Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux? - Portable

This is a discussion on Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux? - Portable ; bznutz wrote: > Hey all, > > I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop. > I'm gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable service. > Which line is best supported by Linux? ...

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Thread: Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

  1. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    bznutz wrote:

    > Hey all,
    >
    > I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop.
    > I'm gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable service.
    > Which line is best supported by Linux?
    > My desires are integrated ethernet/modem/wi-fi and a cd-burner. I also
    > require high resolution on the screen. I will take pcmcia for the wi-fi
    > if necessary.


    Go IBM.

    I've got a ThinkPad R31, which I bought last year. It's got built in
    ethernet, WiFi, modem etc., and everything works with Linux. I didn't get
    a CD burner (I've got one on my desktop system), but Ibelieve one is
    available. I had to download drivers for WiFi and modem/sound.

    This computer runs Linux better than it does XP!

    --

    Fundamentalism is fundamentally wrong.

    To reply to this message, replace everything to the left of "@" with
    james.knott.

  2. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    On Sun, 06 Jul 2003 13:36:31 GMT, James Knott staggered into the Black
    Sun and said:
    > bznutz wrote:
    >> I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop.
    >> I'm gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable
    >> service.


    "Payment plans"? Er. There are 4 things worth going into debt for:
    House, Car, Education, Emergency. "laptop" doesn't fit on the list. If
    you don't have the cash to buy a laptop, make do with what you've got,
    or buy a cheaper laptop. Paying interest on something that's going to
    be obsolete in 2 years isn't smart.

    >> My desires are integrated ethernet/modem/wi-fi and a cd-burner. I
    >> also require high resolution on the screen. I will take pcmcia for
    >> the wi-fi if necessary.

    > Go IBM.


    AOL on that! Thinkpads have nice keyboards, they're solidly built, you
    get a trackpoint instead of a touchpad, and the parts are pretty
    standardized. I bought a refurbished A22p 1.5 years ago; 1600x1200
    screen, PIII 900, Rage128 graphics chip, 128M, 8/4/24 CD-RW, onboard
    EEPro100 NIC and Lucent LoseModem. No built-in 802.11b, but I don't use
    that anyway. It was $1390 then ($1300 base, $90 for a bog-standard 256M
    SODIMM). A similar model will be about $800 now, but I can't find
    anyone selling refurbished A22p machines right now with 5 minutes of
    Googling. *grouse*.

    > I've got a ThinkPad R31, which I bought last year. I had to download
    > drivers for WiFi and modem/sound.


    http://www.stores.ebay.com/ibm/ , they're selling R31s for between $1000
    and $900. Of course, they all come with 128M (so you need to buy a
    SODIMM or 2, don't buy "IBM-approved memory", they take the midpriced
    stuff you can get at CompUselessA or Worst Buy or crucial.com) and
    'DozeXP (barf).

    Note that no laptop in the last 5 years has shipped with a Real Modem;
    LoseModems are cheaper. Whatever laptop you buy, you'll have to figure
    out what kind of LoseModem is in it (probably with "lspci -v"), then
    head over to http://linmodems.org/ to grab the appropriate kernel
    modules.

    > This computer runs Linux better than it does XP!


    And this surprises you? :-)

    --
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see
    Brainbench MVP for Linux Admin /
    http://www.brainbench.com / "He is a rhythmic movement of the
    -----------------------------/ penguins, is Tux." --MegaHAL

  3. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    James Knott scribbled:

    > bznutz wrote:
    >
    >> Hey all,
    >>
    >> I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop.
    >> I'm gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable service.
    >> Which line is best supported by Linux?
    >> My desires are integrated ethernet/modem/wi-fi and a cd-burner. I also
    >> require high resolution on the screen. I will take pcmcia for the wi-fi
    >> if necessary.

    >
    > Go IBM.
    >
    > I've got a ThinkPad R31, which I bought last year. It's got built in
    > ethernet, WiFi, modem etc., and everything works with Linux. I didn't get
    > a CD burner (I've got one on my desktop system), but Ibelieve one is
    > available. I had to download drivers for WiFi and modem/sound.
    >
    > This computer runs Linux better than it does XP!
    >


    Agreed. My IBM ThinkPad R30 has been running GNU/Linux since I purchased it
    in late 2001. The only things I have not tried to get working yet are the
    built-in WinModem nor the volume control keys. But the built-in ethernet,
    sound, graphics chipset, screen illumination intensity keys, and even the
    screen top keyboard light works fine.

    --
    Free Software Foundation (FSF) Associate Member 499
    Linux Counter Statistics: UserID 277671
    LindowsOS v3.0 (Linux kernel 2.4.19) Compaq Presario 3555 Pentium III

  4. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    Dances With Crows wrote:

    > On Sun, 06 Jul 2003 13:36:31 GMT, James Knott staggered into the Black
    > Sun and said:
    >> bznutz wrote:
    >>> I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop.
    >>> I'm gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable
    >>> service.

    >
    > "Payment plans"? Er. There are 4 things worth going into debt for:
    > House, Car, Education, Emergency. "laptop" doesn't fit on the list. If
    > you don't have the cash to buy a laptop, make do with what you've got,
    > or buy a cheaper laptop. Paying interest on something that's going to
    > be obsolete in 2 years isn't smart.


    This should have been sent to the OP, not me. I paid cash* for mine. Even
    if you don't have the cash on hand, there are many other credit methods
    that are better than some of those payment plans.

    *In fact, I put it on my Sears card, to get the Sears points and paid the
    bill in full when due. I bought a referb, from the IBM Warehouse outlet in
    Markham Ontario, which unfortunately is no longer there.

    >
    >>> My desires are integrated ethernet/modem/wi-fi and a cd-burner. I
    >>> also require high resolution on the screen. I will take pcmcia for
    >>> the wi-fi if necessary.

    >> Go IBM.

    >
    > AOL on that! Thinkpads have nice keyboards, they're solidly built, you
    > get a trackpoint instead of a touchpad, and the parts are pretty
    > standardized. I bought a refurbished A22p 1.5 years ago; 1600x1200
    > screen, PIII 900, Rage128 graphics chip, 128M, 8/4/24 CD-RW, onboard
    > EEPro100 NIC and Lucent LoseModem. No built-in 802.11b, but I don't use
    > that anyway. It was $1390 then ($1300 base, $90 for a bog-standard 256M
    > SODIMM). A similar model will be about $800 now, but I can't find
    > anyone selling refurbished A22p machines right now with 5 minutes of
    > Googling. *grouse*.
    >
    >> I've got a ThinkPad R31, which I bought last year. I had to download
    >> drivers for WiFi and modem/sound.

    >
    > http://www.stores.ebay.com/ibm/ , they're selling R31s for between $1000
    > and $900. Of course, they all come with 128M (so you need to buy a
    > SODIMM or 2, don't buy "IBM-approved memory", they take the midpriced
    > stuff you can get at CompUselessA or Worst Buy or crucial.com) and
    > 'DozeXP (barf).


    There are many versions of "R31", with different features. You have to
    compare details, along with the price.

    I upgraded mine from 128M to 384. I went to a local store, to try some
    memory, to make sure it worked before buying. It didn't, so I bought some
    genuine IBM memory, for not much more than the store wanted.

    >
    > Note that no laptop in the last 5 years has shipped with a Real Modem;
    > LoseModems are cheaper. Whatever laptop you buy, you'll have to figure
    > out what kind of LoseModem is in it (probably with "lspci -v"), then
    > head over to http://linmodems.org/ to grab the appropriate kernel
    > modules.
    >
    >> This computer runs Linux better than it does XP!

    >
    > And this surprises you? :-)
    >

    A couple of the problems I've found, is that XP will get stuck while
    booting. You get to the screen where those little yellow bars are moving
    across the display and they'll just stop moving. Power down time. The
    other common problem, is occasionally, I'll get logged in and find the
    networking doesn't work. I have to log out and back in again. Don't let
    anyone tell you XP doesn't have problems. I've seen some on every XP
    system I've used for any length of time. I've even seen it refuse to
    install a USR modem.


    As for problems with Linux, there are only 2 minor ones I'm aware of. One
    is on occasion, when shutting down KDE, the computer goes out to lunch,
    with a couple of indicators flashing. I have to power down to clear that
    one. The other appears to be a conflict with the battery monitor, which
    will occasionally cause the mouse to suddenly jump.

    Linux is definitely faster than XP on my computer (1.113 GHz P3 and 384 MB
    of memory.



    --

    Fundamentalism is fundamentally wrong.

    To reply to this message, replace everything to the left of "@" with
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  5. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    horne wrote:

    > The only things I have not tried to get working yet are the
    > built-in WinModem nor the volume control keys.


    You may want to try the slmdm drivers for this. They'll get both modem and
    sound going for you. You may have to try one of the earlier versions, as
    the latest appearently don't work with the ThinkPads. I've got v 2.7.8.

    --

    Fundamentalism is fundamentally wrong.

    To reply to this message, replace everything to the left of "@" with
    james.knott.

  6. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    morden wrote:

    > I wanted to get a laptop for Linux some time ago but then I
    > looked at the speed of Win 2000 on my PIII 650 desktop at home,
    > considered what a Pig the machine would be turned into by KDE and
    > reconsidered. After all anything reasonably fast to run KDE
    > would either run as a desktop with a bultin 60 minute UPS
    > or cost north of 2 grand.


    My ThinkPad R31 came with XP and I installed Red Hat 7.3 on it. Linux runs
    far faster than XP.

    --

    Fundamentalism is fundamentally wrong.

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    james.knott.

  7. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    On Mon, 07 Jul 2003 13:07:52 -0700, morden wrote:

    > I wanted to get a laptop for Linux some time ago but then I
    > looked at the speed of Win 2000 on my PIII 650 desktop at home,
    > considered what a Pig the machine would be turned into by KDE and
    > reconsidered. After all anything reasonably fast to run KDE
    > would either run as a desktop with a bultin 60 minute UPS
    > or cost north of 2 grand.


    Since when does KDE=linux? My PIII 600 laptop runs much faster under
    linux than it did under windows. Of course I am not running KDE either.
    I am using enlightenment 16.6b4 as my window manager on Slackware 9.

    > I think Windows is a better fit for a laptop at the moment.
    > At least that's what I'd run if I got one.


    That's your choice, somebody has to I guess. I never will willingly
    again though. My wife's Windows XP laptop crawls compared to my older
    linux laptop.

    > Besides, XP have a builtin moviemaker and Linux tools
    > for working with digital cameras seem to be very crude.
    > I could not get as far as extracting the video off my camera.


    What a shame for you. A simple 'mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/camera'
    let me access the pictures and videos on my camera directly.

    > And since you get XP bundled with it why not use it?


    I'd prefer to save $$$ by being able to buy a laptop without an OS I'll
    never use.

    > I could not think of any thing that XP does not do well that
    > you'd typically want to do on a laptop. I would not want to use it
    > for development anyway (it's too cumbersome for that).


    Does it now come with a compiler?

    > But, then, your laptop usage may vary. If you're just playing with it
    > then it does not make any difference what OS you're running :^)


    Actually even the games I choose to play work better under linux.

    Brad


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  8. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    morden scribbled:



    > I wanted to get a laptop for Linux some time ago but then I
    > looked at the speed of Win 2000 on my PIII 650 desktop at home,
    > considered what a Pig the machine would be turned into by KDE and
    > reconsidered. After all anything reasonably fast to run KDE
    > would either run as a desktop with a bultin 60 minute UPS
    > or cost north of 2 grand.


    Strange considering my Celeron 900 MHz notebook computer with 512 MB RAM
    runs GNU/Linux with KDE very responsively. StarOffice takes about 7-10
    seconds to load. Netscape Navigator takes about 5 seconds to load. KMail
    takes less than 4 seconds to load. KNode takes less than 4 seconds to
    load. And the list goes on.... Out of curiousity I downgraded the amount
    of RAM to 256 MB and noticed minimal difference in load times - on average
    loading an application took approximately 2-3 seconds longer.



    --
    Free Software Foundation (FSF) Associate Member 499
    Linux Counter Statistics: UserID 277671
    LindowsOS v3.0 (Linux kernel 2.4.19) Compaq Presario 3555 Pentium III

  9. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    On Mon, 07 Jul 2003 13:07:52 -0700, morden wrote:

    > Dances With Crows wrote:
    >> On Sun, 06 Jul 2003 13:36:31 GMT, James Knott staggered into the Black
    >> Sun and said:
    >>
    >>>bznutz wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop. I'm
    >>>>gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable service.

    >>
    >>
    >> "Payment plans"? Er. There are 4 things worth going into debt for:
    >> House, Car, Education, Emergency. "laptop" doesn't fit on the list. If

    >
    > must be an emergency :-)
    >
    > I wanted to get a laptop for Linux some time ago but then I looked at the
    > speed of Win 2000 on my PIII 650 desktop at home, considered what a Pig
    > the machine would be turned into by KDE and reconsidered. After all
    > anything reasonably fast to run KDE would either run as a desktop with a
    > bultin 60 minute UPS or cost north of 2 grand.
    >
    > I think Windows is a better fit for a laptop at the moment. At least
    > that's what I'd run if I got one. Besides, XP have a builtin moviemaker
    > and Linux tools for working with digital cameras seem to be very crude. I
    > could not get as far as extracting the video off my camera. And since you
    > get XP bundled with it why not use it? I could not think of any thing that
    > XP does not do well that you'd typically want to do on a laptop. I would
    > not want to use it for development anyway (it's too cumbersome for that).
    >
    > But, then, your laptop usage may vary. If you're just playing with it then
    > it does not make any difference what OS you're running :^)


    I'm running Ximian Desktop 2 (Gnome 2) on a 500Mhz/512Mb PIII and it's
    fine. Open Office is a little slow but it's still acceptable. Any modern
    laptop will run Gnome2 just fine. I don't use KDE but my understanding is
    that it's at least as fast as Gnome, probably faster, so it will also run
    fine on any new laptop. Just make sure that you have enough RAM, at least
    512 preferably more.


  10. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    >>> I've decided to retire the Toshiba Satellite and get a real laptop.
    >>> I'm gonna go Dell because of their payment plans and reasonable
    >>> service.

    >
    >"Payment plans"? Er. There are 4 things worth going into debt for:
    >House, Car, Education, Emergency. "laptop" doesn't fit on the list. If
    >you don't have the cash to buy a laptop, make do with what you've got,
    >or buy a cheaper laptop. Paying interest on something that's going to
    >be obsolete in 2 years isn't smart.
    >
    >>> My desires are integrated ethernet/modem/wi-fi and a cd-burner. I
    >>> also require high resolution on the screen. I will take pcmcia for
    >>> the wi-fi if necessary.

    >> Go IBM.

    >
    >AOL on that! Thinkpads have nice keyboards, they're solidly built, you
    >get a trackpoint instead of a touchpad, and the parts are pretty
    >standardized. I bought a refurbished A22p 1.5 years ago; 1600x1200
    >screen, PIII 900, Rage128 graphics chip, 128M, 8/4/24 CD-RW, onboard
    >EEPro100 NIC and Lucent LoseModem. No built-in 802.11b, but I don't use
    >that anyway. It was $1390 then ($1300 base, $90 for a bog-standard 256M
    >SODIMM). A similar model will be about $800 now, but I can't find
    >anyone selling refurbished A22p machines right now with 5 minutes of
    >Googling. *grouse*.


    http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/detail.asp?dpno=962154

    >> I've got a ThinkPad R31, which I bought last year. I had to download
    >> drivers for WiFi and modem/sound.

    >
    >http://www.stores.ebay.com/ibm/ , they're selling R31s for between $1000
    >and $900. Of course, they all come with 128M (so you need to buy a
    >SODIMM or 2, don't buy "IBM-approved memory", they take the midpriced
    >stuff you can get at CompUselessA or Worst Buy or crucial.com) and
    >'DozeXP (barf).
    >
    >Note that no laptop in the last 5 years has shipped with a Real Modem;
    >LoseModems are cheaper. Whatever laptop you buy, you'll have to figure
    >out what kind of LoseModem is in it (probably with "lspci -v"), then
    >head over to http://linmodems.org/ to grab the appropriate kernel
    >modules.
    >
    >> This computer runs Linux better than it does XP!

    >
    >And this surprises you? :-)


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  11. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    Dances With Crows wrote:
    > On Mon, 07 Jul 2003 13:07:52 -0700, morden staggered into the Black Sun
    > and said:
    > [snip]
    >
    >>I wanted to get a laptop for Linux some time ago but then I looked at
    >>the speed of Win 2000 on my PIII 650 desktop at home, considered what
    >>a Pig the machine would be turned into by KDE and reconsidered. After
    >>all anything reasonably fast to run KDE would either run as a desktop
    >>with a bultin 60 minute UPS or cost north of 2 grand.

    >
    >
    > I beg to differ. KDE 3.1 runs plenty fast on my refurbished laptop
    > (Thinkpad A22p, PIII900, 384M, Rage128 graphics, CD-RW, 2.5 hour battery
    > life with normal use) and that cost me $1390 1.5 years ago. You can get
    > a refurbished Thinkpad R31 (which is lighter, and has a faster CPU) for
    > about $900-$1000 now. If you're paying $2000 for a laptop, you're not
    > buying smart (or you're buying a Panasonic Toughbook, which *is* smart,
    > but it's more expensive than the norm for obvious reasons.)
    >

    Ok.

    >>I could not get as far as extracting the video off my camera.

    >
    >
    > Ah, a digital video camera. "Digital camera" typically means "digital
    > still camera". "Camcorder" or "DV camera" are less ambiguous. I don't
    > know much about the Linux support for DV since A) I don't have the money
    > for a good camcorder B) I don't have the time to become proficient at
    > using it C) my digital still camera and old SLR film camera are just
    > fine for recording things.
    >
    > Anyway, utilities for grabbing DV include "dvgrab", and as for video
    > editing, the Cinelarra package might work.
    >

    dvgrab did not work for me last time I've tried. 1 out of 10 times
    mplayer can play the capture file and the other 9 times it won't play at
    all. The problem is with dvgrab of course since I can play all sorts of
    things with mplayer.
    So as much as Ulead videostudio sucks I'm stuck with them since they
    work 80% of the time which beats the 10% I've got from dvgrab on Linux.
    Besides dvgrab an order of magnitude simpler since it does not have gui
    and is meant for grabbing only (that piece of crap can't even control
    the camcoder).
    I understand that few people need a camcoder and I'm probably better use
    Windows for this niche application for now. I have no time to tinker
    with dvgrab and other linux tools for now.


  12. Re: What Dell notebook is best for Linux?

    Bradley Reed wrote:
    > On Mon, 07 Jul 2003 13:07:52 -0700, morden wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I wanted to get a laptop for Linux some time ago but then I
    >>looked at the speed of Win 2000 on my PIII 650 desktop at home,
    >>considered what a Pig the machine would be turned into by KDE and
    >>reconsidered. After all anything reasonably fast to run KDE
    >>would either run as a desktop with a bultin 60 minute UPS
    >>or cost north of 2 grand.

    >
    >
    > Since when does KDE=linux? My PIII 600 laptop runs much faster under
    > linux than it did under windows. Of course I am not running KDE either.
    > I am using enlightenment 16.6b4 as my window manager on Slackware 9.
    >

    KDE is something comparable to Windows. It's useless comparing
    linux box plus X11 plus something equivalent to fvwm to a Windows box.
    The functionality is not the same.
    >
    >>I think Windows is a better fit for a laptop at the moment.
    >>At least that's what I'd run if I got one.

    >
    >
    > That's your choice, somebody has to I guess. I never will willingly
    > again though. My wife's Windows XP laptop crawls compared to my older
    > linux laptop.
    >

    I guess if I load tons of crap on my windoze partition it will slow down
    to a crawl also. It tends to do that over time. Or so I've heard.

    >
    >>Besides, XP have a builtin moviemaker and Linux tools
    >>for working with digital cameras seem to be very crude.
    >>I could not get as far as extracting the video off my camera.

    >
    >
    > What a shame for you. A simple 'mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/camera'
    > let me access the pictures and videos on my camera directly.
    >

    A camcoder

    >
    >>And since you get XP bundled with it why not use it?

    >
    >
    > I'd prefer to save $$$ by being able to buy a laptop without an OS I'll
    > never use.
    >

    The problem is that only lesser (hardware wise) laptops seem to come
    without XP bundled and the difference in price may not be as significant
    as you'd like it to be. You're paying for Windoze indirectly regardless
    of whether a piece of hardware came bundled with it or not.

    >>I could not think of any thing that XP does not do well that
    >>you'd typically want to do on a laptop. I would not want to use it
    >>for development anyway (it's too cumbersome for that).

    >
    >
    > Does it now come with a compiler?
    >

    As I implied I do not do development at home, let alone on a [virtual]
    laptop. There is a dual Xeon dell server at work for that.


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