Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Dom Incolling » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 00:44:15



Hi Everyone,

I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

Dom

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Johan Lindqui » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 01:16:48


Sat, 02 Mar 2002 at 22:44 GMT, peering quizzically at his shoes,

Quote:> I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux. I
> called Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.
> Dell informed me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

> So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake)
> myself. The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy
> is compatible with Linux. There are many sites that list hardware
> compatibility, but most (if not all) of them list compatibility for
> specific components, based on manufacturer and model number of each
> component. The folks at Dell were very reluctant to give me this
> information.

That's odd, not like it's a company secret or anything:

<http://www.veryComputer.com/#t...>

I'd suggest a 3com network card (never had any trouble with those
using either linux or any ms os), the default ati gfx card seems good
enough for a regular desktop and AFAIK it's supported. Nvidia has some
issues with closed-source drivers, but from what I hear the latest one
are at least stable, if not open source. SB Live! is supported as
well, dunno about the turtle beach one.

Then again, now that you've been pointed to the info on what's inside
the box, I'm sure you can figure out what you want by checking the
compatibility lists yourself.

I don't much appreciate the endor*t for ms software tho:

-----8<-----
Operating Systems:
Microsoft? Windows?  XP Home - the home version of the world's
                               favorite software
Microsoft? Windows?  XP Pro - Dell recommends Windows XP Pro
                              for business
----->8-----

How's that for giving the customers a choice? I think I'm going to
reconsider the positive stance I've been entertaining when it comes to
dell.

hth,

     /Johan

--
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.      Perth ---> *
 12:08am  up 12:55,  4 users,  load average: 0.14, 0.27, 0.19
$ cat /dev/bollocks
reinvent global infrastructures

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by rcarte » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 01:28:29



Quote:> Hi Everyone,

> I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
> Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
> me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

> So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
> The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
> with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
> most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
> based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
> Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
> I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
> example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

> Dom

We have two DELL systems, which were delivered in October last year with
Linux RedHat 7.1 preinstalled. I think you need to talk to someone more
knowledgeable.
 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Adam Warne » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 01:29:13



> Hi Everyone,

> I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
> Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
> me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

Not exactly true:
http://www.dell.com/us/en/esg/topics/linux_linuxhome.htm

But the systems aren't in your price point:
http://www.dell.com/us/en/esg/topics/linux_000_linux_products.htm

Quote:> So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
> The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
> with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
> most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
> based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
> Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.

Frankly Dom that is unacceptable. But the information here is quite
detailed:

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dhs/products/model_dimen_3_dimen_4400.htm

There appears to be only two components you need to be concerned about:
sound card and modem.

Upgrade the sound card to a Sound Blaster Live! 1024v Value Digital Sound
Card. That should be well supported.

ftp://opensource.creative.com/pub/doc/live_faq.html

"To clarify -- we have currently released an Open Source driver which
contains no binary-only components whatsoever."

And there is ALSA support as well:
http://www.alsa-project.org/~goemon/

That's the kind of driver you want. Avoid binary only drivers whenever
possible. They can limit your ability to upgrade to the latest kernel and
are typically less stable than a kernel-supported driver.

The only other problem is there is no description about the modem. This is
an unacceptable description:

"56K PCI DataFax Modem for Windows"

The least they can do is tell you the exact model. Then you can go here
and find out if the modem is supported:

http://www.idir.net/~gromitkc/winmodem.html
http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/Modem-HOWTO-2.html#ss2.5

Again try and avoid binary only drivers.

I don't consider you should be required to purchase Windows but if you
want XP this is the cheapest way of obtaining it.

You could also investigate what a local system builder offers.

Regards,
Adam

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Adam Warne » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 01:32:30



> Then again, now that you've been pointed to the info on what's inside
> the box, I'm sure you can figure out what you want by checking the
> compatibility lists yourself.

That's not possible with the description of the modem.

Regards,
Adam

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Brad Hopki » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 01:36:28





>>Hi Everyone,

>>I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
>>Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
>>me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

>>So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
>>The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
>>with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
>>most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
>>based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
>>Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
>>I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
>>example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

>>Dom

>Flatfish at your service!

>Step one:  Go to a flea market.
>Step Two: Find the oldest, most antiquated, least expensive pile of garbage
>computer you can locate.
>Step Three: Download your choice of distros from www.cheapbytes.com.
>Step Four: Install Linux on the machine.

>Step Five:  Sit back and watch that machine churn out data like you have never
>seen before because Linux and old hardware go hand in hand.

>Why waste money on new hardware for Linux?

>Chances are it won't work with Linux anyhow, which is why it is near impossible
>to buy a Linux machine from Dell, except a server.

>Good Luck!!!!

>Ya'll come back now!

>flatfish+++

Poor flatfish, how can we help?
 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Johan Lindqui » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 01:50:43


Sat, 02 Mar 2002 at 23:32 GMT, peering quizzically at his shoes,


>> Then again, now that you've been pointed to the info on what's
>> inside the box, I'm sure you can figure out what you want by
>> checking the compatibility lists yourself.

> That's not possible with the description of the modem.

True enough, I didn't consider that since I don't let my desktop dial
directly. Your reply was better either way.

cheers,

     /Johan

--
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.      Perth ---> *
 12:49am  up 13:37,  3 users,  load average: 0.17, 0.33, 0.35
$ cat /dev/bollocks
grow collaborative functionalities

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Amaz » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 02:16:24



> On Sat, 02 Mar 2002 22:44:15 GMT, Dom Incollingo

>>Hi Everyone,

>>I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
>>Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
>>me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

>>So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
>>The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
>>with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
>>most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
>>based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
>>Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
>>I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
>>example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

>>Dom

> Flatfish at your service!

> Step one:  Go to a flea market.
> Step Two: Find the oldest, most antiquated, least expensive pile of
> garbage computer you can locate.
> Step Three: Download your choice of distros from www.cheapbytes.com.
> Step Four: Install Linux on the machine.

> Step Five:  Sit back and watch that machine churn out data like you have
> never seen before because Linux and old hardware go hand in hand.

Step Six: Disregard the FUD rantings of a certified wintroll.

--
The breakfast of champions is opposition

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Sam Shad » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 02:26:27


On Sat, 02 Mar 2002 22:44:15 GMT, Dom Incollingo


>Hi Everyone,

>I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
>Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
>me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

>So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
>The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
>with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
>most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
>based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
>Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
>I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
>example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

Check on Mandrakes site at the compatibility tool...
Look up each component...

Sam
Posted with Agent 1.9
Running under Linux (w/wine)
Boston, MA

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by fleshren » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 03:32:41




>>On Sat, 02 Mar 2002 22:44:15 GMT, Dom Incollingo

>>>Hi Everyone,

>>>I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
>>>Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell
>>>informed me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

>>>So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
>>>The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
>>>with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility,
>>>but most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific
>>>components, based on manufacturer and model number of each component.
>>>The folks at Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is
>>>there any way I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension
>>>4400, for example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for
>>>your help.

>>Check on Mandrakes site at the compatibility tool... Look up each
>>component...

>>Sam
>>Posted with Agent 1.9
>>Running under Linux (w/wine)
>>Boston, MA

> And then understand that "supported" under Linux takes on a whole new
> meaning.

> Generally it means the device will sort of work, but don't expect to be
> able to use advanced features.

Poor Flatfish, how can we help?
 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Amaz » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 03:30:57




>>On Sat, 02 Mar 2002 22:44:15 GMT, Dom Incollingo

>>>Hi Everyone,

>>>I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
>>>Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
>>>me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

>>>So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
>>>The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
>>>with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
>>>most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
>>>based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
>>>Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
>>>I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
>>>example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

>>Check on Mandrakes site at the compatibility tool...
>>Look up each component...

>>Sam
>>Posted with Agent 1.9
>>Running under Linux (w/wine)
>>Boston, MA

> And then understand that "supported" under Linux takes on a whole new
> meaning.

> Generally it means the device will sort of work, but don't expect to be
> able to use advanced features.

Kinda like Windows Plug-n-Play (yeah, right).  The XP folks are pulling
their hair out, over in alt.os.windows-xp because of hardware issues.
--
The breakfast of champions is opposition
 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by TuxTra » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 04:26:57




> Hi Everyone,

> I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
> Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
> me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

Hello Dom, welcome to COLA!

The fact that Dell does not sell Linux preinstalled on any pc is not at
all suprising. You will not find any major home computer manufacturers
selling preinstalls. This is because their contracts with Microsoft
prohibit any other operating system from being installed in the factory
(called OEM contracts - Original Equipment Manufacturer).

Quote:> So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
> The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
> with Linux.

Linux runs on just about anything. And there is plenty of support for most
hardware configurations. Modern Linux installers do the work for you and
are very good at detecting your hardware and setting it up. Mandrake or
SuSE are a good choice.

A few things to be aware of. There are devices that are designed to be
used only with windows. They usually are preceded by the word "win" such
as "win"modem and "win"printer. These devices are basically "stupid"
having little or no processing ability themselves and relying heavily on
software emulation and CPU power to achieve what chip sets normally would
do in these devices. They are terrible pieces of engineering, and Linux
dosen't work this way. Youre off the shelf computer is *very* likely to
have a winmodem because they are *really* inexpensive (they are just a bus
interface with no logic chips). In order to dial in to the internet (if
you are going to get a broadband connection, this isn't a factor) you will
need to replace, or have replaced, your winmodem. Many Linux users prefer
external modems and I have heard it suggested that external modems are
more trouble free. I bought a US Robotics 56k performance pro modem PCI
controller based faxmodem model 3cp5610a (now made by 3com) for $75.00
and have had good service from it.

At first I tried installing it and configuring it from my old copy of
Linux, mandrake 7.0 . Big mistake. Lots of heartache. PCI devices were
not well supported in that version (kernel).

I tell all newbies I talk to to go with the most up to date version of
the distribution they choose. This is much more important in my opinion
than which distribution they choose.

Pop $40.00 or so, and get a new shrink wrapped box of Linux. Don't use a
friends. Thats my advice.

Other things that may make you curl your toes; USB support. I have to
admit that USB is the one thing I haven't gotten to work reliably. I don't
know if this is my  fault, the age of my Kernel, the devices I am trying
to use, or a combination of all three. Again, as a matter of advice, I
would stay away from USB devices, at least initially. In addition,
although much work has been done to provide USB drivers for many common
devices, there are still many USB devices without drivers. Part of the
reason behind this is that USB is a "standard" created by a collaboration
between Intel and Microsoft, and they aren't real open with releasing
information to the Linux community.

 > There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but

Quote:> most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
> based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
> Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
> I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
> example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

There very well may be a site just like the one you mention. If so, I
hope someone gives a URL because I would like to check it out. Basically,
Linux can support just about anything you can throw at it, but you may
need to do some reading up on how to get specialized hardware like
USB scanners to work.

Cheers,

Mathew

--
TuxTrax   (n.) An invincible, all terrain, Linux driven armored *
vehicle that can take as much fire as it gives ;-)
    ___
 __(   )====::
/~~~~~~~~~\
\O.O.O.O.O/

Yes, I am a Penguin cult high priest. Fin readings upon request.

Amateur Radio Operator KD6MSI
www.tuxtrax.com

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by TuxTra » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 04:41:03





>> On Sat, 02 Mar 2002 22:44:15 GMT, Dom Incollingo

>>>Hi Everyone,

>>>I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
>>>Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell
>>>informed me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

>>>So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
>>>The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
>>>with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility,
>>>but most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific
>>>components, based on manufacturer and model number of each component.
>>>The folks at Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is
>>>there any way I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension
>>>4400, for example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for
>>>your help.

>>>Dom

>> Flatfish at your service!

>> Step one:  Go to a flea market.
>> Step Two: Find the oldest, most antiquated, least expensive pile of
>> garbage computer you can locate.
>> Step Three: Download your choice of distros from www.cheapbytes.com.
>> Step Four: Install Linux on the machine.

>> Step Five:  Sit back and watch that machine churn out data like you
>> have never seen before because Linux and old hardware go hand in hand.

> Step Six: Disregard the FUD rantings of a certified wintroll.

Unfortuanely Dom, I think we need to elaborate a bit; If you are
unfamiliar with the term, FUD stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Basically it is propaganda designed to change a habit, line of thought,
or choice. It's the laundry commercial that asks "are your clothes germ
free when they come out of the wash? If you are using brand X detergent
the answer could startle you". It's innuendo, suggestion, accusing
without confronting, the art of the indirect statement, the deception of
implied inferiority.

We have individuals in our newsgroup who employ these tactics to hijack
conversations that are legitimate, such as your questions. The one thing
they all have in common is that they seek to decieve.

I hope you will continue to come to cola, and not let this negative
activity dissuade you from contributing to cola or from using Linux.

cheers,

Mathew

--
TuxTrax   (n.) An invincible, all terrain, Linux driven armored *
vehicle that can take as much fire as it gives ;-)
    ___
 __(   )====::
/~~~~~~~~~\
\O.O.O.O.O/

Yes, I am a Penguin cult high priest. Fin readings upon request.

Amateur Radio Operator KD6MSI
www.tuxtrax.com

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by Kenneth Down » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 05:16:34



> Hi Everyone,

> I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
> Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
> me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

> So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
> The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
> with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
> most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
> based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
> Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
> I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
> example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

> Dom

Dom, Welcome!

Come on in, the water is fine.

I see already that you have been advised to buy a recent distro.  I would
ask, do you already have a machine you can work with?  It may be easier, if
you are starting from scratch, to use a machine that you are familiar with,
which perhaps you have been using for awhile.  A "known quantity" as it
were.  Using Linux, one new unknown, and a new computer, another new
unknown, may give you trouble you don't deserve when starting out.  What if
something doesn't work?  Is it Linux?  Is it Dell? You don't want to get
bogged down in something like that if you can avoid it when starting out.

I ask because I also have used Windows for years, and Linux, as a Unix, was
like going to the moon for me.  Happily, all turned out well, it was not
nearly as hard as I thought (why did I think it would be hard?, who knows),
and hardware compatibility was not much of a concern.  SuSE 7.3 found
everything and set it up, and now I am just as comfortable in front of the
CLI as I am in front of Explorer or Regedit.

Also, are you motivated to obtain a better desktop for yourself for simple
tasks, or are you a developer?  This may determine how
you proceed.

Oh, and you may notice that this newsgroup is infested with the nastiest
sorts of persons.  It's a sad thing, but we generally believe they are here
because That Big Software Company is really scared of Linux, and tries to
spoil the experience of COLA for newcomers such as yourself.  /* sigh */

So welcome again, please tell us how it works out, and ask any question.  
This newsgroup has rank beginners and seasoned veterans.

--
Ken
Linux, the more you learn, the more you love

 
 
 

Newbie Question about Linux Compatible Hardware

Post by whytewo » Mon, 04 Mar 2002 05:51:48



> Hi Everyone,

> I have used Windows for years, but would like to learn Linux.  I called
> Dell and inquired about buying a PC with Linux installed.  Dell informed
> me that they will only sell computers with Windows.

> So I decided to buy a PC and install Linux (probably Mandrake) myself.
> The problem is that I want to be sure that the PC I buy is compatible
> with Linux.   There are many sites that list hardware compatibility, but
> most (if not all) of them list compatibility for specific components,
> based on manufacturer and model number of each component.  The folks at
> Dell were very reluctant to give me this information.  Is there any way
> I can determine if a specific computer (Dell Dimension 4400, for
> example) is compatible with Linux?   Thanks very much for your help.

> Dom

dell stoped shipping there desktop systems with linux because of
lack of demand
at least till business picks up again

basicly your free to change the os on a dell system and not void
the warrenty ... however dell won't support the operating
sytem and might not do some tech supportto the hardware with out
the original os on the system

plus you can swap the modem out for a hardware modem
but basicly it amonts to don't do anything that can't be undone
other wise tech support might not tech the puter

and of the dell systems I would go with the 4400 anyway ...
best system for the money {it's not the most expensive but has alot of bang}
upgrade to the soundblaster sound card ... I beleave all the nics are supported
in linux ... I havn't seen one yet that wasn't

basicly ... I would go to the support sight ... look up the system I was
thinking about and then clicking on Documentation ... that ushaly has
specs on most of the system as well as alot of the optioans that you
can get on the system