OK, it’s about time I created another category on my blog. So I said to myself: “There must be thousands of people blogging about Linux, why not you?”
I really love my Linux laptop. I really do. Some people like to complain about this or that not working and usually it concerns some multi-media thing not working. Up until recently I would have sighed and said that, yes indeed, Linux on the desktop is not really there yet, maybe next year.
Of-course, we (the linux zealots) have been saying “Maybe next year” for quite a few years now. Until something strange happened a couple of months ago: I bought a new laptop, in this case, the cheapest dual core I could find: An Acer 5610 and I absolutely love to run Linux on it.
The reason for buying the thing was a demo I had to do for the Linuxtag in Germany and my other laptop being stuck at Acer Support for 3 weeks.
Anyway, the strange thing about it is that it only took me 1 hour to install SuSE Linux on it to see that it worked absolutely fine. It took another hour to re-install it on the complete hard-disk because it was clear from that moment on I wasn’t going to be taking advantage of the Microsoft tax.
After installing SuSE Linux 10.1 there were only 3 things that didn’t work: GLX (still not considered production ready by most distributions) but amazingly, that was fixed in half an hour by following this link. At that point the 2 things that were not working. The first was my wireless LAN, but because I’m using it here in my office I didn’t quite need it.
The second problem was: anything multi-media didn’t work. Fortunately that was fixed almost instantly by the MPlayer wizards at Linuxtag. That was actually also a time issue because there are plenty of articles on the web these days on how to do that.
This week, almost by accident I came across the solution for the wireless LAN: apparenty I didn’t download the 10.1 Add-on CD that contained the WLAN kernel modules and 3945 daemon. Just installed it, changed the networking method to ifup and it worked.
I’ve been using it for the last couple of months and this machine really rocks. Let me list some advantages:
- A complete build of the Kettle distribution zip (ant zip) file takes 31 seconds on Linux and 5 minutes on Windows XP Pro, despite the fact that the Windows box has a 2Ghz Pentium-M and is faster on paper. I bet those virus scanners have something to do with it…
- GLX/Compiz, once you turn of the wobbly windows is really a joy to work with.
- Amarok!!! This media player is the best thing that could have happened to Linux. It’s so good I hooked up the stereo to my laptop to listen to the internet radio stations. No commercials anymore for me please!
- Rock solid: even though at times you run really heavy stuff on it, the box stays responsive because of the extra CPU. I’m convinced that this is the way forward for heavy users like myself. My Windows box just locks up waaaay too often lately to be even funny anymore.
- It takes Evolution (my e-mail client) 5 seconds to retrieve 30 e-mails from the popserver. On Windows the arrival of a single e-mail locks up my machine for 5 seconds. Again I bet that anti-virus software has something to do with it. That being said, if I turn of anti-spam on the Linux box, the retrieval is almost instantly. It makes sense, 30 mails is usually not even a MB of data!
To conclude I think that SuSE is doing a good job by offering pre-install images for laptops. I would be one the first people to jump on this. I would pay good money to have the process of getting the steps mentioned above solved by the laptop vendors. In any case, enjoy the screenshot of my desktop below…
Until next time,