I have been a Linux user since October 2006 when I installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake from a Computer Shopper magazine cover disc onto an old Gateway Solo 9300 laptop. That laptop originally had Windows Me installed, but Windows Me was not working any more after six years of use.
Ubuntu whetted my appetite for learning more about Linux, and I happened to read Chris Pirillo’s blog post about Kororaa, a now-defunct Linux distribution based on Gentoo Linux. The blog post included a YouTube video of Kororaa showing off its Beryl 3D desktop, which was more beautiful and more sophisticated than Windows Vista. I immediately downloaded the ISO file and burnt a LiveCD (non-installable, unfortunately) to try it out. Soon after, I discovered another Gentoo-based distribution that used Beryl out-of-the-box: Sabayon Linux. I started using the Sabayon Linux LiveDVD in February 2007 and installed it to the hard disc of my main laptop a few weeks later, dual booting with Windows XP. I have never looked back.
I am currently using the following hardware and OS:
Clevo W230SS notebook
Gentoo Linux, amd64, KDE 4
– Intel Core i7-4810MQ 6 MB (2.8 GHz)
– 16 GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
– 13.3″ matte HD LED IPS (1920×1080)
– NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M – 2 GB GDDR5
– 750 GB HDD (7200 rpm)
– Gigabit LAN & Wireless Intel AC-7260 HMC (867Mbps, 802.11AC) + Bluetooth
Mesh Edge DX (badged Compal NBLB2) laptop
Dual boot: Gentoo Linux, ~amd64, KDE 4; Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
– Intel Core i7 720QM (1.6 GHz but throttled to 933 MHz by Compal due to limit on power from PSU)
– 4 GB DDR3 RAM
– 15.6″ LCD (1920×1080)
– ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650, 1 GB GDDR3
– 320 GB HDD
– Atheros Communications AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet controller
– Intel WiFi Link 5300
– Broadcom BCM2046 Bluetooth Device
Update (October 12, 2015): I decided to try Plasma 5 on the Compal NBLB2 now that it is no longer my main laptop. I had not used the laptop since buying the Clevo W230SS laptop several months ago, so I dusted it off, uninstalled all KDE 4 packages I could find (see KDE/Removal in the Gentoo Linux Wiki), used the command
emerge --ask --depclean (after making sure the active version of gcc was in
/var/lib/portage/world), fixed broken dependencies and followed the instructions in the Gentoo Linux Wiki. Plasma 5 is not ready for prime time, so I will not be replacing KDE 4 on the Clevo W230SS laptop for the time being, but I find Plasma 5.4.1 is quite usable. As new versions of Plasma 5 are released I will upgrade it on the Compal NBLB2 in order to assess when it will be viable to make the jump to Plasma 5 on the Clevo W230SS. Below is a screen snapshot from the Compal NBLB2.
Gateway Solo 9300 laptop
At one time or another I have installed various Linux distributions on this legacy 32-bit i686 laptop, such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Gentoo, Sabayon Linux, Tiny Core Linux and others, with a variety of desktop environments and window managers (KDE 3/4, GNOME, LXDE, Xfce, E17, Fluxbox etc.). Currently I’m running Gentoo Stable with Xfce on this machine.
– Intel Mobile Pentium III Coppermine (800 MHz)
– 288 MB DRAM
– 15″ LCD (1024×768)
– ATI RAGE Mobility-P, 16 MB SGRAM
– 10 GB HDD
– Belkin F5D5010 CardBus Network Card (wired Ethernet)
– Linksys WPC54G (EU) v7.1 wireless notebook adapter
Update (December 31, 2013): Well, I have finally retired this trusty old laptop bought over 13 years ago. Upgrading packages on it was a painfully slow process and the performance of the Gentoo installation was getting slower too. I did upgrade with ease from GRUB Legacy to GRUB 2 just before calling it quits, which was a useful learning exercise.
ASRock ION 330HT nettop
This is my media centre, running XBMC and Tvheadend. I’m using it with a DVB-T USB stick: AverTV Volar Black HD A850.
Sabayon Linux, ~amd64, KDE 4 and Fluxbox
– Intel Atom 330 (1.6 GHz)
– 2 GB DDR2
– NVIDIA ION Graphics
– 320 GB HDD
– NVIDIA MCP79 Gigabit Ethernet controller
– Atheros Communications AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter
Acer Aspire 5920-5A2G25Mi laptop
Currently I’m running Sabayon ~amd64 with Xfce on this machine (see my post Evaluating Linux Xfce for more details of the hardware and installation). It was discarded by a member of my family because the display flickered badly (a hardware design fault with this particular model), Windows Vista often refused to connect to my home WiFi network and, after several years, Windows Vista had become very slow. I sorted out the hardware problem and installed Sabayon Xfce, which has no trouble at all connecting to my home WiFi network and runs like greased lightning on this laptop.
– Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 (1.83 GHz)
– 2 GB DDR2
– 15.4″ LCD (1280 x 800)
– Intel Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller with Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 with up to 358 MB Shared Graphics
– 250 GB SATA HDD
– Broadcom Netlink BCM5787M Gigabit Ethernet PCIe
– Intel PRO/Wireless 3945agb
Acer Aspire 5536-643G25Mn laptop
Currently I’m running Sabayon ~amd64 with Xfce on this machine. It was discarded by another member of my family because it kept shutting down due to overheating (a badly designed case with almost no ventilation slots) and because, after several years, Windows Vista had become too slow. It was impossible to install Windows XP or Ubuntu on the laptop as it would shutdown due to overheating during the installation process, but Sabayon 11 Xfce installed without problems and runs perfectly. The laptop does run hot due to the poor case design, but Sabayon is rock-solid.
– AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL 64 (2.1 GHz)
– 3 GB DDR2
– 15.6″ LCD (1366 x 768)
– AMD ATI RS780M [Mobility Radeon HD 3200] with up to 1408 MB HyperMemory
– 250 GB SATA HDD
– Broadcom Netlink BCM5784M Gigabit Ethernet PCIe
– Atheros AR928X Wireless Network Adapter PCIe