wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

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wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Marco Fioretti
Greetings,

I need to buy 2 or 3 notebooks, and run Ubuntu on them. Feature-wise,
I know what I need, or so I hope. But I have NO idea which brand/model
they correspond to, and specs/prices/availability/linux compatibility
change continuously, so any feedback is welcome. Here we go:

* used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.

  No budget for new ones, and probably no need either, see below. But
  also, regardless of price, don't want to risk on e.g 10yrs old
  machines that may break any moment. What I buy now should last 2/3
  years minimum. Is <= 300 EUR each reasonable/compatible with specs
  below? I have really no idea, please tell.

* standard size keyboard
* 15 inches or bigger screen

  (I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
  keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
  page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
  have NO use for numeric pads)

* usage: NO need for games, or 3D effects. But I do need to use
  libreoffice AND firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
  and smoothly as possible. That is, without any of them crashing,
  slowing down or taking 5+ seconds to refresh a tab, or change zoom
  level in a slide... Or struggling to play video from YouTube, Vimeo,
  or videoconferencing with Jit.si, Zoom, Skype, whatever.

  The other major uses of these machines would be heavy text
  processing via perl/bash scripts, and maybe digikam to organize
  picture galleries.

* fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course. I CAN hack/debug/tweak
  software to make hardware work with Linux... but I simply cannot
  afford the time to do it these days. So I need something that works
  right away, or at least has a RELIABLE, fully documented procedure
  to make it work. Ideally, all laptops should be the same model, so
  once I have one working, I just clone the whole configuration on the
  other.

Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
some gift cards I got...

Thanks in advance for your help!
Marco

--

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software is used *around* you

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Chris Green
On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 at 11:10:07AM +0100, M. Fioretti wrote:
> Greetings,
>
> I need to buy 2 or 3 notebooks, and run Ubuntu on them. Feature-wise,
> I know what I need, or so I hope. But I have NO idea which brand/model
> they correspond to, and specs/prices/availability/linux compatibility
> change continuously, so any feedback is welcome. Here we go:
>
> * used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.
>
Lenovo Thinkpad of some description?  E.g.:-

https://microdream.co.uk/lenovo-thinkpad-t530-15-6-core-i5-3320m-4gb-320gb-dvdrw-wifi-windows-10-professional-64bit.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8LqK6u_X5QIVRbTtCh3aoQwnEAkYBCABEgIxv_D_BwE

I've had several Thinkpads and they always seem to run Linux (xubuntu
in my case) without any problems.

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ADDENDUM TO: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Marco Fioretti
In reply to this post by Marco Fioretti
Sorry, I forgot to clarify one important thing: I *do* remember that
in the past, on this very list, Liam (IIRC) and maybe others
recommended used Lenovo Thinkpad laptops as the ones with the best
price/performance ratios for use with Ubuntu.

OK, but that was a while ago, availability (and price) of models
changes continuously, and even searching online ONLY for used /
refurbished "Lenovo Thinkpad" returns suggestions for too many
different models to be useful without wasting days to check, or
getting advice from someone more up to date than me with the different
models. Hence my request.

On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 11:10:07 AM +0100, Marco Fioretti wrote:

> Greetings,
>
> I need to buy 2 or 3 notebooks, and run Ubuntu on them. Feature-wise,
> I know what I need, or so I hope. But I have NO idea which brand/model
> they correspond to, and specs/prices/availability/linux compatibility
> change continuously, so any feedback is welcome. Here we go:
>
> * used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.
>
>   No budget for new ones, and probably no need either, see below. But
>   also, regardless of price, don't want to risk on e.g 10yrs old
>   machines that may break any moment. What I buy now should last 2/3
>   years minimum. Is <= 300 EUR each reasonable/compatible with specs
>   below? I have really no idea, please tell.
>
> * standard size keyboard
> * 15 inches or bigger screen
>
>   (I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
>   keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
>   page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
>   have NO use for numeric pads)
>
> * usage: NO need for games, or 3D effects. But I do need to use
>   libreoffice AND firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
>   and smoothly as possible. That is, without any of them crashing,
>   slowing down or taking 5+ seconds to refresh a tab, or change zoom
>   level in a slide... Or struggling to play video from YouTube, Vimeo,
>   or videoconferencing with Jit.si, Zoom, Skype, whatever.
>
>   The other major uses of these machines would be heavy text
>   processing via perl/bash scripts, and maybe digikam to organize
>   picture galleries.
>
> * fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course. I CAN hack/debug/tweak
>   software to make hardware work with Linux... but I simply cannot
>   afford the time to do it these days. So I need something that works
>   right away, or at least has a RELIABLE, fully documented procedure
>   to make it work. Ideally, all laptops should be the same model, so
>   once I have one working, I just clone the whole configuration on the
>   other.
>
> Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
> some gift cards I got...
>
> Thanks in advance for your help!
> Marco
>
> --
>
> M. Fioretti http://mfioretti.com                   http://stop.zona-m.net
>
> Your own civil rights and the quality of your life heavily depend on how
> software is used *around* you
>
> --
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> [hidden email]
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software is used *around* you

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by Marco Fioretti
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 11:12, M. Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Greetings,

Hi Marco

> * used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.

OK.

* In what country/currency?
* International shipping OK?
* what keyboard layout etc.?

> * standard size keyboard

OK. Chiclet acceptable or only traditional?

> * 15 inches or bigger screen

That is _big_. That's about as big as notebooks go at all these days.
It will _dramatically_ restrict your options.

>   (I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
>   keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
>   page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
>   have NO use for numeric pads)

This is like saying "I do not want a rowing boat" and then insisting
on an aircraft carrier.

My main laptop is a Thinkpad X220 with a circa 12" screen. It's fine
for use when travelling, I've watched movies on it, etc.

I also have a 14" screen machine which is significantly bigger. It's
not so portable but would be better for multitasking.

I used to have a 17" laptop but I sold it. Lovely, suitable as a main
PC, but barely portable at all. For that reason the 17" class has
these days mostly been replaced by 15.2"-15.6" as desktop replacement
size.

I would urge 2 things. Well, maybe 3 but one isn't about the laptop.

[1] Consider resolution not just size
[2] Consider around the 14" size range but high res, e.g. 1600*900
[3] If higher-res screens are causing you problems, get your eyes
checked. Even off-the-shelf / over-the-counter reading glasses may
help. We've been corresponding since the RULE Project days and I think
you may be around my age, and human eyes start to deteriorate at about
38-39Y of age as the lenses crystallise.

>   firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
>   and smoothly as possible.

So you need _at least_ 8GB RAM, and more might help. An SSD will also
dramatically improve performance.

> * fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course.

That clinches it, for me.

I always recommend Lenovo Thinkpads anyway, for superior build
quality, high-quality keyboards, and other characteristics. However, I
know Canonical uses a lot of Thinkpads (as does Red Hat) and so their
Linux support is among the best.

Avoid Dell, HP or Sony.

Toshiba can be OK.

But I would _strongly_ recommend Thinkpads.

Note, *NOT* IdeaPads or any other range. Thinkpad or nothing.

> Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
> some gift cards I got...

Not that I know of refurbed/used, no.

Use the tokens for some SSDs or RAM.

Depending on where and what localisation, and whether UK sourcing is
acceptable, I would suggest you look at:

https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/c/512/IBM-Lenovo-Laptops/
 -- for good prices

https://www.tier1online.com/
 -- often better condition and spec but a little more expensive

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Wade Smart-2
In reply to this post by Marco Fioretti
Marco I purchased 400 ThinkPad E525 that came off a business
lease, installed ubuntu and put them right back out into the school system.
These were deployed to the UK. Im sure there are lots of units to use
but I have yet to go wrong with ThinkPads.

Wade
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Registered Linux Machine: #408606
Linux since June 2005

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 4:12 AM M. Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Greetings,
>
> I need to buy 2 or 3 notebooks, and run Ubuntu on them. Feature-wise,
> I know what I need, or so I hope. But I have NO idea which brand/model
> they correspond to, and specs/prices/availability/linux compatibility
> change continuously, so any feedback is welcome. Here we go:
>
> * used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.
>
>   No budget for new ones, and probably no need either, see below. But
>   also, regardless of price, don't want to risk on e.g 10yrs old
>   machines that may break any moment. What I buy now should last 2/3
>   years minimum. Is <= 300 EUR each reasonable/compatible with specs
>   below? I have really no idea, please tell.
>
> * standard size keyboard
> * 15 inches or bigger screen
>
>   (I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
>   keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
>   page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
>   have NO use for numeric pads)
>
> * usage: NO need for games, or 3D effects. But I do need to use
>   libreoffice AND firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
>   and smoothly as possible. That is, without any of them crashing,
>   slowing down or taking 5+ seconds to refresh a tab, or change zoom
>   level in a slide... Or struggling to play video from YouTube, Vimeo,
>   or videoconferencing with Jit.si, Zoom, Skype, whatever.
>
>   The other major uses of these machines would be heavy text
>   processing via perl/bash scripts, and maybe digikam to organize
>   picture galleries.
>
> * fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course. I CAN hack/debug/tweak
>   software to make hardware work with Linux... but I simply cannot
>   afford the time to do it these days. So I need something that works
>   right away, or at least has a RELIABLE, fully documented procedure
>   to make it work. Ideally, all laptops should be the same model, so
>   once I have one working, I just clone the whole configuration on the
>   other.
>
> Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
> some gift cards I got...
>
> Thanks in advance for your help!
> Marco
>
> --
>
> M. Fioretti http://mfioretti.com                   http://stop.zona-m.net
>
> Your own civil rights and the quality of your life heavily depend on how
> software is used *around* you
>
> --
> ubuntu-users mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-users

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Tom H-4
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 12:22 PM Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Avoid Dell, HP or Sony.
>
> Toshiba can be OK.
>
> But I would _strongly_ recommend Thinkpads.
>
> Note, *NOT* IdeaPads or any other range. Thinkpad or nothing.

I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.
Especially since Dell sells some models with Ubuntu pre-installed. As,
IIRC, Oliver G pointed out on this list, the Dells with Ubuntu
pre-installed don't have the same hardware installed as the same
models with Windows pre-installed. I bought this summer a Dell laptop
with Windows pre-installed and it's running Ubuntu without a hitch.
The strong Lenovo recommendation might've been valid 5 or 10 years
ago, but I'm not convinced that it's still sound.

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Jay Ridgley
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On 11/7/19 5:19 AM, Liam Proven wrote:

> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 11:12, M. Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Greetings,
>
> Hi Marco
>
>> * used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.
>
> OK.
>
> * In what country/currency?
> * International shipping OK?
> * what keyboard layout etc.?
>
>> * standard size keyboard
>
> OK. Chiclet acceptable or only traditional?
>
>> * 15 inches or bigger screen
>
> That is _big_. That's about as big as notebooks go at all these days.
> It will _dramatically_ restrict your options.
>
>>    (I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
>>    keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
>>    page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
>>    have NO use for numeric pads)
>
> This is like saying "I do not want a rowing boat" and then insisting
> on an aircraft carrier.
>
> My main laptop is a Thinkpad X220 with a circa 12" screen. It's fine
> for use when travelling, I've watched movies on it, etc.
>
> I also have a 14" screen machine which is significantly bigger. It's
> not so portable but would be better for multitasking.
>
> I used to have a 17" laptop but I sold it. Lovely, suitable as a main
> PC, but barely portable at all. For that reason the 17" class has
> these days mostly been replaced by 15.2"-15.6" as desktop replacement
> size.
>
> I would urge 2 things. Well, maybe 3 but one isn't about the laptop.
>
> [1] Consider resolution not just size
> [2] Consider around the 14" size range but high res, e.g. 1600*900
> [3] If higher-res screens are causing you problems, get your eyes
> checked. Even off-the-shelf / over-the-counter reading glasses may
> help. We've been corresponding since the RULE Project days and I think
> you may be around my age, and human eyes start to deteriorate at about
> 38-39Y of age as the lenses crystallise.
>
>>    firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
>>    and smoothly as possible.
>
> So you need _at least_ 8GB RAM, and more might help. An SSD will also
> dramatically improve performance.
>
>> * fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course.
>
> That clinches it, for me.
>
> I always recommend Lenovo Thinkpads anyway, for superior build
> quality, high-quality keyboards, and other characteristics. However, I
> know Canonical uses a lot of Thinkpads (as does Red Hat) and so their
> Linux support is among the best.
>
> Avoid Dell, HP or Sony.
>
Good Morning Laim,

Out of curiosity: You say "Avoid Dell" I live in Round Rock, TX
(Headquarters for Dell) and have used Dell systems with Ubuntu (I erase
all of Windows) for years, without any problems. They are available here
locally at very good prices, either new or used. I can recommend a local
dealer if interested. They can and will install Ubuntu.

Cheers,
Jay

> Toshiba can be OK.
>
> But I would _strongly_ recommend Thinkpads.
>
> Note, *NOT* IdeaPads or any other range. Thinkpad or nothing.
>
>> Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
>> some gift cards I got...
>
> Not that I know of refurbed/used, no.
>
> Use the tokens for some SSDs or RAM.
>
> Depending on where and what localisation, and whether UK sourcing is
> acceptable, I would suggest you look at:
>
> https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/c/512/IBM-Lenovo-Laptops/
>   -- for good prices
>
> https://www.tier1online.com/
>   -- often better condition and spec but a little more expensive
>


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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by Tom H-4
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 14:37, Tom H <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
> Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.

I currently use a Dell laptop (a Latitude E7270) and 2 Dell desktops,
alongside a variety of other brands, including Lenovo and various
generic clones.

I don't like my Latitude much. It has a horrid chiclet keyboard with
almost no travel and poor feel. The machine feels plasticky and not
very robust.

This year I have also installed 3 or 4 Latitudes and Precisions for
other people. I have experienced problems with:
* the UEFI firmware
* USB 3 docking stations
* laptops with dual GPUs

E.g.

Once nVidia drivers are installed on a dual-GPU Precision, it could no
longer output to displays on the docking station. At all. We ended up
returning one Precision model because I could not get *either* the
Intel or the nVidia GPU working correctly with Linux. After 3 days of
fighting, I got a Latitude instead. The display worked fine on this,
as it only has 1 GPU, the Intel integrated one.

*But* the firmware would not let Linux boot from the hard disk, only
from USB or the network.

I've also had problems with a Precision 5810 desktop.

A friend & I worked on this for nearly a week trying to get it to boot
a pure Linux-only install from hard disk. We tried I think 5 or 6
different distros. The UEFI will not boot any of them. MBR, GPT,
separate /boot partition, separate GRUB partition, it doesn't matter.
It won't boot a Linux-only hard disk. Yes, I updated to the latest
firmware, of course.

I had to install Win10 just in order to get the HD to boot. Then with
Linux as a 2nd OS, it's happy.

After weeks of trying to get 2 graphics cards working at once, I
replaced both with an old nVidia GTX 570 from a colleague. The machine
doesn't have the 8-pin PCIE power connector the card requires. I had
to order a SATA-to-PCIE convertor. When it came, I discovered the only
available connectors are on opposite sides of the case and it is just
barely possible to connect to both. I managed it. Then the lid
wouldn't go on, because there is some big metal box spot-welded to the
lid right over the end of the expansion slots, which fouls the power
connection for the graphics card.

The previous desktop machine was an Optiplex 990, which also gave me problems.

I have, in the past, had problems where, for instance, a customer
accidentally damaged their Dell desktop's motherboard. No other
motherboard would fit the case -- it looks like ATX, but it isn't, not
quite. The PSU connectors are also nonstandard. In the end I had to
build him a whole new PC with a new motherboard and CPU, keeping only
the RAM, disks and graphics card from the Dell. The rest we had to
scrap.

I don't like modern Dells much, desktop or laptop. The company is so
big it doesn't need to stick to industry standards any more. It sets
them, or it bends them as it sees fit, with nonstandard motherboards,
nonstandard PSUs, nonstandard connectors on both so only a Dell
motherboard will fit a Dell case, and only a Dell PSU can power a Dell
motherboard.

1990s Dell desktops were fine.

On the laptops, the firmware on all those I've tried in the last 2
years was horrible, and it's clear it's only tested with Windows, not
Linux. Colleagues have had problems too, like screens that won't work
with a docking station until you boot Windows once and configure them
with Windows.

So, my personal opinion is that I do not like Dell laptops because of
the keyboards and pointing devices, and I don't like Dell desktops
because of nonstandard components and problems fitting or exchanging
parts with off-the-shelf bits.

In both laptops and desktops, I do not like working with their UEFI
firmware, but to be fair, I hate UEFI in general.

I have heard of serious problems even with Dell laptops shipped with
Ubuntu, such as problems using other distros, problems if you don't
have Dell's pre-installed drivers, problems if you try to upgrade to
an unsupported version, etc.

Thinkpads have never given me firmware or GPU problems, and in my
limited experience with docking stations, they have Just Worked™ too.

I have repaired Sony and HP laptops. I have owned Sony and Toshiba.

In all cases, I felt the build quality was inferior to Thinkpads.

I know some people like them. I know some people and some companies
have standardised on them. But I would not spend my own money on them,
when I was working as a consultant I advised my customers to avoid
them.

For desktop, I would choose machines built from generic bits. Well,
actually, I'd choose Apple first, then generic PCs.

I don't like Apple's modern keyboards or trackpads, though, so I do
not use or recommend their modern laptops. Older ones are fine -- I am
currently refurbishing a 2010 MacBook Pro for my girlfriend and it's a
lovely machine with one of the few usable chiclet keyboards and a nice
large, sensitive trackpad.

But for laptops, of all the many makes and models I have owned, used,
worked with, services, repaired and upgraded, Thinkpads have _by far_
the best build quality of any vendor, the best pointing devices, and
until they went chiclet, the best keyboards.

They're not perfect. E.g. I would prefer HDMI ports to DisplayPort.
But they are as good as PC laptops get, and I have had no problem with
their firmware yet.

The consumer stuff -- Ideapads, cheaper desktops, etc. -- have UEFI as
nasty as anyone else's.


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Re[2]: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Marco Fioretti
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
Hi Liam, and thanks to you and all the others who are already providing useful feedback.

Let's start from this:

> This is like saying "I do not want a rowing boat" and then insisting
> on an aircraft carrier.

Yes, I am well/painfully aware that some of my expectations can be like that.
That's why I come to experts who can bring me back on theground.

Until your email, I had not realized that 15+ inches screens on laptops have become
very rare, and albeit I've seen and used them many times, I had no idea that certain types of keyboards are called "chiclets". I've been an IC designer for many years. I could still write HDL code for a living if I had to, or write developers manuals for microprocessors if I had to.

But  for whatever reason I really fail to get interested in, or retain, certain notions about personal computing hardware, except in moments like this, when I'm forced by circumstances to replace it. One of the (many) reasons why I got involved in RULE is exactly that I did not want to re-learn what hardware is current or compatible with which other every 3 years or so...

Back to my current problem:

1) I prefer traditional keyboard, but that is not a must. Keyboard layout: italian or US, no problem

2) screen size/resolution: of course, the highest the resolution the better (and yes, I'm already equipped with glasses bought specifically to stare long hours at crisp, but tiny text, alas).
This said, I said 15 inches just because a) that is the size of the venerable HP Pavilion
I've been using until last month, which was really fine and b) yes it's not really portable, but enough
portable for my own needs. but I could live with 14 if that has become a problem.  Not less, however.

3) I live in Italy, so whatever I buy must be shipped here/ purchasable from here. International shipping is OK. So is buying from some used hardware store around the corner, if it happens to have the exact brand/model I need.

4) considering all this, and all the feedback received so far, it seems the best /less risky solution for me is to buy ANY Lenovo Thinkpad... as long as it has 14 inches screen, small SSD, 4GB RAM minimum, and it's not older than 4/5 years, so it may last just as much. Am I right? If yes, please just point me to the best series/model of Thinkpad, and I can take care of finding the right buyer myself. That's not a problem, what "kills" me is spending lots of time to figure out what the best model(s) is.

Thanks!
Marco

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 12:21, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 11:12, M. Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
Greetings,


Hi Marco

* used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.


OK.

* In what country/currency?
* International shipping OK?
* what keyboard layout etc.?

* standard size keyboard


OK. Chiclet acceptable or only traditional?

* 15 inches or bigger screen


That is _big_. That's about as big as notebooks go at all these days.
It will _dramatically_ restrict your options.

(I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
have NO use for numeric pads)


This is like saying "I do not want a rowing boat" and then insisting
on an aircraft carrier.

My main laptop is a Thinkpad X220 with a circa 12" screen. It's fine
for use when travelling, I've watched movies on it, etc.

I also have a 14" screen machine which is significantly bigger. It's
not so portable but would be better for multitasking.

I used to have a 17" laptop but I sold it. Lovely, suitable as a main
PC, but barely portable at all. For that reason the 17" class has
these days mostly been replaced by 15.2"-15.6" as desktop replacement
size.

I would urge 2 things. Well, maybe 3 but one isn't about the laptop.

[1] Consider resolution not just size
[2] Consider around the 14" size range but high res, e.g. 1600*900
[3] If higher-res screens are causing you problems, get your eyes
checked. Even off-the-shelf / over-the-counter reading glasses may
help. We've been corresponding since the RULE Project days and I think
you may be around my age, and human eyes start to deteriorate at about
38-39Y of age as the lenses crystallise.

firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
and smoothly as possible.


So you need _at least_ 8GB RAM, and more might help. An SSD will also
dramatically improve performance.

* fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course.


That clinches it, for me.

I always recommend Lenovo Thinkpads anyway, for superior build
quality, high-quality keyboards, and other characteristics. However, I
know Canonical uses a lot of Thinkpads (as does Red Hat) and so their
Linux support is among the best.

Avoid Dell, HP or Sony.

Toshiba can be OK.

But I would _strongly_ recommend Thinkpads.

Note, *NOT* IdeaPads or any other range. Thinkpad or nothing.

Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
some gift cards I got...


Not that I know of refurbed/used, no.

Use the tokens for some SSDs or RAM.

Depending on where and what localisation, and whether UK sourcing is
acceptable, I would suggest you look at:

https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/c/512/IBM-Lenovo-Laptops/
-- for good prices

https://www.tier1online.com/
-- often better condition and spec but a little more expensive

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Re: Re[2]: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Wade Smart-2
Scroll down the page:

https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/outletus/laptops/c/LAPTOPS
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Linux since June 2005

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 9:46 AM Marco Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hi Liam, and thanks to you and all the others who are already providing useful feedback.
>
> Let's start from this:
>
> > This is like saying "I do not want a rowing boat" and then insisting
> > on an aircraft carrier.
>
> Yes, I am well/painfully aware that some of my expectations can be like that.
> That's why I come to experts who can bring me back on theground.
>
> Until your email, I had not realized that 15+ inches screens on laptops have become
> very rare, and albeit I've seen and used them many times, I had no idea that certain types of keyboards are called "chiclets". I've been an IC designer for many years. I could still write HDL code for a living if I had to, or write developers manuals for microprocessors if I had to.
>
> But  for whatever reason I really fail to get interested in, or retain, certain notions about personal computing hardware, except in moments like this, when I'm forced by circumstances to replace it. One of the (many) reasons why I got involved in RULE is exactly that I did not want to re-learn what hardware is current or compatible with which other every 3 years or so...
>
> Back to my current problem:
>
> 1) I prefer traditional keyboard, but that is not a must. Keyboard layout: italian or US, no problem
>
> 2) screen size/resolution: of course, the highest the resolution the better (and yes, I'm already equipped with glasses bought specifically to stare long hours at crisp, but tiny text, alas).
> This said, I said 15 inches just because a) that is the size of the venerable HP Pavilion
> I've been using until last month, which was really fine and b) yes it's not really portable, but enough
> portable for my own needs. but I could live with 14 if that has become a problem.  Not less, however.
>
> 3) I live in Italy, so whatever I buy must be shipped here/ purchasable from here. International shipping is OK. So is buying from some used hardware store around the corner, if it happens to have the exact brand/model I need.
>
> 4) considering all this, and all the feedback received so far, it seems the best /less risky solution for me is to buy ANY Lenovo Thinkpad... as long as it has 14 inches screen, small SSD, 4GB RAM minimum, and it's not older than 4/5 years, so it may last just as much. Am I right? If yes, please just point me to the best series/model of Thinkpad, and I can take care of finding the right buyer myself. That's not a problem, what "kills" me is spending lots of time to figure out what the best model(s) is.
>
> Thanks!
> Marco
>
> On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 12:21, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 11:12, M. Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Greetings,
>
>
>
> Hi Marco
>
> * used/refurbished, max 4/5 years old.
>
>
>
> OK.
>
> * In what country/currency?
> * International shipping OK?
> * what keyboard layout etc.?
>
> * standard size keyboard
>
>
>
> OK. Chiclet acceptable or only traditional?
>
> * 15 inches or bigger screen
>
>
>
> That is _big_. That's about as big as notebooks go at all these days.
> It will _dramatically_ restrict your options.
>
> (I cannot use subnotebooks/netbooks. I did in the past, but small
> keyboards give me cramps, and small screens make e.g. reading a web
> page and commenting it in an editor too slow. In case it matters, I
> have NO use for numeric pads)
>
>
>
> This is like saying "I do not want a rowing boat" and then insisting
> on an aircraft carrier.
>
> My main laptop is a Thinkpad X220 with a circa 12" screen. It's fine
> for use when travelling, I've watched movies on it, etc.
>
> I also have a 14" screen machine which is significantly bigger. It's
> not so portable but would be better for multitasking.
>
> I used to have a 17" laptop but I sold it. Lovely, suitable as a main
> PC, but barely portable at all. For that reason the 17" class has
> these days mostly been replaced by 15.2"-15.6" as desktop replacement
> size.
>
> I would urge 2 things. Well, maybe 3 but one isn't about the laptop.
>
> [1] Consider resolution not just size
> [2] Consider around the 14" size range but high res, e.g. 1600*900
> [3] If higher-res screens are causing you problems, get your eyes
> checked. Even off-the-shelf / over-the-counter reading glasses may
> help. We've been corresponding since the RULE Project days and I think
> you may be around my age, and human eyes start to deteriorate at about
> 38-39Y of age as the lenses crystallise.
>
> firefox with 20+ tabs open all the time, as quickly
> and smoothly as possible.
>
>
>
> So you need _at least_ 8GB RAM, and more might help. An SSD will also
> dramatically improve performance.
>
> * fully compatible with Ubuntu, of course.
>
>
>
> That clinches it, for me.
>
> I always recommend Lenovo Thinkpads anyway, for superior build
> quality, high-quality keyboards, and other characteristics. However, I
> know Canonical uses a lot of Thinkpads (as does Red Hat) and so their
> Linux support is among the best.
>
> Avoid Dell, HP or Sony.
>
> Toshiba can be OK.
>
> But I would _strongly_ recommend Thinkpads.
>
> Note, *NOT* IdeaPads or any other range. Thinkpad or nothing.
>
> Optional, but very welcome: models available on Amazon, so I can use
> some gift cards I got...
>
>
>
> Not that I know of refurbed/used, no.
>
> Use the tokens for some SSDs or RAM.
>
> Depending on where and what localisation, and whether UK sourcing is
> acceptable, I would suggest you look at:
>
> https://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/c/512/IBM-Lenovo-Laptops/
> -- for good prices
>
> https://www.tier1online.com/
> -- often better condition and spec but a little more expensive
>
> --
> Liam Proven - Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
> Email: [hidden email] - Google Mail/Hangouts/Plus: [hidden email]
> Twitter/Facebook/Flickr: lproven - Skype/LinkedIn: liamproven
> UK: +44 7939-087884 - ČR (+ WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal): +420 702 829 053
>
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>
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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Marco Fioretti
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 16:23:07 PM +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 14:37, Tom H <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
> > Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.
>
> I currently use a Dell laptop (a Latitude E7270) and 2 Dell
> desktops, alongside a variety of other brands, including Lenovo and
> various generic clones.

OK, speaking for me only, of course: the problems Liam mentions are
EXACTLY what I cannot afford to face myself. I do have the skills to
diagnose and do everything he did on those Latitude/Precision models.
And I am really grateful to Liam and everybody else who spend many
hours to debug and report certain problems, so others can benefit.

But in this period of my life I cannot afford to spend that kind of
time just to get to a login prompt. Not at all. Not even close. As far
as I am concerned, I need something into which I plug a Ubuntu DVD or
USB stick, tell the installer the bare minimum (keyboard, language,
partitions...) then ignore it until all I have to do is reboot and
start working. Ditto for messing with BIOS/UEFI, graphic chipset/GPUs
and similar.

So if nobody reports problems with Thinkpads and ONE reports problems
with Dell, or any other brand, then for me Thinkpad it is, and all is
left is to discover what specific model has the best price performance
ratio for my specific needs.

YMMV, of course,

THanks,

Marco

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Re: Re[2]: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by Marco Fioretti
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 16:46, Marco Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Until your email, I had not realized that 15+ inches screens on laptops have become
> very rare,

My impression is that in general the rise of tablets is driving the
laptop market towards thinner/lighter laptops. Even things like VGA
and Ethernet RJ45 sockets are getting too big to fit onto modern
laptops -- even big corporate portable workstations -- and USB sockets
are too big to fit onto slimline laptops now, driving the move to USB
C.

>  and albeit I've seen and used them many times, I had no idea that certain types of keyboards are called "chiclets".

It's named after an American brand of chewing gum.

I do not know any mainstream laptops that still offer traditional
keyboards now. Everything has switched to "island" or chiclet designs:
very flat, flat keys with no rake (the step between rows), very little
key travel, and gaps between keys.

For people like me who strongly dislike this design of keyboard, it's
a problem. I am slowly stocking up on the last generation of Thinkpads
with conventional keyboards. I have an X220 and a T420 so far, and am
considering a W520 and maybe even a W700 or W701 as well.


> 4) considering all this, and all the feedback received so far, it seems the best /less risky solution for me is to buy ANY Lenovo Thinkpad... as long as it has 14 inches screen, small SSD, 4GB RAM minimum, and it's not older than 4/5 years, so it may last just as much. Am I right? If yes, please just point me to the best series/model of Thinkpad, and I can take care of finding the right buyer myself. That's not a problem, what "kills" me is spending lots of time to figure out what the best model(s) is.

So not X2** series (X220, X230, X240 etc): screen too small.
T4?0 (410/420 etc.) series are 14" and quite portable.
X1 is thin and light but with a big screen.
W5?0 series are portable workstations with 15+" screens. Nice, but not
very portable.
W70? series are huge battleship machines with a 17" screen and a numeric keypad.

I'd consider an X1 or a 4?0/5?0 series. If you buy used, both a 4?0
for on the move and a 5?0 for on the desk are doable.

Look for 8GB RAM or at least only 1 4GB SO-DIMM so you can add your
own without replacing what's there.

An SSD is easy to add later and will give you a supply of 2½" external
backup drives.

My X220 takes 2 drives: an mSATA SSD plus a 2½" HD. I have SSDs in
both bays. I think this is possible on all the larger machines too, or
you can have an mSATA SSD for the OS and a big spinning hard disk for
/home and swap.

--
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Email: [hidden email] - Google Mail/Hangouts/Plus: [hidden email]
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Re: Re[2]: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Bret Busby-2
On 07/11/2019, Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 16:46, Marco Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Until your email, I had not realized that 15+ inches screens on laptops
>> have become
>> very rare,
>
> My impression is that in general the rise of tablets is driving the
> laptop market towards thinner/lighter laptops. Even things like VGA
> and Ethernet RJ45 sockets are getting too big to fit onto modern
> laptops -- even big corporate portable workstations -- and USB sockets
> are too big to fit onto slimline laptops now, driving the move to USB
> C.
>
>>  and albeit I've seen and used them many times, I had no idea that certain
>> types of keyboards are called "chiclets".
>
> It's named after an American brand of chewing gum.
>
> I do not know any mainstream laptops that still offer traditional
> keyboards now. Everything has switched to "island" or chiclet designs:
> very flat, flat keys with no rake (the step between rows), very little
> key travel, and gaps between keys.
>
> For people like me who strongly dislike this design of keyboard, it's
> a problem. I am slowly stocking up on the last generation of Thinkpads
> with conventional keyboards. I have an X220 and a T420 so far, and am
> considering a W520 and maybe even a W700 or W701 as well.
>
>
>> 4) considering all this, and all the feedback received so far, it seems
>> the best /less risky solution for me is to buy ANY Lenovo Thinkpad... as
>> long as it has 14 inches screen, small SSD, 4GB RAM minimum, and it's not
>> older than 4/5 years, so it may last just as much. Am I right? If yes,
>> please just point me to the best series/model of Thinkpad, and I can take
>> care of finding the right buyer myself. That's not a problem, what "kills"
>> me is spending lots of time to figure out what the best model(s) is.
>
> So not X2** series (X220, X230, X240 etc): screen too small.
> T4?0 (410/420 etc.) series are 14" and quite portable.
> X1 is thin and light but with a big screen.
> W5?0 series are portable workstations with 15+" screens. Nice, but not
> very portable.
> W70? series are huge battleship machines with a 17" screen and a numeric
> keypad.
>
> I'd consider an X1 or a 4?0/5?0 series. If you buy used, both a 4?0
> for on the move and a 5?0 for on the desk are doable.
>
> Look for 8GB RAM or at least only 1 4GB SO-DIMM so you can add your
> own without replacing what's there.
>
> An SSD is easy to add later and will give you a supply of 2½" external
> backup drives.
>
> My X220 takes 2 drives: an mSATA SSD plus a 2½" HD. I have SSDs in
> both bays. I think this is possible on all the larger machines too, or
> you can have an mSATA SSD for the OS and a big spinning hard disk for
> /home and swap.
>
> --
> Liam Proven - Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
> Email: [hidden email] - Google Mail/Hangouts/Plus: [hidden email]
> Twitter/Facebook/Flickr: lproven - Skype/LinkedIn: liamproven
> UK: +44 7939-087884 - ČR (+ WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal): +420 702 829 053
>

So, this thing should be able to run modern Ubuntu?

https://www.dicksmith.com.au/da/buy/lenovo-v145-156-amd-e2-9000-8gb-ram-1tb-hdd-win10-home-notebook-81mt0047au-lenovo/

I do not know what the price for it would be, in Europe, but I expect
it would be somewhere around 200 Euro's, if available there.

The CPU, from what I have read, is not very fast - significantly
slower than an i3, and it does not have a DVD drive, so installing
Ubuntu would have to be from a USB thumbdrive.

It does not have many USB ports - only two, I think.

I have been considering getting one.

--
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Armadale
West Australia
..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
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 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
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....................................................

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Re: Re[2]: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Liam Proven
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 17:20, Bret Busby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> So, this thing should be able to run modern Ubuntu?
>
> https://www.dicksmith.com.au/da/buy/lenovo-v145-156-amd-e2-9000-8gb-ram-1tb-hdd-win10-home-notebook-81mt0047au-lenovo/

Note. NOT A THINKPAD.

It's not the vendor. It's the product range. Lenovo is a big company
and makes tons of ranges, for home, for school, for kids, for games,
for browsing, for all sorts.

Thinkpad is the bulletproof business/pro-quality range.

IMHO, ignore all the rest.

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Re: Re[2]: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Robert Heller
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
At Thu, 7 Nov 2019 17:01:22 +0100 "Ubuntu user technical support,  not for general discussions" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 16:46, Marco Fioretti <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Until your email, I had not realized that 15+ inches screens on laptops have become
> > very rare,
>
> My impression is that in general the rise of tablets is driving the
> laptop market towards thinner/lighter laptops. Even things like VGA
> and Ethernet RJ45 sockets are getting too big to fit onto modern
> laptops -- even big corporate portable workstations -- and USB sockets
> are too big to fit onto slimline laptops now, driving the move to USB
> C.
>
> >  and albeit I've seen and used them many times, I had no idea that certain types of keyboards are called "chiclets".
>
> It's named after an American brand of chewing gum.
>
> I do not know any mainstream laptops that still offer traditional
> keyboards now. Everything has switched to "island" or chiclet designs:
> very flat, flat keys with no rake (the step between rows), very little
> key travel, and gaps between keys.
>
> For people like me who strongly dislike this design of keyboard, it's
> a problem. I am slowly stocking up on the last generation of Thinkpads
> with conventional keyboards. I have an X220 and a T420 so far, and am
> considering a W520 and maybe even a W700 or W701 as well.
I think *I* will be moving away from a "conventual" (x86_64 based) laptop
(currently I have Thinkpad R500 running CentOS 6) to an ARM-based SBC with
battery power. I will probably have a "conventual" (normal [desktop], or as
normal as is still available) keyboard and a mouse (with a drop of superglue
in the scrollwheel bearing, since I loathe scrollwheels -- basic 3-button mice
are pretty much impossible to get anymore.). I am currently considering the
Banana Pis, since some of them include *SATA* ports, allowing for a good sized
2-1/2" SSD drive (>= 256G), rather than be limited to a 32G MicroSD card.
Mount everything in a small hard-shell briefcase...

>
>
> > 4) considering all this, and all the feedback received so far, it seems the best /less risky solution for me is to buy ANY Lenovo Thinkpad... as long as it has 14 inches screen, small SSD, 4GB RAM minimum, and it's not older than 4/5 years, so it may last just as much. Am I right? If yes, please just point me to the best series/model of Thinkpad, and I can take care of finding the right buyer myself. That's not a problem, what "kills" me is spending lots of time to figure out what the best model(s) is.
>
> So not X2** series (X220, X230, X240 etc): screen too small.
> T4?0 (410/420 etc.) series are 14" and quite portable.
> X1 is thin and light but with a big screen.
> W5?0 series are portable workstations with 15+" screens. Nice, but not
> very portable.
> W70? series are huge battleship machines with a 17" screen and a numeric keypad.
>
> I'd consider an X1 or a 4?0/5?0 series. If you buy used, both a 4?0
> for on the move and a 5?0 for on the desk are doable.
>
> Look for 8GB RAM or at least only 1 4GB SO-DIMM so you can add your
> own without replacing what's there.
>
> An SSD is easy to add later and will give you a supply of 2½" external
> backup drives.
>
> My X220 takes 2 drives: an mSATA SSD plus a 2½" HD. I have SSDs in
> both bays. I think this is possible on all the larger machines too, or
> you can have an mSATA SSD for the OS and a big spinning hard disk for
> /home and swap.
>
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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Peter Flynn
In reply to this post by Marco Fioretti
On 07/11/2019 15:56, M. Fioretti wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 16:23:07 PM +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
>> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 14:37, Tom H <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
>>> Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.
>>
>
> OK, speaking for me only, of course: [...]
> But in this period of my life I cannot afford to spend that kind of
> time just to get to a login prompt. Not at all. Not even close.

I'm in a similar position now but over the decades I've installed Linux
on lots of different machines. Most of them worked. Some didn't: Tosh
and Sony were the worst by far for proprietary stupidity (plus weirdos
like Windows ME boxes). IBM, Dell, and HP have always worked for me, but
nowadays it comes down to things which aren't in most playlists:

1. Research wireless chipsets and video chipsets because they are THE
most difficult to work around. Stick with a brand and version KNOWN to work.

2. High-end new features (fingerprint sensors) rarely work in Linux out
of the box: they need lots of specialist drivers and much fiddling.

3. Keyboard. If you're going to use the system for writing (my job) a
usable keyboard is ESSENTIAL. Most manufacturers just slap in some
default clone keyboard fresh off the boat without even testing it.

[Dell used to have nice ones on laptops but their recent XPS keyboards
are unutterably HORRIBLE, so I have ditched Dell for HP Envy and it's
really nice to write with. But for my desktop, you will only get me off
my old IBM M-series clickety-clickety keyboard when you prise it from my
cold, dead fingers — and even then you'll have to fight my executors
because I have left it to someone.]

4. Screen. My new laptop has some horrendously large resolution, which
means some Linux apps play sillybuggers with microscopic pointer sizes,
tiny window defaults, etc, making them unusable. Pointless to report
them: the developers would need to have my laptop to fix the problem.

5. Disks have never given me a minute's problems, even with whole-disk
encryption (standard on all our systems).

Overall, Dell probably comes out on top for installability, but
definitely not recent ones for usability.

Peter

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Robert Heller
At Thu, 7 Nov 2019 21:23:40 +0000 "Ubuntu user technical support,  not for general discussions" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 07/11/2019 15:56, M. Fioretti wrote:
> > On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 16:23:07 PM +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
> >> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 14:37, Tom H <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >>
> >>> I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
> >>> Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.
> >>
> >
> > OK, speaking for me only, of course: [...]
> > But in this period of my life I cannot afford to spend that kind of
> > time just to get to a login prompt. Not at all. Not even close.
>
> I'm in a similar position now but over the decades I've installed Linux
> on lots of different machines. Most of them worked. Some didn't: Tosh
> and Sony were the worst by far for proprietary stupidity (plus weirdos
> like Windows ME boxes). IBM, Dell, and HP have always worked for me, but
> nowadays it comes down to things which aren't in most playlists:
>
> 1. Research wireless chipsets and video chipsets because they are THE
> most difficult to work around. Stick with a brand and version KNOWN to work.
Intel for both. Only hardware vendor for either that actively supports *open
source* drivers. (nVidia provides drivers for Linux, but they are semi closed
source and break with kernel upgrades -- not worth the hassle.)

>
> 2. High-end new features (fingerprint sensors) rarely work in Linux out
> of the box: they need lots of specialist drivers and much fiddling.

Right.  *Never* buy a new Laptop.  Ever.  It is about as bad an idea as buying
a new car (different reasons -- new cars are financially a bad idea, new
laptops are bad due to bleeding edge unsupported tech).

>
> 3. Keyboard. If you're going to use the system for writing (my job) a
> usable keyboard is ESSENTIAL. Most manufacturers just slap in some
> default clone keyboard fresh off the boat without even testing it.
>
> [Dell used to have nice ones on laptops but their recent XPS keyboards
> are unutterably HORRIBLE, so I have ditched Dell for HP Envy and it's
> really nice to write with. But for my desktop, you will only get me off
> my old IBM M-series clickety-clickety keyboard when you prise it from my
> cold, dead fingers — and even then you'll have to fight my executors
> because I have left it to someone.]
>
> 4. Screen. My new laptop has some horrendously large resolution, which
> means some Linux apps play sillybuggers with microscopic pointer sizes,
> tiny window defaults, etc, making them unusable. Pointless to report
> them: the developers would need to have my laptop to fix the problem.
>
> 5. Disks have never given me a minute's problems, even with whole-disk
> encryption (standard on all our systems).
>
> Overall, Dell probably comes out on top for installability, but
> definitely not recent ones for usability.
>
> Peter
>
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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Doug McGarrett


On 11/07/2019 09:04 PM, Robert Heller wrote:

> At Thu, 7 Nov 2019 21:23:40 +0000 "Ubuntu user technical support,  not for general discussions" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>
>> On 07/11/2019 15:56, M. Fioretti wrote:
>>> On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 16:23:07 PM +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
>>>> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 14:37, Tom H <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
>>>>> Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.
>>>>
>>>
>>> OK, speaking for me only, of course: [...]
>>> But in this period of my life I cannot afford to spend that kind of
>>> time just to get to a login prompt. Not at all. Not even close.
>>
>> I'm in a similar position now but over the decades I've installed Linux
>> on lots of different machines. Most of them worked. Some didn't: Tosh
>> and Sony were the worst by far for proprietary stupidity (plus weirdos
>> like Windows ME boxes). IBM, Dell, and HP have always worked for me, but
>> nowadays it comes down to things which aren't in most playlists:
>>
>> 1. Research wireless chipsets and video chipsets because they are THE
>> most difficult to work around. Stick with a brand and version KNOWN to work.
>
> Intel for both. Only hardware vendor for either that actively supports *open
> source* drivers. (nVidia provides drivers for Linux, but they are semi closed
> source and break with kernel upgrades -- not worth the hassle.)
>
>>
>> 2. High-end new features (fingerprint sensors) rarely work in Linux out
>> of the box: they need lots of specialist drivers and much fiddling.
>
> Right.  *Never* buy a new Laptop.  Ever.  It is about as bad an idea as buying
> a new car (different reasons -- new cars are financially a bad idea, new
> laptops are bad due to bleeding edge unsupported tech).
>
>>
>> 3. Keyboard. If you're going to use the system for writing (my job) a
>> usable keyboard is ESSENTIAL. Most manufacturers just slap in some
>> default clone keyboard fresh off the boat without even testing it.
>>
>> [Dell used to have nice ones on laptops but their recent XPS keyboards
>> are unutterably HORRIBLE, so I have ditched Dell for HP Envy and it's
>> really nice to write with.

Yes, the older Dell laptop keyboard was at least usable, but see below.

But for my desktop, you will only get me off
>> my old IBM M-series clickety-clickety keyboard when you prise it from my
>> cold, dead fingers

AMEN, brother! I have three of these--one is a shorty, hooked to a
laptop, two are full size. Got them all used at least 17 years ago, and
they are still working perfectly! Just not good for a commercial office,
they're too loud. (If you must use Windows, left-Alt plus Esc is the
Windows key to log in.)

--doug

— and even then you'll have to fight my executors

>> because I have left it to someone.]
>>
>> 4. Screen. My new laptop has some horrendously large resolution, which
>> means some Linux apps play sillybuggers with microscopic pointer sizes,
>> tiny window defaults, etc, making them unusable. Pointless to report
>> them: the developers would need to have my laptop to fix the problem.
>>
>> 5. Disks have never given me a minute's problems, even with whole-disk
>> encryption (standard on all our systems).
>>
>> Overall, Dell probably comes out on top for installability, but
>> definitely not recent ones for usability.
>>
>> Peter
>>
>
>
>

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Bret Busby-2
In reply to this post by Robert Heller
On 08/11/2019, Robert Heller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> At Thu, 7 Nov 2019 21:23:40 +0000 "Ubuntu user technical support,  not for
> general discussions" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>
>> On 07/11/2019 15:56, M. Fioretti wrote:
>> > On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 16:23:07 PM +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
>> >> On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 at 14:37, Tom H <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> >>
>> >>> I've installed Linux on Dell, Lenovo (IdeaPad and ThinkPad), and
>> >>> Toshiba laptops, so I don't see why/how you can be this categoric.
>> >>
>> >
>> > OK, speaking for me only, of course: [...]
>> > But in this period of my life I cannot afford to spend that kind of
>> > time just to get to a login prompt. Not at all. Not even close.
>>
>> I'm in a similar position now but over the decades I've installed Linux
>> on lots of different machines. Most of them worked. Some didn't: Tosh
>> and Sony were the worst by far for proprietary stupidity (plus weirdos
>> like Windows ME boxes). IBM, Dell, and HP have always worked for me, but
>> nowadays it comes down to things which aren't in most playlists:
>>
>> 1. Research wireless chipsets and video chipsets because they are THE
>> most difficult to work around. Stick with a brand and version KNOWN to
>> work.
>
> Intel for both. Only hardware vendor for either that actively supports
> *open
> source* drivers. (nVidia provides drivers for Linux, but they are semi
> closed
> source and break with kernel upgrades -- not worth the hassle.)
>

I have a Dell Inspiron 580, an Acer Aspire 5750G, and an Acer Aspire
V3-772G, each with nVidia graphics thingies, and they have each worked
without problem, with Ubuntu, since 12.04, and with the UbuntuMATE
variant since the nasty elimination of gnome2 (people who kill nice
gnomes, are not nice).

With the V3-772G, it was my primary reason for switching to Ubuntu. as
Ubuntu Linux was the only non-MS operating system that I could find,
that supported both the Haskell architecture (the i7 CPU model) and
the nVidia Optimus thing.

DragonflyBSD was the only other non-MS operating system that supported
the Haskell architecture, but, as far as I am aware, still does not
support, and, still has no intention of supporting, nVidia graphics,
and, especially, not the Optimus thing.

Ubuntu Linux, since 12.04, has been the most advanced of the Linux
distributions, that I could find, in terms of hardware drivers.

--
Bret Busby
Armadale
West Australia
..............

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992

....................................................

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Re: wanted: suggestions for used Linux compatible notebooks

Chris Green
On Fri, Nov 08, 2019 at 09:14:34AM +0000, Bret Busby wrote:

> On 08/11/2019, Robert Heller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > At Thu, 7 Nov 2019 21:23:40 +0000 "Ubuntu user technical support,  not for
> >
> > Intel for both. Only hardware vendor for either that actively supports
> > *open
> > source* drivers. (nVidia provides drivers for Linux, but they are semi
> > closed
> > source and break with kernel upgrades -- not worth the hassle.)
> >
>
> I have a Dell Inspiron 580, an Acer Aspire 5750G, and an Acer Aspire
> V3-772G, each with nVidia graphics thingies, and they have each worked
> without problem, with Ubuntu, since 12.04, and with the UbuntuMATE
> variant since the nasty elimination of gnome2 (people who kill nice
> gnomes, are not nice).
>
> With the V3-772G, it was my primary reason for switching to Ubuntu. as
> Ubuntu Linux was the only non-MS operating system that I could find,
> that supported both the Haskell architecture (the i7 CPU model) and
> the nVidia Optimus thing.
>
> DragonflyBSD was the only other non-MS operating system that supported
> the Haskell architecture, but, as far as I am aware, still does not
> support, and, still has no intention of supporting, nVidia graphics,
> and, especially, not the Optimus thing.
>
> Ubuntu Linux, since 12.04, has been the most advanced of the Linux
> distributions, that I could find, in terms of hardware drivers.
>
I have used xubuntu (which uses all the same low-level stuff as Ubuntu
of course, just a different GUI etc.) for many years and have the same
experience as you with quite a variety of hardware (Acer, Asus, a
Toshiba, lots of Thinkpads).  In general it just installs and works.

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Chris Green

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