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Have to replace the trusty eeepc-1000. Plan to go to a physical store, find a few machines with a keyboard that I like, and test a live distro with plenty of hardware support (but ideally no many binary blobs) to test if a machine would have most of the hardware recognized.

what would you people suggest?

I mainly use Gentoo and Debian, but making USB live images of those is painful.

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closed as not constructive by techie007, TFM, Nifle, ChrisF, soandos Nov 18 '12 at 13:07

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Knoppix has in my experience always been the superior distro when hardware detection is a concern. One of it's goals as a distro is to do this correctly. To install it on a flash-disk all you need to do is format the drive with extN (single partition), rsync the live iso over, and install grub. I skimmed through this guide, and it explains what needs to be done in more detail.

What is KNOPPIX®?

(..) It [Knoppix] automatically detects and supports a wide range of graphics adapters, sound cards, USB devices and other peripheral devices. KNOPPIX can be used as a Linux demo, for training courses , as rescue system or as a platform for commercial software product demos.

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had completely forgot about knoppix! but everywere they claim better support for older hardware... anyway, i will give it a try! –  gcb Nov 20 '12 at 22:25
accepting this one because it led me to the ultimate distro for that purpose... knotix. it's basically knoppix with a bunch of proprietary stuff added, such as wine and skype wich i don't care much. but the nice thing is that you can already boot with nvidia or ati's proprietary or open source drivers to test hardware. –  gcb Dec 1 '12 at 3:23
Sounds practical, never heard of it. Thanks for letting us know. –  Ярослав Рахматуллин Dec 1 '12 at 23:46
glad you found it useful but a bunch of morons closed the question for not being constructive :) –  gcb Dec 1 '12 at 23:55
Don't take it personal. Besides, if you think about it, it does invite discussion as there are probably no scientific studies or even a layman survey of the subject. –  Ярослав Рахматуллин Dec 2 '12 at 2:53
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I thinks Ubuntu 12.10 can test a hardware as well : it have recent 3.5 kernel, so it will support many PC.

Moreover, creating a USB stick to boot on Ubuntu is quite simple as :

wget ubuntu-12.10.iso
dd if=ubuntu-12.10.iso of=/dev/sdd

where sdd is your USB key.

That's all you need.

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isn't ubuntu the worst offender of supporting hardware via binary blobs? that worries me because a device that has a poor open source driver in ubuntu it would be supported by some vendor proprietary binary driver, and binary blobs can't be distributed, you would have to run that 'closed driver application' after you install ubuntu, and more importantly, have network connectivity. Or am I outdated here and this is not the case anymore? –  gcb Nov 20 '12 at 22:24
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