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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 11-03-2008, 01:26 PM   #1
cipicip
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Satellite U400 or Inspirion 1525?


Hi guys!

I need your expertise on this. Iím planning to buy a new laptop and, of course, install linux on it. Either Ubuntu or Fedora.

What Iím looking for is a decent laptop which will be as much as possible compatible with linux and also get it for a decent price. Currently I have a Vaio but donít think the price is justified. The hardware is great Ė except for the battery Ė but I still find it a bit overpriced. And besides, Iíll still have to change it after 2 yrs so if I could shave off a couple of hundreds would be nice.

I read that Toshiba has problems with their LCDs. The neon keeps getting fried. However their using TFTs now, arenít they? Any more issues? And also it seems their sound card might not be very compatible with linux. How about the latest stable kernel version?

These are the laptops Iíd like to have your feedback for: http://configure.dell.com/dellstore/...n&OC=NI15_F_2E (and beefed up for more RAM and hdd space)
http://www.toshiba.ca/web/product.gr...8196&category=

So did any of you have problems with these models? Did anyone install linux in either of them? Any better suggestion (both as price and quality)?

Thanks.
 
Old 11-05-2008, 11:05 AM   #2
cipicip
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Bumpy-bump.
 
Old 11-17-2008, 03:25 PM   #3
hans21
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Hello cipicip,

I'm using Dell Inspiron 1525 at work with Fedora 9 installed on it and I can tell you that it work pretty good. Except for the wireless card which I didn't need, and therefore, didn't test it too much (actually, you could say I had some problems on F9 when trying to make it work so i gave up cos i don't need it too much). Besides, F9 is the worst release of Fedora for the time I've been using it (since FC4 - been using Red Hat before that). I suggest you wait another 8-9 days for Fedora 10 to be released and try it.

By the way, I've been asked at work to test Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid on Inspiron 1525 and everything worked out of the box (though, I seem to remember that bluetooth needs some tweaking - that is, I've managed to receive files but not to send them to another notebook or something like that).

Best regards.
 
Old 11-17-2008, 03:32 PM   #4
cipicip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans21 View Post
Hello cipicip,

I'm using Dell Inspiron 1525 at work with Fedora 9 installed on it and I can tell you that it work pretty good. Except for the wireless card which I didn't need, and therefore, didn't test it too much (actually, you could say I had some problems on F9 when trying to make it work so i gave up cos i don't need it too much). Besides, F9 is the worst release of Fedora for the time I've been using it (since FC4 - been using Red Hat before that). I suggest you wait another 8-9 days for Fedora 10 to be released and try it.

By the way, I've been asked at work to test Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid on Inspiron 1525 and everything worked out of the box (though, I seem to remember that bluetooth needs some tweaking - that is, I've managed to receive files but not to send them to another notebook or something like that).

Best regards.
Awesome. Thanks Hans for the info.

Did you also test the included webcam? Does it work with the spca modules built in the current kernel? Is it automatically detected?

Thanks.
 
Old 11-17-2008, 03:42 PM   #5
hans21
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Yes, the webcam works out of the box on both Ubuntu (8.04 & 8.10) and Fedora 9 (regardless of how terrible this particular release is). You can test this with Ekiga software which comes even on Ubuntu live cd.

In fact, Dell even ships Inspiron 1525 notebooks with pre-installed Ubuntu)

http://linux.dell.com/wiki/index.php/Products/Consumer

Though, I prefer Fedora/RedHat/CentOS, and other .rpm based distros myself.



Best regards.
 
Old 11-17-2008, 04:02 PM   #6
cipicip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans21 View Post
Yes, the webcam works out of the box on both Ubuntu (8.04 & 8.10) and Fedora 9 (regardless of how terrible this particular release is). You can test this with Ekiga software which comes even on Ubuntu live cd.

In fact, Dell even ships Inspiron 1525 notebooks with pre-installed Ubuntu)

http://linux.dell.com/wiki/index.php/Products/Consumer

Though, I prefer Fedora/RedHat/CentOS, and other .rpm based distros myself.



Best regards.
Yey! Thanks.

Fedora used to be my favorite distro but I simply got tired of fiddling with all those modules and occasionally modify the source to make them compile and so on.

Anyway, thanks for your feedback Hans.

Take care.
 
Old 11-23-2008, 12:52 PM   #7
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Hi!

I had the 'pleasure' of working with the Satellite U400 (subversion: 10I). The laptop is great as a HW (picture, touchpad, buttons), but: suspend doesn't work (and upgrading the BIOS needs wine+finding the generated ISO+manually burning+restarting, but even then I haven't yet managed to get suspend working), and the wireless inside is an rtl8187B where the B is the real pain part: it's supported experimentally by the module rtl8187, and the connection isn't too clear (it never 'breaks', but there is no bitflow sometimes). I got the wireless somewhat better working by forcing an 5.5Mb rate limit (quite sufficient speed still).

I will try the suspend again, I just installed the new 3.0 BIOS with the CD-burning method (BTW, this is still quite good, compared to windows-only ways of updating BIOS, as with other manufacturers). I tried both "kernel" in pm-utils and "echo 3 > ..." method. But I think it will work, eventually.

As for the wireless, apparently it works well with ndiswrapper, but that is quite painful to use: as far as I heard, it needs you to manually launch the driver each time linux is re-started... So I rather not use it. Limiting the rate works quite well.

As for the multimedia buttons, it works great (X86(PLAY/STOP/....) or whatever is associated with it immediately). The HDMI output works flawlessly, too. I haven't yet got it working with digital audio out through the HDMI, but that will come as well (it seems to be supported under ALSA, just need to select the correct output, I will work on it). I haven't tested neither Bluetooth, nor the SD/MMC/etc. card readers, but they all seem to be recognised correctly.

Side-note: the built-in speaker is really loud. Remove the "pcspkr" module, and put it in blacklist the blacklist (in /etc/module.d/blacklist write "blacklist pcspkr" or something similar)
 
Old 11-23-2008, 06:24 PM   #8
cipicip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msoos View Post
Hi!

I had the 'pleasure' of working with the Satellite U400 (subversion: 10I). The laptop is great as a HW (picture, touchpad, buttons), but: suspend doesn't work (and upgrading the BIOS needs wine+finding the generated ISO+manually burning+restarting, but even then I haven't yet managed to get suspend working), and the wireless inside is an rtl8187B where the B is the real pain part: it's supported experimentally by the module rtl8187, and the connection isn't too clear (it never 'breaks', but there is no bitflow sometimes). I got the wireless somewhat better working by forcing an 5.5Mb rate limit (quite sufficient speed still).

[...]

Side-note: the built-in speaker is really loud. Remove the "pcspkr" module, and put it in blacklist the blacklist (in /etc/module.d/blacklist write "blacklist pcspkr" or something similar)
Thanks for your observations. Hmm... So far it looks like Dell is the best option. Oh well...
 
Old 11-24-2008, 01:33 AM   #9
msoos
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Clipclip: I had the pleasure of working with the Dell 1525 as well (*total* coincidence), but that only had windows on it. I guess the windows installation was messed up, so it had some problems (no sound, touchpad messed - though this already says something...). What I can say is that it is a bit too big for me (weight-wise), and its display is worse than the Toshiba's (it has less contrast, and less brightness). It also has HDMI (not tested under linux/windows), and the webcam was logitech-related, so it is supposed to work with the newest (2.6.27) kernel (Toshiba's webcam is tested to work out-of-the-box with linux, I tested it ). I personally would favour the Toshiba, as it is much lighter, though also smaller (but the keyboard is just fine). Depends how much you are planning to transport it (i.e. every day, like me, or once every 2 months).

Bests,

Mate
 
Old 11-24-2008, 10:03 AM   #10
cipicip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msoos View Post
Clipclip: I had the pleasure of working with the Dell 1525 as well (*total* coincidence), but that only had windows on it. I guess the windows installation was messed up, so it had some problems (no sound, touchpad messed - though this already says something...). What I can say is that it is a bit too big for me (weight-wise), and its display is worse than the Toshiba's (it has less contrast, and less brightness). It also has HDMI (not tested under linux/windows), and the webcam was logitech-related, so it is supposed to work with the newest (2.6.27) kernel (Toshiba's webcam is tested to work out-of-the-box with linux, I tested it ). I personally would favour the Toshiba, as it is much lighter, though also smaller (but the keyboard is just fine). Depends how much you are planning to transport it (i.e. every day, like me, or once every 2 months).

Bests,

Mate
Thank for your advice, Mate. As far as I know, Dell is supposed to provide better support for Linux - or at least (marketing or not) they brag about it.

Personally, I'm more worried about the wifi, even though I could use ndiswrapper (hopefully the recent versions are a LOT more stable than the one I used about 2 yrs ago) and the BIOS update (I'd rather not brick my beautiful new shiny laptop, if you know what I mean )

I read also some posts referring to some models of Toshiba that had problems with the neon behind the screen (they kept on frying). However the recent models have TFTs. Did anyone had issues with their recent models?

Many thanks, guys.
 
Old 11-24-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
hans21
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Absolutely no reason to worry about wifi... I've been asked a week ago to check what works on inspiron 1525 with ubuntu 8.10 intrepid... everything.
 
  


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