The following table compares the notebook models I used and their respective graphics subsystems.
|Notebook Model||Grahics Subsystem||Purchase Date|
|Gateway M680||AMD/ATI Mobility Radeon X700||June 2005|
|Gateway M685||nVidia GeForce Go 7800||June 2006|
And to cut to the chase the following table shows the results of attempting to boot each live CD.
The screen capture shown above is Indiana running on the M680. The odd artifact on the left side of the Firefox window occurred when I performed the screen capture. Why boot Indiana? Just to see what it would do. I was pleasantly surprised by its ability to operate on my notebook and a bit shocked that a developer's release performed better than Fedora 8.
Ubuntu running on the M680. I'd done this before with a pre-release so I wasn't surprised.
And openSUSE on the M680 with Compiz running. I enabled Compiz after using Sax2 to enable 24-bit color as well as 3D acceleration.
You'd think, after reading some responses, that Fedora 8 was the second coming in Linux distributions, let alone Fedora releases. But the fact that Fedora 8 failed to boot to a graphical desktop on both of my notebooks underscores Fedora's continuing lack of release quality. openSUSE, the one distribution that everyone likes to beat up on (and call for boycott) boots on everything I have access to. I should note that while openSUSE 10.3 enabled full graphical capabilities on the M680, including full screen resolution of 1680 x 1050, it booted into 1280 x 1024 on the M685 without any hardware acceleration. But at least the desktop on the M685 was both visible and usable.
This year has turned out to be the year of the regressive Linux release, especially with regards to graphic card support. Those regressions are due in part, I believe, to the use of the latest Xorg release. Fedora 8 is based on the latest Xorg bits, while Fedora 7, which successfully boots on both my M860 and M865, does not. If you're interested in Linux for the first time I'd strongly advise you try openSUSE 10.3 first. If you've got an earlier release (such as Ubuntu 7.04 or openSUSE 10.2) installed and running, I'd strongly advise trying out the latest release with the live CD before performing any upgrade. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.