MikeFreeman0717, on 01 May 2012 - 12:20 PM, said:
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.
Those are all overprices hacks. They are bought at retail, stripped of Windows, and you get to pay a premium to get one with Linux. I suppose if you really must feel great about using a Linux based laptop that is behind the tech curve, that is the best route though.
And no, when dealing with laptops "most" hardware is not. There is a solid amount of supported hardware on OLDER laptops (meaning at least one year old), but not most. I can take any random laptop at Fry's, run a live DVD, and prove that Linux doesn't work right on it. It could be anything from flaky touchpad drivers (the problem I have with my W520) to lack of hardware support for video card switching (another I deal with), to broken power management, or even not sizing up a screen correctly. I once had a distro that extended my desktop by less than 5 pixels on the ends because it couldn't identify a standard 720P resolution. Sorry, but it can be proven in any store that Linux doesn't like newish gear.
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.
That isn't quite right either. I had a laptop once that used an extremely common sound card. But the manufacturer decided to use the outputs in a non-standard format (two headphones instead of surround sound) thus breaking compatibility. Took Linux 2 years to fix that problem.
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%.
How can you say this isn't normal? You have people on these forums every day reporting they problems they have. I am just throwing out what I have gotten to deal with on three machines I currently own. I haven't even gotten into the HP DV5-1003NR (the one with the broken audio for two years), the Sony Vaio SB, nor the Gateway MX 3414. Shoot my dad owns a Compaq that he fought for another 2 years just to get the trackpad to work right! The thing would "lose sync" constantly, and require a restart of X. He decided to get an external mouse and suffer through until the Ubuntu team finally fixed it.
Yes, Nvidia, and AMD GPUs are very well supported - actually the Intel cards have terrific support OOTB. Laptops with switchable graphics results in very confused distros.
In the end, it is a PITA and most people don't want to deal with such things.