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Old 04-25-2014, 10:22 AM   #1
ylang
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Smile Distribution with most extensive hardware support?


I'm buying a laptop soon! I want to know which distribution to install for the best hardware support? Some distress don't support as much range of hardware as others.... I hope you will advise me.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 11:21 AM   #2
tronayne
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This really kind of begs the question; what kind of hardware? Weird Science display, keyboard, disk drive, external stuff?

My own experience has been that Slackware loads and goes with pretty much anything, including external USB drives, without much if any fiddling and twiddling. That's in addition to being rock solid and dependable.

Hope this helps some.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
ylang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tronayne View Post
This really kind of begs the question; what kind of hardware? Weird Science display, keyboard, disk drive, external stuff?

My own experience has been that Slackware loads and goes with pretty much anything, including external USB drives, without much if any fiddling and twiddling. That's in addition to being rock solid and dependable.

Hope this helps some.
Its actually a new laptop. Trouble with newfangled hardware is few distros provide full support.... Thats why I asked this question...
Mostly I'll be buying the lenovo y510p.... Not decided yet....
 
Old 04-25-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
szboardstretcher
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NetBSD comes to mind.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:15 PM   #5
snowpine
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Why not buy a laptop with Linux pre-installed? Problem solved!
 
Old 04-25-2014, 01:22 PM   #6
szboardstretcher
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Are there still decent pre-installed laptops? I haven't seen one in quite a while,. since the early ubuntu days at Best Buy.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 01:32 PM   #7
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The best thing you can do is google the model name and Linux Support.
Linux Mint and Ubuntu upon which it is based are fairly good for hardware support but you may find that, for example, Open SuSe is the only distro that supports the printer you nust use. That doesn't happen often but sweeping statements about hardware support don't really work with Linux (or BSD) distributions.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 01:34 PM   #8
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by szboardstretcher View Post
Are there still decent pre-installed laptops? I haven't seen one in quite a while,. since the early ubuntu days at Best Buy.
I'm very happy with my System76 Kudu Professional. It came with Ubuntu (13.10 I think) installed. I played with it for a few hours an it seemed to work pretty well, then I reinstalled with Debian - has been working like a champ for months.

Cheers,

Evo2.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:38 PM   #9
ylang
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by evo2 View Post
Hi,

I'm very happy with my System76 Kudu Professional. It came with Ubuntu (13.10 I think) installed. I played with it for a few hours an it seemed to work pretty well, then I reinstalled with Debian - has been working like a champ for months.

Cheers,

Evo2.
Regrettably in my country,ordering a System76 pc is not convenient..... I would prefer to buy a normal laptop with windows and dual boot with linux.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 01:43 PM   #10
szboardstretcher
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Well. The fastest way I found to test was to download every ISO of every distro that I liked and boot into the livecd. If everything worked I would install it.

For most of my laptops back then, i always went with Fedora as it is bleeding edge. But these days, I spend the extra time making Arch work on them, because it is bleeding edge, and has a tiny footprint. My full Arch desktop uses 120M of ram with 4 screens and all kinds of apps running on OpenBox. But I don't have any compiz or anything, just the standard composite manager that uses like 10K of memory and 1% cpu.

I really like that System76, evo2, nice find!!

Also, I mentioned NetBSD because the thing works on nearly everything. I think thats the point of its existence.

Last edited by szboardstretcher; 04-25-2014 at 01:44 PM.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 02:38 PM   #11
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by ylang View Post
Its actually a new laptop. Trouble with newfangled hardware is few distros provide full support.... Thats why I asked this question...
Mostly I'll be buying the lenovo y510p.... Not decided yet....
newer hardware often means you'll need a recent kernel and X11 versions. So, in terms of what distro to choose it often comes down to how recent the kernel and X11 versions are that are either installed by default or can be easily installed.

Basically, you should check what chipset the machine has and then find what graphics, wireless and network devices that corresponds to. Then find out if there are working drivers in the linux kernel (and from what version) and check about X11 drivers for the video device, then find a distro that provides these kernel and X11 versions.

Evo2.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 02:44 PM   #12
ylang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evo2 View Post
Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by ylang View Post
Its actually a new laptop. Trouble with newfangled hardware is few distros provide full support.... Thats why I asked this question...
Mostly I'll be buying the lenovo y510p.... Not decided yet....
newer hardware often means you'll need a recent kernel and X11 versions. So, in terms of what distro to choose it often comes down to how recent the kernel and X11 versions are that are either installed by default or can be easily installed.

Basically, you should check what chipset the machine has and then find what graphics, wireless and network devices that corresponds to. Then find out if there are working drivers in the linux kernel (and from what version) and check about X11 drivers for the video device, then find a distro that provides these kernel and X11 versions.

Evo2.
Would a bleeding edge distro like arch or sabayon be better for such a pc? Or should I stick with ubuntu. The y510p has an atheros along with an Intel chipset modem. Nvdia 750m gfx.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 03:08 PM   #13
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by ylang View Post
Would a bleeding edge distro like arch or sabayon be better for such a pc? Or should I stick with ubuntu. The y510p has an atheros along with an Intel chipset modem. Nvdia 750m gfx.
As I said, it depends on the exact devices. As I see it you have two main options:

1. Do your research and find out what the devices are, what drivers are required and what kernel and X11 versions (if any) provide these drivers ... (as described in my previous post). Ideally do this before purchasing, to be sure you get something that will actually work.

2. Trial and error: install your favourite distro and see if it works out of the box. Failing that do what you can to make it work (eg use backported kernel and/or X11) try to get it to work. Failing that try another distro and so on until hopefully you find something that works.

Evo2.
 
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Old 04-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #14
szboardstretcher
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FWIW: I've always had trouble with two kinds of drivers on many distros... Broadcom and Atheros. Something to keep in mind.

You can load both onto a USB stick and try them. Whichever works better for you is the one you should go with. For a beginner tho, you might want to stay away from Arch as it can get tricky. But they do have a wonderful wiki to help. Evo2 has the best advice here though.
 
Old 04-25-2014, 03:42 PM   #15
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The only problem with testing live discs is that Debian, for example, doesn't include any non-free foirmware so even if you could use your wireless card fine using Debian with the non-free repositories enabled you won't be able to use wireless on the live CD if it requires them. I don't know the situation with bumblebee on live distributions either so if you have a dual graphics solution you may only be able to use one card with the live disc and that may not give you a good idea of how a full install would work.
 
  


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