Hi Linux experimenting on laptop


I want to buy a laptop,and i want to experiment with linux kernel....anyone has any idea/practical experiences/suggestions regarding this wrt linux on laptop?

The Linux Laptop Buying

ericdeko411's picture

The Linux Laptop Buying guide will help you, I based my laptop purchase with that guide.

Linux on Laptops

Smith's picture

I currently am running LinuxMint 6 on a Dell C610 P4 1000mhz with 756mb of ram, and am satisfied with it. I runs great and I am able us my internal wireless card also. With other distro's I could not do that.

connecting to verizon 3g network...

jippolito0003's picture

I have a HP 1151NR Mini netbook and I am wanting to run Ubuntu 9.04 netbook remix and when I try it on the netbook it does not let me connect to my verizon broadband connection. I enter all the correct information and it tries to connect but fails and says "Working in offline mode"

Do you think LinuxMint will connect to verizon's network.

My pc has an internal wireless modem. It is a broadcom. Of course Verizon doesn't support Linux because they have been branded with the mark of the beast "Microsoft"

Any suggestions or help in this matter would be greatly appreaciated

older thinkpad

Dan Houlihan's picture

I have an old t22 think pad because it is older i purchased used red hat linux bible with fedoria core one. Fedoria reconised my modem a fairly old pc card. After fooling around web brouser and email account worked fine. older op systems a good choice for older computers.

Even older yet iam running redhat 9 on a old tobsheba Sattlite 335 a real dinosore pre 2000 computer slow but works fine.

LJ December 2007 Issue

Mike Roberts's picture

In case you haven't read it already, check out the December 2007 issue of Linux Journal. They have a great Linux laptop buying guide. Besides listing models with pre-loaded Linux, the article also points out things to look for when making a purchase. Many of those points pertain to the loading your own approach. That issue also contains a couple of articles on specific uses for old laptops using Linux.

Mike Roberts is a bewildered Linux Journal Reader Advisory Panelist.

Live Linux CDs

Mike Roberts's picture

Like Shawn mentioned in his post with regards to Linux on laptops, back in the day it was difficult to get them to work. Like Shawn also mentioned, today things are much better.

I would download one of the popular Live Linux CDs that allow you to boot up Linux without an install. You can then take the CD to wherever you plan to purchase the laptop(big box store, garage sale, etc) and see if it boots. That will go a long way in telling you if the laptop hardware is recognized by a particular Linux distro. Specific Live CDs I like are the ones from Kubuntu and Damn Small Linux(DSL). Kubuntu is more full featured than DSL but DSL will run better on an older, low powered laptop. I've run both on a wide range of laptops and at a minimum, they will bring up a nice desktop with wired ethernet support if the hardware is there. WiFi is a bit trickier. I've successfully used the Kubuntu and DSL LiveCDs on quite a wide range of laptops. I'm always amazed at how well the boot to CD distros work without disturbing the hard drive. I've even used them to recover data files from Windows laptops that would no longer boot. I read just today about another Live CD in the LJ Desktop forum called E-Live that I also plan to try.

Wrt a full installation of Linux on a laptop, I bought a laptop back in 2004 to try out Linux. It was typical hardware of the day and had an Nvidia graphics card. With minimal effort I loaded SuSE 9.X. I most recently loaded Kubuntu 7.10 and it also installed without hardware support issues. There are some Kubuntu undocumented features that had to be sorted out for some apps but again, nothing specific to hardware compatibility. Nvidia cards typically will work with the standard drivers but you get better results installing the drivers downloadable from the Nvidia web site. Even with "just" 1GB of RAM, the performance of this almost 4 year old laptop is excellent running Linux.

Linux has been stable for a long time. What I really like about it now is that it includes plenty of features for daily use, enough that I can just install and use it without tinkering. In addition, if I want to tinker with things like the kernel, I could do that. Since you mentioned you want to experiment with the kernel, DSL that I mentioned above might be a great place to start. It is designed not only with low powered PCs in mind but also tweakability. The DSL authors even sell a book on DSL which I have and highly recommend. I am far from a kernel experimenter but the book does offer much insight on the inner workings of DSL and Linux in general.

Enjoy and keep us posted on your progress!

Mike Roberts is a bewildered Linux Journal Reader Advisory Panelist.

Not first hand...

Shawn Powers's picture

I'm not sure what you mean by "wrt" (I'm probably showing my ignorance there...) but I know many people are happy with Thinkpads running Linux. Are you looking for something that is highly compatible, or just something that others have experience with?

I have a Sony Vaio laptop that used to be a bear to get working, but with recent version of several distros, it works "out of the box" so to speak. That said, I have no desire to tweak the kernel. I got my fill of that when I used to run Debian on my iBook. Rewarding, but tedious.

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

"wrt=with respect to" in

Anonymous's picture

"wrt=with respect to" in many scientific and engineering endevours.

thanks for the replies

bhargavaramudu's picture

Hi all,
Thanks a lot for the replies...this was what i wanted.. and i welcome more suggestions to me...