[K12OSN] OT: best distro for laptop

Kevin Squire gentgeen at linuxmail.org
Thu Jan 13 18:12:11 UTC 2005

Dear Rob,

After reading your comments, I really think Debian or Ubuntu
would be a great choice.  Then again maybe I have just become a
Debian zealot over the last 2 years <G>.  My comments below:

On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 12:35:17 -0500 (EST)
"Rob Owens" <robowens at myway.com> wrote:

> Kevin, Tim, Les, and Petre, thanks for the advice.  I should have
> mentioned a few other things in my original post:
> 1)  I need a distro that is free of charge for the software and the
> updates.  I know some (like Xandros, Mepis, SUSE) have purchase
> editions as well as download editions, but I don't know what
> limitations are imposed on the download editions.

The only Limitation I know on Mephis is the software.  I.E. the
purchased version comes with crossover office.  Don't know the others

> 2)  I have to use ndiswrapper for the Broadcom wireless NIC.  I think
> I had it working in Mandrake 10.0 (iwconfig recognized it), but I
> never was able to ping.  I suspect it was a problem w/ Mandrake's GUI
> for establishing network connections, though, because I was having
> weird problems w/ the wired connection as well.
Ubuntu seems to really shine in this area.  I had a wireless pci card
that would not work AT ALL with Linux (including the wrapper), but
Ubuntu detected it and worked "out of the box"  I know that they have 2
versions, a Live CD and an Installer.  Even thought the live CD is
pretty new, you might want to give it a shot first.

> 3)  I have to assign a static IP address to the laptop, so her router
> can port-forward my SSH requests to it.  A GUI to do this would be
> nice.  However, this combined with #2 means that auto-detection and
> setup of the wireless NIC probably isn't needed because I'm going to
> have to configure a lot of stuff manually anyway.

The GNOME with Ubuntu (I think it is 2.6 but I may be way off) has a
nice GUI for network stuff.  Although I think it is GNOME thing not an
Ubuntu thing.

> 4)  She'll be in California, and I'm in NJ.  I need a distro that will
> not require upgrading (with CD's) anytime soon.  I'm perfectly willing
> to remotely upgrade her system.  But I don't want to find out in 8
> months that security upgrades aren't available unless I upgrade to the
> latest version of the distribution.
This is definitly where a Debian based will shine.  I have a box right
now that my Grandma uses for email & internet with Debian Sarge.
I set up her apt source list to use "sarge" instead of "stable" or
"unstable" so that way she got all the eye candy, but when Sarge goes
stable, her box will move with it.  Updates can be done with cron and
you would never have to worry about it.

If you go this route I would stick with Debian or Ubuntu.  My
experience has Knoppix and family getting a bit buggy after doing an
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

> Les, could you tell me the name of the battery monitor applet and a
> wifi signal monitor for Gnome that you mentioned?
> Everybody else, do your suggestions still apply now that you know some
> more of my details?
> Thanks again.  I'll be looking into your recommendations.
> -Rob
>  --- On Thu 01/13, Petre Scheie < petre at maltzen.net > wrote:
> From: Petre Scheie [mailto: petre at maltzen.net]
> To: tkaldahl at maplewoodacademy.org, k12osn at redhat.com
> Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 09:55:52 -0600
> Subject: Re: [K12OSN] OT:  best distro for laptop
> I second the vote for Xandros.  I've got Mandrake 9.x on a Dell
> Latitude (CPx, I <br>think), which I installed about a year and a half
> ago.  It works fine with the <br>Cisco wireless card I have, but I
> could never get it to work with any others <br>like SMC, D-Link or
> some Realktek-based cards.  On two other Dells (a CPx and a <br>CPi) I
> put Xandros on, and it has seen every card I put in (be sure you do
> the <br>Update System under Xandros Networks).  And it has a nice
> graphical indicator of <br>the how much charge is left in the battery.
>  I'd switch the Mandrake to Xandros, <br>but it's my wife's laptop and
>  since it's not broken, she won't let me fix it. ;-)<br><br>I haven't
>  looked at Mandrake 10 yet--I have the disks, I'm a long-time Mandrake
>  <br>Club member,just haven't had the time--so it may have gotten
>  better about <br>detecting various wireless cards.  But I also think,
>  for a non-technical newbie <br>such as you sister, the Xandros
>  Network tool, which provides a <br>c!
> lick-and-install-it software service (most packages are free, but
> there are <br>some you have to sign up for their pay-service to get),
> is a real gem.  And I <br>think the Xandros file manager is the best
> bar none, as it automatically finds <br>all Windows shares AND NFS
> shares.<br><br>And it's Debian-based.<br><br>Petre<br><br>Tim Kaldahl
> wrote:<br>> On Thursday 13 January 2005 03:04, Rob Owens wrote:<br>>
> <br>>>I'm asking this off-topic question because I trust the opinions
> of those on<br>>>this list.  The laptop in question is my sister's. 
> It's currently<br>>>dual-booting Windows XP and Mandrake 10.0, but the
> wireless config under<br>>>Windows ate itself.  If I can get wireless
> working under Linux, that's what<br>>>she'll use.  Mandrake is on
> there just because it's my default choice, but<br>>>I'm open to
> anything.<br>>><br>>>In particular I'm looking for good power
> management tools.  If the distro<br>>>comes standard with them, great.
>  Or if somebody could recommend an !
> add-on<br>>>package that will work w/ Mandrake or something e!
>  lse, tha
> t would be great<br>>>too.  I'd like perhaps to have an ever-present
> battery monitor.  What else<br>>>is important?  (I don't own a laptop
> myself, so I don't really know what to<br>>>ask
> for).<br>>><br>>>Thanks for the
> suggestions.<br>>><br>>>-Rob<br>>><br>>>_____________________________
> __________________<br>>>No banners. No pop-ups. No kidding.<br>>>Make
> My Way your home on the Web -
> http://www.myway.com<br>>><br>>>_______________________________________________<br>>>K12OSN
> mailing
> list<br>>>K12OSN at redhat.com<br>>>https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listi
> nfo/k12osn<br>>>For more info see <http://www.k12os.org><br>> <br>>
> <br>> I personally am running with both Vector Linux and Xandros
> (community edition) <br>> on my laptop. The Xandros was easier to
> install, but I prefer the Vector <br>> Linux SOHO package. Xandros
> installed on both my Compaq Presario 720 and my <br>> Toshiba
> A15-S127. Both recognized my D-Link wireless card, but I had to <br>>
> provide ssid and such under Xandro! s. Vector automatically connects
> and <br>> obtains an address via DHCP. My access points are
> unprotected however, so I <br>> don't know how Vector would perform
> under WEP. With FC2 on my Compaq I also <br>> had to manually
> configure ssid and the rest. Xandros does seem to have some <br>>
> pretty good power management, I haven't worried about it with Vector.
> <br>> (Vector's apm monitor does seem to work on an old Acer laptop,
> but that is <br>> pure experimentation)<br>> <br>> I still consider
> myself an absolute newb with Linux, so take this for what it <br>> is
> worth and I hope that it helps.<br>> <br>> Tim Kaldahl<br>> Maplewood
> Academy<br>> I.T. Coordinator<br>> <br>> <br>> <br>>
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