Laptop nearly dead stop please send help stop or soldering iron will do stop

I'd like your thoughts on a replacement for my laptop.

It's been dying for a long time now. I originally bought it to write my thesis on back in 2002, spending most of an inheritance from my grandmother on the last of the 1.2GHz machines in the now defunct Dixons. A few months ago the keyboard developed the canonical HP Pavilion G-H-F4 problem, which I was able to correct by occasionally unscrewing the case and fiddling with cables. But now, every time I open it, the display shows a mess of unsync'ed blue lines and rubbish, hinting at the screen it ought to show, unless I have the laptop almost closed. Fiddling with cables doesn't help, although as all the connectors warm up then I'm permitted to open the shell further and further.

Anyway, I've been watching Dell's abortive open-source offerings (why would you scupper your own product ranges?) eagerly for a while now, waiting for a time when searching doesn't redirect me back to the .com site with American prices. I've also been sniffing round the now apparently defunct Ubuntu Boxes, which Sean McGrath spotted in his capacity as another avid OS-ready fan. But as nothing seems to be materialising any time soon to enable me to use the software and hardware combination I desire, it looks like I might have to roll my own.

What do people recommend in a laptop that will eventually have Linux on it? Is most hardware plug-and-go these days? What about X and a second monitor, which always seems to be problematic? Anything I should look out for? If all laptops are created evil, pardon, equal, then I may just go for Lenovo or Dell on green issues alone.


Haven't got any helpful advice I'm afraid but I'd be interested to hear what you get because I am planning to buy a Linux laptop soon.

A MacBook. Lovely screen, good value, pretty robust. Running Ubuntu on a Mac is rather dashing and cavalier. Apple are doing better than Greenpeace says: their new laptops are among the first to use mercury-free screens.

I'd get a refurbished Thinkpad from ebay if I were you. I'm on an X31 running Ubuntu right now. Linux installs really easily on them, they feel solid, and you can get a warm feeling inside by using a three year old laptop rather than buying a new one.

PS Wifi on the Oxford Tube. Isn't it great? :-)

Thanks for the suggestions. Reconditioned laptops are an idea I thought of before buying this current one. eBay is awful, though, but maybe I can find some other outlet for them. At least if I do get a brand new laptop then I will run it into the ground as I've done with this one.

Still unsure about Macs. They're aesthetically lovely, but they seem to be such a risk: both MacBooks and iPods have had their runs of lemons; MacBooks seem especially picky with third party hardware; and it seems a waste to pay for a copy of OSX you don't use. And the expense: I could buy a new laptop and a new desktop for the price of a 15" MacBook, which for some reason makes it "pro".

Thanks for all your suggestions. In the end I've gone for a Dell Precision M4300, as I was able to get a decent offer on it and it's reasonably environmentally friendly according to Greenpeace. Also the video card support seems good, and we've had experience of Ubuntu on Dells in the workplace.