Now, many of you will probably wonder why I would say such a thing. I’m pro-F/OSS, pro-Linux and pro-Freedom (especially when it comes to computing and the internet). But (and this is a big but), it just doesn’t work on my laptop.
I extolled the wonders of this laptop when I first got it. It’s a Gateway MX3225 (for those who don’t remember) and has some fairly gnarly driver issues (on Linux, anyway).
Let’s start from the top:
Awhile ago, I tried a couple different distros with (I’d say) fair success. I had gotten wireless, graphics and sound working on one distro (Mandriva) but the wireless immediately “crapped out” on me after a reboot.
Anyway, I tried the following in the last week.
SamLinux 2007 (PCLinuxOS)
This one really had potential. I got XFCE working, I loved the setup and feel of it, and didn’t have a very hard time with the wireless setup (after I found the needed ndiswrapper drivers). I had wireless working rather painlessly, actually, and was happy with the way my desktop looked and felt. I had all the programs I used up and running. The only thing was, I didn’t have sound. At all. I tried the PCLinuxOS forums, but most of them dealt with KDE issues, not XCFE issues. So, I kind of gave up on it. It lasted all of three days.
I figured I could get Mandriva up and running; I had before. I got the resolution set up properly and the wireless working but I still had no sound. The wireless stopped working after a day (again) and I started with a download of openSUSE.
This one installed everything but the kitchen sink. It had everything you could want, including Flash and RealPlayer/Helix. All I can say is, “wow”. Again, I got wireless working pretty quickly and the resolution set up. Again, I had no sound! Eeeee! This was getting frustrating. I tried some of the community resources, but I was getting tired of having to muck with things to get them to work.
Now, I’ve gone back to Windows on the laptop. Many of you may very well gasp in horror at my perceived anti-F/OSS stance on this. I’m not a zealot when it comes to Linux, but I do encourage people to use at least some F/OSS programs. If they can’t use some form of Linux or BSD, this is the best alternative.
For instance, I have two of my co-workers using Mozilla Firefox. I haven’t gotten them to try Flock or other F/OSS programs, but I have them running Firefox which is, in my humble opinion, superior to IE (any form, especially IE6). Now, I just need to extol the virtues of Pidgin and the Gimp. Ha!
Going back to Windows almost feels like giving up. It’s begrudging, but it does work; and that’s what I need: a working laptop.