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Author Topic: A Linux geek's law school computer set up  (Read 3728 times)

denk

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A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« on: July 16, 2007, 03:43:55 AM »
Hey all,

I'm a new 1L, and am thinking about what kind of hardware and software to put together for the note-taking in class,

Any other hackers / Linux users / computer programmers out there? 

I'm thinking about ideas that will let me be the most safe with my data and most flexible - not having to carry stuff around.  For example;

* Buying a used $300 mini-laptop, and putting Ubuntu on it.  Using either emacs or open office, etc.  This is the computer I'd schlep to class, and leave in a locker there.

* Keeping all of my actual data online on a secure webdav/ftp server the school makes available.  Maybe use a combination of subversion + rdist.

* I currently own two computers: new 15" Mac Powerbook Pro, and a 15" Thinkpad T-42 with Ubuntu, but I don't want to drag those around everywhere I go.  So I'm thinking I'll leave them at home, and at work, and just always have access to my notes via the online server.

Another thing I like about all this is *not* really depending on some great-ass laptop.  I believe it should be an expendable device --- the data is what's valuable.

Anybody else going to use open source?

blueb73

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2007, 09:59:13 AM »
are you able to use the linux machines for exams?

just bought me one of the new dell ones, and i LOVE it!

dandlewood

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2007, 04:48:28 PM »
yeah, if your school uses examsoft, beware.  It's a touchy touchy program. It's not Mac Compliant (at my school at least, though I hear that there is a mac version in beta) and I'm not sure about other OS's.  Usually at least one person with xp has a problem per final, though I think in most cases tech support at the school fixes it before the exam starts.


As far as your set up, think it through.  You have a great technological background, but you're in law school.  my best advice is to keep everything on a single laptop that you carry around all the time.  I can't tell you the times when I was just hanging out and decided to whip out my laptop to review my class notes.  If you're thinking of using laptop/desktop, that's fine, but plan on mostly using your laptop.  I had an AMD 4800+ 939, 2 GB 400 mhz, etc rig (back before AMD switched to AM2 and DDR2) and I only used it for stress relief and writing my memo/brief.

Ubuntu and Linux are great, especially since they're free, but remember, lawschool programs, for the most part, are 5 years behind (although this has gotten better over the past 2 years).  Support will be scarce for those operating systems.  But since you know what you're doing (you obviously must if you're using linux or Ubuntu) then that shouldn't be much of a problem. 

Anyway, I hope my rambling has helped at all, lol. 
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denk

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2007, 05:52:01 PM »
Thanks, that was helpful.

And I found out that my school does not "support" Linux.  (Always a funny thing, of course - no Linux user would really want support.)  But I'd hate to discover at an inconvenient moment that I can no longer access the net here.

But Mac is supported, so I'll either use the MacBook Pro, or buy one of the smaller ones for the lighter weight.  (There were rumors of a small MB Pro to be release, but it hasn't materialized yet...)  I think I'll start a Mac software thread...

Strong

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007, 08:28:29 PM »
I'll give you $10 if you can find a girl in your section that doesn't think Linux is a Peanuts character.

ascari_2

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007, 08:39:06 PM »
You've got no one to impress in law school with your Linux/hacker/phreaking/110011010 skills. Maybe you thought it was fun to have something different running on your PC during undergrad, maybe you were a CS major constantly writing scripts and various kind of code. You'll not be doing any of that in law school. You'll need Word in order to take notes, you'll need a browser to access class web contents and Westlaw, and you'll need Windows XP (as of this moment) to run the exam software. Just get a reliable PC and stop thinking that running Linux on your home PC is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

JohnnyAwesome

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2007, 09:05:24 PM »
All you need to survive in law school is a laptop that isn't too heavy, that runs windows XP, has a wireless card, has ms word and adobe acrobat, and preferably a usb slot so you can back up on a thumb drive. You're not going to need a large thumb drive. Every file I used in my first year combined is less than 30mb. You want reliable and ease of use that's all.  Running another operating system is likely to keep you off your school's network or not be able to use examsoft.

i use on my laptop for probably 5 programs; firefox, word, acrobat, itunes, AIM. That's really all you need.

dandlewood

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2007, 10:05:47 PM »
You've got no one to impress in law school with your Linux/hacker/phreaking/110011010 skills. Maybe you thought it was fun to have something different running on your PC during undergrad, maybe you were a CS major constantly writing scripts and various kind of code. You'll not be doing any of that in law school. You'll need Word in order to take notes, you'll need a browser to access class web contents and Westlaw, and you'll need Windows XP (as of this moment) to run the exam software. Just get a reliable PC and stop thinking that running Linux on your home PC is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

wow. uh... way to rant.  Different strokes for different folks, my man.  Some people don't like to run Microsoft OS's because they're Microsoft, and because they're so expensive.  It has nothing to do with trying to look cool.  Seriously, do you think people who run linux and Ubuntu do it to be cool? When is the last time you saw a bunch of alternative OS people sitting around and acting like they're the *&^%?  Word processing programs that can handle .doc extensions exist for linux and linux and ubuntu both have web browsers. The only issue is Examsoft and depending on the school, he can elect to write his exams if he wants to.  That being said, I think the smart thing is to go with a microsoft system (as stated in an earlier post), but I'm not going to say it's the absolute only right way to get it done.
Made: St Thomas, Florida Coastal
Kiss of Death:Miami, American, Rutgers, Villanova
Paying back the Loan Shark:
Pending: Nova, Widener, Temple, Florida State, Howard, Drexel, Dusquesne, Penn State

ascari_2

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2007, 12:09:59 AM »
I'm not ranting. But tell me the last time you saw a laptop being sold that didn't come with windows pre-installed. It costs pennies for manufacturers to install Windows. And those pennies translate into a few tens of dollars as an end consumer. The price of Windows XP Home full version was $200 when it was on the shelves. There is no way in hell that a $500 laptop has $300 worth of hardware and $200 worth of windows. As for the whole thing with "I don't like Microsoft just because it's Microsoft", come on. There has to be a better excuse. We're talking about what one needs for class, and if there is no real negative reason for running an MS OS, why female dog about it and run the risk of dealing with bs during exams. Also you don't need Word as you can always use OpenOffice.

As for seeing people sit around thinking they are cool playing around on Unix machines, I did my undergrad in CE and saw those people every day. Nothing wrong with being different, but again, the reality is that running Unix at law school does not make sense.

And regarding the whole backup thing, why on earth would you go through the trouble of setting up an FTP server and what not. You'll have your notes, your outlines, a few PDFs, and maybe your outlook emails if your schools allows you pop access. All you need (as others have already said) is a flash drive. Is it possible to do the kind of backup you're contemplating and will it protect your data, yes of course. But why do something so complicated when you can do something so easy.

You sound like a guy who knows a thing or two about computers. I'm sure you can get a clean running Windows laptop that won't give you any problems unless there are hardware issues, in which case the OS won't matter.

denk

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Re: A Linux geek's law school computer set up
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2007, 07:15:13 PM »
...But tell me the last time you saw a laptop being sold that didn't come with windows pre-installed.

Last night, browsing dell.com.

Sounds like someone has anger issues.