Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

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Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Fri May 02, 2014 1:40 pm

G'day :D

I was here before, and shortly after got a horrible car acident resulting in permanent brain damage. So apologize for not responding to my first thread, it wasn't bad will, it was hospital crap :oops:

My two neigbors, both in ther '70's as age, would like to discover the weird new thing called 'the internet' ( :mrgreen: ). As these are so kind people, I offered to help them. So I am looking for laptops that 'just work'.I have a strong brand preference for Lenovo Thinkpad. I am ex-IBM myself ('90's, I worked for ICG), and I currently also have a W520. It isn't as stubborn as the ones we had early '90's (we literally did what Thinkpad is famous for: threw them through the hall to see if they would survive - which they easily did), but it's quality. Still.

However: just last week I tried to install Mint 16 Cinnamon on my W520 before I would decide on moving on with Mint for these very senior people. Booting live went fine, but installing on HDD from within live? No way. 1001 problems (I can't even recall, re: brain damage, my short memory is effectively sent to /dev/null). I couldn't fix them, so I restored a W7-image.

So I am in a mess right now. I do want to give these people Mint instead of W8 (or apple), and I really don't like xBuntu with all these spyware crap things. I love Debian, but the Mint-Debian is TESTING, and I can't put these old senior citizens on such a release.

Now, for sure, as I already told the seniors, they will donate. It is not about being free as in money-free, it is about being non-crap. The dev's want a beer too, so you will have to donate. They are fine with that. They simply want no crap, and learn about that new thing, 'the internet' :D

Just accidently, last week I also had a phone call with a Lenovo tech guy, as my internal HDD is dead and needs to be replaced. He recommended the T440 because of 'no problems'. I value this advice, however, over here in The Netherlands, that is avery expensive machine. These seniors are on hardly liveable pensions (yes, did you see the crap about the netherlands being a rich country? Forget about it...).

So I am stuck. Would there be anybody in this fine forum who could give me advice on a simple Lenovo laptop that simply works? (So not my W520 failures of last week)? As to requirements, what do these seniors do? They want to browse the web (fast, of course), want to email me, watch youtube and alikes, perhaps when their grand childs come in let them use the laptop for whatever grand children do (well, if they want to play some 6-DVD-heavy computer game they will not be able to do that of course; they have parents to take care of those requirements, not grand parents whom they once a month visit).

So what would be a Lenovo laptop 'that simply works'? On which I can put Mint 16 and do the remaining things (install a separate router, wireless, Radius, VLANs, the works)?

I have been putting them off for one year now hoping in the mean time decent hybrids would come out, so they could have the best of both worlds - laptop + tablet, on linux, but by now it is clear to me this going to take a long time before this is mature. I'd like to help these people discovering the big internet world that is out there, so I am no longer targetting hybrids. We don't know how long these very kind seniors will be around, after all :wink: ).

I am in debt for any suggestion on a decent, not too expensive, machine so I can get these seniors (I think they even used to drive the T-Ford :mrgreen: ) on their way.

Thank you in advance very much,

Bye :D
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Lanser on Fri May 02, 2014 2:20 pm

Hi Wulf. Glad to hear you are recovering. Unfortunately I can't give you any specific advice on the current models, but I can confirm that I have had few if any issues with the X, Edge, S, and the newer T series. There seems to be less of the IBM developed chipset issues, that used to cause grief with the old Thinkpads . Recently I have set up a number of the lower cost edge series with Mint, for older "new users" with good results and minimal ongoing support needs. I hope this helps.

regards

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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby daveinuk on Fri May 02, 2014 2:34 pm

Hello Wulf,

I can tell you for certain you should have no problem with the following: IBM T41, IBM T43, Lenovo T61 - I've installed some version of mint from version 8 Helena including XFCE, KDE, Gnome variants and on my current T61 I have mint 16 cinammon, I've tested distro after distro on them and always got them working out of the box with minimal fuss, maybe some drivers here and there - I think the lowest spec was an IBM T41 with only 1gb ram had to use XFCE desktop to get it working really snappy but nonetheless worked perfectly well and for a cheap old machine second hand, perfect for anyone on a budget.

HTH

Dave

edit: wecome back, glad to hear your recovering :)
Lenovo ThinkPad T61 LM16-64 bit Intel T7500/2.2GHz/Cinammon 1.8 Intel GM965. Toshiba Satellite M70: LM16-32bit. Desktop:LM13 Maya 64 bit, on new Intel 3.2ghz proc/asus MB/8gb RAM
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Neil Edmond on Fri May 02, 2014 4:02 pm

Hello Wulf,

Not sure I can answer your question directly, but I have owned nearly 100 ThinkPads over the years, and currently have about 20 different models around. Some are running Mint, but none have 16 on them.

Anyway, I would say avoid new models that no longer use a BIOS. They can be made to work, but it can be tedious. Also avoid the older T40, T41, T42 models, which have Pentium M CPUs so they don't support PAE, which is necessary for Mint 16. Also the models with switchable graphics can be troublesome.

T60 and T61 models are probably the best bet, and they can be had for next to nothing these days. Just avoid the T61p or any T61 with nVidia graphics, as almost all of them have the defective nVidia GPU.

There is a wide variety of models within the T60 range, and seems to be the perfect fit for your project.

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:T60

-Neil
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby xerion567 on Fri May 02, 2014 6:04 pm

I've installed Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon (32-bit) onto an old Lenovo 3000 N100 ("Centrino Duo" based processor model). Probably the most problem free install of any Linux I've ever had!
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby JeremyB on Fri May 02, 2014 7:23 pm

My Lenovo G710 runs LM16 Cinnamon well but not without problems. Using acpi_backlight=vendor in grub or upgrading kernel to 3.13 or 3.14 solves problem of display going black on boot
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Mon May 05, 2014 12:07 pm

Thank you very much for your kind words and the kind help; much appreciated :D

The laptops that some of you mention appear to be many years old. So I can not buy them new, but have to buy them second hand. Now although they may appear cheap (around 200-300 EUR), I have no warranty if they appear to have malfunctioning hardware. Not only do I want these seniors to have a pleasant getting to know computers and the internet, but I think I also don't want to spend nights figuring out what is wrong and hunting for spare parts or, if Lenovo sells these new, paying premium prices. So I'd rather go with new hardware. Because then at least from a hardware point of view I am more or less covered, so I can focus on helping the seniors in how to use the 'puter.

The suggestion about the Edge I looked up. I found one not to expensive (given I have to add SSD, more RAM, install a switch, a wireless AP, a firewall appliance in addition to the laptop. Meaning: there is more money to be spent than just the laptop itself), that seems nice:

http://www.laptopshop.nl/product/454792 ... 041mh.html

I figured with the additional hardware each senior can be ready for about 1200 EUR. However: the reviews over at notebookcheck.net complain about the screen quality :(

The Lenovo-rep gave me an additional suggestion: the 420 series. But it appears to me these are also no longer sold, so that would mean second hand also, which I'd like to avoid.

So I have to search on, but thanks very much for your help in this matter; it is appreciated :D

The good news is: I succesfully installed Office 2010/x32 in Mint 16 (in virtualbox) :mrgreen:

Thank you and bye :D
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Mon May 05, 2014 12:10 pm

Neil Edmond wrote:Hello Wulf,

Not sure I can answer your question directly, but I have owned nearly 100 ThinkPads over the years, and currently have about 20 different models around. Some are running Mint, but none have 16 on them.

Anyway, I would say avoid new models that no longer use a BIOS. They can be made to work, but it can be tedious. Also avoid the older T40, T41, T42 models, which have Pentium M CPUs so they don't support PAE, which is necessary for Mint 16. Also the models with switchable graphics can be troublesome.

T60 and T61 models are probably the best bet, and they can be had for next to nothing these days. Just avoid the T61p or any T61 with nVidia graphics, as almost all of them have the defective nVidia GPU.

There is a wide variety of models within the T60 range, and seems to be the perfect fit for your project.

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:T60

-Neil


I will make a note about your tech warnings, they might save me a lot of trouble; thank you very much :D
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby woodsman on Mon May 05, 2014 3:56 pm

I can't speak for LM 16, but I have LMDE installed in a T400 with 2GB RAM. No problems.

Last week I installed LMDE for a couple who wanted to migrate from XP. All they do is web surfing, webmail, and occasional Skype. I think LMDE is stable. :)
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Tue May 06, 2014 7:42 am

Neil Edmond wrote:Hello Wulf,

Anyway, I would say avoid new models that no longer use a BIOS. They can be made to work, but it can be tedious. A

-Neil


This made me think this morning, Neil (yes, my brain works slow these days :oops: ): but nowadays all new in store laptops are UEFI. So one should never buy a new laptop for running linux on it(?) Then again, Lenovo has some laptops certificied for Ubuntu, as listed here:

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/guides- ... D=UM006591

Where the, rather new, Edge e540 is certified for Ubuntu 12. But it has UEFI. So why is this certified? Special drivers from Lenovo?
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Tue May 06, 2014 7:43 am

woodsman wrote:I can't speak for LM 16, but I have LMDE installed in a T400 with 2GB RAM. No problems.

Last week I installed LMDE for a couple who wanted to migrate from XP. All they do is web surfing, webmail, and occasional Skype. I think LMDE is stable. :)


But the T400 is also not something you still can buy new, right? :oops:
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Neil Edmond on Tue May 06, 2014 8:20 am

^^ Right. The T400 is a 2008 model. Of course, the models I recommended are even older, as I did not realize you were looking for new models. I don't have any experience at all with new models like T440 T540 X240 or X1 Carbon.
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby woodsman on Tue May 06, 2014 9:27 am

But the T400 is also not something you still can buy new, right?

Yes, an older model. I bought the laptop used for $200 this past (northern) summer. No complaints. :)

So one should never buy a new laptop for running linux on it(?)

UEFI is not a problem. Just install Mint alongside whatever Windows is installed. Lots of how-tos online about that. Or buy a laptop from a Linux vendor. That usually is more expensive but there won't be any Windows installed.
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby wilbobob on Tue May 06, 2014 12:06 pm

I can understand the desire to pick a laptop from the specs, and install LM16 because it's the newest. Might it be worth approaching the problem from the other end. Find a Lenovo laptop at a price that's OK, then check for compatibility. That way you'll not end up looking for machines that may not be readily available where you are.
Because you'll be doing the support, and 16 becomes unsupprted soon, could you consider LM13 Mate? Long term support from Mint to 2015 and fewer bells and whistles.
For what its worth I've got a Lenovo G575 with LM13 Mate it installed and ran out of the box and has been rock solid for 3 years now
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Tue May 06, 2014 1:44 pm

wilbobob wrote:I can understand the desire to pick a laptop from the specs, and install LM16 because it's the newest. Might it be worth approaching the problem from the other end. Find a Lenovo laptop at a price that's OK, then check for compatibility. That way you'll not end up looking for machines that may not be readily available where you are.
Because you'll be doing the support, and 16 becomes unsupprted soon, could you consider LM13 Mate? Long term support from Mint to 2015 and fewer bells and whistles.
For what its worth I've got a Lenovo G575 with LM13 Mate it installed and ran out of the box and has been rock solid for 3 years now


Thank you very much for your suggestion, WilboBob :D

The part in bold is actually my problem. I have a W520 myself, I couldn't get Mint16 installed - the live usb disk worked fine. So my problem is to find a fully compatible laptop, to buy new for these seniors, in which, indeed, I wouldn't mind a LTS at all. Aux contraire, I'd prefer LTS. I can't bother these nice old people every so many months with 'I need your laptop for a day or two-three-for-five, I need to install the latest OS and hence backup your data, make note of all the customizations, and then restore that to the new version'.

The problem is: find a Lenovo laptop that is compatible. Google isn't your friend in these matters :oops:

I wish we were back 20 years, when the marketing models were different: back in those days the retailers actually knew things. Now they expect us to do their work (gathering information on the internets, e.g. waste many, many, many hours/days), and then humbly come into their stores to buy the hardware from them. In the old days, you could go to the retailer, he'd actually know something instead of being a 'box shover', and he actually worked for his money. Now he has shoved the whole sales process off on the consumer, and he just sits there, waiting for you to come in buy the carton box.

Many things were better yesterday :oops:
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Tue May 06, 2014 1:48 pm

woodsman wrote:
But the T400 is also not something you still can buy new, right?


So one should never buy a new laptop for running linux on it(?)

UEFI is not a problem. Just install Mint alongside whatever Windows is installed. Lots of how-tos online about that. Or buy a laptop from a Linux vendor. That usually is more expensive but there won't be any Windows installed.


Thanks for your reply :D

Could I ask: why install Mint alongside Windows? Is UEFI only then not a problem? But UEFI is 'new bios'. So Windows being there (= hard disk, not bios) shouldn't matter, should it?
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby woodsman on Tue May 06, 2014 3:05 pm

One reason to keep Windows is removing Windows might violate the terms of the purchase agreement and should anything go wrong with the hardware, the sellers have standing not to fix the computer under warranty. They might still fix the computer at your cost, but likely not without reinstalling Windows and overwriting your Linux install. Those geeks at Best Buy are Windows geeks, not computer geeks. So be sure to read the purchase agreement before buying a system with Windows preinstalled and you plan to install Linux.

There are vendors who specialize in selling Linux preinstalled, but they tend to be expensive.

Buying used usually means the warranty has long expired and is not a problem. I bought my T400 with XP installed and updated. I removed all the bloatware, defragged, and shrunk the partition to make room for several Linux partitions.

Which leads to another reason not to remove Windows: occasional testing. I never use XP for apps, but I use XP for testing various aspects of my computer needs. Right now I am writing a script to import app configurations and settings into a Linux system and I need a Windows system to test that.

Uncomfortably, another reason to keep Windows is vertical software. This morning I visited a potential XP migration prospect. They are using some kind of unique software library CD that only runs in Windows. The CD is updated annually. As they have almost no computer skills, I am not at all motivated to try to run the software on WINE, which is a band-aid solution fit only for geeks and strong of heart. Their computer is ancient in terms of computer usage (about 12 years old), which is why they were asking about Linux. The hardware specs eliminate running a virtual machine. Even if I installed a virtual machine, their lack of computer skills would push the patience of saints to teach them how to run a computer at that level. In all, their dependency on this one piece of vertical software means I am unlikely to migrate them to Linux. Their remaining options are to live with XP or buy a new system with Windows.

They also have Photoshop installed, although they seldom use the software. Yet their daughter is a Photoshop wiz and when she visits she will be unsettled with being required to learn something called GIMP.

Much of the time Quicken/QuickBooks, Visio, and dependence upon MS Office macros are cited as reasons why people don't migrate. Yet there are a lot of niche vertical software that people will not live without that creates the exact same barrier. :(
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby woodsman on Tue May 06, 2014 3:05 pm

I just now realize I half jacked your thread. Sorry. :)
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby xerion567 on Wed May 07, 2014 1:33 am

In the case of Linux, newer does not always mean better. In fact, brand new hardware will almost always spell trouble in the world of open source. The reason is simple: someone has to write a driver for that hardware, and often times that someone may not work at the company that made that hardware. In other words, the hardware has to have been around long enough that someone who writes open-source code has it, and got around to writing a driver for it, and/or testing it for problems. Sometimes you do get lucky and by the grace of the software gods, a company actually writes a Linux driver for their product! And lets not forget all the hassle that comes with Secureboot, Windows 8, and the rest of the schemes Microsoft/Google/Adobe/etc. are hatching.

Machines that are modern, but not too modern are sort of the sweet spot- new enough that it has decent specs, old enough that it has been well tested and the bugs ironed out. It's the way I'd go if I were trying to make the most problem-free Linux machine I could.
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Re: Lenovo laptop that runs Mint 16?

Postby Wulf on Sun May 11, 2014 8:35 am

Thank you all for your most valuable comments; very much appreciated :D

I 've given it some thougths, and all your inputs make a lot of sense. So, I am capitulating to your wisdom and experience and: will go the second-hand route :mrgreen:

I found a website in The Netherlands that sells used laptops with warranty. Not withstanding my brand preference for Lenovo, if you look at this site, what would you all recommend?

http://www.micmac-computers.nl/webshop/ ... weight|asc

Thank you again for your kind help, also on behalf of my old seniors :mrgreen:
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