[Wolves] Which Laptop

Adam Sweet adam at adamsweet.org
Tue Jan 6 15:42:44 UTC 2009

Amrik Singh wrote:
> Hi all and a Very Happy New Year,
> I've been reading your posts for a while now but haven't had the time to
> come along to your meetings. Am hoping to come along to your next one
> though.


> Prior to attending, however I do want to be familiar with Linux in
> particular Ubuntu. I was wondering if anyone could kindly point me in
> the direction of a laptop which would run the latest version of Ubuntu
> with any problems (have tried installing it on my Dell C400
> (P3/1.2Gb/512) but failed miserably with it just hanging halfway through
> the installation).
> I dont' want to be spending too much but would like it to do all that
> fancy 3D stuff.

Personally I've not had any problems with 8.10 on any machines. I run
Ubuntu 8.10 on the following:

* Dell XPS 1710
* Sony Vaio (I don't know the model, maybe Chris Proctor is listening
and can tell us as he has one too). It did have a power management bug
in 8.04 which meant it wouldn't boot if the power was plugged in though.
* An old (and horrible) Tiny Notebook Essentials laptop (actually a
rebranded FIC A360).

I also run Ubuntu Netbook remix (based on 8.04) on a Dell Inspiron Mini
9 without problems. Some people have issues running stock Ubuntu
8.10/8.04 but these are easily fixed with advice from:


There are generally whole communities dedicated running Ubuntu on each
of the major netbooks. The best advice will be from them if you think
about getting one.

The general rule of thumb is that if you have a modern Intel chipset you
should be ok. If you have Nvidia or ATI graphics you will need to run
the respective proprietary drivers. Fewer people seem to have problems
with Nvidia rather than ATI.

If your hardware is brand new you might have to wait a release or so for
any driver kinks to iron out (I had to wait a release with a screen
resolution of 1680 x 1024 before getting 1920x1280).

Hardware more than 3 or 4 years old might have patchy support as the
bulk of modern hardware is now supported (except cheap dial-up modems
and a few other bits and pieces) and most hardware manufacturers have
come to the party with drivers only in the last few years. Intel have
been pretty good for a few years.

To get to your end-goal, reasonably modern Intel cards or Nvidia and ATI
cards with the proprietary drivers should all do a 3D desktop with no
problem as it's not too demanding. Intel graphics won't be up to much
for 3D gaming but if you're looking for a laptop that doesn't cost much
then you're not going to want to play 3D games anyway. Other graphics
cards are an unknown. My horrible Tiny laptop has S3 graphics, which
play games under Windows but 3D isn't worth trying under Linux. Matrox
were patchy too last time I looked but they don't seem to do laptop
graphics anyway.

When installing your laptop again, (and I assume the following still
works under the graphical installer), try pressing CTRL-Alt and then a
function key (ie F1, F2 and so on) to view the other virtual consoles
(Linux has 7 virtual consoles by default, the 7th is only enabled in
graphical mode). Installers usually write debug output to them. I think
you probably want CTRL-Alt-F3 and F4. The graphical installer is on F7 I
think, when you want to get back to it. If you can scribble down any
errors, maybe we can tell you what is happening, or bring it to a LUG
meeting with you we'll try to help.


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