Linux Laptop recommendation

Posted on 2004-09-13
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
After much debating, I have decided that my next machine needs to be a laptop, and I certainly don't want Windoze on it. While Solaris x86 might be interesting, I want to get into Linux more. I used to noodle with RH, but now I am interested in SUSE 9.1.

I also plan to get VMWare and use it to host other OSes, which is about the only way I'll be willing to load Windoze on it.

Obviously, it must have support for SUSE Linux - I need to be able to find drivers for its devices. It needs to have a built-in Ethernet NIC (10/100 preferred). I don't particularly care for IR/BlueTooth support unless I can disable it in BIOS (and have it *really* be disabled). I would prefer a CD R/W or a CD-DVD R/W (a CD R/W-DVD ROM is OK). USB support is a must. Decent battery life, not too heavy, and a screen at least 13.5" diagonal are also on the list.

So, I am looking for *specific* laptop recommendations, as in make and model and options. I'd like to gather some recommendations as to how much RAM would be good (I assume at least a gig), and how fast the CPU ought to be (I assume at least 1 GHz P4). Some HDD sizing recommendations would be good as well.

If I've omitted any important requirements, I'll be happy to supply them.
Question by:PsiCop
LVL 95

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 150 total points
ID: 12046458
I'd say get a Dell or IBM Notebook.  Both have had loads of Linux support for years.  Mostly Red Hat, but I've run Mandrake 9 flawlessly on older IBMs and Redhat 7.x on several Dells.  You really want to see how linux might run on a given notebook, download a copy of Knoppix from - then try it out at a store - it's a self-contained Linux distro that boots and runs off a single CD - if you're not familiar with it.  It's debian based, but damn cool.
LVL 13

Assisted Solution

td_miles earned 150 total points
ID: 12051172
I'd second the vote for IBM. My notebook currently run dual-boot winXP & Fedora Core2.

I know someone who is using an IBM T41P and it works flawlessly with Linux. He has even got the built in wireless network card working.

I find that in general the quality of the IBM notebooks is better than the Dell.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12051442
I like IBM's better for quality as well - but they are also among the most expensive in my experience.  
LVL 31

Assisted Solution

rid earned 150 total points
ID: 12051556
I've recently gotten a Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook C1020. Works very well with SuSE, even playing DVD's actually. Built-in ethernet and video AOK. I tried SuSE personal (free) version, which is a bit crippled compared to the Pro version, so I'd guess if you buy SuSE you'll be satisfied with functionality. Some other Lifebook model may be better for you, but to me FS seem to deliver quite reasonable quality stuff.
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Assisted Solution

bobo_tech earned 50 total points
ID: 12051700
Ditto for IBM.  Like I have said before, they have a good long relationship with alternative linux OS's.

LVL 34

Author Comment

ID: 12053931
Anyone have any experience with the new Linux laptop that HP has started to offer?
LVL 34

Author Comment

ID: 12053966
Whoops, that's what I get when my message composition is interrupted.

Thank you wall for your comments so far - I have been leaning towards IBM, mostly due to the excellent rep their laptops have for durability. But the price does give me pause (because I'm on a tight budget). Yes, I would use SUSE Professional in any case.

Anyone have any experience with the new Linux laptop that HP has started to offer?
LVL 34

Author Comment

ID: 12144443
OK, nods to leew for the Knoppix suggestion and Dell/IBM recommendation, td_miles for the specific IBM model recommendation, and /RID for the FS recommendation (which looks interesting). Thanks for all the input.
LVL 34

Author Comment

ID: 12227482
Update: I have gone with the Fujitsu N5010. 3.2 GHz P4, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, 10/100 NIC, 802.11 a+b/g, 4x USB 2.0, IEEE1394, DVD-RW, 16.1" SXGA+. With free shipping and a free Canon scanner, just over $2700, including taxes and $600 for the 3rd Party RAM upgrade to 2 GB (Fujitsu wants $1800 for the same upgrade).

Thanks for all the input.

I have a new Question over in the Linux TA asking for practical tips/advice on the installation. 500 points!

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