[oclug] Purchasing a Linux Laptop/Notebook
The Linux Doctor
linuxdoctor at leitersolutions.com
Sat Nov 29 19:52:24 EST 2008
Hi again gang,
Thanks to everyone who offered advice on purchasing a laptop. I
followed the advice to check with TTE and went to their webpage where I
found the HP NC6220. Doing some checking I discovered that it worked
with linux and the price was right ... $449. Only problem was,
naturally, that it included the dreaded unwanted annoyance for
which I would have to pay in the form of the M$ graft. Surprise and
horray I discovered that Computer Supply House was having a sale
(combination moving and Christmas sale, I guess) where this same machine
was selling for $399 thus mitigating the graft payment to M$.
The first unit didn't last too long. After only about 20 minutes it
locked up on me and an attempt to reboot resulted in nothing but a
frozen BIOS splash screen. Fine, all machines do that from time to
time and perhaps this refurbished unit had more things wrong with it
than anybody thought. Back to Computer Supply House I went and brought
home another one.
This one worked fine and continues to work fine. After checking
everything out using the pre-installed unspeakable menace I gleefully
blew it away by installing Fedora 10 which came out just this past week.
Everything that I tested works on it right off. Not a single problem;
just a slight caveat in the form of the wireless network controller. The
notebook uses Broadcom BCM4311 and this particular wireless controller
necessitates the use of Broadcom's proprietary (and closed source)
firmware. Consulting the folks at linuxwireless.org gave me all the
information I needed including where I can get the firmware and
instruction on how to install it. I was up and running in short order.
So far I happy with the thing. I've never been crazy about notebook
keyboards and the pad-mouse (or whatever the hell it's called) is just
an annoyance that I've circumvented with the use of a usb-mouse. I'll
get used to it in time. If I didn't need it for work I probably
wouldn't have bought it. I'm quite pleased actually that it basically
worked right off. I no longer have the luxury of time to be able to
hack the hardware into submission. I am also impressed that, except
for the wireless portion, such old-style hacking wasn't really necessary.
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