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RE: my new Inspiron - WAS: OT: laptop recomendations

> From: Stackpole, Chris [mailto:CStackpole@barbnet.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 8:25 AM
> Subject: RE: my new Inspiron - WAS: OT: laptop recomendations
> > From: Bernard [mailto:bdebreil@teaser.fr]
> > Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 3:30 PM
> > Subject: my new Inspiron - WAS: OT: laptop recomendations
> >
> [snip]
> > For I have not been able to get WiFi working so far !
> >
> > The UBUNTU v8.04 Gnome Desktop proposes a few things to get wifi
> > working, but it does not work here. On my Desktop computer (running
> > Debian Sarge half upgraded to Etch), WiFi works on my DSL
> > whether with WEP or WPA encryption. My old Thinkpad 600 worked WiFi
> only
> > on WEP encryption. This one does not work at all so far ; no doubt
> that
> > it is my mistake, but I'd like to kwow which one is mine. The
> automated
> > process "network tools" has not given any success. I have tried to
> > insert my WPA encryption key in /etc/network/interfaces as I have
> > on my Desktop, but I had no success. A ping on gives no
> > result either. I have not forgotten to switch the side button that
> > supposed to switch the network ON/OFF.
> If you have not used Ubuntu recently, the wireless configurations are
> /much/ different then they were in Debian Etch. Try using "network
> manager"; I bet the icon is in the top right of your screen by the
> (looks like 2 computers). Left click to see the wireless networks it
> found, right click to see the properties information. Also, right
> a fresh boot up, it will take a few minutes for it to scan/find
> networks (I kid you not, it takes a full 2 minutes to find my wireless
> network on my Ubuntu 8.10 laptop). So give it time. Once it scans the
> area, it should present a drop down menu of all the wireless networks
> found (left click). If you have your SSID set to "hidden" you will
> to select the "connect to Hidden Network" option. Both options bring
> to the same menu where you can define your network, your encryption,
> your password/phrase. That should be it to get you connected.
> If you try to do networking/wireless "the Debian way" in Ubuntu, you
> have to disable/remove network manager first. You will have issues if
> you don't. You will probably find that people tend to either love or
> loath "network manager".
> >
> > Do you recommend to give it a quick extra trial before installing
> Debian
> > Lenny, or have I better switch right away ?
> I would give it a trial. Also, please do yourself and anyone helping
> a favor and look at the hardware before hand. I have heard several
> stories of these laptops being shipped with binary blobs for drivers.
> Also, a friend got one of the first Ubuntu-preinstalled Dell laptops.
> were unable to get Etch to install and we were unable to get Lenny
> working right. The latest Sid and Ubuntu worked though (This was
> a year ago so I hope things have changed for the better). If I were
> I would look through all the hardware and do a few Google searches to
> make sure that the Debian version you are going to install will work
> at least find out how much work it will take to get the drivers to
> work).
> I hope this helps. May the drivers be included on install and your
> configuration smooth!
> Have fun!
> ~Stack~

One thing I wanted to add to this (just remembered while answering
another topic). Debian does have Live CD's that can be tested out [1]. I
have had a few issues with them not detecting hardware yet the install
had no problems at all. Most of the time these issues have been a simple
fix (a module not being loaded or something easy like that). They should
be good enough for you to see how much work it is going to require for
your devices to function properly. Plus you can test out Etch, Lenny,
and Sid to see which one works best for you. That way you don't have to
spend time to do multiple installs.

Hope everything goes smoothly for you!

Have fun!

[1] http://live.debian.net/cdimage/

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