VectorLinux on a Dell 3800 Inspiron laptop – Final answer

Continuing my search for a suitable Linux for a Dell 3800 Laptop…

So my first step was to add Internet to the computer. I found a Linksys laptop wi-fi card that I had bought from the local Factory Direct (a computer outlet store) a while ago and that was still floating around.

I have a lot of distros that I got from magazines and the first one I tried was a Google Geos distro. I think it’s based on Ubuntu. I put it in the drive and started it up. It started chugging and puffing, and after 20 minutes a background that reminded me of a snooker table (bright green) popped up, with a big flower in a pot. Then I started getting errors and everything slowed down to the point where it was quite painful to proceed.

Google has already announced that it was going to create it’s own operating system from the ground up, not surprising really.


I thought I would go with an old favorite PCLOS. The latest had just been released and I thought I would give that a go. It was much more perky than the Google operating system. Everything seemed good. OK, so now to install the driver for the wi-fi and get online. Well, it knew which card I had but the problem was it wanted me to download it from within the setup (problem was, I still wasn’t on the internet yet).


Puppy Linux …everyone loves Puppy. I loaded Puppy and it was quite playful but the drivers for the wi-fi card need to be downloaded (er, still not on the internet) and added using ndis wrapper.


The next few distros I tried all seemed to have the similar issues, either they were slow, needed an Internet connection to download the drivers or used ndis wrapper.

And the winner is…

Vector Linux

Laziness crept in here as I stopped as soon as I found a distro that was able to set itself up. Vector Linux was able to configure the wifi card and load the driver with a minimal interaction from me. Winner, Winner.

Vector Linux is the first Slackware Linux I’ve tried and it is using XFCE. Now I just have to find a cool use for it.