[clug] Linux/UNIX laptop?

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Tue Jan 4 22:46:31 GMT 2005

On 28 Dec 2004, at 00:33, blazs at netspeed.com.au wrote:

> Quoting Pearl <pearl.louis at anu.edu.au>:
>> do Macs run Linux programs?

Only Linux runs Linux programs. However, most/all Linux programs (eg: 
All Debian software has source available, IIRC some RedHat software is 
proprietary) are available as POSIX compatible source, and the 
toolchains exist (on the Mac OS X Developer Tools CD/DVD) to compile 
those programs on Mac OS X to run under the Unix environment.

Mac OS X comes out of the box with Apache and Perl. I run PostgreSQL on 
mine (compiled from source on the Mac OS X laptop), and the Apple 
Developer Tools are based on gcc.

Apple hardware in general is not 100% suitable for running Linux - 
mainly due to hardware such as the Airport cards which do not have open 
source drivers available. The 12" PowerBook has no PC Card slot, so the 
only alternative I'd have is to attempt to reverse engineer a driver 
for Linux, or get a dongle.

If you do get an Apple laptop, remember that the two models are iBook 
and PowerBook - iBook has slower internals (front-side bus and memory), 
but it has a plastic (ie: transparent to 2.4GHz) case. The PowerBook 
has an aluminium case which is not transparent to 2.4GHz, so the range 
you'll get from the same base station with a PowerBook is significantly 
less than with any other laptop on the planet. I have an AirPort 
Extreme with an external antenna (two wavelength dipole), and I can't 
get more than about 30m away from the base station's antenna before I 
lose signal entirely, and what signal I do get relies on me positioning 
the laptop so that the internal antennae can see through the plastic 
windows on the side of the lid.

If you have to run Linux, get an IBM laptop. Yes they're expensive, but 
IBM is a Linux advocate (based on physical, financial or legal 
momentum, one could say that IBM *is* Linux advocacy ;) and deserves 
your support. Don't buy Dell unless you can figure out how to buy the 
machine with Linux preinstalled - it may not be the Linux you want and 
you may end up reinstalling it, but at least Dell has one less machine 
going out the door in support of Microsoft.


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