I'm seriously thinking about wiping my laptop and making it a Linux machine. I use it mostly for listening to music and transporting files around, an external harddrive would almost do the trick.
The only other use for it is as a portable DVD player. It has an old composite-out to connect to a TV and I had to search for ages to find the windows drivers to make it work. I wouldn't like to do a full install and then find I could no longer do this.
Anyone have any clue as to the support in Linux or done it before or know somewhere to check? A search was inconclusive. The machine is an old Compaq Armada e500...
A second approach, not consuming much time, is to test a (or two) knoppix-cds. (explaining the 'two' later). Knoppix is a live cd which means, you don't need to install anything - boot linux from cd, and see whether it works, which is - without getting the knoppix-cd itself - work of 5 minutes.
Now to the 'two': The driver and module-technique changed fundamentally from linux-2.4 to linux-2.6, and in some cases of hardware, linux-2.4 is more mature than the newer 2.6 kernel.
How to get knoppix? a) It's often included in computer/ linux-magazines. b) Ask your local LUG (linux-user-group). c) google for knoppix and download an iso-image, burn it to cd (according to the instructions, because it has to be bootable).
I shuould point out I tried the Knoppix 3.8 "Windows bootable" edition (boots from load but also in windows using qemu), but I also have 3.7 around somewhere. I'm not sure what they are based on.
Any suggestions on a flavour/version? I was considering RH9, since I have that here too, but realistically my experience level isn't large enough for it to make a great difference at this stage. My reading so far also recommends any Linux version post-2.2
I've been using SuSE for a few years, but have however just make a switch to Fedora. Fedora is by far the best linux distrubtion i've seen. Hopefully your laptop will be able to run it. Of course, I can only comment on a few of the many; have a look here: DistoWatch.
There were some problems running Tomcat on RH9 which had to do with threading issues and the current JVMs at the time. A Google search on LD_KERNEL_ASSUME will bring up plenty of information and a quick fix if you run into any problems.
I got the screeen displaying at 1024x768 by selecting a generic lcd 1024x768 Installed YUM and got it working (a couple of small hiccups). I wish I knew about this earlier! Installed Xine Configured samba but currently have to shutdown the firewall. This will be next. I only bothered with a generic 'share' directory. Worked out how to use smbclient to get stuff off the win2k desktop, looking for a GUI version. Updated huge chucks using yum. Added stacks more with yum. Moved some sample mp3 and avi files as a test and all OK.
My only issue currently is that the DNS settings aren't being updated with DHCP. I plug in at home and work, and it has the home DNS set permanently. It only accepts about 1 in 5 requests from work. I can add the work entry as #1 since it should fail from home, but is there a better solution?
I still haven't tried the TV out by I added some "TV out" support packages with yum and hopefully I'll get a chance to play this weekend.
Got the machine working almost the way I wanted, screen, and few apps, mp3s, printing. I think I may have damaged the rpm database before installing yum and started getting some cyclic requirements and telling me the pachages both did and didn't exist.
Anyhoo, I discovered Fedora and decided I want this instead, so I'm in the process of upgrading (never done an upgrade, should be interesting) from RH9 to F4-Test2 (this is a pre-release version). Any problems and I'll download F3 until the official release of 4.
I got F4 via torrent off their site last night. 2.5Gb in about 4.5 hours. I could cry! I've only used bittorrent for Linux distros (knoppix and redhat) but never had performance like this before