which linux distro on a dell?


Caffeine-->Code Converter
25 Apr 2002
im running a sort of modified dell dimension 8250. i say sort of modified cuz ive changed some parts like the video card and sound card. the other main modification i have is that i formatted the HD and installed xp pro without all the crap that dell puts in OEM version of xp.

anyway, i wanna try linux again (i tried red hat a long time ago but forgot everything) but ive heard that linux is kinda hard to install in dells. im pretty sure i read somewhere that mandrake can be installed in dells, but ive no idea what one had to do to accomplish that.

any distro that'll work with this dell?


Since it's a desktop, I wouldn't think it would be very difficult getting any major distribution of linux working with it. All of the individual hardware components are made by other manufacturers in any case, so if linux drivers exist for them, it doesn't matter if it's a custom built CPU or a Dell.

In fact, I've installed several different versions of Slackware (currently on 9.1) on a Dell Inspiron 5100, which is a laptop (see sig). I've seen several sites that indicate Debian, Gentoo and RedHat work fine with it as well. Usually, hardware compatibility in linux is supposed to be a bigger issue with laptops, but almost everything worked for me right after a fresh installation of Slackware. The only thing I needed to tweak was ACPI support to get battery/temperature status, but that now works too. :)

For some reason, people consider Slackware to be one of the more difficult distros, and I think this has to do with the fact that almost all configuration is file-based rather than wizard-based. But to tell you the truth, I've had less luck with RedHat as far as hardware compatibility goes. Have to admit that I last tried RedHat a long time ago, and I'm sure its hardware support has become much better since then, but as they say, "once you go slack, you can't go back." :D

With that said, your best bet is to check that there are linux drivers for all your major hardware components. Google is really useful for this.
If there are drivers, and they don't get installed with a default install of the distro you're considering, you can always compile them in yourself.
slackware eh? ill take a look at it too...are the differences major between slack and mandrake? ive looked for linux drivers for the major stuff (particularly my 802.11b usb adapter) and ive found for most of them so i wont worry much about that yet.
Which distribution you choose is just a matter of personal preference. Mine happens to be Slackware.

If you do decide to take the plunge and install Slackware, don't expect to see any wizards that will do everything for you though. It's one of those distros that forces you to learn the workings of the OS. While this requires more initial ground-work than Mandrake or Redhat for example, it really helps when you face a problem...believe me. Since you've done most of the configuration on Slackware yourself, you know where to look when something goes wrong.

Just my opinion. Sometimes you never know what works best for you until you've tried multiple distros. :)
Personally, I prefer Debian. I do use Mandrake on my Sony laptop, but all my desktops are Debian (exception is one Windows server, one windows XP desktop for beta testing, and my personal desktop which is an iMac).
Yeah, Debian is definitely a very good one too. I tried it sometime last year after JJB6486 recommended it. apt-get was quite convenient back then when swaret and slapt-get didn't exist. :)

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