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Old 02-09-2007, 01:43 PM   #1
statguy
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Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Slackware 14.2, current
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Advice on new distro for laptop


This is not intended to be another "which distro is best" thread. I think that I need to update the OS currently on my laptop, but I think this also necessitates a change in distro. Please indulge me while I try to explain my reasoning.

I am currently running SuSE 9.2 on a Toshiba Satellite A70. I chose SuSE at that time (about 2 years ago) because it had a good reputation for hardware compatability and I really have not had any complaints in that regard. Given the age of my distro, it will no longer (I think) set security updates, so I feel it is time to upgrade. Although I have been happy with SuSE, I am reluctant to go with OpenSuSE 10.2 for a couple of reasons.

First, my laptop has an ATI IGP 9100 graphics card. OpenSuSE 10.2 appears to be using xorg 7.2 which is not currently supported by the ATI proprietary drivers. Since these drivers were the only way to get external monitor support working properly, I am uneasy about losing that.

Second, I have Atheros wireless networking. I gather this no longer has "out of the box" support either.

It seems that the second issue may be present in any distro, so it is not the main stopper. The first issue is at the moment.

So, what am I looking for in a new distribution?

Good hardware support. I would like things to basically work from day one. This is my work computer, so I cannot afford to be down while I get things working right.

Good support for changing network environments. One of the things I liked in SuSE 9.2 was profiles, which allowed my to boot with, among other things, different network and printer configs. Some of the wired networks I connect to are DCHP and others are static. I have different wireless networks that I connect to with different domain names. I have used ifconfig to change network setting on-the-fly before, but that is not my first choice for dealing with my multiple networks. It makes it a bit harder to show people how great linux is.

A "simple" tool for staying current. I admit it, sometimes it is nice to be able to ask a server if there are any updates I should worry about.

Frozen Bubble!

I am happy with KDE so, good support of that is an asset.

I use LaTeX a lot, so I would prefer a distro that has that. I also compile some packages from source, so a distro with ready access to the development tools is a must. Maybe these apply to all current distros, I don't know. I have found it is not always easy to determine which packages are included.

I am considering Fedora Core. Does it satisfy my requirements? Any potential show stoppers I should know about?

Any other distros I should seriously investigate?

Thank you for taking the time to read this longish post.
 
Old 02-09-2007, 02:02 PM   #2
rickh
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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Quote:
This is my work computer, so I cannot afford to be down while I get things working right.
Like it or not, this is a "typical" which distro thread, and as such has no correct answer. The only thing you'll get is people recommending their own personal favorite. Simply pick any of the dozens of such threads on this Distributions forum, read it, and save yourself the wait for answers here.

Read thru the Major Distributions link at DistroWatch, and see if anything there appeals to you. Then take a look at the Distro specific forums here at LQ, and see if you think the kind of help you are likely to need seems available.

I picked the quote above as a header for this advice simply because if you really can not afford any downtime right now, you'd better leave things alone until you can.

Last edited by rickh; 02-09-2007 at 02:03 PM.
 
Old 02-09-2007, 02:40 PM   #3
statguy
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Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Slackware 14.2, current
Posts: 416

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickh
Like it or not, this is a "typical" which distro thread, and as such has no correct answer. The only thing you'll get is people recommending their own personal favorite. Simply pick any of the dozens of such threads on this Distributions forum, read it, and save yourself the wait for answers here.
I realise there is no correct answer. Hopefully, I will get some pointers to other options that satisfy the "requirements" I have laid out.

Thanks for the pointers to Distrowatch. I have done some looking around there before.

Since Fedore Core looks promising, I have been trying to download the ISO for the LiveDVD version to experiment, but I can only run the torrent at night, and it is taking forever.
 
Old 02-09-2007, 06:28 PM   #4
jacook
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Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Townsville, Australia
Distribution: PCLinuxOS .93 Junior
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Try looking up your model laptop on these two sites, see what other users have done with your midel laptop

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

Jake
 
Old 02-09-2007, 07:14 PM   #5
statguy
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Slackware 14.2, current
Posts: 416

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacook
Try looking up your model laptop on these two sites, see what other users have done with your midel laptop

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

Jake
Thanks for those. I had come across the first one before, but not the second. Both sites identified gentoo, SuSE 9.1 and FC3.

To rickh, I had never noticed the Major Distributions link at DistroWatch before. I skimmed it before I left to office and Mandriva looks promising too.
 
  


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