Complete Noob - does it matter what hardware I use

KylefromAus

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I've heard that some computers are better optimised for Linux OS. Should I try to find a computer that is a good match for Linux OS, or does this not really matter too much?

I'm not keen to partition my current laptop into a dual boot since space is limited. Since I'm buying a new computer I thought I would just plunge into the deep end with trying Linux on the new machine to force myself to learn Linex.

I might buy a Samsung galaxy book pro but please advise me if there could be a compatibly issue and I might be making a big mistake.

Thanks in advance!
 


gvisoc

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The hardware matters in the sanse that the manufacturer may or may not offer enough information for the community to develop an open source driver, or more usally referred to as modules. The "module" name is given because the drivers are most often pieces of code that the kernel itsef incorporates to it during boot time.

If they offer enough information, they your hardware may work out of the box with any Linux distribution, unless it's very exotic or rare. Sometimes, manufacturers open source their own modules --this would be the ideal situation.

If they don't offer information or open source modules, there are three possibilities:
  1. Your hardware mostly works with open source modules, but it will need a specific extra bit, or a piece of firmware that is proprietary. These last are often referred to as BLOB modules. In this case, you may need to use a installation media that includes proprietary drivers, e.g.: nonfree variant of Debian, and you'd be done.
  2. You need to navigate your way through a specific proprietary driver installation. This often includes just being able to use the computer without the affected hardware, for a while, and download the driver or module to manually install it. You will need to have the kernel headers installed, and some build tools, as most often you need to build the module in the process.
  3. There's no support for your hardware. This is becoming less and less common, but it may happen sometimes.
My advise is always begin with a live, non-free enabled iso, and see if everything works. You may also perform extensive web search to see the degree of compatiblity of your laptop. There are listing sites, but they are often out of date.

Also, there are known brands that get certified by the major distributions: check the ubuntu list. You may not find your system, but an almost identical one, or maybe you decide to go with another ideas.
 

brickwizard

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as @gvisoc has said there are certain problems the latest boxes with the latest components can and do cause problem because of lack of Linux drivers [ it takes a while for linux programmers to back engineer,] some boxes [especially small netbooks for cloud computing] have caused various problems, But on the whole with some work and a lot of patients , you can get most mass produced boxes to work
you say
I'm not keen to partition my current laptop into a dual boot since space is limited. Since I'm buying a new computer I thought I would just plunge into the deep end with trying Linux on the new machine to force myself to learn Linex.
my best advice to this would be don't buy a new bleeding edge box save some cash and get a good pre-used machine something 5 to 10 years old will still last you a while and if you don't get on with Linux [its not for everyone] it will have minimalised your cost of trying.


Bwiz
 

wizardfromoz

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G'day @KylefromAus and welcome to linux.org :)

My entry makes for 3 Aussies in the same Thread (@brickwizard is a Pom, but he's a good bloke anyway).

Are you buying online or from a shop?

That can influence whether you are able to test the machine as friend @gvisoc has mentioned.

There are several brands that are Linux-friendly, and some best described as problematic. However, for any one that I might list as problematic, there will be a Member or three here who will tell us they have not ever had any problems.

In terms of printer and scanner drivers, HP is likely the best supported by Linux, so you might consider an HP unit.

From my own experience, I have always found Dell consistently reliable.

I am running a Dell Inspiron 5770 laptop, purchased new 2 years ago last July. It has a 2 TB HDD, a 256 GB SSD, and linked by USB 3.0 my mains powered WD 4 TB external drive, and I run 67 Linux distros on it currently. No probs.

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

brickwizard

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I am running a Dell Inspiron 5770 laptop,
And I am on holiday with my 2010 Dell insperon 1545 [didn't realise its now 11 yrs old] I only have 2 operating systems on this one but i do have several extra drives with other systems for testing , my home box is a HP prodesk [a low power office machine , basically a laptop in a tin can] they both work fine..
 

Alexzee

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Whatever distro you decide to go with, you might want to check if the kernel that comes with the distro supports the hardware that you have.
You can read the changlog's on The Linux Kernel Archives to check.

As an example I recently installed a Voyager Linux that came with kernel 5.10 and my Intel wifi card was not supported in the kernel.

So, long story short, I installed Linux Mint 20.2 Cinnamon which comes with kernel 5.4 and my wifi is working great. I didn't have to install anything.
 

kc1di

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You'll get many varied opinions on this. I currently use a Dell with no problems. and have a Lenovo T450 that everything works out of the box It's a bit old but runs linux most distros just fine. So I would try either Dell or Lenovo machine. But the advice of not buying too new is good the very latest hardware will present problems because the kernel drivers have not caught up yet. Good luck with your search. If you want to 100% sure the new machine will work you can buy from a linux dealer such as system 76 or Think penguin there are others also.
 
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captain-sensible

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once you have " you pays yer money and take your chances" as the say and purchased a laptop/pc then the next step might be to select a few Linux candidates and get the iso for them.


You can either burn each one to a separate usb stick or give Ventoy a go. Once formated you can just drop several iso onto on stick. Anyway the main point is when you boot Linux live from a usb ; the way it works with your hardware would be a very good indication how it would work if installed. Thats because the OS running live from a usb still uses things like wifi card etc to connect to internet.
 

KGIII

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gvisoc

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Just for the sake of telling about my personal pick, I run with a Lenovo ThinkPad T490s. It is supported to the 100%, but with some proprietary drivers. If you pick a modern distribution with -non-free you will be able to use the whole of it, including more "edgy" or nice-to-have things the fingerprint reader.

I could talk wanders about it but this is not the place for it.
 
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