[Gllug] Linux laptops

Christopher Hunter cehunter at gb-x.org
Tue Dec 6 10:19:40 UTC 2011

On Mon, 2011-12-05 at 21:37 +0000, John G Walker 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?

I've found that the current crop of laptops mostly work "out of the box"
with PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Mint, or Suse.  I've had great success with
Acer, Samsung, Lenovo and Asus machines.  

The only fly in the ointment is (usually) the wireless driver.  I'm
writing drivers as fast as I can, but there are so many variants
released almost every week, that it's impossible to keep up.  There are
a few really badly broken drivers too - the Atheros ones spring to mind
- but things are getting better (slowly!).  The manufacturers don't help
much, either - there are wildly varied specifications for only
marginally different model numbers.

The latest crop of open nVidea drivers work really well, so try to get a
machine with nVidea graphics.  There was one driver that switched off
the backlight during boot (leaving a running machine with an invisible
display!), but that's fixed now.

Power management now works reliably.

If you use a mainstream distro, and can put up with using non-open
drivers for wireless, you'll find that pretty much any current machine
will work flawlessly.  Buy common hardware - the rare beasts are
unlikely to have much support on line.  Stick to the better-known brand
names, and you'll be fine!


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