If you happen to be a Linux distributor, thank you for reading
all this. Laptops are becoming more and more popular, but still
most Linux distributions are not very well prepared for portable
computing. Please make this document obsolete and change this for
- The installation routine should include a configuration, optimized
for laptops. The ``mimimal install'' is often not lean
enough. There are a lot of things that a laptop user does not
need on the road. Just a few examples. There is no need for
three different versions of
vi (as found in Suse Linux). Most portable systems do not need
printing support (they will never be connected to a
printer, printing is usually done with the desktop system at
home). Quite a few laptops do not need any network support at
- Don't forget to describe laptop-specific installation
problems, e. g. how to install your distribution without
a cd-rom drive or how to setup the plip network driver.
- Add better power management and seamless pcmcia support to your
distribution. Add a precompiled kernel and an alternative set of
pcmcia drivers with apm support that the user can install on
demand. Include a precompiled
apmd package with your
- Add support for dynamically switching network configurations. Most
Linux laptops travel between locations with different
network settings (e. g. the network at home, the network at
the office and the network at the university) and have
to change the network id very often. Changing a Linux system's
network id is a pain with most distributions.
Please mail me if your distribution is optimized for portable
computing and what kind of features you added for that. Future
versions of this HOWTO will include a section where you can
advertise your distribution's laptop features.
- The information about battery technology is mostly based
on the article ``Stromkonserve''
by Michael Reiter, published in ``c't Magazin fuer
Computertechnik'' (Heise Verlag Hannover, Germany), edition
10/96, page 204. Used by permission. Visit their website at
- The following people contributed to this document:
Frithjof Anders <firstname.lastname@example.org>
David Bateman <email@example.com>
Florent Chabaud <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Markus Gutschke <email@example.com>
Kenneth E. Harker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bjoern Kriews <email@example.com>
R. Manmatha <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Juergen Rink <email@example.com>
Grant Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
James Youngman <JYoungman@vggas.com>
This text mentions batteries 53 times.
The current version of this and many other HOWTOs,
most of them a lot more useful than this one,
can be found at the main Linux documentation site
http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw/linux.html or at
one of its many mirror sites.
Most of this text was written during my trips between Hamburg
and Hannover on German rail. (The new ice-2 coaches have
power outlets for laptops, yeah!).
And now hum along with me: ``...on the road again...''