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  1. #1
    Platinum Member westcliffe01's Avatar
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    Default Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    After a worse experience with windows with every OS update, I decided that the next time would be something else. Last time was a Toshiba notebook that came with (drum roll) Vista.... ugg uggg puke.... That particular laptop fairly quickly was donated to a needy soul on an unexpected business trip which allowed me to see my dad and mom in South Africa after not having been there since 2002.

    Since last year, I have been without a laptop and a few months ago I began what I consider "serious research" into the laptop and Linux combination. I discovered that laptops seem to experience hardware changes faster than some change their underwear, which can be a much bigger problem when compatibility with Linux is considered. Someone actually has to modify the kernel to suit that funky hardware combination and when only a few thousand of those laptops are sold, it may not be considered worth the effort. And unlike a desktop PC, you can't just swap out the dysfunctional video card / lan card, wireless adapter or whatever.

    So by hook and by crook, I discovered that Dell has started selling some of their laptops "out the box" with Ubuntu Linux. If you go to Dell.com, you would be hard pressed to find the word Linux anywhere. It's almost a secret. Somewhere deep in the fine print I found a link regarding "open source PC's" http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/ubuntu?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=anavml

    That took me to the page where they list their Ubuntu based products. A very nice feature of their store is that they allow many key components to be configured, including most important to me, the BATTERY. I paid an additional ~$50 or so to get a 9 cell battery that will run the laptop for 6-7 hours, not just 2-2.5. Yeehahhh ! The one I configured cost about $600 + shipping and is basically the the N15 with 4gb memory, 250gb hdd and the mother battery.

    So how do I like it ? Fabulous ! Starts up in about 20 seconds. Shuts down in about 10. Comes with open office and Mozilla Firefox browser. First application I added is called Wine (like the drink). It is a non windows XP emulation environment. With wine installed, I was able to install MS Office 2007, which I bought earlier this year through a "corporate" deal at a cost of $10. Everything in office works just like before including VB scripts and the like. So now I get to use the windows products I like (Excel, Powerpoint etc) without ever dealing with their sucky operating system ever again.

    The "no script" plugin to firefox is the best thing since the day they invented the internet. Makes those dancing ads and the google banner trash disappear like they were never there and the site downloads faster if not downloading all that junk too.

    So to those of you on the fence, consider Ubuntu or one of the other Linux distributions. If you have a desktop, migration is safer, since there are more ways to resolve any potential hardware issues. If you know how, create a seperate partition to boot from and try it out. There are some applications like the high end CAD systems that do not yet support linux, but for the things most of us do, and a lot of the heavyweight scientific applications, Linux is good to go.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Kioti ck30

    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    But now you won't buy virus or spyware protection, so you won't be helping the economy.. hehe

    I can say I've never, after all the years I've been running linux desktops and servers, run office on wine. I'll give it a go.. Though I'm generally happy with openoffice.
    ---

    NE Oklahoma, ck30 kioti BH w/thumb, Broken FEL, toothbar, box blade. JD 60" brush hog, home made forks

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  3. #3
    Elite Member /pine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    you might be interested in looking at the Ubuntu repositories...this is where you will find all the free software that is available for the Ubuntu distribution...


    package managers ("package"=software)
    look into learning to use "apt-get" it is a command line interface that does three things...it searches , finds and installs the software in a snap...(no re-booting after installs either)

    There are also graphic user interfaces that will do the same thing if you are uncomfortable with the CLI...
    Slash Pine
    blunt and succinct but sincere...in the immortal words of Popeye..."I yam what I yam"

  4. #4
    Platinum Member eepete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    I bought a refurbished gateway to try vista. Bad OS on a dead cow. This summer, jumped to all MAC stuff. Worked a lot with UNIX back in the late 70's and early 80's. Have parallels on the MAC for the few Windoze programs I must run (PCB layout and FPGA design). Parallels doesn't do 64 bit Ubantu, they claim to be working on it. MAC tower with the big screens is great environment.

    Next day job project will be netBSD UNIX based. Scheduler is better than Linux for real time. BSD knows how to run linux binaries, so it's not a shut-out. Instead of spinning the processor board, will use the Mini ITX format with Atom processor. Can by cheap than can build.

    My take on all this is that Windoze reached a level of complexity where it was no less complex than Linux. Windoze still has far more bugs than any of the Unix variants. Windoze is also far less efficient/needs more resources than Unix. And between the volume/number of systems, and the bad code, it's a magnet for the bad guys to hack. So it makes sense to jump ship. I think the biggest thing keeping Microsquash alive is that in the business world no one ever got sacked for specifying Windows.

    Pete
    '09 JD4520 Cab (60HP), '97 KubotaB21 TLB (21HP), MX6 rotary mower, SB1106 6' Sickle Bar, BB3272 6' box blade, GradeMaster 7' Landplane, 6' landscape rake, Woods GTC 40" tiller, PHD 9" auger, 4' x 8' chain harrow, '90 JD318 (18HP gas) with 48" MM mower, 54" front blade, 47" snowblower.
    Volunteer Firefighter.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by eepete View Post
    Next day job project will be netBSD UNIX based. Scheduler is better than Linux for real time. BSD knows how to run linux binaries, so it's not a shut-out. Instead of spinning the processor board, will use the Mini ITX format with Atom processor.
    I've got a beagleboard (ARM cortex 8 cpu) running linux in the lab at work. Typing this from Ubuntu linux running on AMD64. What are you doing that requires real time?
    Kubota M8540HD ROPS, LA1353 FEL

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    I partitioned my Toshiba to dual boot Vista and Ubuntu - still working the kinks out of the Ubuntu for running some of my hardware. (it can't see my modem, and nothing I've tried works for that - also some issues with the wireless internet)
    Erik
    Mahindra 3510, box blade, pallet forks, 6' KK mower...

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Tig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    I run Ubuntu on some of my machines and I love it. Wireless cards are a bit of a crap shoot, but then again they are cheaper than any MS product.
    Steve

    The best things in life are not things.

  8. #8
    Elite Member /pine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    If you are having problems with wireless adapters running on Linux you might want to look into "ndiswrappers" SourceForge.net: ndiswrapper

    on a bit of a tangent...there are several other Linux distros that are much better than Ubuntu for hardware compatribility...most of which are available as "Live CDs" that let you boot to the CD (without disturbing your current o/s configuration) and let you see how much of your hardware is recognized...the "Live CDs" let you check out the distribution without installing anything to the hard drive...one very good distro is 'Simply Mepis' another is 'PCLinuxOS'
    Slash Pine
    blunt and succinct but sincere...in the immortal words of Popeye..."I yam what I yam"

  9. #9
    Platinum Member eepete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    @piller: I've been working on home automation since 2000. Current platform is Freescale 5282 running a multi-tasking OS. 8M ram, 16M flash and every improvement and new features just east up resources. Also need to make everything open. An example: Have a logging and plotting task. Apple's Safari web browser doesn't do bitmaps. It does .gif, which is a compressed bitmap and all gifs turn into bitmaps during rendering, so this is a silly Apple political decision. If I was running a UNIX varient, the fix would be to grab a standard graphics library and convert to some other user specified format to put a plot (like temperature or energy use) up via a browser. When you touch the library, you suck up 750K of stuff and need more cpu cycles.

    The whole system is event driven, can handle hundreds of IO and internal variables, and needs 10 mS response times. So it's a build/buy on the processor, and I'm tired of building. If you want to know more, we can email as I could type all day on this topic.

    /pine is right on just getting a DVD set and going that way as a good way to get going. Now if only parallels could hack the 64 bit variants...

    Pete
    '09 JD4520 Cab (60HP), '97 KubotaB21 TLB (21HP), MX6 rotary mower, SB1106 6' Sickle Bar, BB3272 6' box blade, GradeMaster 7' Landplane, 6' landscape rake, Woods GTC 40" tiller, PHD 9" auger, 4' x 8' chain harrow, '90 JD318 (18HP gas) with 48" MM mower, 54" front blade, 47" snowblower.
    Volunteer Firefighter.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    yanmar

    Default Re: Feedback on new Dell Laptop with Ubuntu Linux

    A question for those of you with knowledge greater than mine and familiarity with Ubuntu.....how do you run Access-based databases? A good bit of my work is spreadsheet or document based, and OpenOffice will work fine, but it does not play well (or at all, actually) with Access, and significant part of what I do is with Access-based databases. I would love to abandon windows and MS Office, but for my need for the databases. Thanks for any help.

    Additionally....I do some minor audio file editing for church (currently using wavepad), and very minor graphics editing (MS photo editor has been adequate for this), as well as ripping a lot of tracks from CDs we record, and then burning CDs from accumulated files (media player does this to our needs). Can I get all this done with software available in or on Ubuntu?

    Will my Quickbooks run on Ubuntu?

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