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Linux on Laptops

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Hi all. I had to re-register because I changed my account email address, only to find out hotmail had turned off my account due to inactivity. This is more of a general question than anything specific (that's what google is for). Anyways, classes started last week and I decided I wanted to buy a laptop. After searching for a while I finally ended up purchasing the Inspiron 1000 with 2.20 celeron, 512 ram, and some other goodies like cd-rw/dvd combo drive, etc. Pretty cheap with all of the discounts and whatnot (sorry, no "plug" intended). A few years back I installed (and used) slack 9.0 on a compaq desktop. I used LiLo so I could have both slack and win98. It worked flawlessly but I only used it for a month or so and then I lost interest (not in linux, in computers in general). Well, six years later, I'm going for a comp sci degree and gamedev.net has gotten me totally interested in writing/designing games. I was going to do windows game programming (wrote some stuff in allegro, which is cool, but win32 programming is a total waste of brain cells, imho). So I went and ordered a slack 10 cd, with which i plan on writing some kick ass games for. Oh, and I guess I could use it for school too, lol. And, dun dun dun... my question (finally!) Is it recommended to dual boot with slack and xp? I was going to use this as a linux only machine but I'm concerned about the cd-burning. On my other linux box I could never get the burner to work, but it seems like there is ALOT more support these days. I don't really like the idea of linux having to share space with windows, but if that's the best way to do it then so be it. Also, what are some common/general problems I _may_ run into while trying to install on a laptop? (doesn't have to be distro/comp specific, just some general problems). Well, thanks, and I have a feeling once I get my laptop and cd in the mail I'll be visiting here alot =) - Stephen

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Due to non-standard and special hardware you can run into lots of problems on laptops trying to run Linux. I would suggest you use google, a number of places store "linux" reviews of laptops which cover how to get various components working correctly (most likely you will be able to 80-90% of your laptops features to work under Linux). Typically you'll need special setup to get video and trackpad to work correctly (trackpad features all work, video acceleration works). In general hybernation and other energy saving mechanisms will generate lots of problems under Linux (I only know 1 or 2 laptops that Linux can hybernate without crashing on wakeup). You may run into other miscellaneous components that will not work, or that will only work using very slow reference drivers.

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I bought Fujitsu-Siemens's Amilo D8830 (P4 3,06GH, 512MB, 80GB, DVD+RW, R9000...) a few months ago (used -> 1060€) and also decided to install a (Mandrake 10.0) Linux system - as an alternative operating system, not the primary one. As a primary operating system I wanted to use WinXP.

Because of a lack of knowledge and skills I ran into a trouble installing the systems. The problem was that LILO couldn't boot the Linux system.

The solution was fairly simple. I only had to do a "/boot" partition in the beginning of the hard disk and my LILO was able to boot the system flawlessly.

Apparently the problem was due to that my hard disk's size is greater than ~8GB (1024 cylinders) or something like that. In fact I would like to be corrected if anyone of you has more accurate information.

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No mention of inspiron 1000 on that site, but searching google provided a few pages where people had put linux on a dell ins.1000. Also, noticed a lot of distro's _besides_ slack. I think that is pretty common though, since slack is one of the more "gritty" distros to install (at least from what I've seen).

Tried searching dell for the cd-rw/dvd specs but can't find it. Product number is 313-2675 but they only have 313-2678 which is a dvd-rw/cd-rw combo drive for desktops. I'll have more information once I can get my hands on it though.

After searching a (little) bit I don't think it's going to be too much of a problem getting this to work. It's just going to require a little bit of time to get everything working properly (and possibly many many reinstalls).

Also, I decided it would be best to leave xp on as well. As much as I dislike Win32 programming, I'm sure learning it will serve a purpose. Especially if I want to get into this field professionally. I've never had a 40 gig hd before (my current hd is like 8gb... lol) so even if I do half and half I'll still have more space than I know what to do with.

Plus that'll give me the added benefit of being able to easily develop for two platforms. And since I plan on using OpenGL and SDL, it should be _fairly_ easy to write code that works on both os's with minimum. Never done this before though, so I might be in for surprise.

Anyhow, thank you bytecoder and Michalson.

- Stephen

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Yea, I did a /boot partition on my old system too. As well as other partitions that I don't remember, but the book I was reading recommended it. It helped because I had to reinstall a couple of times and I would have lost mp3s and whatnot had I not partitioned that way.

- Stephen

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Quote:
Original post by ontheheap
Anyways, classes started last week and I decided I wanted to buy a laptop. After searching for a while I finally ended up purchasing the Inspiron 1000 with 2.20 celeron, 512 ram, and some other goodies like cd-rw/dvd combo drive, etc. Pretty cheap with all of the discounts and whatnot (sorry, no "plug" intended).
Hey! I just bought an Ispiron 1150. Pretty much the same kind of computer. I didn't get the burner, though.
Quote:
A few years back I installed (and used) slack 9.0 on a compaq desktop. I used LiLo so I could have both slack and win98. It worked flawlessly but I only used it for a month or so and then I lost interest (not in linux, in computers in general).

Well, six years later,
Wow, time travel! Slack 9 six years ago. Nice! ;-) (just jabbing atcha)
Quote:
Is it recommended to dual boot with slack and xp? I was going to use this as a linux only machine but I'm concerned about the cd-burning.
You know, I've never done it myself (I almost never burn CDs), but I've helped a lot of people do it, and it seems pretty easy to do.
Quote:
I don't really like the idea of linux having to share space with windows, but if that's the best way to do it then so be it.
I do that anyway. I might want to play The Sims someday. I have a 40gb drive though. if cd burning is your only concern, go for it.
Quote:
Also, what are some common/general problems I _may_ run into while trying to install on a laptop? (doesn't have to be distro/comp specific, just some general problems).
I had two problems.

1. Old distibution installation CD (debian woody) didn't have the Broadcom ethernet driver. I had to install without internet, go into XP, download a modern kernel, and recompile with BC4400 support.
2. Dell only offer the DELL brand wireless cards for my machine. These (afaict) will only work with the ndiswrapper thing. yuck. I bought an Intel PRO 2100 card seperately. Arrives monday, I'll let you know how it goes, if you want.

Everything else worked great!

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Sims 2 is coming out soon. It looks awesome!!

I've been watching the Dell site all day (since they update everytime your order goes from preproduction->production->etc). It's in "production" right now. First thing I'm doing when I get it is deleting the xp partition ;)

From what I remember, the best way to go about having linux and windows on the same computer is to completely format the drive, create partitions, install windows, and then finally install linux.

And definitely let me know about the wireless card. My school has wireless access points (mostly in the library, but there are other locations that work too).

I could swear it was 9.0 but it must not have been! Someone I met on IRC when I was about 14 burned me a copy of slack. I'm 20 so it was definitely six years ago =) Perhaps it was 7.0? Now I have no clue. I know it was slack though! LOL. /me slaps himself with a hammer

- Stephen

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I recently got an Acer Aspire 1622LC. There were some issues, but now (Gentoo-)Linux is running smoothly on it.

Some problems I had:

- Synaptics touchpad:
Gentoo now uses the X.org X server which doesn't include the "synaptics" driver by default. I had to emerge it seperately. After copying the settings from the readme file, the touchpad worked. It even recognizes the two finger -> middle mouse button and three finger -> right mouse button combinations.

- Sound:
The Aspire 1622LC has an ATI IXP chipset for which the sound support was broken in the 2.6.7 kernel. After downloading the latest patch from the alsa project ftp and applying the patch, everything worked.

The next adventure will be getting my D-Link SpaceLan to work.

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Quote:
Original post by ontheheap
From what I remember, the best way to go about having linux and windows on the same computer is to completely format the drive, create partitions, install windows, and then finally install linux.
I suppose I forgot to mention this. I went to look at the ntfsresize tool, and it looked awesome. I downloaded this ISO called System Rescue CD and used that (the command in something like run_qtparted) to resize winXP down to 5GB and used the remaining 35GBish (Dell keeps a 30MBish partition at the beginning and this program doesn't support moving ntfs, only resizing) for linux.

To get windows resizeable, I had to complete turn off swap (or whatever windows calls it), reboot (ug!), and then defrag.

worked great.
Quote:
And definitely let me know about the wireless card. My school has wireless access points (mostly in the library, but there are other locations that work too).
Well, that's the thing: I bought mine seperately. If you have one of the dell ones, I'm sure NDIS wrapper works for it, and there may even be a native linux driver, I didn't look very hard at all.
Quote:
Perhaps it was 7.0?
That actually sounds likely. And if slack7 was the last time you tried linux, you're in for a shock. :)

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Judging by the smiley, I'm expecting a happy shock and not a bang-my-head-against-the-monitor shock...

Slack 10 arrived today, and the Dell site has my laptop listed as In Transit. So... any day now!!

Quote:

Well, that's the thing: I bought mine seperately. If you have one of the dell ones, I'm sure NDIS wrapper works for it, and there may even be a native linux driver, I didn't look very hard at all.


I was thinking of getting this one here -> I <3 sourceforge

I'll post some screen captures when I get it all up and running =)

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Jsut installed my minipci intel pro2100 wireless card into my inspiron 1150 laptop.

I don't ahve an accesspoint handy to test the connection, but everything works sofar as I've been able to test.

Grabbed the driver, the binary-only firmware (well, i guess they all have binary firmware), and had to reconfigure my kernel, then it worked.

My kernel needed the hotplug firmware support, and the crypto support, with that arc4 crypto thing. Oh, and the wireless extensions stuff.

After doing that, (easier than it sounds) the driver compiled and installed without any problems.

I'll tell you if the test I run soon works...

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Laptop arrived last night. I have slack and gnome running great (with sound too!). I've been spending the last 6 hours trying to connect to the net (still havent got it). This post is from windows (yea, I decided to dual boot). I'll edit this post when I can do it from slack...

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LOL! I skipped class today because I've been up all night trying to configure my internet connection with linux. Well, one re-install, one bottle of mountain dew, and one mental breakdown later... duh duh duh...









CLICKY ^^^


- Stephen

Everything is working beautifully. I've started on the C for Linux book and I'm waiting for GTK+ programming book to come in the mail! This is so awesome!!

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