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Old 12-06-2010, 07:55 PM   #1
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Finding a distro that works on a Dell Latitude E5410


I have a set of 30 laptops at my school that I would like to dual-boot. If I can show a functioning dual-boot on one machine, I will be able to get permission to do the rest. We already use Ubuntu at my school, but running an Ubuntu liveCD results in a kernel panic on this laptop.

A student brought in a liveCD of Arch Linux, and it seemed to work fine. Before we commit to Arch Linux, does this suggest any other distros that might be worth trying? I don't want to try a bunch of distros randomly, I was rather hoping someone might recognize what it is about Arch Linux that makes it work on the E5410, and suggest another distro or two to try based on that.

Thank you.
Old 12-06-2010, 08:02 PM   #2
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Have you tried some of the other 'mainstream' options like Fedora, Gentoo, Mandriva, OpenSUSE and whatnot? Live CDs are pretty available and easy to test out. What would you want to use the laptops for, and why dual-boot?
Old 12-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #3
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If you included more details about the hardware, you'd get better advice.

That being said, a quick Google shows it is a very powerful and modern laptop. You should be able to run any Linux distro with ease! Here is a good comparison of the 10 most popular:

Personally (this is just opinion) I think Arch is a terrible choice for this scenario. It is a "rolling release" distro which means it gets updates every single day that may, or may not, break the system. A popular distro for Linux hobbyists, but a terrible choice if you need to keep all 30 machines going reliably. Better to choose a very stable distro, like Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu LTS, etc., that will give you several years of support with minimum upkeep.

ps I would recommend visiting and seeing if you can find an answer to your "kernel panic" problem. I find it hard to believe Arch will run and Ubuntu will not (especially since Dell and Ubuntu are business partners); maybe it is as simple as using the LTS release (10.04), setting an appropriate kernel option during boot, checking the CD for burn errors, etc.
Old 12-06-2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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For the Students ? for learning? Slackware
Old 12-07-2010, 01:25 AM   #5
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A couple years ago our school district had largely nonfunctional technology, due to a piecemeal infrastructure and an undefined hardware replacement schedule. I taught students how to install Ubuntu, and we refurbished many of the computers in our school. Students were once again able to use computers for their everyday work. This year we got a bunch of new computers, and students want the choice to use Linux or Windows. I would love to see students using both systems side by side.

I have been using Ubuntu for a couple years, and posted a couple threads on ubuntuforums. Others have had the same problem with this laptop:

So if Ubuntu does not work and Arch does work, are there any recommendations for a particular flavor to try next? Or do I just burn the set of the ten most popular distros and try my luck? I don't mind doing that, but if someone can point me in a direction that is likely to succeed that would be appreciated.


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