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Old 11-09-2008, 12:16 PM   #1
Adamantus
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Which distro is for me?


I just got a new laptop that doesn't seem to be completely compatible with any distro. It's a HP dv5 with and AMD 64 Turion X2 processor, Atheros 242R (or something like that) ethernet card, and ATI Radeon 3200 graphics card.

I've tried Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10, which, after a long install which finally saw me resorting to using unetbootin (nothing else worked), had compatibility errors with my wireless card. Also, for some reason the battery life was extremely short while using it (it worked fine with Vista though) and made a loud whirring noise.

Then I tried to install Fedora 9, but found out that my graphics card wasn't compatible, so I couldn't even get past the install unless I tried some really crazy, technical stuff, and I'm not that technically advance with Linux.

So my question is: Is there any distro that I will be able to install with very little problems and that will work well with my system? All I'm going to be using it for is internet (Firefox), e-mail (Thunderbird), and office stuff (OpenOffice). I don't mind having to install some drivers after install or tweaking with the system a little bit (I had to do so with my first laptop after installing Ubuntu 8.04. I've tried to do some research, but it is hard to find distros that have are completely compatible with my hardware, so I was hoping that someone could just give me a push in the right direction. Thanks.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 12:34 PM   #2
Count Zero
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I hear Knoppix has a very good hardware support (in terms of detecting and running stuff out-of-the-box) but I haven't tried it myself.

/CZ
 
Old 11-09-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
Quakeboy02
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I see you had some success with Ubuntu. Have you tried that again, but using the 32 bit version?
 
Old 11-09-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
Adamantus
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The first time I tried Ubuntu (with my last laptop), it worked really well. I didn't really have any major problems while using it.

The errors I was talking about in my first post was the second time I tried it. And I don't really want to use a 32-bit system. I really want to take advantage of my current system.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 01:16 PM   #5
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamantus View Post
And I don't really want to use a 32-bit system. I really want to take advantage of my current system.
I can't remember if I've been down this particular road with you before. Is there something specific that you need 64-bit for? I mean, are you doing a lot of heavy math processing or do you need more than 4GB of RAM at one time? If not, then I question the need. But, it is your machine, of course. You may just have to wait until the next bleeding edge release before your machine is adequately supported. Wireless is always an issue for newer devices.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 01:36 PM   #6
Adamantus
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I wouldn't say I do a lot of heavy processing (but I may have a few videos open at once, which caused my last machine to sputter quite a bit), but I thought it would be nice to use my computer to it's fullest potential.

If I were to use the 32-bit version, would my hardware be compatible and allow for an easier install? I have the Fedora 9 32-bit install disk right now that I got from a magazine. I've been trying to install the 64-bit with no luck, so would changing to the 32-bit help?

I also want to make a note that Ubuntu 8.10 is running fine right now, but I can't use my wireless (wired connection is okay) and I feel like the noise coming from my computer is somehow damaging it (my computer was completely quiet with Vista). Also, I feel like Ubuntu hurt my battery which was working fine (about 2 hours of battery life) and brought it down to about an hour.

Last edited by Adamantus; 11-09-2008 at 01:46 PM.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 01:50 PM   #7
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamantus View Post
If I were to use the 32-bit version, would my hardware be compatible and allow for an easier install? I have the Fedora 9 32-bit install disk right now that I got from a magazine. I've been trying to install the 64-bit with no luck, so would changing to the 32-bit help?
It might. The only way to really find out is to try it. It's probably going to depend on which distro has the most bleeding edge kernel, etc, due to your laptop issues. On my machines, I always use a wire to the router during installation, and worry about the wireless after the install is finished. I'd say use the distro that you like the most and that has the fewest issues with the display.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 02:09 PM   #8
Saptech
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Sometimes once the installation is complete and while you're using a wired connection, upgrading the kernel to the latest release for your distrubution may help with wireless.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 02:17 PM   #9
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Not sure how this is relevant here, but I now install only 32-bit SW. There are very few situations where 64- bit will do anything for you. As the old saying might have gone: "If you don't know if and/or why you need something, chances are that you don't."
 
Old 11-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #10
Adamantus
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I always install with a wired connection. The problem comes afterward when I try to set up the wireless. And I was only able to install Ubuntu 8.04 but updated the kernel to Intrepid, hoping it would help the compatibility issues, but it didn't.

Also, is Gentoo Linux good. I just went on a site that had a list of laptops and Linux distros that were compatible with them. For all the HP dv5xxx series, Gentoo Linux seemed to work best. I've kind of looked at a couple of articles, but one thing I wanted to know is if Gentoo has a good package manager. I've heard some distros don't and you have to compile from the source code (something I would hate doing). Most sites said that the default package manager for Gentoo (Portage) wasn't very good. Is this true?
 
Old 11-09-2008, 02:27 PM   #11
pixellany
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Gentoo is no place for a beginner.

More generally, I would caution you against distro-hopping to get specific issues resolved. That said, I can tell you that I have recently had extremely good results with LinuxMint (a Ubuntu spinoff).

I have followed the whole thread---have you identified all your hardware and done the basic Googling for drivers?
 
Old 11-09-2008, 02:30 PM   #12
Quakeboy02
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I can't remark on Gentoo, as I know nothing about it. Debian has always had everything I've needed, even though that sometimes means doing some research.

Could you tell us exactly which "Atheros 242R (or something like that)" card the machine has, or at least exactly which model laptop you have?
 
Old 11-09-2008, 02:53 PM   #13
Adamantus
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This is the ethernet card result from using lspci:
Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)

As for what exact model I have, it's this:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1213399970436

I'm pretty sure that is all the same hardware that I have. And I would love to use Ubuntu 8.10, but when I tried to install the 64-bit version of 8.04, it kept messing up (I couldn't use the GUI and the text based install would always get stuck), so I resorted to installing with unetbootin. After doing so, I upgraded to 8.10.

Now the wireless is messing up (I've tried using madwifi but I don't think I completely understand what to do-I've used quite a few tutorials- and I can't seem to get it working). Also, I really hate what it has done to my battery. It says the capacity is at only 69% and I just got the computer and it worked fine with Vista installed. Also, it's been running really loudly since I got Ubuntu (also not a problem with Vista).
 
Old 11-09-2008, 03:03 PM   #14
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamantus View Post
Now the wireless is messing up (I've tried using madwifi but I don't think I completely understand what to do-I've used quite a few tutorials- and I can't seem to get it working).
What does "now" mean in the context of "now the wireless is messing up"? Sorry to be pedantic, but I was under the impression that you had never gotten it to work. If you have, then that's a different story, altogether.

Quote:
Also, I really hate what it has done to my battery. It says the capacity is at only 69% and I just got the computer and it worked fine with Vista installed. Also, it's been running really loudly since I got Ubuntu (also not a problem with Vista).
The "running loudly" probably means the fan is running which means that there is no power management running. You could probably trace this down to something to do with ACPI and frequency scaling in the kernel options. There may be a desktop applet to control these, but I don't use frequency scaling or CPU idle or any of the other power saving features so I don't know.


Quote:
also not a problem with Vista
It just may be that Vista is the best option for you at this point.
 
Old 11-09-2008, 03:09 PM   #15
Quakeboy02
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For the Atheros AR242x, it appears that is an AR5007EG. Take a look at this thread, and consider that unless you have a recent kernel that has ath5k (2.6.24 and later I believe, but not sure), you may need to use madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=792158

So, if I was right when I posted this elsewhere, then wireless could be fixed without too much drama.
 
  


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