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Buying a laptop, advise on OS

Gopi Krishna
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 09, 2002
Posts: 5
Hi all,
I am planning to buy a new laptop. And I am planning to use that for my Java coding practice as well as home purpose(for internet, CD buring, tax preparation etc...)
So my question is which operating system I should opt for this purpose.
Most of laptops are coming with Windows XP home or professional version which are good for home purpose. But I want to install softwares like Tomcat, or Bea webLogic or webMethods B2b server and do practice.
So , can any body give their feed back ? suggestions ? Which OS best suits our needs ?
And let say if we want Windows 2000/2003 server OS, I don't see that is offered in most of laptops. If we want how to get that ? Do we need to buy laptop with Windows XP and separately buy Windows servers software and install it and go through that pain ?
thanks for your time and help,
gk.
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1746
    
    2
This topic isn't related to the Cattle Drive assignments (which is what we talk about in the Cattle Drive forum), so I'm going to move it to General Computing.
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
You're probably better off with the Windows XP Professional than trying to get a server OS installed. All of the software products you listed will run just fine on a "desktop" OS.


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Gopi Krishna
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 09, 2002
Posts: 5
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
You're probably better off with the Windows XP Professional than trying to get a server OS installed. All of the software products you listed will run just fine on a "desktop" OS.

Hi Lasse thanks for your reply. not sure what do you mean by "desktop" OS ?
could you please enlighten me on this ?
thanks
gk
leo donahue
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 17, 2003
Posts: 327
Originally posted by Gopikrishna Putty:

Hi Lasse thanks for your reply. not sure what do you mean by "desktop" OS ?
could you please enlighten me on this ?
thanks
gk

What a great question. Sometimes we take for granted that other people will understand what we are trying to communicate. I think the term "desktop" refers to the standard "personal computer or minicomputer" or something that you can place on top of your desk or work area. But anymore, you can't really say that "size" determines how a personal computer is defined.
On the other hand, a "desktop OS" could also mean the GUI or "Graphical User Interface" with which you interact on the computer screen with your mouse, such as Windows or Apple's OS-X.
It sounds like to me that you want to get the most for your money. I would also agree with you that you probably won't find any laptops with a Windows Server operating system installed on it. You would most likely have to purchase that separately. Lasse is correct in that you can run the programs which you mentioned on any "desktop OS", such as Windows 2000, or XP Professional. One other thing to remember about getting software pre-installed on today's laptops is that you don't get a version of Windows that will work on any other computer except on the laptop. You usually get a system restoration CD which has the Windows OS on it and it only works for the laptop and no other computer.
Have you considered getting your new laptop installed with a version of Linux? Linux has the capabilities you describe, it can be configured as a server operating system or a workstation operating system and it comes with most of the software you mentioned, or at least something similar. And if you tried to buy all the Microsoft equivalents that come with Linux, you would be able to buy a new Kia (automobile)


Thanks, leo
juliane gross
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 161
I do all my Java coding on a Laptop which has
just Linux installed on it.
I completely agree with Leo: don't buy expensive
Windows stuff if you can get more user friendly
Linux programs, and for free. And it's easy to install it
on your Laptop.
As a server for example, I use Orion; here is a very
neat installation instruction.
On Linux you get all kinds of very good and useful
software, for example Syntax highlighting editors, and of course
common things like CD burning software, and the likes.
Maybe you wish to surf a bit for more information, for example start
here or read the posts in the
Linux-Forum of Javaranch.
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
I agree that a Linux laptop is a wet dream of mine
However, installing a Linux on a laptop is not for the faint-hearted... If you are going to take this route, I'd suggest browsing for tips at linux-laptop.net.
Davy Kelly
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 384
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
I agree that a Linux laptop is a wet dream of mine

What strange wet dreams you have
Anyway, I tend to agree, I am not up to speed with linux, but I have Mandrake sitting near by just begging to be installed on to my computer. It is free, unlike when my Windows OS crashed, I had ME (Millenium Edition) and I had to BUY a new OS, nothing worked. So i got WIndows XP Home.
This is an ok OS, but there is a lot of hidden stuff that MS do not want you to know about, or play about with.
So a friend pointed me in the right direction of Mandrake, so I downloaded a copy and burned it, for future installation.
This is apparently a stable OS that most crackers do not wnat to crack, because most people want to take down vulnarabilities in Microsofts work, which there are many.
So i would say, buy a Laptop, but have a linux OS on it.
Davy


How simple does it have to be???
Adrian Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
As a linux user for years, and my labtop. I don't like the idea of a newbie using linux on their labtops. I suggestion is this, get yourself a copy of XP home/professional from your labtop maker, most of them comes with it anyway. Install linux over it or dual-boot it, just in case you don't like linux or not comfortable with it right the way, you still have an option to switch.
juliane gross
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 161
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
However, installing a Linux on a laptop is not for the faint-hearted...

Well, this seems to depend on the Linux Distribution.
I use Suse Linux which really is easy to handle. I promise.
But of course, as Adrian says: a dual boot installation takes
you to the safe side.
Still, I would like to mention that if you have a problem with
Linux, there is friendly help all over. You will get your
problem solved with a very high probability.
If you have problems with a Windows OS, many things may stay unsolved
riddles, because of that hidden stuff Davy talks about.
And: think about all the exciting new stuff you will learn
while installing a Linux system!
[ March 05, 2004: Message edited by: juliane gross ]
Adrian Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
Just remember this: MAKE SURE YOU GET A LAPTOP THAT SUPPORTED BY LINUX!!!
I have seen so many of my friends who want to try linux/laptop, end up buying one tht doesn't support linux at ALL.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
I agree that a Linux laptop is a wet dream of mine
However, installing a Linux on a laptop is not for the faint-hearted... If you are going to take this route, I'd suggest browsing for tips at linux-laptop.net.

I have linux (Mandrake 9) installed on my Dell Inspiron 8200 and I had no problems at all. My Wireless PCMCIA card worked out of the gate. Sound, Video. It installed just as smoothly as a desktop. The only things I had to do were I went ahead and downloaded and installed NVidia's drivers so I could have OpenGL support. And I had to install a library so that my DVD player would play encrypted DVD's. You would have to do the same 2 things on a desktop PC.


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Gopi Krishna
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 09, 2002
Posts: 5
HI Adrian and all,
thanks for sharing such useful data. Even I had the same idea of making laptop as dual bootable but didn't want to pursue that (i had really bad experience with that in past with my desk top).I have few more questions,
let say if i want to go along with laptop/linux , can we do regular internet user things too? like to connect to internet, listen songs, play mp3s, and general house hold softwares like turbotax etc. reason i am asking is i have a friend who struggled a lot to connect to internet with linux as OS on his 'desktop', and he mentioned that most of driver softwares are not available for linux OS.
second let say if i want to go with 'linux/laptop' for only java (i mean purely IT work) did you guys had any problem ?(don't ask me what sort , i myself don't have any idea. i am asking because linux/laptop is not a combination that is very common at least for a person like me who has very limited knowledge. so pl help me)
once again thanks alot for sparing your time
i am sure it is really useful for so many people like me out there.
thanks
gk
Adrian Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
Well, with the exception of turbox tax related application, everything else you can do with MP3. I use my laptop for mostly MP3, java development, and web surfing. You shouldn't have any problem with linux in today's systems.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
XP Pro is the way to go.
Stay well clear of Linux, it's a disaster to use especially on laptops!
Tried half a year installing it on mine before giving up in disgust, popped in a Win2K Pro CD and was up and running half an hour later.


42
Adrian Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
Hmmm... I don't know about that, I have no problem with any Dell or Gateway or IBM laptops. If you use any of the large distro (Redhat, Suse, Mandrake), you shouldn't have any problem. I personally use Debian, and I never have a problem. I did, however, compiled my kernel for about 5 times to get it working
Matt Wilcko
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2003
Posts: 65
I would get XP and then if you want to experiment with web servers, install apache, tomcat, etc... If you plan to run a web server down the road, IIS is easy to use but the version that comes with XP is limited to 10 connections.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
This was Debian...
Nothing I tried could get USB, network cards (I tried several) and videocard to work at the same time (meaning on the same kernel).
Must have compiled a hundred kernels in different configs to try and get things running (several 2.2 and 2.4 kernels), nothing worked.
Tried Mandrake as well, the installer wouldn't even run.
Adrian Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
Really, I got all my system running smooth. It does take sometime to get comfortable with it. Especially compiling kernel, you do need to know your hardware and its basics.
As far as doing development work on linux, it's an absolute blast. Especially when you don't need to pay for any licensing on your web server, database, and editor and stuff.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
We have the best of both worlds at the office...
Windows on the workstations with terminal sessions to AIX and Linux servers (mainly AIX at the moment).
Dani Atrei
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 17, 2004
Posts: 73
Incredible coincidence, i m think to make a dual boot machine with Linux Red Hat, thinking about KDE. Can anyone tell me which type of linux is prefereable?
Thanks!


Si altas son las torres, el valor es alto - Alberti
Greg Karpov
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 16, 2002
Posts: 24
There's a good resource about using linux on laptops: http://www.linux-laptop.net/
Stefan Wagner
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 02, 2003
Posts: 1923

I bought a very cheap sony-model, which came with xp and a rescue-cd.
It claimed, that when reinstalling, it will repartition the original state (2 partitions of 10 GB) erasing everything.
That was my last contact with XP.
Installed a W2k and linux - both worked well.
But since I tested eclipse on linux, I don't have any reason for running w2k.
It's just staying on the laptop, to have it parat, when I need some Win for a Job.
But I'm using linux for several years, have a friend who introduced it to me and helped - especially in former days.
Hardwareproblems can mostly be solved, but sometimes you have to fiddle around - depending on hardware and distribution.
Unfortunely, there is no silver bullet in linux-distros too.
A good way might be, to look for an appropriate laptop, and then check the net for reports on linux-on-laptops (links from above).
Of course I was angry, having implicitly paid for an OS (xp) I never used.
Fazit: Keep care (or away) on xp-rescue-cds.
Note: Linux and the net:
Linux was born with networking. You normally get 'too much net' with linux-distros, servers for every issue, protocols over protocols, dozens of mail-clients, browsers, ...
Perhaps you can ask the dealer for linux-support/ compatibility - sometimes the technicans can tell you, because they use linux themselfs.
Or you bring a linux-bootable to the shop... ok - not every shop will let make you a testinstallation
[ April 02, 2004: Message edited by: Stefan Wagner ]

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