[Posted and mailed]
Quote:> There have got to be plenty of opinions on this but I haven't heard the
> prevailing wisdom. Who (Dell, NEC, Gateway, Micron...) has the most
> linux friendly systems in general or is the vendor largely unimportant?
> Would there be any basic problems installing linux on a 350 or 400 mhz
> system? Dell also claims that their DVD-ROM is only compatible with
> Windows95. Is there any other b.s. like this that should be known?
If you're buying a new PC for use with Linux, I'd recommend doing one of
1) Buy from a vendor that advertizes 100% compatibility with Linux, and
that will preferably pre-load Linux for you. There are lots that will
do this. I believe that http://www.linux.org has a list with links.
This more-or-less guarantees hardware compatibility, which is most
definitely NOT guaranteed with most of the "big names."
2) Do the research on each and every component of the system, from the
motherboard to the video card to the floppy drive, and draw up a list.
Present it to the various build-it-to-specs outfits that advertize in
_Computer Shopper_ and get quotes. They may beat the vendors that
pre-install Linux on price by a bit, because they tend to cater to a
more price-conscious crowd; but you'll also get worse support. They
may also make undesirable substitutions unless you watch them with an
3) Draw up the same list as in #2, then buy the components and assemble
the system yourself.
Options 2 and 3 are obviously very time-consuming unless you're already
very well-informed about PC hardware. They also open the door for you to
make an error because of lack of information. You might be able to find
some ground between any of these, like buying a "bare-bones" system
without certain components and then adding them, or by specifying certain
key components (but not all of them) to a vendor that will install Linux.
In any event, it's essentially impossible to rate the "big names" like
Dell, Gateway, etc., because their designs (like all other vendors'
designs) change so quickly; what may have been a wonderful Linux PC last
month might ship this month with WinModems and "bleeding edge" video
cards that won't work with XFree86. Even specific models may change in
"minor" ways that could break Linux, without those changes being
Of course, unless you're buying a very top-of-the-line system (that's
likely to have an unsupported video card), Linux will PROBABLY run on most
machines from most major vendors. I just don't see the point in
supporting them when alternatives exist which will do the job more
reliably, even if your friends or co-workers may not recognize the label
on the machine.
Rod Smith Author of:
http://www.users.fast.net/~rodsmith "OS/2 Soundcard Summary"
NOTE: Remove the digit and following word from my address to mail me