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Old 07-06-2005, 02:21 PM   #1
Heiland
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Question I'm propably switching, need some answers


Hello to everyone!
I've grown tired of Windows XP, and I'm soon going to buy a laptop because my studies will start in the autumn. I've used Linux some months back in 2001 so I already know the basics. I originally intended to buy Apples iBook, but since their long awaited update (they've been 260 days without any update) seems to come after next millenium, I think I'll give Linux a chance once again.

But as for 2005 I honestly don't have any clue where Linux is going, so I need some answers to major questions:

1) How well modern linuxes support modern laptops (sub 700) with basic functions? I've checked the Laptop forum here and seems like getting one running on such is not an easy feat. How will they recognize trackpads? How will they recognize hardware & ports in general?

2) How will Linux consume battery on laptops? I've heard unixes generally use less battery than windows, thanks to advanced RAM usage. Is it true?

3) This one never really has opened to me despite some research: what's the major difference between BSD & Linux?

4) Will my iPod work on Linux? What about my USB-keyboard? Digital camera?

5) How will the wlan work? Does linux detect those automatically?


AND finally the big question which will never get a definitive answer imho:

6) How bloated are the major guis nowadays? No, I will not resort to blackbox if I don't have to. And with modern pcs that shouldn't be necessary. I noticed major slowdown in 2001 when KDE gained more eyecandy over just 2 versions. Has the trend continued? Has gnome remained faster than KDE? Which is more usable nowadays?


I thank you for replies in advance. I was here last time in 2002, nothing has changed... Not even the fact that I'm a bloody newbie.
 
Old 07-06-2005, 02:55 PM   #2
Gamezace
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Well, I cannot answer all of your questions, but I can give insight on some of them. I have been running Debian on my main machine, a laptop, for nearly a year now. So, while all of my answers come from experience, they might not apply directly to you since your hardware will be different.

1) I have had no trouble in this regard. Trackpad and such worked automatically, and as far as other ports went - also no trouble. All it took was a simple "$fdisk -l" to see what ports and such I had available...I had a USB thumbstick working without worry in no time.

2) Battery consumption is indeed better in Linux than Windows in my experience.

3) It's really more of a personal preference. BSD is usually behind Linux when it comes to drivers and updates and such. However, through specialized "ports", BSD is able to compile and run applications from multiple platforms. BSD seems to be used more as servers and such, and Linux as more of a desktop distrobution - though there are certainly exceptions here.

This wasn't very clear, I know...if anyone else would like to explain this feel free, heh.

4) While I can't speak from experience on these subjects, I do know people that have gotten their iPods running on Linux...so while it won't be a plug-n-play ordeal, it is possible. Don't know about the rest...

5) This depends on the distribution. Linux does support wlan, and with some distros, it is easier than others. Some reviews I have read of Ubuntu, for example, claim that it works immediatly without any tinkering. As for other distros...it can be difficult - but it is possible.

6) Yes, KDE is very bloated, however many of their applications are fairly useful. GNOME, in most regards, is still faster and less bloated than KDE. As for usability...I like KDE for ease of configuration, and GNOME for speed and efficiency. No matter what you use, though, you will probably find yourself using some KDE applications.

I hope this helps some, and I hope that others build off of what I have said...a lot of these need more explanation than I can give, heh.

Good luck!
 
Old 07-06-2005, 03:11 PM   #3
tuxrules
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Registered: Jun 2004
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Check out http://www.linux-laptop.net

I personally run Slackware on a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop.

I've read iPod success stories on linux so you would not have to worry about it also USB keyboard and mice are known to work well so you are good there.

WLAN's need additional drivers to be installed but these projects have excellent websites and install guides so if you follow that...you should have network up and running pretty quickly.

I actually have Intel Pro wireless card in my laptop and i was able to install drivers and make it running in 30 mins.

As for desktop environments, I use Xfce & Gnome. I'm not comfortable with KDE but i do use KDE apps.

Tux,
 
Old 07-06-2005, 03:30 PM   #4
aysiu
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Registered: May 2005
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Re: I'm propably switching, need some answers

Quote:
Originally posted by Heiland
1) How well modern linuxes support modern laptops (sub 700) with basic functions? I've checked the Laptop forum here and seems like getting one running on such is not an easy feat. How will they recognize trackpads? How will they recognize hardware & ports in general?
The only problem I had when installing Linux on my Dell Inspiron 600m was getting the resolution fixed. You may find this site helpful:

http://www.linux-laptop.net/

Quote:
2) How will Linux consume battery on laptops? I've heard unixes generally use less battery than windows, thanks to advanced RAM usage. Is it true?
It's true.

Quote:
4) Will my iPod work on Linux? What about my USB-keyboard? Digital camera?
. Yes, yes, and yes. A lot of hardware detection depends on the distribution, though. If one thing doesn't work, I'd say that's ordinary, and you should see through these forums how to fix that one thing. If two or more things aren't automatically detected, you need a different distro. Thanks to projects like GtkPod, iPods are now almost fully supported on Linux. Most major Linux media players recognize iPods as well (AmaroK and Rhythmbox have built-in support for iPods).

Quote:
6) How bloated are the major guis nowadays? No, I will not resort to blackbox if I don't have to. And with modern pcs that shouldn't be necessary. I noticed major slowdown in 2001 when KDE gained more eyecandy over just 2 versions. Has the trend continued? Has gnome remained faster than KDE? Which is more usable nowadays?
In some ways, it doesn't matter. Most distros will load with KDE or Gnome initially, but you can always download and install various desktops or window managers to see what works for you. Gnome is a good alternative to KDE if you want something fully functioning but not as bloated. If you have 128 MB of RAM or under, you may consider using XFCE or IceWM.
 
Old 07-06-2005, 03:55 PM   #5
Heiland
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Thanks! But does anyone know will my usb-keyboard work with apple?

I checked linux-laptop.net, but unfortunately I don't recall the maker of my (maybe) upcoming laptop. All I can remember it's a hell of a deal:
- 1,6ghz Pentium-M processor
- 256mb ram (upgradeable)
- 40g hd @ 5400rpm
- 15" screen @ 1024x768
- all the ports I need except audio-in (well, iBook doesn't have one either)
- 1-year warranty
- Windows XP
PRICE: 599

Cheapest Pentium-M processor equipped laptop I've ever seen..

EDIT: oh yeah, do Macromedia have any linux applications? Can I even watch flash with linux?

Last edited by Heiland; 07-06-2005 at 04:07 PM.
 
Old 07-06-2005, 07:37 PM   #6
jrdioko
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You can get a flash player/plugin straight from Macromedia, but I'm not sure about anything beyond that.
 
Old 07-06-2005, 09:06 PM   #7
aysiu
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Buy the laptop first. Then, worry about what Linux distro to use with it. Be prepared to try several.
 
Old 07-06-2005, 09:32 PM   #8
thoffland
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If this helps, I was first told about FreeBSD by a friend and had an old 200mhz Pentium PC to play with it on. It's light, but needs alot of configuration. It didn't recognize much of anything really. If you just want internet (not sure how it will handle wireless) and email... then this might be good, but I think there are better Linux distros that you could use. I actually got rid of FreeBSD on the 200mhz computer and put DamnSmallLinux on it.

While searching for howto's and support for FreeBSD I found tons of references for Ubuntu. Since it seemed so popular, I dug up my old 40g hard drive, popped it in my case and installed it on my P4 and that was great, but the more I customized it, the more problems I had with it. Non-stop "failed to initialize HAL" errors on bootup.

I got rid of Ubuntu and went to Debian Sarge 3.1... I just installed it 3 days ago and upgraded the kernel to 2.6 (which is a sinch!), and while it's just a *hair* more hands on, it's definately (for me anyhow) rock solid. I havent had any problems with it.

Linux seems to be more popular than BSD, and I think it's easier to find help. I also think there are more programs available for linux. I've only been using linux for 1 month now, so take this with a grain of salt, but this is my newbie experience. Hope it's helpful.
 
Old 07-06-2005, 09:42 PM   #9
cs-cam
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I've heard a ton of KDE users raving about the latest release, claiming it's much quicker than previous version. Haven't tried it and I odn't plan to but if the hype is true then why not, in comparison with GTK at this stage of development, slower in the 2.7 release than with 2.6 it may be the way of the future...

The main difference between linux and BSD is the kernel and the toolchain. Sound like a big difference? it is. It's mostly internals though, on the surface, Gaim on linux is the same as Gaim on BSD...
 
Old 07-07-2005, 04:42 AM   #10
Heiland
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Quote:
Originally posted by cs-cam
The main difference between linux and BSD is the kernel and the toolchain. Sound like a big difference? it is. It's mostly internals though, on the surface, Gaim on linux is the same as Gaim on BSD...
BSD kernel is being developed by Berkeley university, isn't it? But what exactly is a "toolchain"?

Oh yeah, and I had to ditch that laptop. I noticed it didn't have internal dvd/cd-r as I thought with a hasty look. Instead it comes with a external combo-drive.

...and what about my usb-keyboard?
 
  


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