Older laptop Linux issues...

Discussion in '*nix Software' started by Matt L, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Matt L

    Matt L Senior member

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    Got an older laptop -Compaq V3019US. Had been running Win 8 RC but it expired and opted not to pay for the full version. Over the years I've tried to use and like Linux but always get stuck on an issue and give up. I've been a WIndows guy for 20 years, have messed with Linux a bit but it never seems to gel in my mind.

    Anyway, open to suggestions for Linux. I loaded Mint on the laptop but after 4 days and way too many hours wasted trying to get the wireless connection working I'm about to chuck Linux again. The laptop uses a Broadcom 4311 chipset and it also has BlueTooth capability. Surprise is the BT works flawlessly, but have yet to get WIFI working.

    I'm just looking for something that will recognize my hardware and run. I know Mint is based on Ubuntu so I see little point in trying that, how about Fedora? From what I've read Broadcom stuff is a major pain for Linux, but so what? It's a known issue -resolve it. It's stuff like this that turns people off. Everyone with an old slow laptop is told how wonderful Linux is, and when it works it is, but crap like this drives people away. I'm willing to put some more time in and try other distros but loading WIN 7 is looking mighty tempting.
     
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  3. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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  4. TSDible

    TSDible Golden Member

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    I can say that was one of my early problems with laptops and linux support. So many lower end laptops use Broadcom gear.

    My solution was to spend $15 and swap out the wireless card. Not a problem after that.

    I think your BT may actually be from a different module on that laptop. But I'm not sure.

    The first one I got was a Realtek and was super cheap... I would recommend an Intel chip one if you decide to upgrade.
     
  5. Matt L

    Matt L Senior member

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    Thanks for the link, I may have tried that before, but I will try it again.

    Funny, i downloaded Fedora 18 and put it on my USB stick, booted it on the same laptop and it found the Broadcom equipment and connected to my wireless network quickly. Same with the BT that I use for my mouse. Can't say that I care for the look or feel of Fedora, much, much prefer Mint, but I may play with it for a while.
     
  6. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    I like Debian based distros, so fedora isn't really my thing, but if it's only the desktop you don't like , you can install other DEs. That might be an option if you can't get Mint working. If it works in fedora, it'll work in Mint though. It just takes the right magic to get it going.
     
  7. Matt L

    Matt L Senior member

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    OK, got a newbie question. Worked through a number of things, found that wireless works IF I issue --sudo modprobe b43 -- in a terminal window. Why? How do I get it to work automatically?
     
  8. dawp

    dawp Diamond Member

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    you can try a livecd of opensuse 12.2. it worked with my linksys wusb600n which uses a ralink chip and it saw and loaded loaded my onboard athoros. didn't have to do anything other than pointing it to the right network.

    the linksys has always been a pain to get working under linux if it isn't started when installed.

    fedora uses gnome desktop as a default and opesuse has kde as default.
     
    #7 dawp, Feb 21, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  9. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    Try adding b43 to the end of /etc/modules
     
  10. Matt L

    Matt L Senior member

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    Thanks! That did it!

    Now I'll settle in and play a bit. Are there any other distros you suggest I try?
     
  11. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    Depends. If you aren't bandwidth starved, it's always fun to see what's out there. It just costs you some disk space and time. Like I said, I generally stick with Debian based distros, with Debian being my primary, but here's some I like for various reasons...

    Bodhi - Ubuntu base, E17 desktop. Lightweight, and comes with the bare minimum to operate. You pretty much have to add everything you want.

    Peppermint - Ubuntu base, uses Lxde, and like Bodhi comes with little installed. The idea is it's a "cloud" platform. I'm not fond of the cloud, but I like starting with a minimal install.

    Crunchbang - Debian base, uses OpenBox, and is lightweight, but still looks nice. Good for older machines, or when you value speed over the nicest look possible.

    Xubuntu - Ubuntu with Xfce, I like the Xfce desktop, and it's what I use on Debian. It gives the "classic" computing experience, and is a nice blend of looks, performance, and features. It doesn't look like much on first install, but it pretties up nice.

    Kubuntu - I'm not a big fan of KDE, but it's worth a try. It has a lot going for it, with nice packages and good looks. It's just a little big for my taste, and there's a lot to configure, though you don't have to.

    Puppy - Good for very old computers, or when you don't require much. Very fast, and pretty small.

    TinyCore - Fully operational desktop in 50mb. Good for a flashdrive to carry with you. Have TinyCore, and some Windows portable apps on the same drive, and you're ready for anything.

    Don't forget you can install different desktops to Mint, and pick which one you want at login. I prefer downloading a whole liveCD for the initial trial, as many times you get left with some cruft after installing/uninstalling different desktop environments. If you find there's a couple you especially like, you can install them, and ick which you want. I have E17 and Xfce on mine, but I'm mostly in Xfce.
     
  12. TSDible

    TSDible Golden Member

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    I'm trying Mint with Cinnamon right now.

    It is a great DE for a transitioning windows user.

    I'm also a big fan of Xfce.... If I dumped Mint for anything, it would be the Xfce version of Mint or Xubuntu.
     
  13. ControlD

    ControlD Diamond Member

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    Somehow I just can't get into Cinnamon, even having been primarily a Windows user from XP through Windows 7. I really like Mint + Mate though. It still has most of the features a Windows user would look for (start button,etc.) but just seems a little cleaner to me.
     
  14. TSDible

    TSDible Golden Member

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    Now this thread has me thinking I may just want to do Xubuntu again...

    :)

    I'm too scared to do a pure debian install... :)
     
  15. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    What I don't like about Mate is it's unsustainable over time. The dev base is too small to keep up with support as GTK2 falls out of use. There's another Gnome2 fork, *the name of which escapes me atm. It uses GTK3, but has the features of Gnome2. I'd use that before Mate.

    I like Xfce. I have it setup almost identically to my old Gnome2 desk, and the few small features I miss are made up in new features Xfce provides. It's unlikely to go anywhere, and they change very slowly. There's little danger of them pulling a Gnome3 any time soon.

    Edit:
    *It's the Consort desktop. It takes the Gnome3 fallback mode and extends it...

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/2025526/meet-consort-a-brand-new-classic-linux-desktop.html
     
    #14 lxskllr, Feb 22, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  16. Steltek

    Steltek Golden Member

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    If you want to try Debian in a form that will install a little easier than pure Debian, try Linux Mint's Debian Edition. The installer is a little rough around the edges compared to the nice Ubuntu-based Mint installer, though. If you want to see what the install involves, here is a video walkthrough of the installation process.
     
  17. TSDible

    TSDible Golden Member

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    I've tried LMDE already.

    It isn't that difficult to install.
     
  18. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    Debian really isn't that hard to setup. It takes more than Ubuntu, but not that much more. Also, you aren't pounding the command line to do it. Just a bit more time with the package manager, and a little more general setup.

    I switched from Ubuntu due to not liking Unity, and not really feeling the love regarding Ubuntu's direction. Why I decided on Debian rather than the other Debian-like alternatives, came down to having a rolling release with the testing repos. Barring disaster, I shouldn't have to reinstall. It'll just keep updating. You have to use a little more care in reviewing updates. apt-listbugs is a must-install, and it'll usually notify you of a problematic update before you download it.

    I also like the Debian philosophy regarding libre software. A default install will be 100% free, but it isn't too difficult to install proprietary packages if you choose. Finally, it's closer to the core. I didn't see where the alternatives added that much more to Debian, so I figured I might as well go to the source, and use the parent distro.
     
  19. TSDible

    TSDible Golden Member

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    How do you feel about LMDE?

    Maybe that would be a happy medium for me...
     
  20. lxskllr

    lxskllr Lifer

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    I don't think I've tried that. I know I haven't for anything more than a quick live session if I have. It seems like a decent way to go, especially if you like the Mint particulars. I strongly suggest adding apt-listbugs if they don't include it by default. It can save you from a broken system. Anything that breaks can be fixed, but it can be a panic inducing experience if you aren't familiar with the command line, and X breaks, or something like that. Just because apt-listbugs spits some bugs out at you, it doesn't mean it matters to you. Read the short report, and if it looks like it pertains to your system, look up the bug by number, and see what all it says. I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine, so there's a handy !bang for that. I type !dbugs #xxxxx(bug number) and it takes me to the relevant page. To get an idea of how frequent that is, I probably did it 5 times last year, and that's with daily updates.

    Speaking of daily updates, you'll probably want to clear your apt cache every so often. All the packages get saved, and it can take a tremendous amount room after awhile. You can do that in your package manager(don't know about software center), or from the command line by running apt-get clean.