I'm going to revisit this thread, to hope to spark more interest, more than just my own as well.
Say, two, three or so years ago, I was really into using Linux, I tossed around distros and tried finding ones I liked more, from things like gOS to DSL. Tried, Sabayon, Ubuntu, Fedora, and a slew of other smaller distros, and in the end, I kept going back to Ubuntu. I guess to a point, it is the cop-out linux distro, in that it was the simplest for me to set up, customize and run on my hardware.
Nothing's changed. I decided I'd give a crack and going back to linux for a while. My aging MacBook Pro is starting to literally fall apart. I'm the second owner, it's going on 5 years old, who knows what it's seen. I know that it saw nearly a 1000 mile journey from the previous owner to myself. Well, I'm not getting rid of it just yet, I think I'll just replace a couple broken parts and pass it along to someone who can use it for the rest of it's life, but lets focus on Linux and the Tecra M11.
Ubuntu recently tossed out their newest release, 10.10. Well, lets just say that the hardware recognition between 10.04 and 10.10 is enough of a reason to switch. I tried installing 10.04 on the M11, and the wifi wasn't recognized, the graphics didn't work so well, audio wasn't working, and even after installing and updating, nothing really worked.
So I downloaded the latest 10.10 x64 build (yes, I was quite adventurous). Got it installed and running, and right away I'm greeted with wifi working, the sound worked, it was running at the native graphics resolution, and it was running very well.
So I got it installed, and put on a few extra apps, and here I am, typing away, with only minor complaints left.
The keyboard still sucks. It's a little hard to type on because I feel like the keys have too much resistance. Some people may love this feel, but I got so used to Mac laptop keyboard, that I very much prefer to feel the keyboard much lighter, and it's also easier on my hands.
Compiz is still hell to configure. I got it running, but since it's been quite some time since I've used it, well, I had to do a lot of looking around for the features I wanted.
All in all, what's important is this:
After installing Ubuntu 10.10, and getting it fully updated, I installed Skype, and Wine.
-The webcam worked OOTB
-All USB ports work OOTB
-After installing the nVidia drivers, the graphics work amazingly well. The worked before, but with little acceleration
-The Sound works OOTB
-Sleep works, OOTB
-Hibernate works, OOTB
-All function keys work, OOTB, exceptions being the eco button, as it's specific to the Toshiba app in Windows
-CPU Throttling/Power Management is working wonderfully, OOTB
-Wifi worked, OOTB, picks up more networks than my MacBook Pro in the same spots, picks up a weaker signal, and is able to keep connected
-Bluetooth is recognized OOTB, although I have it disabled because I don't use it
-SD Card Reader works OOTB, I don't have other types of cards to test in it though
-Brightness is adjustable OOTB
-Gigabit Ethernet works, OOTB
Does it get better? Sure, but I don't have any display port adapters, so I can't test that. I haven't burned a DVD yet, but if it installed off the drive, I'd make a fair guess that that's working as well. I haven't gotten around to testing eSATA, but I'm sure that works too. The VGA port probably works as well, but I haven't gotten around to testing it.
Does it get better again? Hell yes. I opened the "scanner" application, to play around, and see what I had to do to configure my Epson Workforce 600 to work with it. To my surprise, I clicked scan by accident, and it was scanning from the Workforce already, it was scanning something I left in the scanning bed a week ago. I didn't even set up the application, it recognized the network scanner all by itself. My other network printer, an HP 4600dn, was installed flawlessly through the printer options, as was my Canon MP160. I didn't get any of these printers because they worked with Linux, I got them because they came in my direction, they just happen to work very well with Ubuntu. I'm able to do anything I need to at work, at home, and at school, with seamless migration between the three areas. Sure, this laptop was cool with Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on it, but I just pulled the drive out, stuck in a spare drive, and gave linux a shot, and I'm so glad I did.
I have the Compiz-Fusion cube running, I can theme the whole laptop. It's got the LED backlit display, so it's doing great on battery life, roughly 2.5 hours of steady usage before I have to think about finding an outlet, and when the battery goes red, I still have ~40 minutes of usage left before I really have to worry. My MacBook Pro? Well, lets just say, it can last about 1.5 hours of steady usage before it has to plug back in.
I'm very impressed by the performance of this laptop, and I'm very glad to say I'm going to keep Ubuntu on it for quite some time. The power of the Core i7 620m, 8gb of DDR3, and 64 bit linux will be a huge selling point for me in the future, as I'm trying to get back into the loop. No, this laptop is not perfect, but it's doing quite well, and I'm sure it'll outlast all the laptops I've had in the past.
I'm not Pro-Mac, or Pro-Windows or Pro-Linux, but I think all of them have their place. I think it's equally important for people to be familiar with all of them, even if it's just brief usage once in a while, because it keeps the mind fresh, and open to the possibilities. Linux isn't perfect, and neither is Mac or even Windows, they all have problems on all levels.
Lets hope others can use this experience to their benefit, and give things a try. Spread the word, and help people out with it, honestly, there isn't a better thing to do.
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A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.