I got a Dell Latitude C610 today. I’m pretty happy about it – got it through a refurbisher, so it was practically brand new, and very cheap. 585 euro for a laptop is very reasonable in my book
I’ve only had one or two problems setting it up. The machine was supposed to come without an operating system on it, but arrived with Windows 2000. One quick format later, and that was solved…
The hard-drive is an 18G, and there’s 256M RAM, so I partitioned the drive with 6G for Linux (Fedora Core 3), 512M for swap space, and the rest for WinXP. I will only be using WinXP for gaming, but as Linux can easily read vfat partitions (but WinXP cannot read ext2 or ext3 partitions), I felt it was best to give Linux breathing room (6G is plenty!), and leave the rest to be shared by Linux and Windows.
WinXP installed without a hitch, which annoyed me. I don’t like to say nice things about Microsoft, but their OS installations are usually very pain free. One thing that did annoy me about the install was that it did not allow me to customise the languages, etc of the machine, but instead installed absolutely everything it could. Oh – and the lack of out-of-the-box applications is always a pain with Microsoft. Another minor hickup was that I was asked for a network setup early in the install, but then asked for the exact same information again near the end. Apart from that, it was reasonably simple.
The Linux setup was almost as simple. The Fedora install is amazingly simple these days, compared to when I was installing RedHat 5.1 “way back when”. There is a lot of point and click, so it’s very similar to the Windows setup. The major differences are in the amount of choice you have. You can have a straight-forward “you want Linux? Desktop okay? Okay – here you go” deal with minimal fuss and a default system (which I’m typing on at the moment, while a custom upgrade is carrying on in the background), or you can customise the install and get everything you want straight away without the mess of reconfiguring packages after the system has installed.
The default install is usable, and includes much more usable applications than the default Windows install provides.
The only snag, that I’ve so far come across, is that the TFT display was recognised. Most people would not even notice this, though, as the system provided me with a readable 800×600 monitor, but I was not happy with that. I paid for a 1024×768 monitor, and I’d be damned if I settled for less! Adjusting this was simple – the install process catered for that possible error, and gave me a chance to select a monitor for myself. The Latitude C610 uses a “Dell 1024×768 Laptop Display” as its monitor. I’ll tell you, this is much simpler than messing with refresh rates in
I’m not a fan of Gnome, and I prefer Thunderbird to Evolution as my email client of choice, so the first software changes I made to the system were to install a good package manager (I prefer Synaptic to the usual system-config-packages that comes installed with Fedora), then I could get to the important task of configuring the system to my own liking.
One very happy surprise was that the X configurateur recognised the ATI Radeon Mobility card I was using, and properly installed the drivers, including the proper accelleration drivers. I have traditionally had a lot of pain getting ATI cards to play nice with Linux, so that was a great thing.