cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Laptop for Linux

Not applicable

Laptop for Linux

I have been thinking about trying Linux for quite a while and am getting close to giving it a go. Have looked on the website for advice re distros and think that  Unbuntu would be OK. I currently have a laptop running Vista but don't want to mess it up and have never dual booted (not really very techie). I think that I would be better having it on a separate machine.
I have looked on The Linux Emporium website and they sell laptops already installed with Unbuntu but are really no cheaper than Windows. I would like a 15" screen so the eepc would not be suitable.
The alternative is to purchase a used laptop and reformat it but if I do this, what technical specifications would I need to run it successfully? I like to have a nippy, responsive computer that can do several things at once.
Also, all the used lappies come with Windows but not necessarily the disc so could I copy the installation to DVD to revert back if necessary?
I know that this is all pretty basic stuff to you Linux geeks but as I am looking forward to trying something new and am starting right at the bottom of the learning curve.
60 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

this one from Morgan I think is the same a one I  have, the only draw back it did not have WiFi but had got ethernet £199+P&P
http://www.hotukdeals.com/item/258343/ecs-321-laptop-for-just-229-10-deli/, it in this months mag, but ther site doesnt seem to have a search
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: ‎11-08-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

practically anything will do as linux recognises more hardware than any other os, due to its being tested by so many people on millions of different hardware combinations.
when you find you can't stand ubuntu, not that you might not fall in love with it, you could consider, pclinuxos, mandriva, opensuse and fedora, roughly in that order.
pclinuxos is specifically designed to make the migration from windows as seamless as possible.  it uses the kde desktop, which is the most similar to the pathetic offering from microsoft and one that new users feel comfortable with.  ubuntu uses gnome and plays silly b's with root priviliges.
whichever you choose, do join the relevant help forum and also linuxquestions.org.  when you need help, there is an abundance of it.
good luck in your quest.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,670
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

Well my Medion S5610 runs Ubuntu quite well. Picked it up in Sainsbury's
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

Quote from: poppy
The alternative is to purchase a used laptop and reformat it but if I do this, what technical specifications would I need to run it successfully? I like to have a nippy, responsive computer that can do several things at once.
Also, all the used lappies come with Windows but not necessarily the disc so could I copy the installation to DVD to revert back if necessary?

The advantage of buying with Linux preinstalled is in knowing all the hardware is supported and is properly configured from the start.
Buying used probably means avoiding bleeding-edge hardware which is no bad thing where Linux is concerned. It's still worth gathering as much information as possible about any possible purchase and searching the web for any possible 'gotchas' - some hardware may involve a certain amount of post-installation configuration, possibly requiring software updates; ethernet will almost certainly work 'out of the box' but wireless may not.
If reverting back to Windows is a possibility (I assume you're referring to Windows XP here), go for hardware spec. which will run XP to your satisfaction. I was under the impression that laptops with Windows preinstalled had a hidden partition containing the files required to enable a reinstall (hence the absence of an install disk); if this is the case it's probably best to leave that partition untouched when installing Linux. 
Jamie_Hardy
Dabbler
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎28-08-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

I would try ubuntu using Wubi on your laptop running Vista, Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu like any other Windows application. Just download ubuntu and run the install in windows or use the Wubi installer from here http://wubi-installer.org/
Quote
Wubi is Simple
No need to burn a CD. Just run the installer, enter a password for the new account, and click "Install", go grab a coffee, and when you are back, Ubuntu will be ready for you.
Wubi is Safe
You keep Windows as it is, Wubi only adds an extra option to boot into Ubuntu. Wubi does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader, and does not install special drivers. It works just like any other application. Wubi is spyware and malware free, and being open source, anyone can verify that.
Wubi is Discrete
Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and if you do not like it, you can simply uninstall it as any other application.
Wubi is Free
Wubi and Ubuntu cost absolutely nothing (free as in beer), but yet provide a state of the art, fully functional, operating system that does not require any activation and does not impose any restriction on its use (free as in freedom).
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,670
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

Jamie
I think the latest Ubuntu allows you install inside Windows and all it does is touch the windows boot menu. I think there are some limitations like you have to state how much disk space you want to assign to Linux when you run the installer from inside Windows so if you then install more apps or use a lot of disk space you can have problems.
Not applicable

Re: Laptop for Linux

Have done the Ubuntu ISO this morning so have the disk ready. Am awaiting a telephone call from someone who has a local computer shop and he has a laptop with no operating system at the moment. It doesn't have wi-fi so would have to buy a card but he is letting me know the exact specs so I will post back for opinions.
We have another Fuji laptop with Vista Basic on so the Wubi thing sounds interesting and easy on the pocket. It belongs to the other half and he rarely uses it.
Have checked the website and it requires 700MB so could do that in free time. It sounds as if it would be very easy but am a bit concerned - wouldn't want to mess things up with the current setup. However, it sounds as if it would be OK. Presumably when it installs the drivers would be found so no incompatibilities? Would it pick up my current AV (Avast) and what about Defender? What happens when you boot using Wubi? Presumably you get two options and select Ubuntu?
Lots of questions but want to be certain that it is safe to proceed.
*Just had another look at the Wubi website and found answers to some of my questions. I can use the ISO that I did this morning and it seems fairly straightforward.
Not applicable

Re: Laptop for Linux

Just looked at the files on my Ubuntu disk and it already contains the Wubi installer so Jamie, would it be OK to click on that and proceed? Have got permission to use the spare laptop.
Not applicable

Re: Laptop for Linux

Steve - I take your point about the space. The lappie has an 80GB hard drive with nothing on it except Windows. How much needs to be assigned for Ubuntu? Does it ask for this information when you install it? Wouldn't be installing many applications really.
BTW presumably I would need to download Open Office? Presumably it won't use my current MS Office? Also, what is the best desktop publishing software for Ubuntu and photo suite? I currently use Publisher and MS Picture It! (Photo Premium). These are pretty much all I need, apart from pdf (use Foxit at the moment).
Jamie_Hardy
Dabbler
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎28-08-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

yes just use that wubi on the cd - you need about 5gb of hard disk space and if you need the space back you can uninstall Ubuntu like any other Windows application.
Also ubuntu comes with most of the apps you need
list of apps that comes with ubuntu https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Applications?action=show&redirect=Software
list of linux equivalents to windows programs http://www.libervis.com/wiki/index.php?title=Table_of_Equivalent_Software
Jamie_Hardy
Dabbler
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎28-08-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

@poppy 
MS Office >>> Open Office (comes with ubuntu)
Publisher  >>>  Scribus (need to install using Add/Remove... tool)
MS Picture It! >>> Eye of GNOME - Image Viewer
                                 F-Spot - Photo Library
                                 gThumb - Image Viewer
                                 OpenOffice.org Draw - Images and diagrams creation and manipulation
                                  The GIMP - Advanced image creation and manipulation
                                    These all come with ubuntu
also after you install ubuntu open system menu >>> Administration >>> Hardware Drivers and enable any drivers in there (you need to be on the internet) this should get most wifi and graphics working
Not applicable

Re: Laptop for Linux

Jamie - the laptop in question has an empty D (Data) partition of 11.4GB. Is it OK to install Ubuntu onto that please?
Also, will Avast also cover Ubuntu when I am using it? I have my router firewall so is that sufficient? Sorry for asking questions, probably should go over to the Linux forums and read up more.  Embarrassed
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

Yes, you can install Ubuntu onto that partition. Installing Ubuntu with Wubi means it runs as an application within Windows, so you will have to start Windows, then start Ubuntu. If you are happy with that, fine, but you might like to consider a dual boot. All the major Linux distributions will do that for you on installation, and will repartition the hard drive and install a boot loader which allows you to choose between Windows and Linux when you start up. If you do it this way I would suggest putting the /home folder (equivalent to My Documents in Windows) on a separate partition, if that doesn't frighten you. Wink That will make it easier if you want to try a different distribution later on, because you can install it whilst leaving your documents intact.
Avast won't cover Ubuntu, but it doesn't really matter as there are no Linux viruses (at least, not so far), and Windows viruses won't work. Your router firewall will be fine. Ubuntu doesn't actually have a software firewall enabled, but by default it doesn't let anyone in, so it is quite safe.
Don't worry about asking questions - that's what the community is for!
Jamie_Hardy
Dabbler
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎28-08-2007

Re: Laptop for Linux

@Denzil
Installing Ubuntu using Wubi runs ubuntu as its own OS that you boot into (it is dual-boot) and not from within windows, it just adds ubuntu to the windows boot menu, users a virtual hard drive and lets you uninstall ubuntu from add/remove programs
@poppy
yes use your d:/ and as Denzil says there are no real Linux viruses