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edmund_the_destroyer wrote (edited )

The situation is a lot better now than it was in 2000 or 2005. If you're motivated, put Linux on a USB flash drive, boot into that, and see if it works.

I've got two laptops and two desktops running Linux, and the only hardware headache is the builtin wireless in one of the laptops. I did have to research Linux-compatible USB wireless devices and buy one for that laptop, but otherwise all hardware worked properly on install with no special work.

(Edit: Sorry, I forgot to address Microsoft Office and webcam drivers. I don't have any webcams, so I don't know how their hardware support is. There is a project called Crossover Office from Codeweavers that supposedly runs Microsoft Office on Linux, but I have no idea as to how well it works. I completely understand if either of those issues is a blocker.)

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nov wrote

Yeh, the wifi and video drivers have come a long way since dapper drake, when I first lost some hair dealing with them.

But GPU for computation, laptop power management, and web cam drivers are issues right now. I switched to WSL this year after getting sick of rebooting every-time I needed to use a particular tool chain. This was with ubuntu/lubuntu.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Understood. Sorry, I thought your earlier references to GPU headaches were for GPU drivers in general. That's mostly resolved. But I know a number of GPU computing tools aren't available for Linux, and understand how it would be a blocker.