[Novalug] linux laptop reccommendation request

Jameson C. Burt jameson_novalug@coost.com
Wed Dec 14 21:55:34 EST 2016

Here are some laptop considerations.

In the next few months, I intend to buy from system76,
Their 14" Lemur laptop starts at $699.
All their computers have hardware that works with Linux, 
so I'd expect little problem with wifi, ethernet, or video when installing any Linux distribution.
System76 installs on their computers either Ubuntu 16.04 (default long term) or 16.10 (shorter term Ubuntu support).
Their inexpensive default CPU is Intel Core i3 rather than i5 or i7 ($160 more),
so I'll pay more to get a better CPU.
System76 includes 4GB memory that you can upgrade to 8GB for $44.
It includes a 500GB 7200 rpm drive,
which you can upgrade to 256GB *PCI Express M.2 NVMe SSD for $174.
If you add an SSD for your operating system, you can also add a 500 GB hard drive,
and I image dual boot on these two different drives.
System76 includes a good 1080p ISP (not TN) display.
It has one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, and one USB 3.1 port.
It includes a direct gigabit ethernet port.
It includes both a direct HDMI port and direct VGA port.
With system76, you can get a spare battery and easily swap batteries.

System76's slightly older 15 inch Gazelle has
three USB 3.0 ports,
one USB 2.0 port,
and zero USB 3.1 ports,
so it has one more USB port in this larger laptop.

Dell sells the more expensive, less configurable, yet often touted in the Linux community, 
XPS 13 developer edition, also with Ubuntu 16.04
starting at $949.99.
This lowest configuration has the processor Intel Core i5,
8GB memory,
only 128 GB Solid State Drive, and
only 2 USB 3.0 ports.
It has NO direct ethernet ports, and
no direct VGA or HDMI ports.
You can use a thunderbolt contraption to get these (I presume thunderbolt works under Linux).

If you get a laptop that includes an Nvidia graphics card rather than embedded Intel graphics,
your battery life might halve.

Bigger laptops; eg, System76's 15 inch rather than System 76's 14 inch laptop,
have more USB ports, often a direct ethernet port, and often a direct video (HDMI or VGA) port.
Without going to a thunderbolt contraption,
the Dell XPS 13" has two direct USB 3.0 ports, as does the System76 Lemur 14" have 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports though it also has a direct USB 3.1 port.

I often use both an external mechanical keyboard and a Logitech M570 rollerball mouse, so I need two USB 2.0/3.0 ports right away.
Come-on Logitech, make a bluetooth rollerball mouse, so I needn't use a USB port.

Replacement keyboards:
For me, the laptop part that fails most is the keyboard.
Dell sells replacement laptop keyboard inserts for about $20.
System76 sells replacement laptop keyboards for about $40, and you can expect them available for 3 years.

Notice that both System76 and Dell install Ubuntu.  
If you have a laptop, and expect installation problems, consider installing Ubuntu, 
which doesn't worry as much about using proprietary software.
Last month, I successfully installed Ubuntu on a 2 year old Lenovo laptop.

On Sat, Dec 10, 2016 at 12:31:09PM -0500, Bonnie Dalzell via Novalug wrote:
> I am looking to add a later model linux capable laptop to my
> collection. Price is important. Its purpose it to let me do some
> internet, webmail and some perl programming while traveling and to
> have some harddrive storage for photos (although I can carry along
> usb memory sticks). I have yet not tried to put linux on a UEFI
> machine. How difficult is this?
> A used machine in decent shape is acceptable.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>                        Bonnie Dalzell, MA
> mail:PO box 9767 Baldwin, MD, USA 21013  |  EMAIL:bdalzell@qis.net
> shipping address:5100 Hydes Rd 21082 (Hydes Post Office closed Jan 2012)
> Freelance anatomist, vertebrate paleontologist, writer, illustrator, dog
> breeder, computer nerd & iconoclast... Borzoi info at www.borzois.com.
> HOME www.batw.net    ART bdalzellart.batw.net  BUSINESS www.boardingatwedge.com
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Jameson C. Burt, NJ9L   Fairfax, Virginia, USA
jameson@coost.com       http://www.coost.com
(202) 690-0380 (work)

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