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Thread: Looking for laptop friendly OS. Tried latest Fedora version

  1. #1

    Looking for laptop friendly OS. Tried latest Fedora version

    The first thing that I noticed was that it didn't recognize my laptop's mouse pad. No tapping, no scrolling. I was forced to use keyboard's up/dn keys. I also had to use the mousepad button.

    I found that it worked fine with a CAT-5 cable for Ethernet networking. I then went to set it up for wireless networking. I found that there was no wireless networking applications in the Repositories, for an Atheros wireless card. I downloaded all applications that deal with the Atheros card. It didn't even have ndiswrapper in the repositories, and I had to go to www.rmpfind.org, to download it. Anyways, none of those applications were installable, due to missing dependensies, or error messages that I couldn't understand. That was so much for wireless attempts.

    I did like YUMEX. It is similar to Sabayon's download manager, and made installation of applications easy to accomplish.

    At this point, my search for laptop friendly OS's continues. My criteria is that it should be simple to accomplish, without having to do contortions to get it to work. After spending several hours trying to get wireless working, I finally gave up. So my download of the latest version of Fedora has now joined the dust pile of collection of laptop unfriendly OS's. It is allright if someone wants to spend a lot of extra time setting it up for desktop usage. It takes no effort to make it work in an Ethernet environment.

  2. #2
    Administrator Advisor peter's Avatar
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    ndiswrapper doesn't work reliably with Fedora due to the relatively small 4K default kernel stack size. Windows drivers use a much larger stack and eventually they will exhaust the limits of the default hard coded Linux stack value and cause your system to hang or network connectivity to be flaky.

    To be safe, download kernels from Luxuriant, rebuild the kernel using a larger stack, or use Ubuntu, which I think uses the larger stack size by default.

    The problem with custom kernels is that yum / apt updates can overwrite your settings and invalidate your efforts. In such a case try disabling kernel updates.

    ndiswrapper installation from the tar files is relatively easy to do. I think it also has to be recompiled each time you install an updated kernel too.

    Have you tried fw-cutter? It has worked for me in the past with Fedora and was more reliable than ndiswrapper. You are right though, Linux and wireless isn't as easy to do as it should be. I have given up on some of my systems and just plug them into a wireless router or wireless game adapter.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by peter View Post
    ndiswrapper doesn't work reliably with Fedora due to the relatively small 4K default kernel stack size. Windows drivers use a much larger stack and eventually they will exhaust the limits of the default hard coded Linux stack value and cause your system to hang or network connectivity to be flaky.

    To be safe, download kernels from Luxuriant, rebuild the kernel using a larger stack, or use Ubuntu, which I think uses the larger stack size by default.

    The problem with custom kernels is that yum / apt updates can overwrite your settings and invalidate your efforts. In such a case try disabling kernel updates.

    ndiswrapper installation from the tar files is relatively easy to do. I think it also has to be recompiled each time you install an updated kernel too.

    Have you tried fw-cutter? It has worked for me in the past with Fedora and was more reliable than ndiswrapper. You are right though, Linux and wireless isn't as easy to do as it should be. I have given up on some of my systems and just plug them into a wireless router or wireless game adapter.
    I'm not familiar with fw-cutter. And this also applies to Fedora's stack size. I have also not have to do a "larger" stack size, so that's out of my realm. Overall, it just didn't pan out. And having to deal with KDE-4 didn't help any either. A lot of time was wasted searching for applications that are easily and commonly available in other distros. The GUI for wireless, and wired networking is too limited. There are a lot of things that need to be put in there, but that was not made available in this case. Doing the text line commands also failed for whatever reasons. I know that it didn't recognize the Atheros wireless card. I simply spent too many hours trying to fix this and that. I finally had to drop it. My search is for another distro like PCLinuxOS. It has all the codecs and applications to facilitate wireless networking. I can do the whole thing using the GUI, in aroud 10 minutes. This makes me a productive user, rather than a frustrated Linux mechanic.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    I hate to be the one that says it, because it always seems to be the default reply with anyone wanting to experience a friendly distro, but I suggest Ubuntu, more particularly, the newer 9.04 version. I have a rather recent laptop and also experienced problems such as yours with other distros, but they were literally cured when I installed Ubuntu. Straight away from the default install, I had trackpad, wireless networking, and it even picked up my 3g modem (which I have had nothing but trouble getting to work on every other distro I have used). It's been going for about a month or so now, and I haven't had anything not work for me. Even the onboard nvidia card does 3d acceleration with the nvidia driver (the windows version of the drivers dont work on it )

  5. #5
    Administrator Advisor peter's Avatar
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    Agreed. Ubuntu is the better wireless distro.

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