[nSLUG] Lapotops

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 21:13:27 ADT 2007

I have evaluated laptops for my work and a fussy bunch of users
who expect every piece of hardware to work.  It is not a simple
thing.  First off, stay back from the latest models carrying
the very latest chipsets, as there is typically a lag between
kernel support appearing and the newest video, SATA,
ethernet and other hardware support.

Typically modems and wireless, and sometimes video,
require a proprietary driver to support them.  NDISwrapper
sometimes works but it is very iffy.  One model I worked
on would freeze constantly with NDISwrapper
if the BIOS was powered on with battery power.
Based on that, I would seek native drivers or drivers
from the hardware vendor such as Intel's proprietary driver.
Keep in mind that your kernel upgrades are going to have
tight dependancies on the additional drivers you can get, and
it may mean staying back to whatever Intel or nVidia or
whoever can support.

Certification means very little.  All models I evaluated were said
to be Suse certified, but when I lookup the details on the report,
they have several caveats, such as CD-RW failures, etc.
I think the model gets a pass if you can complete the
install, and get video and sound working.

Power management is another area needing research, if it is
important to you.  Typically getting suspend to ram to run
well and not hang the machine on resume is something
taking some efforts to perfect, if it is possible.

Before and after buying, visiting the resource of
Linux on Laptops:  http://www.linux-laptop.net/
is useful to research what others got working and how.


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