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What might be the most compatible linux distro for notebooks. Mine is an compaq b1200. With windows 7 installed and I want to dual boot it with a linux distro. I already tried ubuntu 10.04 notebook edition but no luck because the graphics is so slow. When you try to point on an option it takes about 30 seconds for it to respond. Please recommend a distro that is most likely compatible with most notebooks.

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I would try plain 'ol Ubuntu, not the Netbook Remix. It seems to be snappier and more responsive in general. –  squircle Jun 11 '10 at 1:53
    
is netbook remix and netbook edition different? Because I tried installing ubuntu desktop on the laptop but it will always display ubuntu netbook on the wubi installer even if I put the desktop installer. –  soul Jun 11 '10 at 2:43

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I also suggest "plain" Ubuntu 10.4 LTS. I use it on a similar HP laptop (Dual Turion with 3 Gig) I've experienced no problems and have found it to have excellent speed. I dual boot with Windows 7, but of late there hasn't been much use of the Windows side since everything I need is in Ubuntu. I also have Damn Small Linux available, but if you've used Ubuntu there's no way you're going to like going back to DSL.

Added: Not sure if this is relevant to the remix issue mentioned in comment above, but not all downloads are equal. I had several CD downloads from Ubuntu's main website fail to install but later I succeeded with another download of same version that came from a different distribution site. Make sure to check MD5s to make sure you got a good download.

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+1, I completely agree that the 'plain' Lucid LTS should be tried first. I have heard Lucid has some problems with specific laptops. In which case, the Jaunty should be tried (that's 9.04). And, consider the USB install for trails. –  nik Jun 12 '10 at 4:51

This TuxRadar article on What's the best lightweight Linux distro should be a good reference read.

The main idea of this test was to see how well these distros would run in a restrained environment. To this end, they were tested, where possible, on an ancient Compaq laptop with 256MB RAM, Vesa graphics, a 4GB hard drive and a 200MHz Pentium processor. For the sake of sanity, all distros were then also tested in a Qemu virtual environment with the same limitations, but this time using one half of a 3GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

There were no special tests other than to install these distros (which was testing enough) and attempts to do some normal desktop tasks.

They tested these distros (and their verdict on each),

  1. Damn Small Linux
    The original and still one of the best, but getting a bit long in the tooth now.
  2. CrunchBang
    Stylish, compact and plenty of Ubuntu software available.
  3. Lubuntu
    Although it looks nothing like Ubuntu, this is one to keep an eye on as it moves towards a stable release.
  4. Puppy Linux
    A solid and dependable offering, but limited software available.
  5. Slitaz -- this is their choice...
    Exceptionally quick, deceptively powerful and has a built-in webserver.
  6. Tiny Core Linux
    A remarkable achievement, but requires effort to install and use.
  7. Unity Linux
    t's both slick and fast, but you will need a bit more disk space available.
  8. VectorLinux
    This is a decent choice if you have space and memory to spare.

Another place to check distro details is distrowatch.
If your laptop can boot over USB, I'd suggest you try your distro first with a USB Install
(note that I mean install and not a LiveUSB form).

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Try the Xubuntu flavor of Ubuntu: http://www.xubuntu.org/

It's regular Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop environment (instead of the "heavier" GNOME desktop environment.)

Xubuntu can run with as little as 192 MB RAM, but 256 MB RAM is strongly recommended as a minimum. Obviously, more RAM is even better.

Xubuntu should fly on your Compaq B1200!

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I would suggest trying Cr OS Linux - a lightweight distro based on openSUSE with a very intuitive Cinnamon desktop environment, Chromium web browser and Google Drive sync client.

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