive, and reboot (be sure your BIOS boot sequence has the CD drive as the first device to try) When the machine finishes booting, you'll be running Linux (ie, off the CD). Nothing will be written to your hard drive, so when you're ready to return to Windows, just exit Knoppix, remove it from the CD, and reboot. You'll be back to Windows

4. Read and research Linux a bit, check out LQ.org, and welcome to Linux!
 
Old 07-13-2007, 11:27 PM   #4
ShellyCat
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Registered: Jul 2007
Distribution: Slackware 13
Posts: 178

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Hi Ian,

I am not very experienced at Linux, but have used a few distros. I have not used a Dell, and in any case, you might want to do a few searches on a forum (like this one) for your system in combination with important hardware...for example, "Dell network card", "Dell video", "Dell wireless", "Dell DVD" (you get the idea). Then if you see people had issues, you may be able to tell if they are real problems, or were just needing a download or some extra configuration.

Also check the Dell website. I know Dell was shipping one (or a couple?) computers with Linux pre-installed. Don't know if that is still true, but it stands to reason they may have had to write some drivers. You may want to check if that system has the same hardware as yours (network card, graphics card, sound, etc).

Generally speaking, I have found that Knoppix and Slackware are great distros. Ubuntu seems to be the easiest for new people, though I have not tried it. In Slackware you have the option of some different install approaches, including to just install everything...

...and that might be a good idea, because Slackware is known to be one of the more stable distibutions around (and if you check out the 2006 poll thread here, it is the #2 distribution behind Ubuntu).

Note: that is not the "newbie" option..."newbie" lets you custom-install with verbose prompting.
 
Old 07-14-2007, 01:35 AM   #5
farkus888
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Registered: Oct 2006
Distribution: usually use arch
Posts: 103

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once you get your hardware configured and learn how to do everything you need to do it should work flawlessly for an eternity as long as you don't make any changes. do your software updates at home when you can get help and let it ride on trips till you are comfortable you can fix it on your own and you should be fine.

I personally have never seen a linux computer break unless I made hardware or software changes in 5 years I have been using it. it can take some extra time to get everything configured the way you like it though, so don't think you can do it your first time in one night while packing for a trip and expect it to be ok in the morning.
 
  


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