cypress

Linux for Laptops

56 posts in this topic

What flavor of linux do you run on your laptop? Not just for hacking wireless and fun like that, but just in general. On what laptops/hardware do you run it?

Thanks in advance,

Cypress

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centos on a ibm t-30 right now.

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Debian Sarge on a Dell Inspiron 1150 with stock hardware. Blackbox wm is awesome. :D

Alk3

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Slackware 10.2 with 2.6.15 kernel on an IBM T40. Compiled the kernel modules for IBM Laptop extras! I currently use Fluxbox as my wm.

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Using dual boot with Kubuntu 6.06 and Wintendo on a Toshiba Tecra A3. Main reason why I chose Kubuntu is that it works great with the Intel PRO 2200BG WiFi adapter. Tried Slackware 10.2 but gave me whole bunch of problems, even though its my OS of choice :D

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I've been running Ubuntu Breezy Badger for a while now. I just upgraded to Dapper Drake yesterday and it's working quite well with my laptop. I've had serious issues with using 2.6.16-10 kernel with ubuntu and getting it to network correctly. Breezy ran good under 2.6.12 and now I'm using Dapper with 2.6.15 and planning to set it up to run correctly on 2.6.16. Hopefully it will work with Dapper better than it did with Breezy.

I'm a 100% debian guy and I choose ubuntu for my laptop because of the "it should just work" mentality adopted by Ubuntu. I'm still planning to set up debian and pimp it out one day but I'm pretty content with Ubuntu at the current moment.

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Right now im dual booting Ubuntu 6.06 and windows on an HP Pavilion dv8110us

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I dual boot with Ubuntu Dapper Flight 7 (Debian Sarge->Etch->Ubuntu Breezy->Dapper Flight 7) and WinXP Pro. I'm also using the 2.6.16 kernel with beyond 4.1 patches applied.

This is all on a Dell Inspiron 700m.

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Thanks for the many responses! I am currently wondering between SuSE 10.1 and Kubuntu. My only issue is that my laptop came with MediaDirect which as I have read has its own boot manager which would get overwritten by grub/lilo. Since my laptop is brand new, it came last night, and it is not completely mine, I am afraid to lose that MediaDirect feature. Also, it would be my first linux install on a laptop, so I am afraid to attempt.

My laptop is a Dell Inspiron E1405 with Intel Centrino Duo, if that helps.

The good thing is that my parents aren't enough computer savvy so they might not even know that there is MediaDirect feature or what it does. Since I am paying for 1/2 the laptop, I guess I'll just end up installing linux. I just don't have the balls to do it yet.

Cypress

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What flavor of linux do you run on your laptop? Not just for hacking wireless and fun like that, but just in general. On what laptops/hardware do you run it?

Thanks in advance,

Cypress

running CentOS 4.2 on a gateway 71500x

Edited by eth0enigma
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Fedora Core 5...FreeBSD 5.1...Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron 9200 with stock hardware.

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debian sarge on a toshiba sat pro 420cdt. blackbox for the wm. its slow, its heavy, and its built like a damn tank.

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All I can say is wow! I've been a linux fanboy for a million years but this media direct looks really interesting. I did a little searching and found Dell's FAQ which points you to the exe for restoring media direct if it's been removed or fscked. http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/bo...message.id=2703

My only issue is that my laptop came with MediaDirect which as I have read has its own boot manager which would get overwritten by grub/lilo
Now, since you have the ability to repair it let's see if we can get linux installed without trashing it. I only know lilo so here it is. Use a live linux CD and then use cfdisk to look at the partitions. One should basically be unknown and that will be the media direct partition. Then you should have a drive listed that is the boot partition for windows, that is the one you want lilo to install to. Try it and see what happens. Damn! I want to get my hands on one of these to try this.
Also, it would be my first linux install on a laptop, so I am afraid to attempt.
These days it's almost exactly like doing a desktop install except you will want to setup power management using ACPI.
Since I am paying for 1/2 the laptop, I guess I'll just end up installing linux. I just don't have the balls to do it yet.
Don't wait too long. The more things you install and get configured the harder it is to justify taking a chance. Take the chance now and if you have to reinstall then it won't look much different than it does now.
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All I can say is wow! I've been a linux fanboy for a million years but this media direct looks really interesting. I did a little searching and found Dell's FAQ which points you to the exe for restoring media direct if it's been removed or fscked. http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/bo...message.id=2703

My only issue is that my laptop came with MediaDirect which as I have read has its own boot manager which would get overwritten by grub/lilo
Now, since you have the ability to repair it let's see if we can get linux installed without trashing it.

Wouldn't repairing the MediaDirect feature overwrite lilo/grub? Since it's a bootloader, wouldn't it install itself in the MBR?

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Wouldn't repairing the MediaDirect feature overwrite lilo/grub? Since it's a bootloader, wouldn't it install itself in the MBR?

It should and I believe that is how it works. But the same problem occurs if you want to setup a dual boot system with any windows distro. There are two ways I normally handle this; install windows first and then linux or use a boot floppy/CD to launch the linux partition. I don't like boot floppies or CD's so that's out!

In the case of media direct you can't just install windows and have it work because it requires windows to be operational. Maybe some day I can get my hands on one of these systems and see if I can hack the media direct boot loader but I'm not going to buy a Dell for that.

Hmm? Or ever. ;)

Now, since media direct is already running on your system we start with windows using the MBR and media direct installed. Next step, install linux. Take slackware for example; During the installation of lilo you will be prompted on where you want to install the bootloader. It asks if you want it installed to the MBR (dangerous!) or to the partition of your linux installation (recommended.) If your distro does not make it clear about those options just stop the installation and we can find out how to do it correctly and then install linux again.

To understand what that means you need to understand the bios boot sequence of your computer. We'll save that for a later topic. Anyway, the trick is to use fdisk/cfdisk/disk-manager for setting the boot flag of different partitions. So again, don't install lilo into the MBR. Install it to the bootable linux partition. For now there may be limitations such as having to change the bootable partition from fdisk/disk-manager if you want to switch to a linux boot and back to a windows boot but the end result is that it *should not* step on the MBR and mess up media direct.

But that's the part we'll be testing and where having the system restore-disks, media direct software and an easily restorable system comes in handy. This type of hacking is usually pretty disruptive to a system during the testing phase. :) We can go over each step before doing anything in order to improve our understanding and help reduce the risks.

The first step is to either clear up some room and create a new partition or add a second hard drive that you can use for linux. Until you've done this there is no reason to even try anything else.

Edit: Don't create any partitions without posting here first. Creating the partition is what messes up mediadirect and there are steps you need to follow to fix it. But you need all your Dell disks first.

Note: One other possibility might be to lookup one of the old howto's on using the NT bootloader to launch linux and applying the same techniques to this situation.

Edited by nullkraft
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Dell Inspiron 9300 running Ubuntu Dapper (6.06) and Windows XP Pro under vmware server. I had media direct on my box, and I ditched it (along with Windows) because it was crap anyway.

I tried SUSE 10.1, and it was pretty nice. I had some problems getting my Intel ProWireless card to work, and then when I got it working (modules located on the 5th SUSE disk), I found out it was an outdated driver that didn't support raw monitor mode. It was also quite bloated.

Ubuntu (Dapper in particular) works amazingly well with my hardware with little to no configuration. The documentation and community support is outstanding as well. one caveat with Ubuntu Dapper... the live cd install (called the "desktop CD") kept freezing up. I used the Dapper FLight 7 installation (text-based) CD and it worked like a charm. Immediately after install, it notifies you of updates to bring your system up to the current dapper release.

A word of warning though, Dell does not ship the Windows XP installation CD with their computers anymore. If you so happen to have to do a Windows re-install, you'll have to contact Dell to have them ship you a CD (may cost shipping). However, there should be a program (possibly in Start > Accessories... somewhere in there) that Dell pre-installed that will let you burn a "backup" copy of a Windows XP install CD. Do this before attempting your Linux install, just so you have an XP CD at your disposal.

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HP Omnibook 4150 Running Slackware 10.2

I am suprised it worked out as well as it did, seeing as the keyboard and the sound and the CD-Rom drive all were not able to be auto detected because of the age of the laptop. After about a month of random tweaking, I have everything working perfectly.

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Here is what I did with my system, I decided to run linux under VMWare. That way I get the best of all worlds. I get to keep MediaDirect ( I still haven't used it), I get to keep windows (making parents happy) and I get to have linux (making me happy). Maybe someday I will remove the windows partition, but for now it all seems to work fine for me.

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I am running Slackware 10.2 on a Dell Inspiron 6000 and on a Compaq Presario 2500. My WM is Fluxbox. :P

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