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Cheap Linux craptop


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2022 Aug 26, 9:28am   778 views  28 comments

by clambo   ➕follow (2)   💰tip ($0.11 in tips)  

For travel I bought an Asus L410 for $150 on a whim.
I detest Microsoft anything so I decided to put Linux on it.
Pop! Linux is a variant of Ubuntu Linux from System 76, they sell laptops with Linux pre-installed.
1. Bought Samsung 250 Gb SSD from Best Buy.
2. Bought tiny screws from eBay.
3. Bought USB stick with Pop! OS from eBay (too lazy to make my own).
4. Opened craptop and installed SSD stick.
5. Turn on craptop press Esc
6. Boot USB stick
7. NO worky!
8. Google search: solution=disable safe boot mode
9. Google search: how to disable safe boot mode
10. Eureka, worky. Installed Pop! OS Linux
11. Installed Pop onto Samsung SSD
The installation was really fast.
Start-up is fast but honestly Windows 10 wasn't too slow.
The total cost was $150+$54+$17+$8
We'll see how it goes, I can always boot windows again from the flash drive, it's still intact.
Edit: It has it's own app for downloading other software called "Pop shop" it's pretty cool.
The software has interesting features that are useful.

Comments 1 - 28 of 28   

1   clambo   2022 Aug 26, 9:33am  

Immediately after buying the Asus I saw MacBook Air is $850, oops.
2   clambo   2022 Aug 26, 11:22am  

Review of the hardware herewith:
Keyboard=ok,backlit.
Speed of booting etc.=ok
Battery life=extremely good, like my Pixel phone
Fan=doesn't have one, silence is golden
Display=compared to my MacBook, iPad and smart phone the display is not great. To see the best contrast, I tilt the laptop open about 110 degrees, not 90.
Size=thin and light, but not too flimsy.
Ports=has 2 kinds of USB, plus HDMI, and what look like android phone ports.
Cool features=bright yellow border on Enter key, and the trackpad can be a numeric keypad (I disabled this).
Trackpad=not as smooth as my MacBook.
Overall it's not as nice as a Chromebook my father bought in 2016, I think it was a Samsung.
3   richwicks   2022 Aug 26, 12:42pm  

I've heard also you're better off buying a Chromebook and installing linux on it, but you need to do a bit of research on the model to make certain that it's well supported.
4   Tenpoundbass   2022 Aug 26, 12:46pm  

Get a cheap tower, and a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse. The monitors today are ten times better back when the Desktop was the common mode of Computer usage.
When the smart phones came out, remember the 17 to 21 inch monitors were not as bright or nice as the screens on the tablets and smart phones. Many people still had a bulky CRT or Cathode Ray Tube monitor., to disambiguate from Critical Race Theory.

I have a 32 inch monitor on a swivel arm, on the back of my desk, and it's perfect. I am using a laptop rather than a desktop. But because I have never laid a single hand on it, since I first set i up. It still looks new, and has already lasted over a year longer than any laptop I ever had that rambled around with.

Laptops today aren't designed to last more than two years, especially if you're constantly opening and closing it, plugging it in, and moving it around.
5   Patrick   2022 Aug 26, 12:56pm  

I bought this Pine laptop with Manjaro Linux last year for $220:

https://pine64.com/product/14%e2%80%b3-pinebook-pro-linux-laptop-ansi-us-keyboard/

I regret it. Manjaro is very non-standard as Linux goes, and the laptop won't run any other kind of Linux because of the CPU. I put hours of research into figuring out if I could wipe it and install some normal kind of Linux, but the answer was always no.

The trackpad is terrible, it's hard to install apps, and it's hard to customize. I ended up using it essentially as a remote backup disk, and for that it's OK.
6   richwicks   2022 Aug 26, 1:30pm  

Patrick says


https://pine64.com/product/14%e2%80%b3-pinebook-pro-linux-laptop-ansi-us-keyboard/

I regret it. Manjaro is very non-standard as Linux goes, and the laptop won't run any other kind of Linux because of the CPU. I put hours of research into figuring out if I could wipe it and install some normal kind of Linux, but the answer was always no.


https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/Pinebook_Pro#Pinebook_Pro_images

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/Pinebook_Pro_Software_Release#Armbian

https://www.armbian.com/pinebook-pro/

You would want to install the Desktop version. It's Debian/Ubuntu apparently, so apt should work. Apt is the package manager.
7   clambo   2022 Aug 26, 2:26pm  

As suggested I'll eventually also get a desktop.

I didn't know Pinebook was incapable of running other Linux distributions, that's odd.

System 76 Linux laptops are actually assembled in the USA, I should maybe have bought one.
8   NuttBoxer   2022 Aug 26, 2:56pm  

Asus, yuck. Why not an older Lenovo? I bought a T430 from a co-worker a few years back for around $200. i-7 Quad-core 3.00, 8gb ram, 120gb SSD. The battery is starting to go bad, he gave me a backup, along with a screen and some other parts. Running ParrotOS, similar to Kali. Came with no OS, installed everything myself.

I would strongly recommend against buying a USB online. Find someone you trust to make you one, or do it yourself, not that hard. Hopefully they didn't add any backdoors to your installation.
9   NuttBoxer   2022 Aug 26, 2:59pm  

Patrick says

and the laptop won't run any other kind of Linux because of the CPU.


I'm pretty sure there are other ARM distros out there. Looks like Debian and Arch both have one:
https://www.slant.co/topics/5304/~linux-distributions-that-run-on-arm-architecture
10   NoYes   2022 Aug 26, 4:00pm  

I run Linux Mint & Win 10 on my 10 year old Dell desktop & Lenovo laptop just fine, & can boot either one. One thing I must have for my home network maintenance is Win 10 mostly free network work software. Linux networking is just too difficult and not worth the trouble for me.
11   richwicks   2022 Aug 26, 4:07pm  

NoYes says

Linux networking is just too difficult and not worth the trouble for me.


I have the exact opposite experience.

Samba is a SNAP to setup, NFS isn't worth using, it's crap, SSHFS is trivial, Apache is trivial,
12   Patrick   2022 Aug 26, 4:17pm  

richwicks says


https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/Pinebook_Pro#Pinebook_Pro_images

https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/Pinebook_Pro_Software_Release#Armbian

https://www.armbian.com/pinebook-pro/


Thanks, I don't think those were there when I bought it.

There was some experimental Debian distro for the Pinebook when I bought it, but unstable. I think the problem is more than just the CPU.
13   richwicks   2022 Aug 26, 4:41pm  

Patrick says

There was some experimental Debian distro for the Pinebook when I bought it, but unstable. I think the problem is more than just the CPU.


ARM processors are pretty stable, and Linux ARM is pretty well developed, especially since Apple moved to ARM as their main processor.
14   Hircus   2022 Aug 26, 6:54pm  

I have a bunch of old thinkpads. I buy them cheap off fleabay, usually under 100, but w/ missing HD, battery, and charger. I usually slap linux on em, although sometimes they'll come w/ a windoze lic which I occasionally use.

Last week I just bought a t430 for $50 shipped (with battery, but not much charge life left), $16 for 128GB SSD, $9 for used oem charger. It works great.
15   clambo   2022 Aug 26, 7:07pm  

I like the Thinkpad idea, they are nice.
I bought the Asus on a whim which I seldom do.
16   NuttBoxer   2022 Aug 27, 8:26am  

NoYes says

Linux networking is just too difficult and not worth the trouble for me.


What specifically is difficult? I have multiple OS's in my house, all can connect to my Linux backup and media server just fine.
17   just_passing_through   2022 Aug 27, 8:28am  

NuttBoxer says

I would strongly recommend against buying a USB online. Find someone you trust to make you one, or do it yourself, not that hard. Hopefully they didn't add any backdoors to your installation.


Was my first thought too. Setting up a linux distro is cake.
18   clambo   2022 Aug 27, 8:53am  

I was being too lazy, maybe I should make a USB myself and replace the Pop with my own download.
Pop! has a built in app to make a bootable drive which is pretty handy if I want to do it.
The guy who made the Linux USB stick is in Vero Beach, FL which is like Carmel, California. I made an assumption that he was on the level.
Ubuntu used to sell them but I didn't look; I think Pop is maybe a little bit nicer too.
Maybe I will try Zorin Linux and compare them?
That could even be another boring post someday.
19   NuttBoxer   2022 Aug 29, 8:17am  

Ever since Unity, Ubuntu has been going down the crapper. Mint seems to be a popular one, I think partly because of their Windows like UI design. I mostly look at headless though. My SSD for my server is past it's writes. Thinking I might go with Alpine when I replace it. That's the only place I still have Ubuntu, but snapd is not great either, and the OS is bloated for what I do.
20   AmericanKulak   2022 Aug 29, 9:18am  

I use Mint on my Linux box, works great.

Xubuntu or Lubuntu are good for old laptops.
21   clambo   2022 Aug 29, 11:12am  

I tried Mint years ago, it was pretty good.
I don't like menus which come from the bottom up so I think I just moved it to the top.
The old Ubuntu desktop was minimalist, just three words at the top: Applications, Places, System.
22   Eric Holder   2022 Aug 29, 3:37pm  

My beef with cheap laptops is crappy screens.
23   clambo   2022 Aug 29, 4:15pm  

Eric is correct and I may regret buying it.
24   DD214   2022 Dec 6, 3:31am  

No Linux? No problem. Just get AI to hallucinate it for you. ChatGPT-generated command line can create virtual files, execute code, play games.

ChatGPT can simulate a Linux machine because enough information about how a Linux machine should behave was included in its training data. That data likely includes software documentation (like manual pages), troubleshooting posts on Internet forums, and logged output from shell sessions.

ChatGPT generates responses based on which word is statistically most likely to follow the last series of words, starting with the prompt input by the user. It continues the conversation (in this case, a simulated Linux console session) by including all of your conversation history in successive prompts.

Degrave found that the simulation goes surprisingly deep. Using its knowledge of the Python programming language (that powers GitHub Copilot), ChatGPT's virtual Linux machine can execute code too, such as this string created by Degrave as an example: echo -e "x = lambda y: y*5+3;print('Result: ' + str(x(6)))" > run.py && python3 run.py. According to Degrave, it returns the correct value of "33".

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/12/openais-new-chatbot-can-hallucinate-a-linux-shell-or-calling-a-bbs/?comments=1&comments-page=1
25   NuttBoxer   2022 Dec 6, 10:16am  

Eric Holder says

My beef with cheap laptops is crappy screens.


My bigger beef is celeron processors.
26   EBGuy   2022 Dec 6, 4:06pm  

Will probably experiment with an old Chromebook that is past Auto Update Expiration and put on the new Chrome OS Flex (previously Cloud Ready). First need to update the BIOS. Supposedly you can run linux apps on the newer Chrome OS. See Linux apps on Chrome OS: An easy-to-follow guide.
27   clambo   2022 Dec 6, 4:21pm  

Ed Braxton made a YouTube about good used laptops for Linux.
He chose 1. Lenovo 2. Dell
I could have thought it through and bought an Asus with a much better display for $600 more.
28   richwicks   2022 Dec 7, 1:28am  

If you're still looking for this, I got a cheap Gateway from Walmart. I got it off Slickdeals, for $100.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Gateway-15-6-Ultra-Slim-Notebook-FHD-Intel-Pentium-Silver-Quad-Core-128GB-Storage-4GB-Memory-Tuned-THX-Audio-1-0MP-Webcam-HDMI-Windows-10-S-Microsoft/205077609?athbdg=L1100

Now I got this from SLICKDEALS which advertises systems when they become available, so $100. Mine came with Windows-S (meaning you can't really install anything on it), and this has Windows-S on it, and I just stuffed a 128GB SD card into the slot, and installed Linux on the SD-Card.

This is indeed, a craptop. The WiFi is almost painfully slow, often being slower than an internet router itself - takes 20 minutes to move 2GB (more than enough for a high resolution film, but if you want to copy 20 films, that's going to take a while), the screen isn't perfect but it's good enough.

It works fine. It's not at all powerful, I'd say it's better than a Raspberry PI. Works fine for simple stuff. I would hate running Windows on it though.

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