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Nvidia and ATI both release linux drivers for their cards. NVidia I have found to be slightly more common, and there is good documentation to getting it to work on linux.
The tech sheet also says that this machine only comes with Sata drives. That is ok, but you have to be certain that the distro you choose can install to sata out of the box.
Now, you could have built yourself a much more linux compatible machine for less money, but that is your choice. You need to tell us specifically what hardware you have in your machine. I bet very much you could have finished the install in Ubuntu in server mode with no graphics, then installed the NVidia or ATI drivers, and been fine.
my graphics card is a radeon x300 se, and it is a "dell 400" (i guess not many were sold - but it says "dell 400" all over the physical machine)
so i wanted to install ubuntu and i gave it a go. xserver wouldnt start because i didnt have drivers to set up the video card, and i couldnt get the drivers without internet access on the box. my internet connection is a wifi network so i looked into setting it up at the ubuntu console. it said i would need to download a package to get my wireless adaptor to communicate with ubuntu. in short, i needed internet to download something so i could get internet.
what a catch 22.
so i spent 5 days asking on forums for help and on irc, and all i got was a bunch of people telling me it would be near impossible for me to set it up seeing as though i am not a guru and i have a bit of a problem.
so there is my problem. please help. thanks. i just want a good linux distro. i would love ubuntu, but unless you have a great workaround i havent thought of or u can provide instructions for downloading the packages in windows and loading them off a thumbdrive in ubuntu etc, well, i think il just get a distro that comes prepackaged with my drivers, if one exists. otherwise, il stick with xp.
I'm not distro-thumping here, but Mandriva's pretty darn good at picking up and providing drivers for hardware. The only downside, the monstrous ISO - it's up to 4GB for Mandriva 2007.
EDIT: Do you have an RJ45 (ethernet) cable you could use in the meantime to get yourself some internet access? It's no big deal if you don't have an X session started (IMHO, not enough newbies get well acquainted with the CLI - Command Line Interface - unless something catastrophic happens to their system, ie. a non functioning X client).
If you get an ethernet cable that you can use to connect to your modem/router, the command to use is /sbin/ifup eth0.
Your machine (if it is similiar to the 410) comes with a built in network card, not a wifi card. You could simply plug the network card into your router directly and have internet for the box. Wifi is not so easy. You often need a program called ndiswrapper to hijack the windows driver and use it under linux. That isn't extremely easy, the way a graphics install is. There can be a lot of dependency issues. Trying to get that to install without internet would be tough bordering on impossible, unless you knew every single package you need.
The graphics is super easy. You need the ATI drivers for that one. Just download the ATI driver and make sure you have full kernel sources installed.
You can download the drivers from wherever makes you happy, but far and away the easiest way would be to wire the computer into the router. Then you can get the kernel source for the ATI driver install. Then you could go about using ndiswrapper to get the wireless working. Its a baby steps process. It would take a ton of effort on my part to put together a CDRom with all the things you need, and I have no interest in doing so. If you want to do it, fine, we'll help you, but there is not, nor is there likely to ever be a distro that includes all the things you want. The graphics and wireless alone violate the kernel/GPL terms, so no distro is going to build that in. That will always have to be an individual add on.
gatorback, given that almost 10 years has elapsed since the previous post in this thread and your post and that the Linux landscape has changed dramatically, I suggest that you use the "Report" button to ask a mod to move your question to be the beginning of a new thread.