[Gllug] Linux laptops

James Courtier-Dutton james.dutton at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 10:14:57 UTC 2011

On 5 December 2011 21:37, John G Walker <johngeoffreywalker at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> My years-old Thinkpad has died on me, so I need a new laptop. I only
> use the laptop for word-processing, spreadsheets and web browsing, so I
> don't need anything sophisticated.
> What are the current suggestions for laptops running Linux?

The trick is to just do a bit more checking before you buy a particular laptop.
Find out which motherboard chipset it uses, Which graphics and wifi
cards it uses.
Then armed with that information, do some web surfing and discover if
linux supports them or not.

Linux is very different than Windows with regards to device drivers.
The idea with Linux is that 100% of all drivers available should come
included in the Linux kernel, and thus in all Linux distributions.
But like all thinks, there are always drivers that have not been
written yet, or have not reached the kernel tree yet.

The method I use to discover if a driver exists in the Linux kernel or
not, is to first do:
lspci -vn   on the laptop, and then grep the kernel sources for those PCI ids.

Another one to use is "lsusb".
A lot of things on laptops, although internal, are actually attached via USB.
For example, my current laptop has a video camera inside it.
Both the video camera and the bluetooth are USB connected. Fortunately
the video camera uses the well known uvc interface and works with
programs like luvcview and skype.
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