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I am trying to figure out the best road to take in switching over to Linux. I have been a Windows user for a million years but have been learning Linux at school and love it. It's a little bit of a learning curve though because I use Windows so much. I would like to change over to a Linux laptop (cold turkey) so I am forced to use it everyday and need to know the best or most practical way to do this. I looked at new laptops, very expensive, and would like to check into building my own. I have installed Linux on VMware quite a bit in the past but feel things may be a little different. I may be feeling a little intimidated too. Can someone advise?
Thank you both very much. I have several years experience building computers but never specd out a Linux machine, only Windows. I should have made myself clear in my post. I would like to build a Linux machine in something other than a virtual environment but I would also like a Linux laptop as I would use it more because I am away from my home office more often than not. I don't plan on building a laptop from nuts and bolts rather would like to know a good starting point for creating a Linux laptop. What would be the best choice as far as dell, hp, and so forth. I have a huge selection of laptops to choose from and just need to know if there are restrictions or special requirements to consider such as hardware compatibility and such.
Linux works with most hardware. Where you need to be most careful is with video cards and wireless chipsets; those are the areas in which manufacturers' support of Linux is weakest.
Based on my own experience and what I've read here over the years, I gather that Broadcom and Realtek wireless and Nvidia and Radeon video cards can be problematic. That doesn't mean that they can't be made to work, but there might be hoops through which to jump.
If you stick with Intel, you will likely be okay.
In case it helps, here's the lspci (list pci) output from this computer, which was purchased from Zareason, which sells native Linux computers (it's a desktop and has no wireless):
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Haswell DRAM Controller (rev 06)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device 041e (rev 06)
00:03.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Haswell HD Audio Controller (rev 06)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point USB xHCI Host Controller (rev 05)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 (rev 05)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Lynx Point High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point PCI Express Root Port #1 (rev d5)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev d5)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 05)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Lynx Point LPC Controller (rev 05)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation Lynx Point 6-port SATA Controller 1 [AHCI mode] (rev 05)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation Lynx Point SMBus Controller (rev 05)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 0c)
I am used to installing from a CD, and live CDs are great for this. I wound up preparing an SD card (and a USB drive works the same) using a downloadable utility, and a minimalistic Linux distro. Some, Portus in particular, has where you, from the Live Desktop, launch the installation manager, and it puts it on your computer. The boot from the hard disk looks no different. Certainly worth a look.
What will they come up with next?
BTW: I have some problematic hardware, such as my Realtec WiFi adapter. Works like a charm. (This is also a great thing about Live CDs. You can find this stuff before you install.)
Last edited by lectraplayer; 08-17-2015 at 10:57 PM.
Download a distro, try it on your laptop first as booted from the downloaded image, then install it. That's the best way to get started. There is almost no risk to your data, and even less to your hardware.
I see people recommending nvidia and Intel for GPUs, I want to chip in my $0.02 (Please note that YMMV, this is just what happened to me):
Every nvidia card I had burned up at some point (hardware failure), whereas my ATI 9250PRO (13 years old) is still running strong.
Nvidia drivers are a complete PITA for me, granted I use Gentoo, and don't want to be bothered rebuilding binary blobs every kernel update.
Also because of nvidia drivers I couldn't have /tmp mounted as noexec (that might be fixed though, haven't checked...) Both very annoying issues to me personnaly.
Finally nvidia drivers don't integrate well (at all) with new linux graphic driver features (KMS and buffer sharing (DMA-BUF) come to mind) which simply annoys me.
I only have one intel card (an old Gen 4) and it is still plagued by random bugs.
To everyone who wants to try out linux, I recommend a fairly recent (not too much though) AMD card with the OSS drivers. (Assuming it isn't for very high performance graphic load, then indeed nvidia is the better choice). I'm a happy user of AMD opensource drivers on about 4 PCs (notebooks and desktops), power management, suspend and video decode all work.
As for wireless, as mentioned, do stay away from Broadcom.
Crap you guys are hysterical!! Anyway, I used a Dell with Intel chipset and it works great. I don't know much about the different distros so I just used Fedora. I am a little familiar with it. The wifi wouldn't work so I used a USB wifi adapter and it works fine. Now I am just playing with it so any advice on where to go from here would be great. I want to learn command line most so that is what I have been using. I am just creating files and such to learn my way around. One thing is printing and networking. Printing first. Any suggestions would be great. Thank all of you for your input and don't go changing.