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Which distro of Linux is best for a laptop?





Diablosblizz
Hey, since my laptop is on the fritz with windows 7 (it's beta and all so NO trashing please) I'm looking into a stable Linux distro (preferably a version of Ubuntu). I'm pretty sure all Linuxes have what I need (basic writing + music combo - just for school with a browser of course) but I'm worried about the general speed. Last time I remember installing Ubuntu the fan was going everywhere. I need a Linux / Ubuntu distro thats low on system requirements and can hold battery life for a decent amount of time. Here's my specs:

AMD Turion 2.0 GHz Dual Core
3GB RAM
250GB HDD
ATI Raedon 1250X

I NEED it to be able to hold minimum 2 hours of battery life at fully charged. Also, should I wait for Ubuntu 9.10, or install it now and upgrade later? I'm in need of it soon.

Thank you very much guys. Smile

EDIT: I installed Ubuntu, and I'm kind of curious on some things:

1. Why is the minimum time the computer will turn off the monitor on battery power 11 minutes?
2. Why is my CPU usage constantly at 25%? That's one thing that I noticed on Ubuntu, the CPU is NEVER idle, it's constantly doing something and my fan never shuts up and my computer ends up getting hot. How can I fix this?!
welshsteve
I'm not big on hardware etc, but that's not a bad spec PC so I imagine any distro of Linux would run comfortably on that. I guess its finding one that has good power management
Diablosblizz
Yeah, but when it constantly uses 25% of the CPU even when idle (nothing open but the "task manager") isn't good, it keeps my fans running constantly.

I'm looking into xUbuntu. I don't need much really, just a GUI, word processing and firefox.
welshsteve
Yeah I'd go for something like xubuntu or ubuntu then.
william
I saw a similar problem on the Ubuntu forums earlier on. Check to see how much CPU load Xorg is taking up.
Diablosblizz
How do I check how much XORG is using? According to the system monitor the only thing that is using CPU is gnome-system-monitor which is constantly going all over the place, although I figure that will go away once I close the system monitor. Right now, the fans aren't doing anything (other than the default CPU one) so I think it's running better than what it was.

Also, longshot here but can I "upgrade" Ubuntu to xUbuntu without reformatting?
[FuN]goku
There isn't really a "best" distro for a laptop Razz
But what I would recommend doing is starting with a minimalist distro such as Archlinux or, get the Debian Net Install iso. The benefits of this, are that YOU CHOOSE what you want installed. Meaning you won't get a bunch of software you aren't going to use.

Another thing I would look into, is finding a Desktop manager that's easy on resources. I would recommend XFCE (Which is also the desktop manager in Xubuntu). Gnome and KDE tend to eat up a bit more than XFCE. And if you're worried about your desktop looking "pretty" , I wouldn't worry too much, you can make XFCE look JUST as nice, if not , better than gnome with the right tools.

One thing I should point out about something like Archlinux and Debian Netinstall, is that your drivers probably won't work out of the box, so you'll have to download your gpu drivers and probably your wireless drivers. (At least in my experiences)

May be a bit of extra work, but the end result is worth it imo.
Diablosblizz
I've installed Ubuntu already, so I think I'm going to stick there. Something worth noting though:

The fan doesn't constantly spin. Once you do something that spikes the CPU enough to start the fan the fan never goes back down, unless the computer is restarted. That's not too bad, but it would kill the battery quicker. I've asked on Ubuntu forums two days ago, but they don't seem like replying just yet.

Anybody hear of something like this?
Fire Boar
Sounds like a non-standard extension that your fans implement, perhaps at the BIOS level. These are really rare but not unheard of. Some are supported, some aren't - look up the make of your computer to find out if you can get the right kernel module or if it doesn't exist yet.
albuferque
I know it is not Linux but I'd recommend PC-BSD

PC-BSD is a Unix-like, desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD. It aims to be easy to install by using a graphical installation program, and easy and ready-to-use immediately by providing KDE as the default, pre-installed graphical user interface.

PC-BSD provides official binary nVidia and Intel drivers for easy hardware acceleration and an optional 3D desktop interface through Compiz Fusion.

PC-BSD also contains a package management system which allows users to graphically install pre-built software packages from a single downloaded executable file, something uncommon on open source operating systems.
Phinx
PC-BSD also let's you use the original FreeBSD port tree, so amount of software is massive. But also it uses KDE as desktop, one of the hungriest ones. I'm not saying that with such specs, as was mentioned above, it will matter, but XFCE will be more responsive in this case. I run similar specs on my laptop and difference is still noticeable. I suggest you try more Linux variation and don't stop with Ubuntu. The only reason Ubuntu has won so many fans is because of ease of starting it up from scratch. Afterwards people don't bother to look around because they're 'fat and happy' (intended as a figure of speech).

Right now i'm running Fedora 11. Before i used PC-BSD, Ubuntu, Mandriva, openSuSe. All of them are good in their own sense, but for me Ubuntu is not at the top of the list.
Diablosblizz
Fire Boar wrote:
Sounds like a non-standard extension that your fans implement, perhaps at the BIOS level. These are really rare but not unheard of. Some are supported, some aren't - look up the make of your computer to find out if you can get the right kernel module or if it doesn't exist yet.


According to the Ubuntu forums that's exactly what it is. Somebody told me to put acpi_osi="Linux" into the GRUB boot, but unfortunately that stopped the fan from working at all.
ikavec
Diablosblizz wrote:
The fan doesn't constantly spin. Once you do something that spikes the CPU enough to start the fan the fan never goes back down, unless the computer is restarted.


When fan never goes down, is CPU freq going back down after process
that spiked it up has ended, or it stays sticked on actual value?
If freq drops back down, what about temperature of CPU?
Does temperature fall back down on value it has before starting the
fan?

You can monitor these values by following commands:
cat /proc/cpuinfo
acpi -V

Eitherway, you can force CPU to stay at minimal freq even under heavy
load by using following command:
echo powersave > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

It's setting scaling_governor of cpu to POWERSAVE mode. It should have
ONDEMAND value by default

You should add this command into your /etc/rc.local to start
automaticaly after restart

If you are not playing games, it should be sufficient for you to run on
minimal freq of your CPU. If you realy need performance, you can
allways set it back to ondemand mode.
Diablosblizz
Yes, CPU scaling IS working according to the Panel.
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