Linux-friendly laptops

Lennart Sorensen lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/FfD2ys at
Thu Jul 31 15:42:59 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 10:08:44AM -0400, Tyler Aviss wrote:
> I've been laptop shopping recently and was wondering if anyone had
> good/bad experiences to share with whatever's available in the area.
> My current laptop is getting a bit long in the tooth, and seems to be
> running a bit hot these days (despite the fans being nicely clear of
> obstruction), as well as a bit slower for modern apps.
> I'm mainly looking at HP and possibly Asus laptops. Anyone recently
> buy a laptop and have any happy/horror stories to share?
> Preferred specs are:
> * 14-15.4" LCD (17" seems a bit bulky/heavy, but bigger might be OK if
> light enough)

No 17" is going to be light. :)

> * Good graphics card (NVidia or ATI, seems that ATI's drivers for 'nix
> are a lot better after the AMD buyout)

Not yet they aren't.

> * 2GB+ of RAM

No problem.

> * 64-bit Dual-Core CPU, maybe around the 2Ghz+ range per core? I
> believe the Core2Duo's are supposed to perform better, but I do still
> have a soft-spot for AMD...

I like AMD too, but I like getting the best too, and so far intel cpu
with intel wireless is the way to go.  Open source fanatics should go
for intel video as well.

> * Decent soundcard+speakers. Harmon Kardon?

Only laptop I have ever used with good speakers have JBL speakers in it.
They were amazing.  Too bad the rest of the laptop was so unreliable (it
was a compaq/HP).

> * 802.11N if possible, native linux drivers a definite plus (Intel IPW
> or otherwise? preferably *not* Broadcomm, current experiences even
> with the native driver /w firmware seem to suck compared to windows)

Well someone here at work has a thinkpad with an intel 4965 wireless
chip and it works perfectly with linux and does 802.11n (although I have
never seen if that works or not).  I think it is a t61p or something
like that.  Nvidia graphics in that one, works no problem, although
anything with an intel video chip generally works quite well too
(although 3D would be much slower, but you do get open source drivers).

> * Cardreader that works in 'nix

Some have it, some don't.  Some work, som't don't.

> * Bluetooth that works in 'nix (never had any problems getting BT
> working on 'nix though, even the cheap ones)

Seems to always work if present.

> * An integrated camera that has linux drivers would be nice

Highly unlikely to happen.

> * 3-4+ USB ports

3 is often avaialble.  Never seen 4 on a laptop.

> * DVD-RW (lightscribe would be nice)
> * PCMCIA slot (nice, but seems to be less needed with most things USB
> these days)

Well the thinkpad has PCMCIA and PCIexpressslot.

> * TV-in (linux compatible) would be a great, if unlikely, feature...

Not going to happen.

> * Firewire would be nice, if linux-compatible

All firewire controllers are UHCI compliant and work (except some old TI

> So far I've seen a lot of nice-looking HP's at the big-box stores
> (Best-Buy, Future Shop) and some decent-seeming Asus's at places like
> Filtech, etc.

Well having owned one HP made laptop I can say I will never buy another
one.  Happy with asus so far, and thinkpads are pretty much always good.

Len Sorensen
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings:
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