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30 posts

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# 207591 4-Jan-2017 13:32
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Hi,

I'm looking to get an older laptop to learn Linux and Python on. I normally use macs and want to keep these seperate.

Any recommendations for 3-4 year old, easily available laptops. Mainly interested in insuring things like wifi , USB, max display resolution etc work. Probably Ubuntu.

Thanks

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Mr Snotty
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  # 1698342 4-Jan-2017 13:56
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Just a thought if it is just for programming is to grab an oDroid C2 (http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php) and hook this up to your network. From here, just grab a pre-installed emmc module (Here) as well as a case and USB power cable. It'll give you a pretty quick development platform you can just SSH into from your mac. It is a great way to learn and cheap too.

 

For laptops the problem is finding one with full driver support. Anything made by Lenovo normally works well (just get one with Intel graphics). You can normally get a pre-leased one for quite cheap.





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Master Geek


  # 1698362 4-Jan-2017 14:25

michaelmurfy:

 

For laptops the problem is finding one with full driver support. Anything made by Lenovo normally works well (just get one with Intel graphics). You can normally get a pre-leased one for quite cheap.

 

 

Lenovo / Thinkpads in general are pretty well regarded for Linux use.  I run Fedora on an Asus Zenbook, which I think are also a fairly safe bet across the board.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1698412 4-Jan-2017 15:11
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What about just running a virtual machine on an existing machine? Saves purchasing another set of hardware. 


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  # 1698436 4-Jan-2017 15:21
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What about using your Mac commandline and Python? No cost, minimal setup.

 

http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/introduction-to-the-mac-os-x-command-line

 

Because of OSX’s unix heritage, much of the info here is also useful in other unix inspired systems, like the Linux command line.

 

http://www.diveintopython.net/installing_python/macosx.html

 

Mac OS X 10.2 and later comes with a command-line version of Python preinstalled.


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 1698446 4-Jan-2017 15:52
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If you want something cheap to learn it on, you can buy a Raspberry Pi or Pine64. 

 

If however you need a laptop specifically you could probably find something that can run an x64 version of linux for maybe $50~$100. The battery on it might be a bit shot. 

 

And if you are really cheap there is also Virtual Box, and you can run it on-top of your current system.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 1698460 4-Jan-2017 16:21
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I add a plus one for the Raspberry Pi. The OS comes with everything you need for Python.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 1698487 4-Jan-2017 17:21
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Wazza69: Hi,

I'm looking to get an older laptop to learn Linux and Python on. I normally use macs and want to keep these seperate.

Any recommendations for 3-4 year old, easily available laptops. Mainly interested in insuring things like wifi , USB, max display resolution etc work. Probably Ubuntu.

Thanks

 

To address your question directly, I would highly recommend a Lenovo Thinkpad. If you're looking to buy one https://www.pbtech.co.nz/product/EXNBKLEN4300/Lenovo-ThinkPad-T430-Notebook-OFF-LEASE-Intel-Core is a great option.

 

There are cheaper core 2 duo options, however you'll find the batteries will be past gone.

 

 

 

Generally speaking, if you buy a 14" or greater laptop that was sold in the last 4 years you're very unlikely to have any issues, though I would preference intel internal graphics over Nvidia/ATI as then you'll have to deal with their proprietary drivers. Wifi/USB/Display etc should not be a problem.


 
 
 
 


Mr Snotty
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  # 1698489 4-Jan-2017 17:25
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Bananabob:

 

I add a plus one for the Raspberry Pi. The OS comes with everything you need for Python.

 

 

The oDroid I quoted above is almost the same price and much faster in terms of speed - also has gigabit ethernet. :)





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  # 1698495 4-Jan-2017 17:53
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Mac OS X is Unix. I'd just run a virtual machine if I was experimenting.


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  # 1698537 4-Jan-2017 18:36
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As suggested I'd be wary of laptops over 3 years old due to battery issues. I've also seen random USB port failure on a number of 3+ year old laptops.





Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat APAC a Technology Evangelist and Product Manager. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.


Mr Snotty
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  # 1698545 4-Jan-2017 18:58
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timmmay:

 

Mac OS X is Unix. I'd just run a virtual machine if I was experimenting.

 

 

Unix whilst close to Linux isn't Linux. If you're wanting to learn Linux then it is best to experiment in an actual Linux environment and not something like OSX.





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Master Geek


  # 1700542 9-Jan-2017 15:57
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Personally I have had 100% success with Linux Mint on all my older devices and 98% success with Lubuntu.

 

 

Lubuntu was the nix distro originally developed for older lappies and desktops with i386 and/or scant system resources and I still use it on my mini HTPC boxes with Kodi MediaCentre. Some of my older Dell netbooks needed a bit of tinkering because of proprietary wireless drivers, but there are good GUI tools to work with that.

 

 

More recently I have been using Linux Mint because I am moving from Dell's to Lenovo's nowadays. Lenovo's are (mostly all) Ubuntu certified, so the driver support is fantastic - even for the newer models. I have never had to tinker with drivers in Mint on Lenovo. My only complaint I have ever had about Mint is that it doesn't install NFS by default, and I network into all my local devices via NFS, so it's a bit of a pest.

 

 

If it hasn't been mentioned already, drivers of devices of 2-3 years or more tend to have good hardware support because the open source community has had a year or two to sort out the driver support for distros that did not initially have good support for them when new. The ingenuity of the open source community never fails to amaze :-)

 

 

It is also worth getting involved with your local LUG group. I got a really solid headstart when I switched to nix from attending local meetings. You will appreciate the geek humour if nothing else LOL

 

 

Good luck with your choice of purchase!

 

 

[edit]

 

PS: There are also some nix distros developed for Macs, which I have heard run quiet nicely on older Imacs and MacBook and if I ever come across a freebie one of them I intend to have a play.

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Ultimate Geek


  # 1700578 9-Jan-2017 17:12
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Old Thinkpad, sturdy, work well with linux. T4XX or X2XX models.








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Geek


  # 1703277 14-Jan-2017 20:05
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Thanks for all of the feedback. I ended up grabbing a cheap Lenovo T400 to play with.


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