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Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

All I wanted to do was forward my telephone calls. I decided to dive into Asterisk. I realized that all of the "easy configure" setups were limited for my purposes. Then I realized I should probably get my head around what Asterisk is actually doing and play with Linux. Before I knew it, the folks on #joiito had convinced me to install Ubuntu Linux. I finally routed my first call from my bottom-up install of Asterisk.

What a Yak shave.

So... what's the best laptop for running Linux?


People I know have had excellent results with IBM and Compaq

I use linux on an el cheapo Acer Travelmate 290 series

You'll need to install a few things extra - not just the distribution provided stuff

1. Centrino drivers for linux, by intel -

2. Laptop Mode and Cpufreqd (google will find those)

3. A new 2.6.x (currently 2.6.12 but for how long i dont know) patched with the cko (con kolivas overloaded) patches that provide some useful stuff like bluetooth etc

You need to tweak things around a lot I'm afraid but the end result is worth it. Even better if you buy a laptop that has fairly standard components and no "hidden extras" has detailed notes on this for you.

That's yak shave for sure, but it's the fun variety. (right?)
Folks speak highly of Ubuntu, especially for laptops. My cousin got it running on a Dell D600.

Thanks Suresh!

IBM is a good choice. I heard that HP nx61xx and nc61xx will has full support for Linux soon from HP, only card reader will not work, coz' Texas Instruments doesn't want to open spec.

Cpufreqd is already in Ubuntu, so no googling necessary. has also good database of laptops.

Centrino drivers should install automatically in the latest Ubuntu release (Hoary Hedgehog) - they did on my Thinkpad T43.

I replaced Mandriva LE 2005 with KUBUNTU Hoary Hedgehog) and I have mixed feelings , but then I am newbie in Debian.
Wireless INPROCOM IPN 2200 does not work in ACER ASPIRE 180WSi_2.93 laptop.
D partition (FAT32 in XP) can be accessed from Konqueror but not from OOo1.1.3!! Strange
CDrom needed an extra script from (who have an exceptionally good mailinglist).
Help by installing applications (Firefox to name one) is hard to find
Butoverall it's a fine distribution

I'd go for a thinkpad.

(In fact, that's what I'm currently using, and that's also what the next one will be.)

IBM Thinkpad or Apple Powerbook. Details on installing Ubuntu on your Powerbook:

Ubuntu on the PowerBook G4

Ubuntu Linux, Yellowdog Linux and Mac OS X, all on one PowerBook?

Why does it have to be a laptop ? You could maybe deploy a cube-sized appliance with PCI slots that can accept analog phone adapter cards.
A small, concealed screen-less system running Linux could be controlled, say, from a laptop thousands of Kms away via a X Window session...

SuSE 9.3 activated everything on a Thsoiba Satellite except the sound-card-based modem but activated a cheap modem card. With no further drivers necessary.

*yak shaving* thanks for that one.

i'm running ubuntu on:

Gateway notebook 600XLb; P4 2.4GHz-M; 60GB HD; 768MB DDR

with a docking station.

ubuntu is good stuff.

detected wireless card?, check
running wireless - g with WPA? check (took some work)
detected docking station and additional mouse? check
has never crashed (unlike FC2)? check

IBM/Lenovo and Toshiba are known for great linux support. If you are looking for a super portable linux workstation, the IBM/Lenovo X series is nice, but I went with the Toshiba dynabook ss sx. Only 1.29kg, very light and everything but the SD card reader and fingerprint scanner works. Be prepared for lots of tweaking though...

I am running Linspire on a Dell Latitude, and everything is supported right out of the box, from the widescreen resolution, to the 801.11g wifi chip. (Disclosure: I am involved with Linspire, as it's our thing in Europe.) The question should IMHO be what is the right Linux for the use I need to make of it? There are rightly so many variants of Linux both for the server and the desktop, that you can really find one for any task.

Do you manage Asterisk through the config files manually, or to you use a GUI Admin? If the latter, what?

Tried Ubuntu on my Sony Vaio s510 and it was too rough around the edges...Installed Mepis and I couldn't be happier...cpufreq automatically loads, Centrino and ipw2200 works right out of the box...
Just saying...

David: I tried using a GUI admin, but decided to learn to do the config by hand instead. (For Asterisk.)

Dell Inpiron 8600 worked out of the box for me with Ubuntu, except for hibernation. Ordering a Latitude D810 today, so I'll see how that one does.

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Yak shaving my way to Ubuntu from Lockergnome's Linux Fanatics
July 29, 2005 3:20 PM

While I think I get the general idea behind this post, I am still trying to get my mind around that whole Yak shaving thing...... Read More