Installing Linux on a Laptop

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Laptops or so-called notebook computers are more integrated than desktops are; a laptop's video card, monitor, and hard disk are all built into a compact package. In other words, you cannot easily mix and match components with laptops as you do with desktop systems, so you have to make sure that Linux supports all components of your laptop system.

Laptops typically have a PCMCIA adapter where you can plug in many peripherals such as a wireless Ethernet network card or a modem. When installing Linux on a laptop with a CD/DVD-ROM drive, follow the same installation steps as the ones described earlier in this chapter.

Most laptops with Intel Celeron or better processors should be able to run plain Linux without any problems. If you want to install X.Org X11, however, you may have some trouble if X.Org X11 does not support the video card (on a laptop, video circuitry is built into the motherboard) and the pointing device. You can use the VESA driver to get X working on most laptops even if X.Org X11 doesn't natively support the laptop's graphics chipset. Also, nowadays, most laptop pointing devices can at least emulate a standard PS/2 Mouse, so all pointing devices should work with XFree86.

This section barely touches upon the subject of how to run Linux on laptops. Installing Linux on a specific laptop model is a unique experience, and there are simply too many different models to describe here. As users install and run Linux on a variety of laptops, the user community's cumulative experience of Linux on laptops continues to grow. Much of this information is summarized and made available on the Web. For detailed information on how to install and run Linux on laptops, point your Web browser to the Linux on Laptops Home Page: www.linux-on-laptops.com/. Another good resource for information on running Linux on laptops is the TuxMobil website at http://tuxmobil.org/.

This page includes links to many more Web pages, each documenting the details of how to install and run Linux on a specific laptop model. In particular, you will find out if you have to do anything special to get Linux and X running on your laptop.

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