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Linux on a Laptop...


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#1 Girvo

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:55 AM

Right, so my MacBook Air died. Shame, but hey, she cost me next to nothing and I got a couple of months use out of her. I need to replace it, and I'm considering getting an Ultrabook or similar, and putting Linux on it. I use Linux daily as my desktop at work, manage a Linux VPS, and am in love with The Unix Way at this point; OS X does give some neat benefits, but the best thing about it is the BSD base in my opinon. What is battery life going to be like? Years ago when I first did it, battery life was always worse than a normal Windows install, but then this was me forcing Slax onto an actual bare-metal install when it was never meant to (god that was a long time ago). AHCPI problems still exist? What chipsets are best supported?
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#2 Xen

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:52 AM

Right, so my MacBook Air died. Shame, but hey, she cost me next to nothing and I got a couple of months use out of her.

I need to replace it, and I'm considering getting an Ultrabook or similar, and putting Linux on it. I use Linux daily as my desktop at work, manage a Linux VPS, and am in love with The Unix Way at this point; OS X does give some neat benefits, but the best thing about it is the BSD base in my opinon.

What is battery life going to be like? Years ago when I first did it, battery life was always worse than a normal Windows install, but then this was me forcing Slax onto an actual bare-metal install when it was never meant to (god that was a long time ago).

AHCPI problems still exist?

What chipsets are best supported?


Just about all chipsets and (most) hardware is supported straight off now, with most BSD's this is not the case and you could be likely to have to check Hardware compatibility lists for which ever branch of BSD you want to look at.

I'm using OpenSUSE on my work laptop and the battery life is the same as it was with windows,

I've been planning to put OpenBSD on a laptop for a while now but i've never gotten around to it.
如诸佛尽寿不杀生, 我亦尽寿不杀生 如诸佛尽寿不偷盗, 我亦尽寿不偷盗 如诸佛尽寿不妄语, 我某甲亦尽寿不妄语

#3 SledgY

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

Here is always a good start: http://www.linux-laptop.net/
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#4 CptnChrysler

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:02 PM

Make sure that whatever distro you are running, you update to the latest kernel release for that distro.
There have been some power management improvements rolled out in the last few weeks in the latest stable kernels I believe. They won't apply to all systems but apparently they give a 5% reduction in power use on some machines (Hearsay from a podcast). *

I find that my little Aspire one netbook is fully supported out of the box in Arch linux. Suspend, Hibernate, CPU scaling, keyboard controls - Everything works, though it took some setting up (as is the to be expected with a DIY focused distro like Arch).

I'd try to pick chipsets that have been around for a while. The longer a chipset has been around the better the chances of the appropriate drivers being included in the kernel.

Also Google the model or chipset of the laptop you are looking at along with the name of the distro you plan to use and see what turns up.

Edit:
* - Source http://www.h-online....es-1429482.html

Edited by CptnChrysler, 08 March 2012 - 06:54 PM.

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#5 Girvo

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:56 AM

Cheers for the info so far guys!

I'm thinking that an ultrabook or similar 11" laptop running Arch would be a good way to go. I do need iTunes, but on my STUPIDLY slow (Pentium E2220, 2Gb RAM) running Elementary OS Jupiter (an Ubuntu 10.10 remix basically), I virtualise a small stripped back copy of XP and run it under that. Heck, I could even make it start up iTunes instead of Explorer + seamless mode, and basically create an iTunes shortcut under Linux..

Okay, I need to go look at VirtualBox's bash switches, because that just gave me an awesome idea.

Anyway, what 11" laptops would you people recommend for battery life under Arch or something similar? I'm kind of looking forward to having a Linux laptop, a Linux Desktop at work, and my iMac at home, with iTunes on all of them (iTunes Match is boss).

EDIT:
VBoxManage startvm "Windows XP"

The VM is configured to start in Seamless mode, with iTunes on Autostart and the start-menu with an autohide for now. Added a menu item to Gnome2, and BAM, it's almost like I have iTunes on Linux ;)

Edited by Girvo, 19 March 2012 - 11:04 AM.

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#6 mudg3

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:24 PM

Xenbook, Just do it already.
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#7 Girvo

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:12 PM

I have a Samsung Series 3 NP350. Ubuntu 12.04 runs beautifully on it. Only issue is the Elantech touchpad doesn't support Touchegg :(
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#8 Jeruselem

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:32 PM

I have a Samsung Series 3 NP350. Ubuntu 12.04 runs beautifully on it. Only issue is the Elantech touchpad doesn't support Touchegg :(


That's normal - touchpads use weird drivers anyway.
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#9 Girvo

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:00 PM

Yeah but Synaptics have decent (albeit closed-source) drivers. Elantech works really well OOTB, but doesn't support multitouch guestures using Toucheggs software, which is a shame. I'm going to have a play with the source and config. I have a feeling its because I'm running 12.04, the uTouch framework has been built-in and it's conflicting with Touchegg, even though Touchegg is supposed to run off it...
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#10 nobody813

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:11 AM

I'm using Xubuntu 11.10 on my 8inch EeePC, and the touchpad works reasonably well. Automatically recognized it uses 2 finger scroll, but yeah, other things are missing from it. I think it's an Elan too

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#11 Girvo

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

Yeah the Eee's mostly use Elantech. I'm going to play around with Synaptics drivers, apparently a few have had success using them with Elantech 'pads.
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