waldojim, on 30 April 2012 - 11:03 PM, said:
How many laptops ship with Linux? How many others ship with hardware that is compatible? Can you buy a single Linux based PC at Best Buy, Micro Center, or Fry's?
There are several places that will ship Linux-compatible laptops (not none, like you say below). Here's a small sampling:
Most hardware out there is very compatible. I've installed Linux Mint on about 6 or 7 completely different machines, with hardware from vastly different companies. Not once has something just not worked. Granted, some needed some tweaking to get it working, and that could be improved (and is getting better with every new release). The only hardware that's generally not compatible is either REALLY new (like released in the last 6 months), or so obscure that no Linux devs have run into one to be able to make a driver for it. If it doesn't work, give it some time and it probably soon will. Or, either buy something 6 months to a year old, or look for compatibility information online before you buy something (it's EVERYWHERE - just gotta look).
I don't know about Micro Center or Fry's (don't have those here), but definitely not at Best Buy. I have seen them in other stores, though, especially locally-owned shops, which are better to buy from anyway (from the standpoint that the money stays in the local economy, and the people there actually know about what they're selling as opposed to Big Box National Chain Store monkeys). But, like I said before, most people will just buy any machine that fits their needs and install Linux themselves.
Right now the answer to the first and last question is none. The second question is answered best with "I dunno". Because it is darned near impossible to tell (up front) just how compatible a machine will be.
Not quite. Again, it just takes a little Google searching to find the info you need. You can just buy from one of the links I posted earlier, or shop around and gather a list of various hardware that would fit your needs, then Google 'linux [hardware model]' and read about the issues and buy the ones that work best. Or, start with a list of Linux compatible hardware (quick Google search will give that to you) and buy from that. Takes a little work, but it'll save some headaches later.
My wifes Z575 is about 99%, only issues being power management. That is a big issue btw. A 3 hour battery life cut down to 1 does not make for a happy wife.
Understandably! There were some power management problems on some recent Linux kernels, depending on your hardware. If you install an older kernel, or the very newest kernel (not an incredibly difficult task, but might take some instructing), the problem might right itself. There are also various tweaks that can improve battery life immensely. Here's one program that helps with that: http://www.jupiterapplet.org/
My w520 is all over the place depending on the distro. Everything from broken network cards (either wifi or wired, or even both), to non-functioning Nvidia Optimus, to battery life from hell, to broken mouse touchpad drivers. My last well supported laptop was a Lenovo X100e. It could manage 4 hours in Linux (6 in Windows btw) and everything worked OOTB. But that is one in 3 that was well supported.
I'm sorry to hear that. It's certainly not the norm, at least in recent years. What have you done to try to solve these issues? Generally, there are fairly easy tweaks available for most problems, but they might not be obvious. That's what Google is for.
I've never seen so many problems with Linux as you're having. I've seen some distros that work better than others on a variety of hardware, though. I've used Linux Mint successfully on Gateway, Compaq/HP, Dell, and Apple computers, with little to no hardware problems. I've run several different brands of wifi cards and dongles. I've mainly only used NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards without problems, which support is really great for, but Intel and other major brands are generally well supported as well. I've used fairly new printers (admittedly not the newest, since I'd rather get a good deal on a slightly older printer on sale) from Canon, HP, Epson, etc. as well as brand new copy machines from Konica-Minolta and Kyocera without problems. I've run into some very minor glitches here and there (because the Linux installer can't guess all the needs of every piece of hardware out there), but all have been fixed with very minor tweaking. Best thing to do is just find a store that sells Linux machines, or Linux-compatible hardware. Then everything should work 100%.