What should we do about time specific questions? I voted to close this question: http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/1203/which-2010-laptop-is-most-compatible-with-linux

The answers were fairly generic, but I don't think we should encourage questions like this. Maybe suggest that the question be re-asked in a more generic way: What to look for in a linux compatible laptop?


5 Answers 5

Shopping and product recommendations should generally be considered off-topic and closed as "too localized."


IMO Answers to this question which address specific model/vendor are not helpful at all. People who see an upvoted answer which states that e.g. Lenovo laptops are good with Linux are inclined to think that they should prefer such laptops over a different brand, e.g. Acer. This is not true for several reasons:

  1. The answerer didn't really evaluate the whole model line of Lenovo laptops, he just got himself a particular model which happens to have Linux-compatible hardware. While there are vendor-specific features which have good or bad Linux support, the overall experience largely depends on the video adapter, wifi module and whatever extra hardware the reader will get when they buy one.

  2. So far I didn't see much evidence that answerers have tried many laptop brands aside the one they are recommending. What is the value of such recommendations without a comparison? I have two laptops (Emachines and Compaq) which run Linux with no issues. Do you really think it will be a valuable contribution if I write an answer about my experience?

  3. Statistically, answers about big vendors like Dell and Lenovo will get most of the upvotes, simply because more people have such laptops and run Linux on them. In no case does it mean that such laptops are better for Linux than a less known brand.


I don't have a problem with it considering finding hardware that will run a Linux desktop (with compositing / wireless / and working media keys) is hard. laptop hardware is still quite proprietary. And because of the fact that there are so few answers I don't think this is a bad question to ask, though it could have asked vendors or product lines, which is the answers it got anyways.

When you should ask specific questions, like "which wlan chipset has support for feature x under Linux" or "which laptops have media keys support in Ubuntu". When the question is specific, it's impossible to give an opinion instead of an answer. – Dmitry Grigoryev Oct 5 at 8:13

I guess it is sligthly off-topic as reformulating the question into "how to check if laptop is linux compatible" (which is practically the same question) would be in-topic.

It's not a slight reformulation, it's a completely different question. See, the answer "Check for a Lenovo label on the cover" would be awful for it, yet it's completely valid for the current question. – Dmitry Grigoryev Oct 5 at 7:56

I don't see a problem with it, personally. It's a common enough question in the Linux community.

The problem is that a question about the best 2010 laptops will be outdated and useless in a year or so. – KeithB Aug 25 '10 at 10:55
Not really, since Linux is often used to revitalize old hardware. It would be helpful as long as you could tell when your hardware was manufactured. – jjclarkson Aug 25 '10 at 20:39
@KeithB I disagree once hardware works on Linux it tends to continue to work. – xenoterracide Aug 25 '10 at 22:02
@jjclarkson, keep in mind that "Which 2010 laptop is best for Linux?" is NOT a helpful question if you simply want to know if the 2010 laptop you already own is Linux compatible. – Wildcard Oct 13 at 19:47

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