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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


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Old 12-08-2011, 03:37 AM   #1
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Smile How to Choose a Linux Laptop

I just wanted to ask How to Choose a Linux Laptop that it is friendly user!.. asap
Old 12-08-2011, 03:46 AM   #2
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desktops with lan connection are generally more linux friendly but if you want to have laptop then you can try this site:
Old 12-08-2011, 04:51 AM   #3
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2 possibilities :
A) Carefully check the hardware and compare it with known linux-supported hardware.
B) Get a laptop with Linux pre-installed. Commpanies such as ZaReason do this.

C) (yes, when there two possibilities are available, always come up with a third) : Buy a random laptop and hope for the best

Old 12-12-2011, 11:28 PM   #4
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Figure out what you want to run basically (windows manager, etc...) and then check a few of the sources mentioned here. Only real issue I have seen on all the laptops I have used (mostly Dell) was Broadcom nic drivers.
Old 12-14-2011, 03:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by amurista View Post
I just wanted to ask How to Choose a Linux Laptop that it is friendly user!.. asap
Can you rephrase your question in English?
Old 12-23-2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by amurista View Post
I just wanted to ask How to Choose a Linux Laptop that it is friendly user!.. asap
1. Find out the most resource intensive what you want to do on it rutinely (office work, video editing etc).
2. Look up what hardware that will do that.
4. Look up the hardware Linux compatibility. If you see a laptop that comes with Linux, it probably will work.
5. Find actual models.

Typical issues with laptops and Linux:

1. video driver stability and feature support level.
- For example Intel integrated chips have crappy drivers (the Windows drivers are light years away) and some of the newer intel i (i3/i5/i7) models integrated graphics have very bad drivers for now on Linux. BTW keep in mind that the benchmarks are done on Windows and while in the case of AMD and nvidia cards might come close on Linux, Intel is a different story, their Linux drivers are way behind.
- Nvidia chips are the best supported on Linux *mostly* (with the proprietary drivers and NOT Optimus), but those are exclusively dedicated cards (and they just might fail as i found out, even on high end models like Lenovo Thinkpads and Dell Latitudes). STAY OUT of anything that has the Optimus word on it - those laptops have dual intel-nvidia cards and the Optimus nvidia cards are NOT SUPPORTED currently by nvidia on linux (there are some experimental attempts to make them work but those are NOT supported by nvidia in any way).
- AMD chips are the most promising as they have really good built-in graphics cards that are supported by their proprietary drivers - look for A4 (dual core) or A6/A8 (quad code) series. The E series are dual core but might be underpowered in anything else than movie playing or office work.

2. Powersaving related issues - laptops, in order to extend the battery life, have various mechanisms to lower the power consumption. Typically chip/memory/cpu/video clock speeds are lowered and network cards/audio cards/hard disks are stopped when not needed. These are done typically via ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface). The ACPI interface has standards and they are implemented as such in Linux, but system makers sometimes dont respect these, instead they provide workarounds in the (Windows) drivers (Linux drivers might have them but not always). Trying the ACPI standards will fail on these components so you might have various issues ranging from papercuts to increased system instability (hard locks and such). Some distros work well some not, it all depends on the kernel version, patches applied, libraries used etc.
There is no definitive answer to these issues on a particular laptop model, you have to look up experiences with similar laptop models.

3. Misc component driver related issues. Particularly the wireless drivers are the typical issue. Some drivers are not stable or are not made for Linux at all (in this very rare cases ndiswrapper should work). But 90+% cards have drivers. Typically these will have to be installed separately from the repos, they are not part of Linux base drivers because of licensing issues and you will have to install them separately (they are available in the repos).

Anyway, rule of thumb - do not buy the latest stuff that came out yesterday, look for a model that is around for some time and has positive Linux reviews.
Old 12-23-2011, 01:04 PM   #7
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If Windows...

If you need to dual-boot Windows 7 and linux, try to find out if the laptop is set up using all of the four available primary partitions and if and how one of them can be eliminated to make room for linux.

A typical Windows 7 laptops of this kind has a system(boot) partition, a recovery partition, the Windows OS partition and some other. If necessary, it may be possible to re-install Windows using another partitioning scheme, but it is simpler to retain the system and recovery partitions and work from there.

I just enabled Windows 7 on a Samsung laptop which has its own partition setup tool, allowing a choice of either one partition for Windows 7 and its data files or two partitions, one for each. By choosing the first, I had the fourth partition for an extended partition with linux. On a HP laptop I found that there was partition with "tools" that could deleted.

You might also consider how difficult it is to update the BIOS without Windows in case you want to eliminate Windows entirely.

At the moment, many machines with Nvidia graphics have Nvidia Optimus, using both an Intel and a Nvidia chip, requiring that you use Bumblebee/Ironhide to take advantage of the Nvidia chip and get the best graphics. Optimus support is not out-of-the-box easy, but seems to work well depending on which linux distribution is being used.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 12-23-2011 at 01:08 PM.
Old 12-23-2011, 05:00 PM   #8
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Take a liveCD of your favorite distro with you when you go shopping. Most vendors I have dealt with let me reboot a display laptop to see if it works with my liveCD.

If the vendor won't let me boot my liveCD, I don't argue the point. I just take my business somewhere else.


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