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Old 11-26-2008, 07:57 AM   #1
Eiriken73
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Which Linux distribution for my laptop?


Hi,

I have a Dell XPS M1330 with Intel Core 2 Duo, 4Gb. RAM and a 160Gb 7200RPM HD. Currently I am running Windows Vista, which works ok with these specs, but a slow startup.

However I've been fascinated by Asus EEE and Xandros Linux. I am travelling quite much and to just open the laptop and start up a Linux OS with in short time with the tools I need for airport-surfing, like web-browsing, mail etc. is tempting. Travelling with one Dell and one Asus EEE is not an option.

I would like to hear which "light-weight" (and Xandros-like) Linux distro you recommend for mye Dell laptop. I would to run this in a dual-boot-environment and choose which OS to run on start up.

Some requirements: mail, web-browsing (Firefox), Open Office, a simple and nice GUI, quick startup (important), installed on my hard drive, dual boot with Windows Vista, msn messenger (of some compatible program).

Thank You!

Best regards,
Eirik
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:16 AM   #2
indienick
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I would suggest Debian or Gentoo - as they are both distributions that start out small, but can grow to fit your needs. Debian moreso than Gentoo, simply because if you are just getting into Linux, Gentoo might seem a bit daunting, as you literally have to install everything by hand.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:16 AM   #3
IndyGunFreak
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Well, thats really not much to go on. Since wireless is obviously important to you, you need to post your wireless device.. Some are very easy to get working(Intel, Atheros), some are more difficult (Broadcom, Ralink)...

Download and burn a Live CD, boot it up and see what works, and what doesn't work, then go from there. If there's a major snafu, all you have to do is restart and remove the CD, and you're right back at Vista.

For good, newbie friendly live distributions(that also happen to be free), I'd recommend either Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS, or maybe OpenSuse. If you like Xandros, I think there's a free version of Xandros out there, or you can shell out the $80 bucks or so for it.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and you likely won't switch over night, you'll need to download a distro and test your hardware to see what does and does not work, then investigate further from there.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
ChrisAbela
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There are many options but I would suggest a Linux Distribution that comes with XFCE. Xubuntu is a safe choice.

I would try Zenwalk. I think that you would need to install Openoffice as it would not be on the default installation, but that would be easy.

I am using Slackware for much the same reasons as you cited but it takes some work to get it working as you requested. I would strongly recommend it only if you are also interested to learn Linux as you go.

You may try Xandros, but I think that it is comes with a price.

Normally you can start off with any distribution and end up wherever you want, but it is good to start from somewhere close, I guess.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisAbela; 11-26-2008 at 08:19 AM.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:24 AM   #5
Eiriken73
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Wireless device

Hi,

I have a Intel(R) Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN device.

Eiriken

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyGunFreak View Post
Well, thats really not much to go on. Since wireless is obviously important to you, you need to post your wireless device.. Some are very easy to get working(Intel, Atheros), some are more difficult (Broadcom, Ralink)...

Download and burn a Live CD, boot it up and see what works, and what doesn't work, then go from there. If there's a major snafu, all you have to do is restart and remove the CD, and you're right back at Vista.

For good, newbie friendly live distributions(that also happen to be free), I'd recommend either Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS, or maybe OpenSuse. If you like Xandros, I think there's a free version of Xandros out there, or you can shell out the $80 bucks or so for it.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and you likely won't switch over night, you'll need to download a distro and test your hardware to see what does and does not work, then investigate further from there.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:29 AM   #6
IndyGunFreak
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Ok, *typically*... Intel works quite well w/ most distributions to my knowledge.. I've never had an Intel device, as I've always had Atheros devices, but my understanding is Intel devices work out of the box(with Ubuntu).

I personally would not recommend Debian or Gentoo to a new user... I really like Debian, use it regularly, I'd use it on my laptop, but it constantly complains it can't see my hard drive for some reason. I don't think I'd suggest it to a new user unless they couldn't meet the hardware requirements of Ubuntu (which you easily do). Gentoo is a very bad choice for a new user, IMO.

I'd download and burn Ubuntu and boot it up and see how it goes. Also, I don't know if your laptop is a 64bit laptop, but even if it is, I'd recommend staying with 32bit(or i386) versions.. If you have a problem, and you can't get online in Ubuntu.. just reboot back to Windows to see if we can help you.

http://www.ubuntu.com

IGF

Last edited by IndyGunFreak; 11-26-2008 at 10:13 AM.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:38 AM   #7
IndyGunFreak
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Also, FWIW, all of your requirements should be easily met by almost any distro..

Firefox and Thunderbird will handle your surfing/mail needs fine. If you prefer a more "robust" email client, Evolution is good.

Most distributions come w/ Open Office, or you can download it and install it.

Dual booting shouldn't be an issue for any distribution

Pidgin or Kopete are msn compatible and one of the two will be installed w/ almost any distribution, so that should be no issue(Note, if you use Webcams, that could be an issue)...

IGF
 
Old 11-26-2008, 08:58 AM   #8
djgblz
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Ubuntu or Kubuntu (my favorite - I like KDE over Gnome) as they have an incredible amount of documentation and a friendly user base. It's one of the easiest distros to get into and is very noob friendly. I started out with Slackware and SUSE a few years back and finding help was rather difficult and frustrating. If you are just getting into Linux, having good documentation available will make the switch far less painful
 
Old 11-26-2008, 09:02 AM   #9
m_yates
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I would suggest Ubuntu or Kubuntu.

Vista is bloated, so Xandros would feel "fast" or "light" in comparison. However, most linux users do not consider Xandros to be a lightweight. Xandros runs KDE as the desktop environment. KDE is "heavy" relative to XFCE, but has more features. KDE is "light" compared to Vista. You would probably feel comfortable using any distribution that runs KDE.

The reason I suggest Ubuntu or Kubuntu is that they both target desktops (not servers) and both are friendly to novice users.

Debian and Gentoo are not great choices is you have no linux experience.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 10:12 AM   #10
IndyGunFreak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_yates View Post
I would suggest Ubuntu or Kubuntu.

Vista is bloated, so Xandros would feel "fast" or "light" in comparison. However, most linux users do not consider Xandros to be a lightweight. Xandros runs KDE as the desktop environment. KDE is "heavy" relative to XFCE, but has more features. KDE is "light" compared to Vista. You would probably feel comfortable using any distribution that runs KDE.

The reason I suggest Ubuntu or Kubuntu is that they both target desktops (not servers) and both are friendly to novice users.

Debian and Gentoo are not great choices is you have no linux experience.
People always say Windows users migrate well to KDE, and honestly, I don't get it. When I started using Linux several years ago, I followed this advice and generally went with KDE distributions. In addition to finding it slow, I didn't find it very easy to navigate, or very familiar, as most people said I would. Fedora was the first distribution I tried w/ Gnome, and I knew almost immediately its what I was looking for in a GUI... I distro hopped a little while longer and eventually fell into Ubuntu, then that prepared me for my move to Debian.

I guess thats the beauty of choice.. use what you like, rather than what CEO thinks you should like.

IGF
 
Old 11-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #11
Eiriken73
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Xubuntu

Hi,

thanks for answering.
It seems like most people recommend a Ubuntu-distro of some kind. Does anyone have any experience with Xubuntu? This is using the xfce desktop which should run faster than other desktop-environments.

Eiriken
 
Old 11-26-2008, 11:19 AM   #12
m_yates
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I've used Xubuntu. It works OK. It has the same installer as the other *buntus. You will be missing some configuration tools that are present in Ubuntu and Kubuntu. I installed it on a very old PC that couldn't handle KDE or Gnome as well. If your computer is fast enough to run Vista, it will run Gnome or KDE at blazing speed.

My recommendation, for what it is worth, is to install the standard Ubuntu and try it out. The standard Ubuntu uses Gnome. If you don't like it and want to try something else, you can install xubuntu (XFCE) or kubuntu (KDE) using synaptic (found under the System>Administration menu) or from the command line:
Code:
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
or
Code:
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
You will then have the option in GDM (the login window) to choose between Gnome, KDE, or XFCE when you log in. You can always uninstall desktop managers later if you don't like them and pick the one you like best. I have used KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment, XFCE, and Fluxbox over the years. Now, I do everything in Gnome.
 
Old 11-26-2008, 11:30 PM   #13
IndyGunFreak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eiriken73 View Post
Hi,

thanks for answering.
It seems like most people recommend a Ubuntu-distro of some kind. Does anyone have any experience with Xubuntu? This is using the xfce desktop which should run faster than other desktop-environments.

Eiriken
Honestly, Xfce has become quite bloated the last few years, and to me, isn't much *lighter* than Gnome. If you really need a light GUI, I'd look at fluxbox, it is bare minimum, but can be tweaked nicely, and should run on anything. Your PC has more than enough muscle to run Gnome or KDE, which ever you'd like.

I have an old clunker laptop that just sits on a desktop (1ghz, 700+mb RAM, 40gig hard drive, 4x DVD), that runs Ubuntu just fine. Granted, it doesn't do much, it just sits on a desk w/ a printer for homework, general surfing for the little ones, etc.

Again, just download and burn some Live CDs, work on them and find problems, then come here and ask questions..

IGF
 
Old 11-27-2008, 02:19 PM   #14
lakedude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eiriken73 View Post
Hi,

I have a Dell XPS M1330 with Intel Core 2 Duo, 4Gb. RAM and a 160Gb 7200RPM HD. Currently I am running Windows Vista, which works ok with these specs, but a slow startup.

However I've been fascinated by Asus EEE and Xandros Linux. I am travelling quite much and to just open the laptop and start up a Linux OS with in short time with the tools I need for airport-surfing, like web-browsing, mail etc. is tempting. Travelling with one Dell and one Asus EEE is not an option.

I would like to hear which "light-weight" (and Xandros-like) Linux distro you recommend for mye Dell laptop. I would to run this in a dual-boot-environment and choose which OS to run on start up.

Some requirements: mail, web-browsing (Firefox), Open Office, a simple and nice GUI, quick startup (important), installed on my hard drive, dual boot with Windows Vista, msn messenger (of some compatible program).

Thank You!

Best regards,
Eirik
Puppy Puppy Puppy!

Puppy is very lightweight (~96MB) and uses JWM (Joe's Window Manager). Puppy will load completely to RAM so it is way fast and will not use the hard drive after boot unless you need to save something. Puppy comes with Seamonkey which is similar to Firefox. If you don't like Seamonkey you can install Firefox as a "pet" package really easily. Puppy includes a package manager called "pet-get" that will fetch software that Puppy does not ship with natively. Check it out:

http://www.puppylinux.org/

BTW Gentoo is not at all hard to install anymore. They have a live CD/DVD like everyone else. Gentoo is faster than Ubuntu/Ubuntu derivatives so it might be worth a look if you don't like Puppy.

Personally I prefer Sabayon which is based on Gentoo.

http://www.sabayonlinux.org/
 
  


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