I just bought a cheap laptop, inspired partly by this post and the article it pointed to:http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=4893.0
Specs (pretty ordinary) are:
Acer Aspire 5315
Celeron 530 (1.73GHz, 1MB cache, 533MHz FSB) Processor
15.4" WXGA Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator x3100
512MB DDR2 667MHz (1 x 512MB) RAM
80GB SATA 5400RPM HD
DVD Super-Multi Dual Layer
WLAN Atheros AR5007EG
Running Vista Home Basic (quite slowly - but, to be fair, apparently the Acer software slows it down)
I want to dual boot.
Being a beginner at notebook Vector installs (only done it once and that worked flawlessly) I was surprised by some problems:
Problem 1: Wouldn't boot from CD, F2 only got the Windows boot loader so couldn't change Boot Order in BIOS.
Fix by going into "Acer's Empowering Technology" (the 'e' key) > Acer eSettings Management (last icon on bar) > Boot Options (at bottom middle of window) and change first option from HD to CD
Empowering Technology (software) creates other known problems because it controls the fan. In Linux the fan won't restart after 'sleep' mode.
Problem 2: SystemRescue CD wouldn't recognise the SATA HD - for resizing the NTFS partitions
Fix: download SystemRescueCd-0.4.0-beta3 from: http://www.sysresccd.org/Beta-x86
At boot: type 'vmlinuz2' to get the sata kernel modules
I needed to 'startx' to get GParted running.
There were 3 Primary partitions in NTFS already but by shrinking and moving the ACER and DATA partitions I was able to make an extended partition of 42Gb in the middle of the disk. This I divided into 1Gb swap, 2 reiserfs partitions / 10Gb and /home 29Gb, then finally a fat32 of 2Gb.
Next to install Vector Linux SOHO 5.8.6-RC2 (my USBs and CDs seem to work better than with 5.8 SOHO final)
The install went normally, just under 30 minutes to up and on the web.
A few unusual things:
1. sda2 (the Vista boot partition) came up under cfdisk as a fat16 partition so LILO (on MBR) gives the second boot option as DOS! I'm leaving it that, I alway did like DOS... Vista still boots and runs quite happily!
2.Screen resolution was way off but the guys at the LUG tried a live Kubuntu with KDE 4 RC on it and it picked up the Intel chipset and gave it the correct resolution, so I guess I'll have to wait until 5.9 has KDE before I can fix it.
3. Can't get sound at all even though it found the sound card and configured it during install. This isn't a problems in the short term and I can wait until 5.9 is out.
4. I use ethernet for web/network (it works) but haven't tried the wireless.
5. F2 gets the BIOS now.
So now I can catch up on my writing while on holidays, the son can watch DVDs in the back of the car (from Vista) and I didn't have to part with a huge amount of cash.
Hanging out for the next SOHO version though!