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Re: Toshiba and HP's GNU/Linux compatibility

On 17 May, Stefan Baums wrote:
> Hi all!
> I'll buy a notebook computer shortly, and one of my prime concerns is
> that GNU/Linux will not only run on it somehow, but actually use the
> available hardware features. At the moment, I'm considering the
> Toshiba Satellite 300 CDT and the HP Omnibook 2000 (+ internal CDROM
> for its accessory bay). To judge from the "Linux on Laptops" Page
> (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/kharker/linux-laptop/), Toshiba in
> general seems to be quite compatible with Linux, and HP far less so
> (though, or maybe because, it has the more interesting hardware). But
> the exact models I'm interested in have not been reviewed there.
> So, is anyone out there running GNU/Linux on one of these machines and
> can tell me about his experiences?
> Many thanks in advance,
> Stefan

My guess is that the exact models you're interested in are not reviewed
there because someone (like me) sat down to try to write a web page
about how to use Linux on one of them, and had a great deal of
difficulty doing so.  Web pages that say "Follow the installation
instructions.  It works." aren't too helpful.  Just as an example, I
have an Omnibook 5500CT, and installation instructions consist of:

Follow Debian install directions.  Install the SVGA X server. 
Recompile the kernel for APM support and Crystal Sound audio support. 
Beg, borrow, or steal the XF86Config file (I got mine from David
Puryear - thanks again David!).  Turn off a couple of daemons that like
to hit the disk fairly often.

Absolutely nothing that doesn't apply to pretty much any laptop. As a
laptop-usage data point, there are 9 people in  the department here
running Linux on a laptop (at least 7 are using Debian, and it's
entirely possible that all 9 do); I think that there are 3 Toshiba's, 3
HP's and 3 "other".  As far as I know, we all have X, sound and power
management support.  Buy on features / price / durability / service /
whatever else meets your fancy.  Just make sure you don't get stuck
with one of those evil Neomagic chipsets and you should be fine.

In case you do go for the Omnibook, I have a (close to useless) web
page up at http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~sryan/omnibook.html which has
the XF86Config file available for download; as the OB 2000 (I think)
uses the same graphics chipset as the OB5500, it might work.  I know it
worked on the OB 5000CTS, which is similar but not exactly the same.
If you want any other configuration files, feel free to write and ask
for them.

Sorry I don't have similar information on the Toshiba, but as you
remarked, Toshiba does seem to be quite compatible with Linux.
Stephen Ryan                   Debian GNU/Linux
Mathematics graduate student, Dartmouth College

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