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I've been wanting to ditch Vista on my laptop, so I'm looking to Linux for some help. I've messed with linux in the past, I know who to do basic things in a CLI. I'm wondering what distros are worth checking out. I've played with ubuntu and didn't care for the fact it won't support my wifi card out of the box. I've tried booting from the live Fedora 10 cd and it won't work. What other distros are worth using up a cd? I'm gonna take a look at openSUSE right now.

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If ubuntu doesn't support your wireless card* out the box chances are nothing else will either. As for choices, there all pretty much the same with minor differences so peruse distrowatch.com and see what works for you.

(* It helps if you list your laptop and give a rundown of the hardware)

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HP Dv6747cl

AMD Turion 64 X2 TK-60 2000mhz

2gb ram

NVIDIA GeForce 7150M/ nForce 630M

Atheros AR5006 wifi

all I can think of ATM

Link to HP

Maybe you can make better heads and tails from it.

I've looked at that distrowatch site

are you sure about the wireless card chipset? Is it a mini-pci express card or is this an aftermarket card that you bought? if it is 5006 you might need to specify which 5006 chipset for example 5006x, 5006xs, 5006eg, etc. the best route for you might be ndis wrapper using windows xp drivers for 5006 or 5007eg.

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The problem is that Linux is about choice, ie your own personal choice. I can't tell you which distro is a better choice for you because what I like might drive you up the wall, and your personal setup might make me chew through my keyboard. All I can say is "look at this list of possibles, try them and see which is a better fit for your needs". This is part of the reason linux will never really make it as a desktop OS for anyone other than geeks because there are no firm choices, just endless options.

So the question for you is what do you want from Linux? Do you want a general purpose Vista replacement or some kinda specialized workstation setup for doing task X? Do you want to watch youtube videos without pissing about or do you want to crack WEP in 30 seconds flat? Do you want to learn the intricacys of systems architechture or do you just want a hassle free life?

What I can tell you, as someone who is sick of burning DVD's only to find out the distro is crap or lacks support for the space bar, is to download a little utility called Unetbootin. It allows you to take any linux ISO, and auto-magically convert it to a bootable USB stick. Since I worked out how to install Windows from a USB stick and found this, I've not used any optical media.

Other than that, read the numours posts on the forum regarding the topic, stick to the brand name distros such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, OpenSuse etc and be prepeared to get your hands dirty to make it work for you.

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Ironically, Ubuntu. It's the best disto for a general purpose windows replacement if your a linux newbie. It has hundreds of guides & tutorials and a huge community of users like yourself or users happy to help newbies (which goes against somewhat of a long standing tradition in linux land). The wireless may need some work (another linux tradition i'm afraid), but as Vector said NDISwrapper is always an option of last resort. Fedora and Suse are also options, slighty less popular or polished but still perfectly viable. Personally I'm more of a Windows/FreeBSD guy myself, so I may have missed something.

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