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brawnypandora0
March 29th, 2011, 10:54 AM
I bought my desktop in 2001 and my laptop in 2006. Oddly enough, despite the five years difference, my laptop feels slightly slower than my desktop despite having identical specs. I like how Linux is free, but it's not useful if people don't have the proper hardware. I'm unable to install Ubuntu on my desktop as my graphics card isn't supported. I was able to install it on my laptop, but it feels incredibly laggy, so I'm thinking of switching to lubuntu.

So since Linux gives out free OSs and software, does it also give out free hardware?

Grenage
March 29th, 2011, 10:56 AM
So since Linux gives out free OSs and software, does it also give out free hardware?

Wouldn't that be lovely? Alas, in does not. There are more minimal distributions available, so it might be worth giving them a shot. Alternatively, you can get some good deals on ebay for used (but modern) kit.

Dutch70
March 29th, 2011, 10:58 AM
You can get a Graphics card that's fairly cheap that will work better also.

nothingspecial
March 29th, 2011, 11:01 AM
I got a net book with a broken screen and keyboard for 5 from a car boot sale.

With an external monitor and a usb keyboard it's like a brand new computer.

overdrank
March 29th, 2011, 11:39 AM
Moved to The Community Cafe

LowSky
March 29th, 2011, 11:59 AM
A friend of mine is not very rich and can't waste his money on things like a new PC every 2-4 years. But he is incredibly resourceful. From what he tells me the best ways to get newer PC's and such is to go to public auctions and estate sales.

Check your town hall and local paper. Many police agencies have auctions all the time, and seized computers happen often. Check goodwill or salvation army stores. Many people might scoff at a 4-5 year old machine, but some people wouldn't mind.
Find a local PC repair shop to see if they have anything they will get rid of for cheap.

Nothing is ever free. You pay in the work you did to get it.

Spice Weasel
March 29th, 2011, 01:07 PM
Raid your local dump and install a minimal distribution.

iiiears
March 29th, 2011, 01:26 PM
Check out ebay for "broken laptops" screens and hinges are fragile.
Just checked and more than a dozen available 2 were dual core.

Search every day until you see one that can be fitted with a seperate monitor and keyboard. Pair broken machines with replacement parts Profit!

(Some consider legible OEM windows stickers in-place valuable.
They will never know how great Ubuntu is...)

Sean Moran
March 29th, 2011, 01:52 PM
Check out ebay for "broken laptops" screens and hinges are fragile.
Just checked and more than a dozen available 2 were dual core.

Search every day until you see one that can be fitted with a seperate monitor and keyboard. Pair broken machines with replacement parts Profit!

(Some consider legible OEM windows stickers in-place valuable.
They will never know how great Ubuntu is...)
JennyBrew might be upset because we're not answering the question directly, but looking for alternative answers to the problem. I hope I might be forgiven for starting out with something like this:

What you got to understand is that hardware and software are not the same things. If you think of hardware like a horse or a cow, well then you can think of software like God. Software is onmniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent to most of us, whiloe hardware is easy to ride with a two-point phillips screwdriver, unless it's Compaq or something, but a set of torx drivers sorts that out a little more gently than a hammer and a flatblade.

Now realise that you can send software billions of miles across the Internet on fibre-optic cables, because it's software, but you can't post even a USB dongle on the Internet, because it's hardware. Software can be EVERYWHERE on everyone's hardware with the right marketing strategy, while hardware can only be in one place at one time. Software knows everything! EVERYTHING! Even C++ and ASM, while your computer hardware knows nothing apart from the time and date and config in your CMOS BIOS chip. Software is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, like God. Hardware is more like a donkey.

So that is why you can get software for free across the Internet, but you have to pay for hardware or find things down at the good sammys or on the verge of the road when they have those roadside garbage collections.

Better still is buying hardware from the classifieds, although this is extremely tangental to answering the question directly. If you can find some reasonably name-branded second-hand hardware such as Compaq or HP in the paper (I won't mention other 'name-brands' because I'm sure there must be a few good five-year-old Acers still getting around in good homes, so I won't say anything bad about some brands) then you make the call, and speak to the vendor, and usually end up going to their place to look at the goods for sale.

Take a two-point phillips, and hopefully a set of torx keys just in case. You're going to pop the case before you open your wallet. Don't buy laptops second-hand, because laptops have a three-year life expectancy. Buy desktops second-hand, but not laptops. The ask too much and they last too short.

Have a good look at the gardens if they have one, before you knock on the door. Once inside, take note discreetly of the carpet or floor coverings in the living room, and look for dust where someone didn't vaccumn properly. If you're invited for a coffee or tea, check the kitchen and how the benchtops and floors and glassed areas like oven doors (AND COFFEE CUPS) are clean or not.

Now you have some idea of how the vendor treats their belongings in general;

Sit down and let them show you the computer. It will usually have WinXP or something. Be patient. When they have finished, let them shut down and pull out the phillips. Ask first, then look over the screws for the case. You will hopefully see that the case has hardly ever been opened from new. You will see signs of slightly rusty and warped screws on the case if the computer has been to the workshop more than a few times.

If you can, note where they have kept the CPU over time. If it's a tower and kept near the floor, it will be full of dust when you open the case, but desktiops should have been kept somewhere on a desk, and not so full of carpet dust. You can blow/brush all the dust out after you get it home, but check around the innards. Check the cables. The boys in the shop who build 100 of these everyday know how to route the cables neatly and everything plugs in like clockwork. If you see messy cables and connectors inside the box, then it's likely that the computer has been bastardised by someone sometime.

Ask to see the original CD-ROMS and owners' manuals, and then make the decision on whether your prospective new computer has come from a good home or not.

realzippy
March 29th, 2011, 02:08 PM
Have a good look at the gardens if they have one, before you knock on the door. Once inside, take note discreetly of the carpet or floor coverings in the living room, and look for dust where someone didn't vaccumn properly. If you're invited for a coffee or tea, check the kitchen and how the benchtops and floors and glassed areas like oven doors (AND COFFEE CUPS) are clean or not.


:lolflag:


..I hope you are kidding.

Sean Moran
March 29th, 2011, 02:14 PM
Have a good look at the gardens if they have one, before you knock on the door. Once inside, take note discreetly of the carpet or floor coverings in the living room, and look for dust where someone didn't vaccumn properly. If you're invited for a coffee or tea, check the kitchen and how the benchtops and floors and glassed areas like oven doors (AND COFFEE CUPS) are clean or not.


:lolflag:


..I hope you are kidding.
Not kidding at all. If you're looking to spend money on a second-hand computer (or a second-hand car or WHY) then the first thing to determine is WHO has owned this piece of equipment since new (hopefully) and as the buyer, you can learn a lot about the history of the goods at the hands of its owner by discreet examination of all the things at their house that AREN'T for sale. Look at all the things they have in their house, as the opportunity arises, and then you'll have a better understanding of how they've treated their computer/s over the years.

Grenage
March 29th, 2011, 02:16 PM
Not kidding at all. If you're looking to spend money on a second-hand computer (or a second-hand car or WHY) then the first thing to determine is WHO has owned this piece of equipment since new (hopefully) and as the buyer, you can learn a lot about the history of the goods at the hands of its owner by discreet examination of all the things at their house that AREN'T for sale. Look at all the things they have in their house, as the opportunity arises, and then you'll have a better understanding of how they've treated their computer/s over the years.

My house is a tip, but my computer is spotless...

lucazade
March 29th, 2011, 02:17 PM
...Buy desktops second-hand, but not laptops. The ask too much and they last too short...

so much true.. laptops are usually a compromise of space and specs and usually overpriced.

anyway this is the post of the year!

Sean Moran
March 29th, 2011, 02:22 PM
My house is a tip, but my computer is spotless...
Orr well, mate. I'll yet you off 'cause you use Karmic too. I know how hectic things can get at times...
:)

Grenage
March 29th, 2011, 02:27 PM
Orr well, mate. I'll yet you off 'cause you use Karmic too. I know how hectic things can get at times...
:)

Thanks ;)

realzippy
March 29th, 2011, 02:30 PM
@ sean
..understand what you want to say,but:

Don't judge a book by its cover...

And furthermore,

...then look over the screws for the case. You will hopefully see that the case has hardly ever been opened from new.


..also means that owner never cleaned his laptop inside.Twice a year I
open my laptop,always surprised about the amount of dirt.
And no,my home is not dirty...but for sure is no cleanroom.

fabricator4
March 29th, 2011, 02:32 PM
From what he tells me the best ways to get newer PC's and such is to go to public auctions and estate sales.

Another way is fix up people's computers for them. I'm always coming across odd bits of surplus hardware. A bit of memory here, a mainboard or case with power supply there.

Warning! Shaggy dog story ahead
Feel free to skip it if you wish, but this is my first post to the cafe, so what the hey...

The machine I'm on right now started life as 600 MHz Celeron (coppermine) that a customer didn't want. There were leaky electolytic caps on the motherboard, and it only had 512 Mb of RAM. The onboard battery was dead. The case was the very flat shortform with the long boxy power supply. It was a very clever design with side panels that came off for accessibility (unusual for a flat non-tower case) but I never trusted those power supplies - Too much crammed in a little box and too much heat building up with only a tiny fan.

Rather than spend money on it, the owner decided to purchase a new computer. (It was the right choice for them - They were quite delighted with their new Windows machine). But they took the hard drive away with them, since it still had their data on it (but it was already copied to the new machine, Oh well.)

I managed to cadge an unwanted 256 Mb SIMM module off a friend for it, bringing the total to a whopping 768 Mb. I replaced all the leaky caps, about 12 of them. Of the two CD drives (not burners) in the machine I found that one of them was still just good enough to run the LiveCD on. A very old 20Gb Hard drive from a dead machine came my way about that time - I now had a complete and working computer!

This was the basis for my very first Linux machine. The friend who donated the SIMM suggested I try Ubuntu - the machine should run it, just.

It ran Ubuntu OK, it was more of a learning tool for me at that point, and it was quite slow. The on-board graphics card was a dog, it took me a while to get things working, and then a while more to get it working through my KVM switch. The USB ports were dodgy - underpowered and with a tendancy to get confused and act like USB 1.1 ports.

One day I repaired a machine for someone - replaced the motherboard and RAM since theirs was completely US. The MB was dead, but lo and behold, it had a 900 MHz un-killable coppermine Celeron CPU in it. Yay! an upgrade!

The new CPU sped things up quite a bit. Not blindingly fast, but enough that I could start to see some real potential in the machine and Ubuntu, which I was starting to quite like.

It was few weeks after an upgrade (re-install from scratch) in which I'd decided to try the newly supported ext4 file system that things went wrong. One day it just wouldn't boot, complaining about missing files. I ran fsck and found a horrible mess: "darn this new ext4 filesystem" I said, "I'm reformatting and going back to ext2; it never failed like this."

So I did, and a few days later the machine again did not boot. When the third re-install would not work at all I finally (duh!) figured out that the hard drive was dead, dead, dead.

That left me in a quandary, as I was no longer fixing computers for a living. For about a week I watched hard drive prices on Ebay and found all the really good stuff was still priced high, or higher than I wanted to pay since I was used to getting computer parts at cost. I was starting to miss my Ubuntu machine by that point, so decided to forgo the wish for a sata drive and bid very low on medium sized IDE drives. After about a week I was rewarded with a 60 GB IDE drive for little more than the postage; a gamble but worth the risk.

I was back in business, and this was my main Ubuntu desktop machine for a couple of years. Fast forward to a few months ago and somehow friends of my wife found out that I was "the computer expert". My normal response to this is that an "expert" is just a drip under pressure. :-)

Regardless, a procession of hardware started coming though my door again. One of these was a dead machine, something budget but not too old. The owner just wanted me to recover the data off the corrupted drive and transferred to their new machine. "No sweat, do you want the old machine back? I could probably use a few parts out of it." (Eyes on the tower case, (remember the boxy powersupply!) and the RAM).

Long story short, There actually wasn't much wrong with the whole machine, except it was a little old, and a couple of bad sectors on the hard drive which didn't seem to be getting any worse, nothing that the SMART system can't seem to handle. Turns out it's a 2.8 GHz Celeron, 1 Gb RAM, a fair condition 200 Gb hard drive and a working DVD burner. I rebuilt the machine around my 60 GB Ubuntu boot drive using the tower case. I then repartitioned the hard drive into three equal parts (for three distros of course) and configured the 200 Gb drive as /home.

So, you see, this is still the same machine I started out with a few years ago. It's just had the odd little upgrade here and there. ;-)



Nothing is ever free. You pay in the work you did to get it.

Dunno, but it certainly feels like "for free" :-)

Chris.

Sean Moran
March 29th, 2011, 02:35 PM
Thanks ;)
I don't recommend the hotel lifestyle to the feint-of-heart but that's how I keep my room neat and tidy. If the maids don't do a good job on a Saturday, I just pack up my dirty laundry and my Compaq in my rucksack and move to another wifi hotspot.

Anyway, offtopic.

Linux is software, not hardware, just like these apartments here where I am now offer a room with air and cold water (when nobody on the lower floors are taking a shower) but they don't provide food or motorbikes for rent. Those are a completely different kind of hardware. I'm happy to advise on cheap restaurants and motorbike hire in Thailand but that constitutes a different thread on a different forum. This is just to define the similarities between the two contrasts.

ebasa
March 29th, 2011, 03:13 PM
We have heard your cry! We declare FREE HARDWARE fo everyone!

The Linux Foundation in partnership with the Federation of Planets

sdowney717
March 29th, 2011, 03:15 PM
The entitlement mentality of bread and circuses?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_circuses

The best things in life are free.
http://www.motivation-for-dreamers.com/entitlement-mentality.html

neu5eeCh
March 29th, 2011, 03:44 PM
Go to Overstock.com (http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Computers-Hardware-Software/7/dept.html). You'll be mightily impressed by what you can find for very little.

Besides that, I was thinking of offering you my old laptop for the price of postage, but it's also vintage 2006 or so and needs repairing. It's a noisy old HP widescreen laptop. I ran Ubuntu and Opensuse on it. The performance is adequate (but not for gaming). The laptop needs to be opened up and the charging "port" re-soldered. I can't be bothered. I could have it repaired for $200 dollars but for that price I can get a new and better laptop from overstock.

I've been thinking of donating it to one of the many outfits that refurbish and recirculate computers with linux. Speaking of which, any advice on that count?

sydbat
March 29th, 2011, 04:13 PM
Raid your local dump and install a minimal distribution.Oh I'm sure that you could install a regular distribution on the local dump...

3Miro
March 29th, 2011, 04:46 PM
The best things in life are free.
http://www.motivation-for-dreamers.com/entitlement-mentality.html

This article has some good points, but at the same time it has a ton of BS, but lets not engage in political discussions.

To the OP: You are mistaken on the meaning of the word "free". Ubuntu and Linux in general is "free as in freedom". The fact that most distributions don't cost money is a side effect. There is no "Linux" Foundation, there is Free Software Foundation that is behind the GNU project that creates and maintains a good junk of the Linux software (but not the Linux kernel itself). The goal of FSF is to create "freedom" software, not "cheap" software.

The other posts had good advice on how to get a cheap computer.

pricetech
March 29th, 2011, 05:02 PM
Besides that, I was thinking of offering you my old laptop for the price of postage, but it's also vintage 2006 or so and needs repairing. It's a noisy old HP widescreen laptop. I ran Ubuntu and Opensuse on it. The performance is adequate (but not for gaming). The laptop needs to be opened up and the charging "port" re-soldered. I can't be bothered.

If he doesn't want it, I'll take it if the freight's not too high. My granddaughter needs one for school.

neu5eeCh
March 29th, 2011, 05:33 PM
If he doesn't want it, I'll take it if the freight's not too high. My granddaughter needs one for school.

I'll only charge what the post office charges (or UPS). Do you have the tools and know-how to repair it?

iiiears
March 29th, 2011, 05:36 PM
Free computers aren't as easy to come by as free software but, have tried asking closer to home? The only requirement is patience and a few flyers or an ad in a local circular. Shipping costs = 0,




"The goal of FSF is to create "freedom" software,
not "cheap" software."

The first thing that you saw in 2005 before clicking on the link to download "Ubuntu Warty Warthog" a few years ago was a truly inspiring mission statement and a promise from canonical about Freedom and a desire to spread the word about GNU.The Ubuntu mission statement made all the difference.
In the five years since, Tomsrtbt, PhatLinux, Lindows, and Lokigames, have all but disappeared.
I guess it boils down to developers liking positive constructive feedback in forums and at least enough financial support to cover bandwidth, and maybe a bit more if you seek their full time attention. Freedom isn't free but software can be copied if you promise to be helpful..

Let's hope that no single government or corporation can ever control the electronic press.

Best Wishes.

samalex
March 29th, 2011, 09:22 PM
Honestly I have a system at home I built in 2001 that's running Ubuntu 9.04 like a champ. It's a dual PIII-1Ghz system with 2 Gigs/Ram. The video card is a Matrox G400 dual-head card though I haven't ran two monitors in years.

I don't use the system anymore since most of my work is done on my laptop running 10.04, but the point is this decade old system still runs great as does my PowerMac G4 (dual 867 Mhz processors) which is about 7-8 years old now -- thought the G4 is frozen on Tiger since that's the last version of OSX that'll work on a PPC.

Old systems still work great given you know their limits, so I'd definitely recommend doing whatever you can to keep your current system going, even if that means spending a few bucks on a new video card.