Which distribution to install on a Dell Studio 1535?

Hi everyone
I have a Dell Studio 1535 laptop and it’s a few years old now, and I don’t know which distributions to install on it. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 and I’ve been playing around with them and i just can’t make my mind up. Here are the distro’s

I know that people will properly say go for Ubuntu but im not sure because i like all of them. The biggest pain is that it uses the Broadcom WLAN 1397 driver and i think it’s the 1421 or something ???
I know how to install the driver for my wifi in all of them but i just cannot make my mind up. Can anyone help me or give me some advice please??

The laptop seems to have been current around 2008, so I would go out on a limb and suggest the latest version of any of the main distros will no doubt work well for you, although I’m not sure how troublesome the Broadcom chipset is going to be. It could be a royal pain in the backside or it could simply work from the get go.

But regarding which distribution to choose over another? Well, that’s more of a personal preference I would have thought. I don’t use either of the 3 distros you mentioned, so can’t comment from personal experience. Do you favour Gnome over KDE? Or are you more of an XFCE person? Are you more comfortable managing packages with Yum or with Apt? It all depends on which distribution ticks all the boxes for you. Have you also considered Linux Mint? I really like what they are doing for the community, and I used Linux Mint for years before switching to Arch Linux (purely because it suited my needs better). If you aren’t familiar with Mint, it basically takes Ubuntu as a working base, then adds a lot of custom content and fixes problems. The end result is a remarkably polished desktop OS.

It might be an idea to search the forums of the 3 main distros (Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE) and see if there are any reports of problems with the Broadcom chipset.

I’d suggest Ubuntu… your wireles mini-card (1397) is based on the Broadcom BCM4312 chip so all you would have to do is install the b43-fwcutter package from synaptic.
or with:

sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter

from within a terminal.

You will need to connect to your router with an ethernet cable so it can be downloaded… if you cannot connect to a router, it can be installed from the LiveCD, but is a bit more involved.



Thanks for your replies. I know how to install the driver for Ubuntu, but thanks. I prefer Gnome over KDE. The biggest problem for me is that it doesn’t have a Control Center which bugs me a lot. I’m not sure about which package i prefer, i kinda like them lol. I know this doesn’t help much. I have tried/used Linux Mint and it’s not for me.

You’ll certainly find Ubuntu help easier to come by… OpenSUSE 11.2’s KDE desktop gave me no end of problems (never managed to fix hplip being loaded before the system tray after an update, so not being able to print) but it must be said that was KDE 4.2 and its moved on so it may be fixed, I can’t advise on Fedora as I haven’t tried it, well that’s not totally true, it wouldn’t install and at the time I couldn’t be bothered to fix it :wink:

But the choice is yours really… it’s all subjective :slight_smile:

I never tried OpenSUSE with the GNOME desktop… I might be tempted to try it again with GNOME at some point, but 11.2 put me off.

KDE is rubbish lol. I’ve kinda of narrowed own fedora but still stucj between opensue and ubuntu :S anyone help me please? Is ubuntu easy to upgrade as well. say if a new version comes out 10.10 and im using 10.04, is it easy to upgrade?

Upgrading Ubuntu is a few mouse clicks.


You can easily upgrade Ubuntu over the internet with the following procedure.

  1. Start System/Administration/Update Manager.
  2. Click the Check button to check for new updates.

If there are any updates to install, use the Install Updates button to install them, and press Check again after that is complete.
A message will appear informing you of the availability of the new release.

  1. Click Upgrade.
    Follow the on-screen instructions.

Upgrading an LTS version has an extra step… for 10.04 to 10.10, see here:

What about OpenSUSE? Anyone used it because i don’t know which distribution to use? i like them and i don’t know because they seem good. ANY HELP PLEASE???

For upgrading OpenSUSE see here:

But I can’t say how stable it is with GNOME or how stable 11.3 is.

But I agree with you about KDE4 :wink:

Yeah it’s pretty stable. I have tested them all out and played around with them and i like them all. I choose OpenSUSE and Ubuntu over Fedora, because Fedora doesent have that many packages, even though it’s pretty stable. OpenSUSE is good because i love their control centre and they have good packes and it is pretty stable. But i love Ubuntu because it has the most packages, even though i don’t think it’s that stable to be honest. When ever i try it, the add install/remove program always crashes.

Synaptic or the Ubuntu Software Centre ?

I’ve never seen Synaptic crash… ever.

I very rarely use the Ubuntu Software Centre for installing, Synaptic has never let me down.

I tend to prefer “apt”, but I have used Synaptic a fair bit and never seen it crash … although I do like the new software centre installer, it seems to be a step up from gdebi.

the add/remove software in ubuntu under programs i think? It’s the ubuntu not sympactic one

There are a number of ways to install software in Ubuntu…

GUI package management -
Synaptic - System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager
Ubuntu Software Centre - Applications>Ubuntu Software Centre
GDebi - usually accessed by double clicking a .deb file. (superseded in 10.10 … see below)

Command line options -
apt - download and install
aptitude - (ncurses) terminal front end for apt
dpkg - command line Debian package management
build and install from source code.


I tend to use Synaptic for packages contained in the repositories as it offers more options/packages than the Ubuntu Software Centre and is rock solid… The Ubuntu Software Center is a fairly recent addition so will no doubt have a few bugs, but should improve fairly quickly as Canonical seem to be trying to make it the most prominent GUI installer in Ubuntu… in 10.10 the Ubuntu Software Centre even replaces gdebi as the default .deb installer.

This applies to pretty much ANY Linux distro… they all have multiple ways of installing packages or building from source, though the package managers, and software packages available in their repositories will vary from distro to distro.

Main GUI package managers -

Debian based distro’s including Ubuntu/Mint/Debian - Synaptic… although slowly being eclipsed by the Ubuntu Software Centre in Ubuntu/Mint.

Fedora - YUM

SUSE - YaST(2)

So what about OpenSUSE and Fedora? Isn’t Fedora for Enterprise users? I still can’t make my mind up. Most people are saying go for Ubuntu but it’s confusing because i like them all. OpenSUSE and Fedora seam to be rock solid and stable, i have to admit that i narrowed it to just these few lol. Please lol i don’t know what to use!!! It’s so annoying!! lol

Ps. thanks for all your help :slight_smile:

No, Fedora isn’t geared towards enterprise users - it is most definitely a bleeding-edge desktop distribution. However, the parent company (Red Hat) produces paid-for versions of Linux aimed at the enterprise, namely Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Server & Workstation versions).

If you still can’t decide which one to use, then just pick one! There is no right or wrong answer, and no brownie points for using the distro that the cool kids use. If you like the look of one in particular, just download that one and start to use it. At the heart, they are all the same just with different attachments bundled in. Any and all aspects of any distro can be changed to your heart’s desire with the minimum of fuss :wink:

Hey, thanks for the reply. The problem that i have with Fedora and OpenSUSE is that i cannot install the wifi driver for them. The laptop has the Dell WLAN 1397, i think it’s the BCM4312. Also i could not install Fedora and OpenSUSE. When i tried to install Fedora it said some think like ‘Not enough space’ which isnt true. This laptop has 250GB HDD. And OpenSUSE just refused :cry:

I have to admit, i do like Fedora. And i read somewhere that Broadcom, the manufacture has released the drivers (About time!) The only distro that i have managed to get my WIFI working is Ubuntu. And I’m using Ubuntu now. But like i said, i want to try Fedora and OpenSUSE and get my wifi working :smiley:

How to install the BCM4312 drivers in…

Fedora 13:

OpenSUSE 11.3:

sudo /usr/sbin/install_bcm43xx_firmware

from a terminal, then reboot.

Thanks, but i have already tried them and they don’t work :frowning:
Plus i had the problem of not being able to install them. I swear Linux doesn’t like me lol.

Maybe you should take is working on Ubuntu and not on others … as a sign … !
(that you should be using Ubuntu…??)