[CentOS] Laptop for CentOS-5

Thu Jan 7 19:14:49 UTC 2010
Robert Heller <heller at deepsoft.com>

At Thu, 7 Jan 2010 13:37:46 -0500 (EST) CentOS mailing list <centos at centos.org> wrote:

> I have a defective HP-Compaq nx9420 and so I am looking to replace
> it.  I have pretty much decided to buy no further MicroSoft based
> products and would very much like to hear recommendations for a
> suitable notebook host to provide me with Linux based alternative.
> Given that all the basic functionality required is provided, the
> main thing that I am looking for is reliability of the host itself. 
> I do a deal of traveling so physical robustness is an issue.  But I
> also use my notebook for hours at a time, generally every day. This
> means that I am typically on a/c current rather than batteries and
> that power regulation and heat dissipation are also concerns.  The
> power regulator circuit is in fact what I believe has failed on the
> nx9420.
> Not infrequently I have the notebook on my chest or lap while
> working at home.  So the ventilation clearances provided by a flat
> desk support are frequently absent and the notebook design must
> accommodate this.
> I would like to use CentOs as this is what I am most familiar with. 
> But, I am open to CentOS alternatives like Ubuntu or even a
> non-Linux alternative like a PowerMac with OS-X.
> I have already looked at the Dell site on the basis of a friends
> recommendation. While Dell mentions Ubuntu is available for some of
> their notebook computers they do not seem to provide any way to
> actually configure a system with it.

Low-end (read: cheap) Dell laptops tend to be junk.  Dell is somewhat
between a rock and a hard place WRT selling computers with an O/S
*other* then MS-Windows, due to M$ OEM licensing.  Also, Dell (and other
makers) have had troubles with people chosing the *cheaper* Ubuntu
computers only to discover that MS-Windows software not working on them
and returning them as 'defective' (this is probably a mis-information
issue by the marketing people).  You may have to call Dell up and work
you way through the phone sales idiots to get what you want.

Another alternitive is an older model IBM Thinkpad -- they have
*Intel's* wireless adapters built-in -- Intel's wireless adaptors are
the most painless wireless adapters in existence since they are
supported by an open-source driver that is included with the base
kernel distro.  Almost all others require all sorts of fun and games to
get working under Linux.

> So, my desires are:
> Robust construction
> Reliable quality
> Reasonable weight (< 2.5 kg all in)
> Supported sound and video reproduction of reasonable quality
> 15-17" lcd screen
> Out-of-the-box support for wireless networking
> Battery life > 2.0 hrs.
> Not MS-Windows

I have an (old) IBM Thinkpad X25 and it works great (yes, it is older).

Unless you buy a used laptop, you will pay the Microsoft Tax.  It is almost
impossible to buy a *new* laptop with anything other than MS-Windows
pre-installed (unless you buy a MacBook).

> 64 bit
> core duo 2
> 2-4+ Gb RAM
> 120+ Gb HDD
> writable multi-mode DVD/CD drive
> CentOS-5+

OK, my IBM Thinkpad X25 has a 1.4ghz P4 (32-bit), will support up to
1gig of RAM, as big an *IDE* hard drive (I believe 160gig drives are
available), but has no DVD/CD drive (I have a 40gig drive in it
presently). I'm presently running CentOS 4.8, but plan on upgrading to
CentOS 5.4 soon.

Note: "64 bit, core duo 2, 2-4+ Gb RAM, and writable multi-mode DVD/CD
drive" are somewhat counter indicated with "Reasonable weight (< 2.5 kg
all in), Battery life > 2.0 hrs.".  You will need to make a trade off
here (i.e. the extra 'goodies' will mean more weight and/or less battery

Another note: unless you are doing something like SETI at Home, you *don't
really need* a multi-core processor.  99% of desktop applications are
single threaded (and there is no point in multi-threading them).  Only
Firefox is 'multi-threaded', but the extra threads are all I/O bound
most of the time (mostly downloading content, which is bad news on a
dialup connection...[wishing a single-threaded version of Firefox
existed]).  (Multi-core processors draw more power than a single core
processor and need more cooling...)

> Your system suggestions, both for hardware and OS, are most welcome.

Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Download the Model Railroad System
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Binaries for Linux and MS-Windows
heller at deepsoft.com       -- http://www.deepsoft.com/ModelRailroadSystem/