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Old 04-02-2005, 03:02 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Wiltshire, England
Distribution: Suse 9.2 Pro
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Advice on Linux for new laptop sought

I've just logged into the site and I'm looking from absolutely basic advice.

I want to buy a new laptop: something pretty good, mostly to use around the house on a wireless LAN. I've been looking at Vaios Thinkpads and Dell Inspirons. It looks like everything comes pre-loaded with MSWXP, but I would like to give MS the boot and convert to Linux. The problem is that I have no experience of working with Linux.

Does anyone have any suggestions about which laptops and distros are the easiest to set up? Am I completely mad to attempt this?

Gareth Hughes (Garzo)
Old 04-02-2005, 03:19 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: United States of Bush
Distribution: Knoppix 3.7, Debian Sarge
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I feel qualified to tell you at least these three things:

1. You're not bad for installing Linux on a laptop. Though, it may or may not be riskier hardware to install on than desktop. By riskier, I mean your hardware might not be supported.

2. If you buy from those companies, you will most likely be paying for a Microsoft Windows XP license, unless you actually by a laptop with no operating system.

3. Each distro can generally have most of the same packages installed on it. If your distro does not have the package in their repositories, you can just download a tar.gz file or other archive, extract it, and compile and install it manually.
Old 04-02-2005, 03:31 PM   #3
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Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
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The easiest thing to do would be to buy a laptop that has already been loaded and configured with linux. That way you will save some of the money from MS Licenceand it will also solve hardware issues.. Check out some here or google them:
Old 04-02-2005, 04:40 PM   #4
Registered: Nov 2002
Location: Kent, England
Distribution: Debian Testing
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If you are looking to go completely Linux on the laptop, installation is fairly straightforward. Simply choose to use the whole hard drive when installing. I would suggest Mandrake or Fedora because they have great hardware detection and are fairly easy to start using. Other good starter distros are Mepis and Ubuntu.

Check out to see how various people got Linux running on various machines.
Old 04-02-2005, 09:39 PM   #5
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, ID
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My 2 cents: go with an IBM Thinkpad. They are a bit more expensive but man they totally rock. I've run both Slack and Suse on my T40 with no significant issues at all. If you decide to go this way, buy one now before Lenovo takes over.

I'd also suggest taking a look at Good luck with it -- J.W.
Old 04-13-2005, 10:53 AM   #6
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Wiltshire, England
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Thanks for all the help. As I live in the UK, I'm finding it difficult to find a local dealer who will sell me a new laptop with Linux pre-installed. Everyone seems to be aghast that I don't want to run MSWXP. I beginning to believe that I'll have to buy a laptop with XP, remove it and install Linux. I have been looking at the IBM Thinkpads: there are one or two models that seem just right, but all come with XP.

You've mentioned a few different distros. The one I was looking at was SUSE. As I'm not techie, which distro would be the easiest for me to work with?

If anyone could point me in the direction of a good retailer in the south west UK, and/or offer good advice about machine or software, I'd be grateful.

Old 04-13-2005, 01:19 PM   #7
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Phuket
Distribution: Slackware 14.2 and Slackware Arm
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Another vote for ThinkPads from me.

On my R51 the Slackware install was very smooth, and overall I am very happy with the machine's performance and features.

I got a model with Intel Extreme Graphics card and 3D acceleration was nice and easy to set up , not blistering performance but more than enough for what I use it for.

That said, XavierP gives good advice on what flavour of Linux will be the easiest to set up.

If you buy a machine that comes with XP pre-installed then why not set up a dual-boot situation until you are more comfortable with Linux? If you have to pay for XP you might as well have it there just in case things go wrong while you are still learning the Linux ins and outs


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