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Linux Journal: Advice for Buying a Linux-Compatible Laptop

Feb 28, 2003, 13:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jay Docherty)

"Buying a fully Linux compliant laptop can be a truly harrowing experience. Many people have learned to deal with uncompliant laptops. It's interesting to learn about some of the things people do to get by with an uncompliant or misconfigured system. When having audio problems, for instance, some users simply keep the volume to a minimum. Others, when having problems with X, get into the habit of restarting X every half hour; in especially bad cases they even reboot the laptop every half hour. I find these situations unacceptable. It is one thing if you were given the laptop at no cost, but it's completely different if you dropped hundreds of dollars of your own cash to get this kind of system. These problems all can be avoided if you take the time to educate yourself about what is available, set realistic goals for what you want to buy and make certain the machine you want is within your price range. All this said, setting up a Linux-based laptop actually can be a satisfying experience.

"As with any other major purchase, when buying a laptop the first thing you need to do is define your needs. Take everything into consideration, and start with basic usage items. What size screen would you like to have? Do you prefer a touchpad or a trackpoint? Do you have a requirement for battery life? Do you want to be able to watch DVDs? Do you want to burn CDs? Do you require a good sound system? Are you planning on connecting to a wireless network, modem-based ISP or conventional wired LAN; or do you not require any LAN or internet connection at all? For what purposes are you primarily going to use the laptop: word processing, gaming, photo manipulation, SA access terminal, web browsing? All of these questions and uses should be considered, because the answers can effect drastically both the cost of the laptop and the time required to make it ready for use..."

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