> 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.
TuxTrax (n.) An invincible, all terrain, Linux driven armored *
vehicle that can take as much fire as it gives ;-)
Yes, I am a Penguin cult high priest. Fin readings upon request.
Amateur Radio Operator KD6MSI