Over the years I have had struggles and great success with installing Linux on various machines. Some hardware I like to work with more than other bits of hardware. Here I will discuss specific issues with bits of hardware and machines and how to overcome challenges. Although, Linux will run on just about anything, some hardware is better suited to it than others. Here are specific hardware experiences, what I like, don’t like, work around issues I have overcome with some “obscure” bits of hardware and just general experience with running Linux.
Originally I have only kept notes for myself on working with various bits of hardware. This might be useful for your Linux journey. My hardware is all fairly old, ancient by some standards but it still gets the job done. When these machines break down or are no longer able to do the job I request of them, they will be replaced. I guess that makes me not the ideal consumer. As a rule, I don’t like to throw something away until it is no longer useful or not practical to continue maintaining.
I have found that Dell seems to just work with Linux, no tweaking necessary unless there was a Broadcom wireless driver to install. I am also extremely appreciative that they have been using the same power supply barrel connector for years, so I always have a power supply somewhere. As of recent, I have been using an HP EliteBook 840 G7 as my primary machine and I am impressed with what HP has done with their business class machines. I still use Dell but I have a new found appreciation for HP.
This is my purpose built desktop, AMD Ryzen 5 3400G based, retro-modern machine that is my primary production system. Most of my work is performed on here from video editing, live streaming, and the like.
HP EliteBook 840 G7
As of November 2020, this is my primary mobile machine. This displaced the Dell Latitude E6440 as my road warrior but the E6440 is still used pretty actively. The HP EliteBook has a lot of great things going for it. The battery life gets me between 4 and 6 hours, depending on what I do with an 80% battery life left. The USB Charging port is what I primarily use now because I can, quite literally charge it from any USB-C brick or even a vehicle socket provided in newer cars. Truly, this is a great machine that I hope to continue to use for several more years.
Dell Latitude E6440
Previous, primary on-the-go machine but is still actively used. Intel Core i7-4610M, 128GB mSATA, 500GB SSHD drive, 1080p screen with the AMD GPU. It is running openSUSE Tumbleweed flawlessly. Most notable feature is the dock station ability. Very convenient to go from desk to lap with just the push of a button for separation and other accessories available for t his E-series of machines. This runs KDE Plasma Desktop which is not phased by the dock to undock. It flawlessly updates my screen layout and remembers each screen “location.” Everything worked on this machine without any tweaking. This is a large part of why I recommend Dell Latitude series of machines.
My previous main Linux machine that I purchased in 2007 that just keeps chugging away. It is currently running openSUSE Leap but has also run Tumbleweed extremely well.
Dell Inspiron 20 3048 All-In-One Desktop
This machine serves as a kind of dashboard display and live backup of my main system. I mostly use this machine to display a calendar using Kontact, a kitchen assistant and access to my different communication channels.
Dell Latitude D830
Acer Aspire One D255E Netbook
Runs Ubuntu-Mate as this is a PowerPC based system. Mate does great at the 2GB of RAM that this has and is nice and snappy. It does struggle with most YouTube videos which is unfortunate. Does well for listening to the radio and simple web browsing.
For more information on running Linux on PowerPC here are the resources I have used.
Linux on PowerPC
Panasonic Tough Book CF-52
Core2 Duo machine running openSUSE Leap 42.3. Acts as a media server in the living room. Currently, I find that it needs more RAM to function better, 2 GB is great for local media but not for streaming services.
HP Stream 11
The build quality and fell of this machine is what I really enjoyed most. Read more here on my experience with it
openSUSE Leap 42.2 installation on HP Stream 11
Lenovo ideapad 110S
openSUSE Linux on a Lenovo ideapad 110S Laptop
Acer Aspire E15
openSUSE Tumbleweed on Acer Aspire E15
Dell Latitude 2120
KDE Plasma 5.12 on a Dell Latitude 2120
Panasonic Toughbook CF-19
The touchscreen has been a challenge to auto configure but everything else works very well. Biggest complaint is the lack of a good virtual keyboard in KDE Plasma 5.12.
Panasonic CF-19 Toughbook | Touch Panel Calibration
A very commodity, basic laptop, nothing noteworthy about this machine other than everything went very well.
Gateway NE56R41u openSUSE Install
Dell Inspiron 3646
A budget desktop computer that I set up for multimedia use in a church.
openSUSE Linux on a Dell Inspiron 3646 | Low Budget Multimedia Configuration for a Small Church