[nSLUG] Lapotops

Jack Warkentin jwark at eastlink.ca
Wed Oct 3 12:19:29 ADT 2007

Hi Everyone

I have an AMD64-based Clevo D470K with ATI mobile Radeon 9600 graphics 
and an Ralink RT2500-based wireless card. I bought it 2 years ago and I 
believe it had been on the market for about a year before I bought mine. 
I spent months off and on trying to decide what to buy and the major 
factor was the wireless card. There is a well-supported open source 
driver for the Ralink chip set, with information provided by the 
manufacturer. (I have heard that wireless capability based on the Intel 
Centrino chip set is also well-supported by GNU/Linux.

That said, this wireless card is not well-supported by the major 
distros, in the sense that they don't include the driver with their 
install media. But once you know how to set it up it takes little 
effort. I have had most success with Debian and Debian-based distros. I 
used Suse 10.0 for a while and then switched to Kubuntu 6.06/Dapper 
Drake, which I used for about a year. I got *all* of the hardware 
working with Dapper relatively easily, including the fglrx driver.

The problem with Dapper is, you have to reinstall a more recent distro 
to get support, for example, for the Flash 9 player for a 64-bit 
processor. (This didn't bother me much until I found that there were too 
many web sites that had Flash content, to the extent that I couldn't 
even book an airline ticket online without Flash support.) Also, I was 
getting fed up with the bloat of KDE so started looking for an 
alternative, which I found in Debian Lenny and Xfce. The advantage of 
this testing version of Debian is, you get updates of software without 
having to upgrade to a new distro version. However, I haven't been able 
to get the fglrx driver installed yet (not that I've tried particularly 
hard, because I don't *need* 3-D acceleration). That is probably a 
problem with the kernel, and Debian's well-known reluctance to support 
proprietary software.

Greg, there has been a great deal of good advice posted in response to 
your request, all of which can be summarized by

  1) Decide what are the important characteristics you want in your machine,

  2) Research, research, research ... to found out how best to achieve 
those characteristics.



Ian Campbell wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 02, 2007 at 01:35:53PM -0300, crackers wrote:
>> I have Ubuntu running on an ancient P3 Dell Latitude with no issue... can't
>> see yours being a problem...
> Yes, but old hardware is (generally) better supported.
> The sticking point will generally be the network card. I'm not sure if
> there are still any major issues with wired cards now that the
> Broadcom driver has been reverse engineered.
> Wireless is much more of a problem. There are no drivers for the
> latest Intel card, for example, although given Intel's track record I
> assume that will change soon enough. There are no good drivers for a
> lot of new Atheros chipsets as well, unless you feel like using SVN
> drivers... or ndiswrapper.
> If your aim is running Linux, you still have to do some research to
> make sure your hardware is supported.
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Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email jwark at eastlink.ca
39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6

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