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Steppenpig

Linux On A Laptop

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I am about due for a new laptop myself, and am toying again with idea of linux. I tried it a few years ago. I liked suse (a bit of a monster though) and pc-linux, but most of the others were a bit useless. Several failed to load, many didn't recognise hardware, one even messed up my disk. A couple ran quite nicely from live disks, but took far too long to boot.

Hopefully corevalue won't mind me stealing his quote from the "my laptop just died" thread, to get the ball rolling:

I've decided that when I need to upgrade to a new laptop, it'll be running a custom puppy linux out of a USB3 stick. I find the most tedious part is not restoring my data after a machine fails, it's putting back the operating system and all the applications I use (lots), in exactly the right versions that work in harmony.

The other plus is that it becomes much easier to keep ones data safe from prying eyes, or theft.

Why puppy? Because it hasn't been loaded with spyware like the recent Ubuntu and it's derivatives / Windows.

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The best solution is usually go to all Intel, because they contribute directly to the kernel. Nvidia GPUs, for example, can get you into a world of hurt thanks to their display switching technology that seems to be different on every laptop and require custom drivers. Peculiar wireless chips can also be a problem.

The AMD APUs should work too, but I haven't tried them myself.

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Linux-laptop hardware problems are much reduced since the days when you'd commonly have to use Windows drivers under ndiswrapper to get wifi, and were lucky to get suspend/resume working properly.

Some manufacturers will confirm that certain of their laptops work with Linux. Canonical (Ubuntu) publish a list of laptops they've tested with Linux. I have one that's not on that list but has family members there, and am running it just fine under Debian - no tweaking required. Otherwise use google: type in the name of a model/range and "linux", and see whether it works for others out-of-the-box or whether they report problems. Go for recent comments: older ones have often been overtaken by events.

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SUSE or Debian. Ubuntu is starting to fill up with "crapware", which is why I am posting this from a 3 year old version. :blink:

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SUSE or Debian. Ubuntu is starting to fill up with "crapware", which is why I am posting this from a 3 year old version. :blink:

Or Mint: it's Ubuntu with the crapware removed.

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Or Mint: it's Ubuntu with the crapware removed.

Not Mint KDE or GNOME 3 though. Mint KDE is a resource hog, it is the Windows Vista of Linux.

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I use Mint on two laptops at home, they seem to run very well. I have a couple of Windows applications I simply can't do without, and I run these with Virtualbox, and have never had any compatability or speed issues. Once windows runs once in Virtualbox, your next use takes two or so seconds to "boot"!

These laptops are 4G RAm Intel i5. I've previously used various versions of Kubuntu on AMD desktops. The only issue I've had was getting the sound working properly on an MSI laptop, it wasn't supported out of the box. I use USB TV sticks to watch TV, 3G wireless dongles, printers, other odd bits of hardware like USB-RS232 converters and never once had to go look for a driver. You do need sometimes to check that your hardware is supported before you buy a piece of kit, but Google is your friend.

However, the problem I see with the Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Mint versions of Linux is all the semantic desktop crapware that's been sneaked in. It seems that the EU funded a lot of this development. Basically, it scans your files and builds a big database allowing better search capabilities, it's not sure if this database can be accessed by third parties. After an outcry by users, a facility to turn it off was included, but there still are lower level components going their own way. If you install these versions of Linux, Google for Akonadi and Nepomuk.

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Thank you for that! I'm not letting the "Internet" having my wisdom for nothing! In fact, a tightwad like myself, ain't letting anything go! :blink:

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Yes, I'd pretty much agree with most of the comments. My personal favourite is (Open)SuSE, which I've been running on various machines, mostly laptops, for the past 12 years or so. As MarkG says, go with Intel systems for best compatibility. I normally use Toshiba laptops without any significant difficulties.

I have, with some regret, ditched the KDE desktop after the integrated monster it became (see corevalue's comment) and now use Xfce as my preferred desktop. It lacks the bells and whistles of KDE, but functions reliably and efficiently, and it doesn't try to take over everything. I used to like KMail with KDE, but that was wrecked in the Akonadi/Nepomuk disaster, so I've now got used to Thunderbird as a mail client. Together with Firefox and VirtualBox to run any Windows stuff, it does the job nicely.

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God knows, they are all awful...

I used to be such a Linux fan as well, I still run Centos and Ubuntu servers.

Fedora might be worth a look again, so cutting edge you might even be able to do stuff.

I guess it depends what you want it do. The suggestion from macbeth about running Android is not a bad one ... if you want watch Netflix, DRM stuff, or it seems 4OD and Demand5.

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Yes, I'd pretty much agree with most of the comments. My personal favourite is (Open)SuSE, which I've been running on various machines, mostly laptops, for the past 12 years or so. As MarkG says, go with Intel systems for best compatibility. I normally use Toshiba laptops without any significant difficulties.

I have, with some regret, ditched the KDE desktop after the integrated monster it became (see corevalue's comment) and now use Xfce as my preferred desktop. It lacks the bells and whistles of KDE, but functions reliably and efficiently, and it doesn't try to take over everything. I used to like KMail with KDE, but that was wrecked in the Akonadi/Nepomuk disaster, so I've now got used to Thunderbird as a mail client. Together with Firefox and VirtualBox to run any Windows stuff, it does the job nicely.

I don't like "bells and whistles"! The magic of "bloatware" has reached the "free and open source" World! :blink:

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I use a KDE desktop at the moment, but I'm leaning towards XCFE. I don't use any of the KDE apps, except for kaffeine which is not tightly bound to the desktop environment. These are the apps I use

Firefox

Opera occasionally (especially for it's turbo feature when I'm trying to save 3G bandwidth)

Thunderbird for mail

Okular - document reader. Seems to cope with everything.

Virtualbox - for Windows apps like Autocad.

Wine - for lightweight Windows apps, I prefer the Windows calculator for example

VLC for media,

Kaffeine for DBV- TV (don't know if this works under other than KDE though) because Kaffeine has a sensible channel tuner.

Gimp for graphics, although I find my occasional use of it clumsy and use an old version of PaintshopPro under Virtualbox mostly. I don't do much graphical editing.

LibreOffice suite for all word processing, spreadsheets etc

Various programming environments, all free and easily found in a Linux distro.

I tried putting some of this together in a Puppy linux version, but the boot time was too slow to be practical from a USB 2 stick; however, with USB3 I'm sure you could build a pretty comprehensive "Puplet" with the apps you have chosen for yourself, and it would fit into a 16G stick and boot just fine, leaving you oodles of room for data. This allows experimentation with Linux without any dual-boot or alteration on the Laptops HDD, and unlike booting from CD, it would work at full speed. Actually, it's damn fast once you're booted, even from USB2, as it all runs in RAM :)

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God knows, they are all awful...

I used to be such a Linux fan as well, I still run Centos and Ubuntu servers.

Fedora might be worth a look again, so cutting edge you might even be able to do stuff.

I guess it depends what you want it do. The suggestion from macbeth about running Android is not a bad one ... if you want watch Netflix, DRM stuff, or it seems 4OD and Demand5.

Just to add Currently on the Netbook, Lubuntu + LXDE

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Have you considered a netbook with android.

http://www.amazon.co...ords=lenovo+a10

I'd avoid Android.

Mint is great, and is the most easy to use. Alternatively if you want light web app driven Linux you could look at Peppermint, which is closer to something like a Chromebook.

I've always liked Ubuntu, and probably it is good if you have a touch screen, but yes it is getting filled up with other rubbish - so perhaps go 12.10.

Pear Linux is the most Mac looking.

If you just want to go fast and use a few simple apps, then do consider #! pronounced Crunch Bang http://crunchbang.org/ it is amazingly efficient.

I always keep a bootable USB with Copies of CrunchBang and Knoppix on for emergencies.

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Its weird how good things nearly always get crapper. Things start out slick and functional, but then the manufactureres/developers try and make them appeal to the mass market and build in lots of unnecessary crap, and feel the need to make everything multifunctional and integrated until it becomes practically unusable. I think windows and office peaked in terms of functionality/usability in the early 2000s, and it sounds as if linux may have too now. Not to mention firefox.

I'm usng an 11" netbook at the moment with xp, and it has been generally ideal, but i'm beginning to find it a bit small to read comfortably. Otherwise I would be quite intersted in the android thingy, just to find out what everyone is going on about (and i dont reallly want a touch screen). Are there normal software programs available for android, like Audacity, word processors etc ?

Numpty linux questions. Why aren't the same tools/utilities available/installable for the various interfaces? Surely they just require a bit of tweaking? In fact, why is installing software so fragmentised? Why isn't it possible to have standard installer files, and the various distributions have thier own installer tools that do whatever is necessary to fit them into their own set up? (Nothing too technical please).

Thanks.

oh, and what exactly is the crapware that everyone is referring to (apart from the registry/database thing already mentioned)?

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oh, and what exactly is the crapware that everyone is referring to (apart from the registry/database thing already mentioned)?

It's the Semantic desktop which datamines all your files to build "relationships". One of those ideas that could be a good idea, but I've never had a problem organising my files systems to find what I want, when I want. It's called a hierarchy.

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It's the Semantic desktop which datamines all your files to build "relationships". One of those ideas that could be a good idea, but I've never had a problem organising my files systems to find what I want, when I want. It's called a hierarchy.

Is this installed by default? I've never seen it, although I remember being mightily irrated by some other indexing thing a few years ago (ah yes, Google reminds me that it was Beagle). I don't know if anyone gets any benefit from these kind of things.

Macs are particularly annoying with this kind of thing: plug a USB stick into someone else's computer and it helpfully spends ten minutes indexing it and writing hidden files without asking you. I had a Max at work once and it took me ages to work out what was going on, and why when you asked it to eject a USB stick, you had to wait 5 minutes or so before it'd say it was OK to remove it.

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Is this installed by default? I've never seen it, although I remember being mightily irrated by some other indexing thing a few years ago (ah yes, Google reminds me that it was Beagle). I don't know if anyone gets any benefit from these kind of things.

Macs are particularly annoying with this kind of thing: plug a USB stick into someone else's computer and it helpfully spends ten minutes indexing it and writing hidden files without asking you. I had a Max at work once and it took me ages to work out what was going on, and why when you asked it to eject a USB stick, you had to wait 5 minutes or so before it'd say it was OK to remove it.

Worse, it's embedded in the "K" applications for KDE, such as Kmail, Konqueror (browser). It's installed by default, difficult to remove and when you do these applications get broken. I'm not sure how the Gnome environment links together. It can be turned off, but the novice user wouldn't even know about it.

For non-Linux users, Linux comes with a variety of desktop managers. They all do the same job, just have a different look and feel, whereas with Windows, you only get the choice of one - I hear that the W8 manager is not much liked. Many Linux users are moving away from the tablet-orientated desktop managers and going back to the more traditional desktop environments with fewer bells and whistles (or annoying paperclips), like XFCE and LXDE. These don't have the crapware in them.

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Worse, it's embedded in the "K" applications for KDE, such as Kmail, Konqueror (browser). It's installed by default, difficult to remove and when you do these applications get broken. I'm not sure how the Gnome environment links together. It can be turned off, but the novice user wouldn't even know about it.

Ah, I'm a Gnome user and luckily this doesn't seem to have appeared there yet.

For non-Linux users, Linux comes with a variety of desktop managers. They all do the same job, just have a different look and feel, whereas with Windows, you only get the choice of one - I hear that the W8 manager is not much liked. Many Linux users are moving away from the tablet-orientated desktop managers and going back to the more traditional desktop environments with fewer bells and whistles (or annoying paperclips), like XFCE and LXDE. These don't have the crapware in them.

Yes, I eventually abandoned Ubuntu for Mint a year or two ago, whith a huge sense of relief. I think with Ubuntu they were trying to gradually shift users to the new-style desktop by changing it just a little bit every so often. I put up with that for a while, but it finally drove me away when Unity arrived. What was particularly annoying was that they stopped giving you a choice: it ended up being Unity or nothing.

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I am about due for a new laptop myself, and am toying again with idea of linux. I tried it a few years ago. I liked suse (a bit of a monster though) and pc-linux, but most of the others were a bit useless. Several failed to load, many didn't recognise hardware, one even messed up my disk. A couple ran quite nicely from live disks, but took far too long to boot.

Hopefully corevalue won't mind me stealing his quote from the "my laptop just died" thread, to get the ball rolling:

This strikes a chord with me and has inspired me to look into how to backup my OS on Linux - something I used to do all the time when I used windows as it was so easy to de-optimize it. I think the ideal would be to able to copy this backup to a bootable flash drive, allowing the use of my home desktop on most PCs.

Another vote here for mint. I use the last LTS (mint 13 I think) with XFCE on a netbook, MATE on a desktop and on a virtual box on the work PC.

I've not seen MATE mentioned in the thread, and it is my preferred desktop. It's quite lightweight, but customisable enough to allow useful shortcuts on the panels (like the power management inhibit applet).

I've no linux expertise and the only real problem I've had with MINT was getting flash to work well in fullscreen with the ATI card on my desktop. A change of driver fixed it. I'd not recommend an ATI card in mint/ubunbtu - the drivers are not great and it takes a bit of research if you want to change the default settings that are not customisable through those supplied drivers.

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I've not seen MATE mentioned in the thread, and it is my preferred desktop. It's quite lightweight, but customisable enough to allow useful shortcuts on the panels (like the power management inhibit applet).

Oops. I mentioned Gnome, but to be strict it's MATE that I'm using. Works perfectly well, does everything I want. I haven't tried the alternative (Cinnamon), so I don't know what that's like.

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PaintshopPro under Virtualbox mostly. I don't do much graphical editing.

Well thats cheating for a start! :lol:

BTW for what its worth MT4 the Windows/Mac trading platform works fine under WINE. Just a few issues with graphics if you add some pointers, arrows, or 'thumbs up' other than that it trades fine, just a bit of a CPU hog. Tested on both Centos and Ubuntu.

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It makes me think there could bé a potential market, if someone could come up with an "invisible" linux platform wich just ran XP.

I tried putting puppy on a stick, but laptop didn't recognise it. Tried lubuntu, looked very nice, couldn't activate the switch for the wifi on my packard bell laptop, touchpad didn't work on the eee. Memories of what it was like last time are beginning to return to haunt me. However, it was remarkably quick to installl (on the usb stick), and booted quickly, so if I can get something to work, then it would definitely be a good option.

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