Linux Laptop-HOWTO

Table of Contents

  1. Preface

     1.1 About the Author
     1.2 Sponsoring
     1.3 About the Document (Mirrors, Translations, Versions, Formats, URLs)
     1.4 Contact

  2. Copyright, Disclaimer and Trademarks

  3. Which Laptop to Buy?

     3.1 Introduction
     3.2 Portables, Laptops/Notebooks, Sub/Mini-Notebooks, Palmtops, PDAs/HPCs
        3.2.1 Portables
        3.2.2 Laptops/Notebooks
        3.2.3 Sub-Notebooks/Mini-Notebooks
        3.2.4 Palmtops
        3.2.5 Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)/Handheld PCs (HPCs)
        3.2.6 Wearables
     3.3 Linux Features
     3.4 Main Hardware Features
        3.4.1 Weight
        3.4.2 Display
        3.4.3 Batteries
        3.4.4 CPU
  Supported CPU Families
        3.4.5 Cooling
        3.4.6 Keyboard Quality
        3.4.7 Price
        3.4.8 Power Supply
     3.5 Sources of More Information
     3.6 Linux Compatibility Check
        3.6.1 Related HOWTOs
        3.6.2 Check Methods in General
     3.7 Writing a Device Driver
     3.8 Buying a Second Hand Laptop
     3.9 No Hardware Recommendations

  4. Laptop Distribution

     4.1 Requirements
     4.2 Recommendation

  5. Installation

     5.1 Related HOWTOs
     5.2 Prerequisites - Partitioning
     5.3 Linux Tools to Repartition a Hard Disk
        5.3.1 GNU parted
        5.3.2 ext2resize
        5.3.3 fixdisktable
        5.3.4 Caveats
        5.3.5 Multi Boot
     5.4 Installation Methods
     5.5 From a Boot Floppy plus CD-ROM - The Usual Way
     5.6 From a DOS or Windows Partition at the Same Machine
     5.7 From a Second Machine With a Micro Linux On a Floppy
        5.7.1 Introduction
        5.7.2 Prerequisites
        5.7.3 Source Machine
        5.7.4 Destination Machine
        5.7.5 Configuration of the Destination Machine after the Transfer
        5.7.6 Miscellaneous
     5.8 From a Second Machine With a 2.5" Hard Disk Adapter
     5.9 From a PCMCIA Device
     5.10 From a Parallel Port Device (ZIP Drive, CD Drive)
     5.11 From a Second Machine Using the Parallel Port - PLIP Network Install
     5.12 Installing Linux on Small Machines

  6. Hardware In Detail

     6.1 PCMCIA Controller
        6.1.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.1.2 Related HOWTOs
        6.1.3 PCMCIA Configuration - Survey
  PCMCIA Controller
     6.2 Infrared Port
        6.2.1 Linux Compatibility Check
  Hardware Survey
        6.2.2 Related HOWTOs
        6.2.3 IrDA Configuration - Survey
  Linux Remote Control - LiRC
     6.3 Graphic Chip
        6.3.1 Linux Compatibility Check
  Video Mode
  Text Mode
        6.3.2 Related HOWTOs
        6.3.3 Survey X-Servers
        6.3.4 Resources
        6.3.5 External Monitor
        6.3.6 Miscellaneous
     6.4 Sound
        6.4.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.4.2 Related HOWTOs
        6.4.3 Survey Sound Drivers
     6.5 Keyboard
        6.5.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.5.2 External (Second) Keyboard
     6.6 Pointing Devices - Mice and Their Relatives
        6.6.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.6.2 Related HOWTOs
        6.6.3 Mice Species
        6.6.4 PS/2 Mice
        6.6.5 Touchpad
        6.6.6 Touchscreen
        6.6.7 COMPAQ Concerto Pen
        6.6.8 External Mouse
     6.7 Advanced Power Management - APM
        6.7.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.7.2 Introduction
  Kernel Land
  User Land
        6.7.3 Caveats
        6.7.4 Troubleshooting
        6.7.5 APM and PCMCIA
        6.7.6 APM and Resuming X Windows
        6.7.7 Modularization of APM
        6.7.8 APM Resume Options
        6.7.9 APM and Sound
        6.7.10 Software Suspend
     6.8 ACPI
     6.9 Batteries
     6.10 Memory
     6.11 Plug-and-Play Devices (PnP)
     6.12 Docking Station / Port Replicator
        6.12.1 Definitions
        6.12.2 Other Solutions
        6.12.3 Connection Methods
     6.13 Network Connections
        6.13.1 Related HOWTOs
        6.13.2 Connection Methods
  PCMCIA Network Card
  Serial Null Modem Cable
  Parallel Port NIC (Pocket Adaptor)
  Parallel "Null" Modem Cable
  Docking Station NIC
     6.14 Modem
        6.14.1 Modem Types
        6.14.2 Caveats
     6.15 SCSI
        6.15.1 Hardware Compatibility Check
        6.15.2 Related HOWTOs
        6.15.3 Survey
     6.16 Universal Serial Bus - USB
        6.16.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.16.2 Miscelleaneous
     6.17 Floppy Drive
        6.17.1 Linux Compatibility Check
     6.18 CD Drive
     6.19 DVD Drive
     6.20 Harddisk
        6.20.1 Linux Compatibility Check
        6.20.2 Miscellaneous
        6.20.3 Form Factors
     6.21 Video Port / ZV Port

  7. Palmtops, Personal Digital Assistants - PDAs, Handheld PCs - HPCs

  8. Cellular Phones, Pagers, Calculators, Digital Cameras, Wearable Computing

     8.1 Cellular Phones
     8.2 Pagers - SMS Messages
     8.3 Digital Cameras
     8.4 Calculators
     8.5 Wearable Computing
     8.6 Watches

  9. Accessories

     9.1 PCMCIA Cards
        9.1.1 Card Families
        9.1.2 Linux Compatibility Check
     9.2 SmartCards
     9.3 Memory Technology Devices - RAM and Flash Cards
     9.4 Printers
     9.5 Power and Phone Plugs, Power Supply
     9.6 Bags and Suitcases

  10. Different Environments - On the Road

     10.1 Related HOWTOs
     10.2 Configuration Tools
        10.2.1 NetEnv
        10.2.2 divine
        10.2.3 Mobile IP
        10.2.4 DHCP/BootP
        10.2.5 PPPD Options
        10.2.6 /etc/init.d
        10.2.7 PCMCIA - Schemes
        10.2.8 Bootloaders
  Other Bootloaders
        10.2.9 X-Windows
        10.2.10 E-Mail
  Configuration of sendmail
  Configuration for fetchmail on Laptop
  Forward E-Mail to the Laptop
  Processing Incomming E-Mail with procmail
        10.2.11 Email with UUCP
        10.2.12 More Info
     10.3 Data Transport Between Different Machines
        10.3.1 Hardware
        10.3.2 Software
  Version Management Software
  CODA Filesystem
  Xfiles - file tree synchronization and cross-validation
     10.4 Security in Different Environments
        10.4.1 Introduction
        10.4.2 Means of Security
     10.5 Dealing with Down Times (Cron Jobs)
     10.6 Noise Reduction
        10.6.1 Console (Shell) and X
        10.6.2 PCMCIA
        10.6.3 Miscellaneous Applications

  11. Other Resources

  12. Repairing the Hardware

  13. Solutions with Laptops

     13.1 Introduction
     13.2 Mobile Network Analyzer
     13.3 Mobile Router
     13.4 Hacking and Cracking Networks
     13.5 Lectures
     13.6 Mobile Data Collecting
        13.6.1 Related HOWTOs
        13.6.2 Applications
        13.6.3 Specific Environments
     13.7 Mobile Office
     13.8 Connection to Digital Camera
     13.9 Connection to QuickCam (Video)
     13.10 Connection to Television Set
     13.11 Connection to Cellular Phone
     13.12 Connection to Global Positioning System (GPS)
     13.13 Connection via Amateur Radio (HAM)
     13.14 Satellite Watching
     13.15 Aviation
     13.16 Blind or Visually Impaired Users

  14. Other Operating Systems

     14.1 DOS/Windows9x/NT
        14.1.1 Introduction
        14.1.2 AID CDATA dostools
        14.1.3 Partition Sharing
        14.1.4 Installation without CD Drive
        14.1.5 Miscellaneous
     14.2 BSD Unix
     14.3 OS/2
     14.4 NOVELL Netware
     14.5 Debian GNU/Hurd (hurd-i386)

  15. ToDo

  16. Revision History

  17. Credits

  18. Appendix A - Survey about Micro Linuxes

  19. Appendix B - Dealing with Limited Resources or Tuning the System

     19.1 Related HOWTOs
     19.2 Introduction
     19.3 Small Space
        19.3.1 Introduction
        19.3.2 Techniques
     19.4 Harddisk Speed
     19.5 Small Memory
        19.5.1 Related HOWTOs
        19.5.2 Techniques
     19.6 Low CPU Speed
     19.7 Power Saving Techniques
     19.8 Kernel
        19.8.1 Related HOWTOs
     19.9 Tiny Applications and Distributions
     19.10 Hardware Upgrade

  20. Appendix C - NeoMagic Chip NM20xx

     20.1 Introduction
     20.2 Textmode 100x37
        20.2.1 Survey
        20.2.2 More Details
  Enabling Linux to Boot in 800x600
  Now the Key Point
        20.2.3 Road Map

  21. Appendix D - Annotated Bibliography

  22. Appendix E - Resources for Specific Laptops

     22.1 IBM ThinkPad
     22.2 Toshiba Laptops
     22.3 COMPAQ Concerto Aero
     22.4 DELL Laptops


  1.  Preface

  Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding is the
  third. -- Marge Piercy <>

  1.1.  About the Author

  People like either laptops or desktops. I like to work with laptops
  rather than with desktops. I like Linux too. My first HOWTO was the
  Linux/IR-HOWTO <> about infrared
  support for Linux. My second is this one and my third the Ecology-
  HOWTO, about some ways to use Linux in an ecology aware manner.

  Also I have written some pages about Linux with certain laptops:
  Olivetti Echos 133 DM (German) <>
  (together with Kurt Saetzler), HP OmniBook 800CT
  <>, HP OmniBook 3100
  <> (together with Friedhelm Kueck)
  COMPAQ Armada 1592 DT <> and

  During the work with the Laptop-HOWTO I have collected some surveys
  about laptop related hardware: graphic chips
  <>, unofficially supported
  PCMCIA cards <>, internal modems
  <> and infrared chips

  But I don't claim to be a laptop guru, I just had the opportunity to
  install Linux on some laptops and I simply want to share the
  information I collected.

  Since I don't own a non-Intel based machine, this HOWTO might not
  contain all the details for non-Intel systems or may contain
  inaccuracies. Sorry.

  1.2.  Sponsoring

  This HOWTO is free of charge and free in the sense of the General
  Public Licence - GPL. Though it requires much work and could gain more
  quality if I would have some more hardware. So if you have a spare
  laptop, even an old one or one which requires repair, please let me
  know. Especially I need one with infrared port, USB port, DVD drive,
  WinModem and a non Intel machine. The according chapters need a major
  rewrite. For the curious, this HOWTO is written on a HP OmniBook 800CT
  5/100 <>.

  Or sponsor a banner ad at my WWW pages TuxMobil <

  You can hire me for readings or workshops on Linux with Laptops,
  Repairing of Laptops and other Linux topics, too.

  1.3.  About the Document (Mirrors, Translations, Versions, Formats,

  Many times I have mentioned MetaLab formerly known as SunSite. This
  site carries a heavy load, so do yourself a favor, use one of the
  MetaLab mirrors <> .

  For Debian/GNU Linux the mirror URLs are organized in this scheme
  http://www.<country code, e.g. uk> .

  This text is included in the LINUX DOCUMENTATION PROJECT - LDP
  <> .

  Richard Worwood mirrors this HOWTO at
  <> .

  Lionel, "trollhunter" Bouchpan-Lerust-Juery, <>
  provides a translation into French. You can download or browse it at
  <> .
  And he mirrors the English version at

  He has also written a HOWTO about portables and wearables, please look
  at his pages
  <> (French version)
  <> (English version).

  Translations into Japanese (Ryoichi Sato <>), Italian
  (Alessandro Grillo <>), Portuguese
  (Gledson Evers <> the translation will be
  announced at LinuxALL <>) and Greek (Vassilis
  Rizopoulos <>) are under construction.

  Please contact me before starting a translation to avoid double work.
  Since a translation is a great amount of work, I recommend to do this
  work as a group.

  Nearly all of the programms I mention are available as Debian/GNU
  Linux <> packages, or as RPM packages, look up
  your favorite RPM server, for instance RUFUS
  <> .

  The latest version of this document is available in different formats
  at TuxMobil <> .

  1.4.  Contact

  This document isn't ready yet. If you like to write a chapter or even
  a smaller part by yourself, please feel free to contact me. Also your
  suggestions and recommendations and critics are welcome. But please
  don't expect me to solve your laptop related problems if the solution
  is already documented. Please read all according manual pages, HOWTOs
  and WWW sites first, than you may consider to contact me or the other
  resources mentioned below.

  Since I want to write much more stuff about mobile computing and Linux
  I'm thinking about turning this HOWTO into a book.

  Werner Heuser <>

  2.  Copyright, Disclaimer and Trademarks

  Copyright © 1999 by Werner Heuser. This document may be distributed
  under the terms set forth in the LDP license
  <> .

  This is free documentation. It is distributed in the hope that it will
  be useful, but without any warranty. The information in this document
  is correct to the best of my knowledge, but there's a always a chance
  I've made some mistakes, so don't follow everything too blindly,
  especially if it seems wrong. Nothing here should have a detrimental
  effect on your computer, but just in case I take no responsibility for
  any damages incurred from the use of the information contained herein.

  Some laptop manufacturers don't like to see a broken laptop with an
  operating system other than the one shipped with it, and may reload
  MS-Windows if you complain of a hardware problem. They may even
  declare the warranty void. Though IMHO this isn't legal or at least
  not fair. Always have a backup of both the original configuration and
  your Linux installation if you have to get your laptop repaired.

  Though I hope trademarks will be superfluous sometimes (you may see
  what I mean at Open Source Definition
  <>) : If certain words are
  trademarks, the context should make it clear to whom they belong. For
  example "MS Windows NT" implies that "Windows NT" belongs to Microsoft
  (MS). Mac is a trademark by Apple Computer. All trademarks belong to
  their respective owners.

  3.  Which Laptop to Buy?

  3.1.  Introduction

  Portable computers may be divided into different categories. This is a
  subjective decision, but I try to do so. My groupings roughly follow
  the generally accepted marketing categories. The criteria could be:

  1. Weight: Often expressed in terms like Portables, Laptops/Notebooks,
     Sub/Mini-Notebooks, Palmtops/PDAs. There is no standard method to
     define the weight of a laptop, therefore the data provided by the
     manufacturers (and which are given below) have to be considered as
     approximations. The question is how the power supply (wether
     external or internal) or swappable parts like CD and floppy drive,
     are included in the weight.

     Most peripheral cables are appallingly heavy. If you get a
     subnotebook and carry it around with a bunch of external drives,
     cables, and port expander dongles and power converter, you may be
     lugging a heavier bag than if it were all in one box. Subnotebooks
     are useful mainly if you can afford to leave all the other junk

  2. Supported Operations Systems: proprietary versus open

  3. Price: NoName versus Brand

  4. Hardware Features: display size, harddisk size, CPU speed, battery
     type, etc.

  5. Linux Support: graphic chip, sound card, infrared controller
     (IrDA), internal modem, etc.

  3.2.  Portables, Laptops/Notebooks, Sub/Mini-Notebooks, Palmtops,

  3.2.1.  Portables

  Weight greater than 4.0 kg (9 lbs). Features like a PC, but in a
  smaller box and with LCD display. Examples: lunchbox or ruggedized
  laptops (e.g.,

  3.2.2.  Laptops/Notebooks

  Weight between 1.7 and 4.0 kg (4 to 9 lbs). Features custom hardware
  and usually a special CPU. Examples: HP OmniBook 3100, COMPAQ Armada
  1592DT. The terms laptop and notebook seem equivalent to me.

  3.2.3.  Sub-Notebooks/Mini-Notebooks

  Weight between 1.3 and 1.7 kg (3 to 4 lbs). Features: external floppy
  drive, external CD drive. Examples: HP OmniBook 800CT, Toshiba
  Libretto 100, COMPAQ Aero, SONY VAIO 505.

  3.2.4.  Palmtops

  Weight between 0.7 and 1.3 kg (1.5 to 3 lbs). Features: proprietary
  commercial operating systems. Examples: HP200LX.

  3.2.5.  Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)/Handheld PCs (HPCs)

  Weight below 0.7 kg (1.5 lbs). Features: proprietary commercial
  operating systems and often non-Intel CPU with commercial operating
  systems like PalmOS, EPOC32, GEOS, Windows CE. Examples: Newton
  Message Pad, Palm III (former Pilot), Psion Series 3 and 5, CASIO

  3.2.6.  Wearables

  Watches, digital pens, calculators, digital cameras, cellular phones
  and other wearables.

  3.3.  Linux Features

  Due to a lack of support by some hardware manufacturers, not every
  feature of a laptop is always supported or fully operational. The main
  devices which may cause trouble are: graphic chip, IrDA port, sound
  card, PCMCIA controller , PnP devices and internal modem. Please try
  to get as much information about these topics before buying a laptop.
  But often it isn't quite easy to get the necessary information.
  Sometimes even the specifications or the hotline of the manufacturer
  aren't able to provide the information. Therefore I have included a
  Linux Compatibility Check chapter in the Hardware In Detail sections

  Depending on your needs, you might investigate one of the vendors that
  provide laptops pre-loaded with Linux. By purchasing a pre-loaded
  Linux laptop, much of the guesswork and time spent downloading
  additional packages could be avoided. See the Linux Laptop
  Manufacturer Survey <>.

  3.4.  Main Hardware Features

  Besides its Linux features, there often are some main features which
  have to be considered when buying a laptop. For Linux features please
  see the Hardware In Detail section below.

  3.4.1.  Weight

  Don't underestimate the weight of a laptop. This weight is mainly
  influenced by:

  1. screen size

  2. battery type

  3. internal components, such as CD drive, floppy drive

  4. power supply

  5. material used for the case, usually they are either from plastics
     or from magnesium.

  3.4.2.  Display

  Laptops come with one of two types of displays: active matrix (TFT)
  and passive matrix (DSTN). Active matrix displays have better color
  and contrast, but usually cost more and use more power. Also consider
  the screen size. Laptops may be purchased with screens up to 15". A
  bigger screen weighs more, costs more, and is harder to carry, but is
  good for a portable desktop replacement.

  3.4.3.  Batteries

  The available battery types are Lithium Ion (LiIon), Nickel Metal
  Hydride ( NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd).

  LiIon batteries are the most expensive ones but a lot lighter than
  NiCd for the same energy content, and have minimal -- but present --
  memory effects. NiMH is better than NiCd, but still rather heavy and
  does suffer some (although less than NiCd) memory effects.

  Unfortenately most laptops come with a proprietary battery size. So
  they are not interchangeable between different models.

  3.4.4.  CPU  Supported CPU Families

  For details about systems which are supported by the Linux Kernel, see
  the Linux FAQ <> . See
  also Current ports of Linux OS

  1. i286: Linux doesn't support this CPU family yet. But there are some
     efforts at ELKS <>. If you like,
     you may use Minix <> one of the
     predecessors of Linux. Minix supports 8088 to 286 with as little as
     640K memory. Actually there are some laptops with ELKS around, for
     instance the Commodore C286LT <>

  2. i386: This covers PCs based on Intel-compatible processors,
     including Intel's 386, 486, Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium II,
     and compatible processors by AMD, Cyrix and others. Most of the
     currently available laptops use Intel compatible CPUs and have
     quite good Linux support.

  3. m68k: This covers Amigas and Ataris having a Motorola 680x0
     processor for x>=2; with MMU. And the early Apple/Macintosh

     There was a long series of Apple PowerBooks and other laptops based
     on the m68k chip. Macintosh Portable (an ugly 16-pound first
     attempt); PowerBook 100, 140, 170, 145, 160, 180c, 165c, 520c,
     540c, 550c, 190; Duo 210, 230, 250, 270c, 280. The PowerBook Duos
     were available at the same time as the PowerBooks, they were a sort
     of subnotebook, but were designed so that you could plug them into
     a base station (a DuoDock) with more RAM, peripherals, etcetera, so
     that they could also act as a desktop computer. The first PowerPC
     PowerBooks were the ill-starred PowerBook 5300 (after the 190) and
     the Duo 2300c.

     For a complete list of all Macintosh computers ever made, with
     specifications, see Apple-History <>.

     Note also that readers should *not* go to for
     hardware compatibility with 68k laptops--as the name implies,
     LinuxPPC is only for PowerPC machines. The proper place to go for
     information on running Linux on m68k Macintoshes is: linux-m68k

     In particular, their hardware compatibility list is at: linux-m68k-
     status <> and it
     states in regards to laptops:

     "Much like laptops of the Intel/Linux world, Mac laptops have
     generally different setups that can be very hard to figure out.
     Also, because of a general lack of machines to test, we are only
     aware of boots on the Powerbook 145, Powerbook 150, Powerbook 170,
     Powerbook 180, and Powerbook 190. Even if it boots, we currently
     have no support for Powerbook-style ADB, the APM support, or just
     about anything else on them. This means the only way to log in is
     with a terminal hooked up to the serial interface, this has been
     tested on the 170."

     "Several Powerbooks have internal IDE which is supported. PCMCIA
     drivers will be forthcoming if someone can supply the necessary
     hardware information to write a driver. As always, an FPU is needed
     also. Many of the later models have the 68LC040 processor without
     FPU, and many of these processors are broken with respect to the
     FPU trap mechanism so they can't run regular Linux binaries even
     with FPU emulation. Current status on Powerbooks 140, 160, 165,
     165c, 180c, 190, 520 and Duos 210, 230, 250, 270c, 280, and 280c is

     Also there are two Atari laptops, for which I don't have enough
     information. The following quotations are from the Atari Gallery

     "The STacy was released shortly after the Mega ST to provide a
     portable means of Atari computing. STacy computers were shipped
     with TOS v1.04.

     Designed to replace the STacy as the defacto portable ST computer,
     the ST Book brought the basic computing power of an ST to a
     lightweight notebook computer. This machine was only released in
     Europe and Atari only shipped a very small quantity. The ST Book
     was shipped with TOS v2.06."

     Is there an Amiga notebook?

  4. PowerPC (PPC): Although some driver support present in Intel based
     Linux is still missing for Linux PPC, it is a fully usable system
     for Macintosh PowerBooks. See LinuxPPC
     <> for a current list of supported

     BTW: The team at iMac Linux <> has managed
     to get the iMac DV to boot Linux to a usable point. You may get
     information about the iBook there as well.
  5. Alpha, Sparc, Sparc64 architectures: These are currently under
     construction. AFAIK there are only the Tadpole SPARC and ALPHA
     laptops, and some other ALPHA laptops available.

  6. StrongARM: a very low-power CPU found in's popular
     NetWinder (some kind of mobile computer, too), and actively
     supported in the Debian project, it is also in several WinCE
     machines, such as HP's Jornadas. Only the lack of tech specs
     prevents Linux from being ported to these tiny, long-battery-life
     machines. A full-scale StrongARM-based laptop would make a superb
     Linux platform, but none exists yet.

     For PDAs with ARM/StrongARM CPU see the PDA chapter below.

  7. MIPS: Used in SGI mainframes and Cobalt Micro intranet appliances,
     chips based on this architecture are used in many Wince machines.
     Linux has been ported to a few of these, including the lovely
     little Vadem Clio. Vadem has been admirably cooperative.

     More about Linux on Wince boxes may be found at LinuxCE-FAQ
     <>.  Miscellaneous

  At higher speed, a CPU consumes more power and generates more heat.
  Therefore, in many laptops a special low-power CMOS CPU is used.
  Usually, this special CPU doesn't use as much power as a similar
  processor used in a desktop. These special CPUs are also more
  expensive. As a side effect you may find that laptops with a desktop
  CPU often have a fan which seems quite loud.

  3.4.5.  Cooling

  An enormously important issue.  Anything based on PPC or Pentium will
  generate enormous amounts of heat which must be dissipated.Generally,
  this means either a fan, or a heat sink the size of the case.If it's a
  fan, the air path had better not ever get blocked, or it will overhead
  and burn out.This means machines with a fan mounted in the bottom are
  a big, big mistake: you can't use them on a soft surface.

  3.4.6.  Keyboard Quality

  Though you might use your desktop computer to do longer writings, a
  good keyboard can save you some headaches and finger-aches. Look
  especially for the location of special keys like: <ESC>, <TAB>,
  <Pos1>, <End>, <PageDown>, <PageUp> and the cursor keys.

  3.4.7.  Price

  Laptops are quite expensive if you compare them with desktops. So you
  may decide between a brand or no-name product. Though I would like to
  encourage you to take a no-name product, there are some caveats. I
  have experienced that laptops break often, so you are better off, when
  you have an after sales warranty, which is usually only offered with
  brand products. Or you may decide to take a second hand machine. When
  I tried this, I discovered that the laptop market is changing quite
  often.  A new generation is released approximately every three months
  (compared by CPU speed, harddisk capacity, screen size etc.). So
  laptops become old very quick. But this scheme often isn't followed by
  the prices for second hand laptops. They seem too expensive to me.
  Anyway if you plan on purchasing a second hand machine, review my
  recommendations on checking the machine. For German readers there is
  an online market place at
  <>, which offers a good survey about current
  prices for second hand machines.

  3.4.8.  Power Supply

  If you travel abroad pay attention to the voltage levels which are
  supported by the power supply. Also the power supply is often one of
  the heavier parts of a laptop.

  3.5.  Sources of More Information

  Specifications, manuals and manufacturer support often are not
  helpful. Therefore you should retrieve information from other sources

  1. Highly recommended is the survey by Kenneth E. Harker <>

     <> .

  3. Hardware-HOWTO

  4. open hardware - The Open Hardware Certification Program

  5. - dedicated to the hardware aspects of (Linux)
     computing <>

  6. How to Build a PC FAQ - excellent hardware overview by Billy Newsom

  7. Last but not least the WWW itself.

  3.6.  Linux Compatibility Check

  3.6.1.  Related HOWTOs

  1. Hardware-HOWTO

  2. Kernel-HOWTO



  5. Plug-and-Play-mini-HOWTO

  3.6.2.  Check Methods in General

  If you can't find the necessary information through the above
  mentioned sources, you are on your own. Luckily, Linux provides many
  means to help. For details see the Hardware on Detail section below.
  In general you may use:

  1. First of all the kernel itself. Look up what kind of hardware is
     detected by the kernel. You get this information during boot time
     or usually by dmesg or by looking into /var/log/messages.

  2. If your kernel supports the /proc file system you may get detailed
     information about PCI devices by cat /proc/pci Please read the
     kernel documentation pci.txt. You may get further information about
     unknown PCI devices at the database from Craig Hart at
     <>. From 2.1.82 kernels on
     you may use the lspci command from the pci-utils package.

  3. To retrieve information about Plug-and-Play (PNP) devices use
     isapnp-tools .

  4. Use scsi_info by David Hinds for SCSI devices or scsiinfo.

  If you don't want to install a complete Linux you may retrieve this
  information by using a micro Linux ( see appendix A). The package
  muLinux provides even a small systest program and TomsRtBt comes with
  memtest. To use memtest you have to copy it on a floppy dd
  if=/usr/lib/memtest of=/dev/fd0 and to reboot from this floppy.

  If your laptop came with Windows, you may determine a lot of hardware
  settings from the installation. Boot into DOS or Windows to get the
  information you need.

  Using Windows9x/NT to get hardware settings, basically boot Windows,
  then Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> System -> Device Manager
  and write down everything, or make a hardcopy from the display using
  the <PRINT> key, plus keep a log of settings, hardware, memory, etc.

  Using MS-DOS and Windows3.1x you can use the command msd, which is an
  akronym for MicroSoft Diagnostics. Or you might try one of the
  numerous DOS shareware utilities: CHECK-IT, DR.HARD and others.

  Sometimes it's difficult to know what manufacturer has built the
  machine or parts of it actually. The FCC <
  bin/ead> "Federal Communications Commission On-line Equipment
  Authorization Database may be used, if you are having problems
  identifying the manufacturer of a laptop or notebook computer (or
  other electronic device,) this site lets you search the FCC database
  based on the FCC ID number you can usually find on the equipment if it
  was marketed in the United States of America."

  The Lothar Project <> is a
  Mandrake-related project to provide a GUIed interface to get at
  hardware configuration information on Linux-based systems. It provides
  a library for different system informations, too.

  Many laptops are no more compatible with Windows than Linux. David
  Hinds, author of the PCMCIA drivers, points out that Toshiba notebooks
  use a proprietary Toshiba PCMCIA bridge chip that exhibits the same
  bugs under Windows as under Linux. IBM Thinkpads have serious BIOS
  problems that affect delivery of events to the power management daemon
  apmd. These bugs also affect MS-Windows, and are listed in IBM's
  documentation as considerations.

  Some incompatibilities are temporary, for instance laptops that have
  Intel's USB chip will probably get full USB support, eventually.

  3.7.  Writing a Device Driver

  If you encounter a device which is not yet supported by Linux, don't
  forget it's also possible to write a driver by yourself. You may look
  at the book from Alessandro Rubini, Andy Oram: Linux Device Drivers.

  3.8.  Buying a Second Hand Laptop

  Some recommendations to check an used laptop, before buying it:

  1. Review the surface of the case for visible damages.

  2. Check the display for pixel faults. Maybe it's useful to take a
     magnifying glass therefore.

  3. Do an IO stress-test, .e.g. with the tool bonnie.

  4. You may use memtest and crashme to achieve a memory test.

  5. Do a CPU stress test, e.g. with the tool Byte or by compiling a

  6. Check the floppy drive by formatting a floppy.

  7. Check the CD drive by reading a CD.

  8. To check the battery seems difficult, because it needs some time:
     one charge and one work cycle.

  9. To check the surface of the harddisk you may take e2fsck. There is
     also a Linux tool dosfsck or the other fsck tools.

     To test the entire disk (non-destructively), time it for
     performance, and determine its size, as root do: time dd
     if=/dev/hda of=/dev/null bs=1024k .

     Check wether the machine seems stolen. I have provided a survey of
     databases for stolen laptops

  AFAIK there is no Linux tool like the DOS tools CHECK-IT, DR. HARD,
  SYSDIAG and others. These tools include many of the tests in one
  integrated suite. One of the best IMHO is the tool PC Diagnostics 95
  made by Craig Hart
  <> . Despite the 95 in its name
  it's plain DOS, tiny (76KB programm and 199KB data) reliable and free.
  Unfortenately it contains no check for the IrDA port.

  Please note this quotation from the disclaimer: "This program is
  written with the target audience being a trained, experienced
  technician. It is NOT designed to be used by those ignorant of
  computer servicing. Displays are not pretty but functional.
  Information is not explained since we are not trying to educate. This
  software should be considered to be just like any other tool in a
  tech's toolbox. It is to be applied with care, in the right situation,
  in order to find answers to specific problems. If you are an end user
  who is less than confident of dealing with computer hardware, this is
  probably not a program for you."
  Laptop computers, unlike desktop machines, really do get used up.
  Lithium batteries are good for no more than 400 recharge cycles,
  sometimes much fewer. Keyboards wear out. LCD screen backlighting
  grows dim. Mouse buttons fail. Worst of all, connectors get loose as a
  result of vibration, causing intermittent failures (e.g. only when you
  hit the <Enter> key). We have heard of a machine used on the table in
  a train being shaken to unusability in one trip.

  3.9.  No Hardware Recommendations

  It's difficult to give any recommendations for a certain laptop model
  in general. Your personal needs have to be taken into account. Also
  the market is changing very quickly. I guess every three months a new
  generation of laptops (according to harddisk space, CPU speed, display
  size, etc.) comes into the market. So I don't give any model or brand
  specific recommendations.

  4.  Laptop Distribution

  4.1.  Requirements

  From the Battery-HOWTO I got this recommendation (modified by WH):

  A Message to Linux Distributors

  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 section of this document obsolete, and make a few
  changes in your distribution.

  The installation routine should include a configuration, optimized for
  laptops. The minimal 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 all.

  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 recompiled 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 distribution.

  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

  Add a convenient PPP dialer with an address book, that does not try to
  start multiple copies of the PPP daemon if you click on the button
  twice (e.g., the RedHat usernet tool). It would be nice to have the
  PPP dialer also display the connection speed and some statistics. One
  nice command line dialer that autodetects modems and PPP services is
  wvdial from Worldvisions
  4.2.  Recommendation

  The Debian/GNU Linux <> has most of the desired
  features for a laptop installation. The distribution has a quite
  flexible installation tool. The installation process is well
  documented, especially concerning the methods which are useful at
  laptops. All the binaries are tiny, because they are stripped. A
  mailing list debian-laptop including a searchable archiv is provided.
  And Debian/GNU Linux is free.

  At the end of August 1999 the Debian Laptop Distribution - Proposal
  <> was issued. And some more
  laptop related packages and a Debian meta-package dedicated to laptops
  are on the way.

  Note: I know other Linux distributions work well with laptops, too. I
  even tried some of them, see my pages about certain laptops mentioned

  5.  Installation

  5.1.  Related HOWTOs


  2. Config-HOWTO

  3. Diskless-mini-HOWTO

  4. Installation-HOWTO

  5. Pre-Installation-Checklist-mini-HOWTO

  6. Update-mini-HOWTO

  7. Hard-Disk-Upgrade-mini-HOWTO

  8. Installation and getting started by Matt Welsh and others available

  9. Installing Debian Linux 2.1 For x86 by Bruce Perens, Sven Rudolph,
     Igor Grobman, James Treacy, Adam P. Harris


     ZIP-Drive-mini-HOWTO  <>

  5.2.  Prerequisites - Partitioning

  Partitioning can be done in a very sophisticated way. Currently I have
  only some first thoughts. I assume that with laptops there are still
  some reasons (e.g. updating the firmware of PCMCIA cards and BIOS) to
  share Linux and Windows9x/NT. Depending on your needs and the features
  of your laptop you could create the following partitions:

  ·  BIOS, some current BIOSes use a separate partition

  ·  suspend to disk, some laptops support this feature

  ·  swap space Linux

  ·  swap space Windows9x/NT

  ·  Linux base

  ·  Linux /home or data

  ·  common data between Linux and Windows9x/NT

  Note this chapter isn't ready yet. Please read the according HOWTOs

  5.3.  Linux Tools to Repartition a Hard Disk

  5.3.1.  GNU parted

  GNU parted <> allows you
  to create, destroy, resize and copy partitions. It currently supports
  ext2 and fat (fat16 and fat32) filesystems, and MS-DOS disklabels.
  This program can destroy data, and is not yet safe for general use.
  parted is currently in its early developement stage.

  5.3.2.  ext2resize

  ext2resize <> is a program
  capable of resizing (shrinking and growing) ext2 filesystems. Checks
  whether the new size the user gave is feasible (i.e. whether the fs
  isn't too occupied to shrink it), connected to the parted project.

  5.3.3.  fixdisktable

  Something was recently published on the <>
  mailing list about a partition recovery program. I have not used this,
  nor examined it, nor read much about it (except for the HTML page.) It
  may be useful to some of you if you have problems with FIPS, Ranish
  Partition Manager/Utility or Partition Magic destroying your partition
  information. You can find information on this partition-fixer named
  "fixdisktable" at
  <>. It is quite a
  ways down in that page. Or look for it via ftp in
  <> and locate the latest
  "fixdisktable" in that ftp directory. (Source and binary dist should
  be available.)

  5.3.4.  Caveats

  Before repartitioning your harddisk take care about the disk layout.
  Especially look for hidden disk space or certain partitions used for
  suspend to disk or hibernation mode. Some laptops come with a
  partition which contains some BIOS programs (e.g. COMPAQ Armada
  1592DT). Search the manual carefully for tools like PHDISK.EXE,
  Suspend to Disk, Diagnostic TOOLS.

  Please see chapter ``DOS Tools to Repartition a Hard Disk'', too.

  By Nathan Myers from LL - LinuxLaptops <>:
  "I partitioned a 10G Thinkpad drive last week and then none of fdisk,
  cfdisk, or sfdisk would read the partition table any more. It turns
  out I had created a partition that started on cylinder 1024, and
  there's a bug common to all three programs that makes them fail in
  that case. (I didn't try Disk Druid.) So, maybe you should add some
  advice about not starting partitions on that cylinder."

  5.3.5.  Multi Boot

  Please see the Different Environments chapter, for information about
  booting different operating systems from the same harddisk.

  5.4.  Installation Methods

  From the Battery-HOWTO:"Installing and using Linux on a laptop is
  usually no problem at all, so go ahead and give it a try. Unlike some
  other operating systems, Linux still supports and runs well on even
  very old hardware, so you might give your outdated portable a new
  purpose in life by installing Linux on it."

  One of the great benefits of Linux are its numerous and flexible
  installation features, which I don't want to describe in detail.
  Instead I try to focus on laptop specific methods, which are necessary
  only in certain circumstances.

  Most current distributions support installation methods which are
  useful for laptops, including installation from CD-ROM, via PCMCIA and
  NFS (or maybe SMB). Please see the documents which are provided with
  these distributions for further details or take a look at the above
  mentioned manuals and HOWTOs.

  5.5.  From a Boot Floppy plus CD-ROM - The Usual Way

  With modern laptops, the usual Linux installation (one Boot Floppy,
  one Support Floppy, one Packages CD-ROM) should be no problem, if
  there is are floppy drive and a CD-ROM drive available. Though with
  certain laptops you might get trouble if you can not simultaneously
  use the floppy drive and CD-ROM drive , or if the floppy drive is only
  available as a PCMCIA device, as with the Toshiba Libretto 100. Some
  laptops support also booting and therefore installation completely
  from a CD drive, as reported for the SONY VAIO in the VAIO-HOWTO.
  Note: Check the BIOS for the CD boot option and make sure your Linux
  distribution comes on a bootable CD.

  Certain laptops will only boot zImage kernels. bzImage kernels won't
  work. This is a known problem with the IBM Thinkpad 600 and Toshiba
  Tecra series, for instance. Some distributions provide certain boot
  floppies for these machines or for machines with limited memory
  resources, Debian/GNU Linux
  <> for instance.

  5.6.  From a DOS or Windows Partition at the Same Machine

  This is a short description of how to install from a CD-ROM under DOS
  without using boot or supplemental floppy diskettes. This is
  especially useful for notebooks with swappable floppy and CD-ROM
  components (if both are mutually exclusive) or if they are only
  available as PCMCIA devices. I have taken this method from "Installing
  Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 For Intel x86 - Chapter 5 Methods for Installing
  Debian" <> :

  1. Get the following files from your nearest Debian FTP mirror and put
     them into a directory on your DOS partition: resc1440.bin
     drv1440.bin base2_1.tgz root.bin linux install.bat and loadlin.exe.

  2. Boot into DOS (not Windows) without any drivers being loaded. To do
     this, you have to press <F8> at exactly the right moment.

  3. Execute install.bat from that directory in DOS.

  4. Reboot the system and install the rest of the distribution, you may
     now use all the advanced features such as PCMCIA, PPP and others.

  This should work for other distributions with similar changes. For
  RedHat see How to Install from CD-ROM without Boot and Supplemental
  Disks <> .

  Some new laptops may be able to boot a Linux distribution on a
  bootable CD-ROM (e.g., RedHat). This would allow installation without
  a floppy disk drive.

  5.7.  From a Second Machine With a Micro Linux On a Floppy

  5.7.1.  Introduction

  Because of their small or non-existent footprint, micro-Linuxes are
  especially suited to run on laptops, particularly if you use a
  company-provided laptop running Windows9x/NT. Or for installation
  purposes using another non Linux machine. There are several micro
  Linux distributions out there that boot from one or two floppies and
  run off a ramdisk. See appendix A for a listing of distributions.

  I tried the following with muLinux
  <> to clone my HP OmniBook 800 to a
  COMPAQ Armada 1592DT. Thanks to Michele Andreoli, maintainer of
  muLinux for his support. Since muLinux doesn't support PCMCIA yet, you
  may use TomsRtBt instead. In turn TomsRtBt doesn't support PPP but
  provides slip. Note: Since version 7.0 muLinux provides an Add-On with
  PCMCIA support.

  I have described how to copy an already existing partition, but it
  might be also possible to achieve a customized installation. Note:
  Usually you would try to achieve an installation via NFS, which is
  supported by many distributions. Or if your sources are not at a Linux
  machine you might try the SMB protocol with SAMBA, which is also
  supported by muLinux .

  5.7.2.  Prerequisites

  You need two machines equipped with Linux. With the laptop
  (client/destination) on which you want to install Linux use the
  muLinux floppy. The other machine (server/source) may be a usual Linux
  box or also using muLinux. Though its low transfer rate I use a serial
  null modem cable because its cheap. You may apply the according method
  using a PCMCIA network card and a crossover network cable or a HUB, or
  a parallel "null modem" cable and PLIP. As the basic protocol I used
  PPP, but you may also use SLIP. For the data-transfer I used nc. Note:
  this is an abbrevation for netcat, some distributions use this as the
  program name. You may use ftp, tftp, rsh, ssh, dd, rcp, kermit, NFS,
  SMB and other programs instead.

  Basic requirements are:

  1. A good knowledge about using Linux. You have to know exactly what
     you are doing, if not you might end destroying former

  2. A nullmodem serial cable.

  5.7.3.  Source Machine

  At your source machine issue the following commands (attention: IP
  address, port number, partition and tty are just examples!):

  1. Edit /etc/ppp/options, it should contain only:


  2. With muLinux versions 3.x you may even use the convenient command
     setup -f ppp .

  3. Start PPP: pppd .

  4. Configure the PPP network device: ifconfig ppp0 .

  5. Add the default route: route add default gw .

  6. Check the network connection: ping, though the
     destination machine isn't up yet.

  7. Start the transfer from another console, remember <LEFT-ALT><Fx>:
     cat /dev/hda2 | gzip -c | nc -l -p 5555 .

  8. After the transfer (there are no more harddisk writings) stop the
     ping: killall ping .

  5.7.4.  Destination Machine

  At the destination machine issue:

  1. Edit /etc/ppp/options, it should contain only:


  2. With muLinux versions >= 3.x you may even use the convenient
     command setup -f ppp .

  3. Start PPP: pppd .

  4. Configure the PPP network device: ifconfig ppp0 .

  5. Add the default route: route add default gw .

  6. Check the network connection, by pinging to the source machine:
     ping .

  7. Change to another console and get the data from the server: nc 5555 | gzip -dc >/dev/hda4 .

  8. 400 MB may take app. 6 hours, but YMMV.

  9. Stop the transfer, when it is finished with: <CTL><C> . This can
     probably be avoided (but I didn't test it) by adding a timeout of 3
     seconds using the -w 3 parameter for nc at the destination machine
     nc -w 3 5555 | gzip -dc >/dev/hda4

     After the transfer is completed, stop the ping: killall ping .

  5.7.5.  Configuration of the Destination Machine after the Transfer

  1. Edit /etc/fstab .

  2. Edit /etc/lilo.conf and /etc/lilo.msg and start lilo .

  3. Set the new root device to the kernel: rdev image root_device .

  5.7.6.  Miscellaneous

  1. You may use bzip2 the same way as gzip (untested).

  2. Since rshd, sshd, ftpd daemons are not available with muLinux you
     have to build your own daemon with nc aka netcat, as described

  3. I had to set up both PPP sides very quick or the connection broke,
     I don't know why.

  4. Speed optimization has to be done, asyncmap 0 or local?

  5. I checked this only with a destination partition greater than the
     source partition. Please check dd instead of cat therefore.

     Or do the following (untested): At the destination machine cd into
     the root directory / and do nc -l -p 5555 | bzip2 -dc | tar xvf -.
     At the source machine machine cd into the root directory / and do
     tar cvf - . | bzip2 | nc -w 3 5555. This should shorten
     the time needed for the operation, too. Because only the allocated
     blocks need to be transfered.

  6. Don't mount the destination partition.

  5.8.  From a Second Machine With a 2.5" Hard Disk Adapter

  From Adam Sulmicki I got this hint: Most but not all
  harddisks in laptops are removable, but this might be not an easy
  task. You could just buy one of those cheap 2.5" IDE
  converters/adapters which allow you to connect this harddisk
  temporarily to a PC with IDE subsystem, and install Linux as usual
  using that PC. You may do so using the harddisk as the first IDE drive
  or besides as the second IDE drive. But than you need to be sure that
  lilo writes to the right partition. Also you have to make sure that
  you use the same translation style as your laptop is going to use
  (i.e. LBA vs. LARGE vs. CHS ). You find additional information in the
  Hard-Disk-Upgrade-mini-HOWTO. You might copy an existing partition,
  but it is also possible to achieve a customized installation.

  5.9.  From a PCMCIA Device

  Since I don't have a laptop which comes with a PCMCIA floppy drive
  (for instance Toshiba Libretto 100), I couldn't check this method.
  Please see the chapter Booting from a PCMCIA Device in the PCMCIA-
  HOWTO. Also I couldn't check whether booting from a PCMCIA harddisk is

  Anyway, when you are able to boot from a floppy and the laptop
  provides a PCMCIA slot, it should be possible to use different PCMCIA
  cards to connect to another machine, to an external SCSI device,
  different external CD and ZIP drives and others. Usually these methods
  are described in the documentation which is provided with the

  5.10.  From a Parallel Port Device (ZIP Drive, CD Drive)

  I couldn't check this method by myself, because I don't have such a
  device. Please check the according Install-From-Zip-mini-HOWTO and CD-
  HOWTO. Also I don't know how much these installation methods are
  supported by the Linux distributions or the micro Linuxes. I suppose
  you have to fiddle around a bit to get this working.

  5.11.  From a Second Machine Using the Parallel Port - PLIP Network

  I got this courtesy by Nathan Myers <>: "Many
  distributions support installing via a network, using FTP, HTTP, or
  NFS. It is increasingly common for laptops to have only a single
  PCMCIA slot, already occupied by the boot floppy drive. Usually the
  boot floppy image has drivers for neither the floppy drive itself, nor
  the PCMCIA subsystem. Thus, the only network interface available may
  be the parallel port.

  Installation via the parallel port using the PLIP protocol has been
  demonstrated on, at least, Red Hat. All you need is a Laplink parallel
  cable, cheap at any computer store. See the PLIP-mini-HOWTO for
  details on setting up the connection. Note that (uniquely) the RedHat
  installation requires that the other end of the PLIP connection be
  configured to use ARP (apparently because RedHat uses the DOS driver
  in their installer). On the host, either export your CD file system on
  NFS, or mount it where the ftp or web daemon can find it, as needed
  for the installation."

  The PLIP Install HOWTO by Gilles Lamiral describes how to install the
  Debian GNU-Linux distribution on a computer without ethernet card, nor
  cdrom, but just a local floppy drive and a remote nfs server attached
  by a Null-Modem parallel cable. The nfs server has a cdrom drive
  mounted and exported.

  5.12.  Installing Linux on Small Machines

  If you have less than 8MB memory and want to install via NFS you may
  get the message "fork: out of memory". To handle this problem, use
  fdisk to make a swap partition (fdisk should be on the install floppy
  or take one of the mini Linuxes described above). Then try to boot
  from the install floppy again. Before configuring the NFS connection
  change to another console (for instance by pressing <ALT><2>) and
  issue swapon /dev/xxx   (xxx = swap partition ). Thanks to Thomas

  6.  Hardware In Detail

  6.1.  PCMCIA Controller

  6.1.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  With the probe command, which is included in the PCMCIA-CS package by
  David Hinds you can get the type of the PCMCIA controller. Often this
  shows also up with cat /proc/pci .

  6.1.2.  Related HOWTOs


  6.1.3.  PCMCIA Configuration - Survey

  In the mailing lists where I'm a member, the question "How can I set
  up PCMCIA support, after the Linux installation?" comes up sometimes.
  Therefore I try to give a short survey. But the authoritative source
  for the latest information about the PCMCIA Card Services for Linux,
  including documentation, files, and generic PCMCIA information is the
  Linux PCMCIA Information Page <> . For
  problems with PCMCIA and APM see the APM chapter.  Software

  1. Read the PCMCIA HOWTO, usually included in the PCMCIA-CS package.

  2. Install the newest available PCMCIA-CS package, if you take a rpm
     or deb package it is quite easy.

  3. If necessary, install a new kernel. Note: With 2.2.x kernels PCMCIA
     kernel support seems no longer necessary. I had no time to look
     this up yet. Please read the according documents.

  4. Make sure your kernel has module support and PCMCIA support enabled
     (and often APM support)

  5. Make sure your kernel also includes support for the cards you want
     to use, e.g. network support for a NIC card, serial support for a
     modem card, SCSI support for a SCSI card and so on.

  6. If you have a custom made kernel, don't forget to compile the
     PCMCIA-CS source against your kernel.  PCMCIA Controller

  1. Use the probe command to get information whether your PCMCIA
     controller is detected or not.
  2. Edit the file /etc/sysconfig/pcmcia. It should include PCMCIA=y and
     the type of your PCMCIA controller, e.g. PCIC=i82365.

  3. Start the PCMCIA services typically via /etc/init.d/pcmcia start.
     If you get two high beeps, everything should be fine.

  4. If something doesn't work, check the messages in /var/log/messages
     .  PCMCIA Card

  1. Check your card with cardctl ident .

  2. If your card is not in /etc/pcmcia/config, edit the file
     /etc/pcmcia/config.opts accordingly. Take an entry in the first
     file as a model. You may try every driver, just in case it might
     work, for instance the pcnet_cs supports many NE2000 compatible
     PCMCIA network cards.

  3. A list of supported cards is included in the PCMCIA-CS package. The
     current list you may find at  SUPPORTED.CARDS <http://pcmcia->.

     Since there are not all cards mentioned I have set up a page PCMCIA
     Cards "Unofficially" Supported by Linux
     <> .

  4. If you use X, you can use cardinfo to insert, suspend, or restart a
     PCMCIA card via a nice graphical interface.

  6.2.  Infrared Port

  6.2.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  To get the IrDA port of your laptop working with Linux/IrDA you may
  use StandardInfraRed (SIR) or FastInfraRed (FIR).  SIR

  Up to 115.200bps, the infrared port emulates a serial port like the
  16550A UART. This will be detected by the kernel serial driver at boot
  time, or when you load the serial module. If infrared support is
  enabled in the BIOS, for most laptops you will get a kernel message

  Serial driver version 4.25 with no serial options enabled
  ttyS00 at 0x03f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A     #first serial port /dev/ttyS0
  ttyS01 at 0x3000 (irq = 10) is a 16550A    #e.g. infrared port
  ttyS02 at 0x0300 (irq = 3) is a 16550A     #e.g. PCMCIA modem port
  ______________________________________________________________________  FIR

  If you want to use up to 4Mbps, your machine has to be equipped with a
  certain FIR chip. You need a certain Linux/IrDA driver to support this
  chip. Therefore you need exact information about the FIR chip. You may
  get this information in one of the following ways:

  1. Read the specification of the machine, though it is very rare that
     you will find enough and reliable information there.

  2. Try to find out wether the FIR chip is a PCI device. Do a cat
     /proc/pci . The according files for 2.2.x kernels are in
     /proc/bus/pci . Though often the PCI information is incomplete. You
     may find the latest information about PCI devices and vendor
     numbers in the kernel documentation usually in
     /usr/src/linux/Documentation or at the page of Craig Hart
     <> . From kernel 2.1.82 on,
     you may use lspci from the pci-utils package, too.

  3. Use the DOS tool CTPCI330.EXE provided in ZIP format by the German
     computer magazine CT
     <> . The information provided
     by this program is sometimes better than that provided by the Linux

  4. Try to get information about Plug-and-Play (PnP) devices. Though I
     didn't use them for this purpose yet, the isapnp tools, could be

  5. If you have installed the Linux/IrDA software load the FIR modules
     and watch the output of dmesg, whether FIR is detected or not.

  6. Another way how to figure it out explained by Thomas Davis
     (modified by WH): "Dig through the FTP site of the vendor, find the
     Windows9x FIR drivers, and they have (for a SMC chip):

     -rw-rw-r--   1 ratbert  ratbert       743 Apr  3  1997 smcirlap.inf
     -rw-rw-r--   1 ratbert  ratbert     17021 Mar 24  1997 smcirlap.vxd
     -rw-rw-r--   1 ratbert  ratbert      1903 Jul 18  1997 smcser.inf
     -rw-rw-r--   1 ratbert  ratbert     31350 Jun  7  1997 smcser.vxd

  If in doubt, always look for the .inf/.vxd drivers for Windows95. Win­
  dows95 doesn't ship with _ANY_ FIR drivers. (they are all third party,
  mostly from Counterpoint, who was assimilated by ESI)."

  7. Also Thomas Davis found a package of small DOS utilities made by
     SMC. Look at
     <> . The
     package contains FINDCHIP.EXE. And includes a FIRSETUP.EXE utility
     that is supposed to be able to set all values except the chip
     address. Furthermore it contains BIOSDUMP.EXE, which produces this

     Example 1 (from a COMPAQ Armada 1592DT)

          In current devNode:
                Size      = 78
                Handle    = 14
                ID        = 0x1105D041 = 'PNP0511' -- Generic IrDA SIR
                Types:  Base = 0x07, Sub = 0x00,  Interface = 0x02
                     Comm. Device, RS-232, 16550-compatible
                Attribute = 0x80
                     CAN be disabled
                     CAN be configured
                     BOTH Static & Dynamic configuration
           Allocated Resource Descriptor Block TAG's:
                TAG=0x47, Length=7 I/O Tag, 16-bit Decode
                                        Min=0x03E8, Max=0x03E8
                                        Align=0x00, Range=0x08
                TAG=0x22, Length=2 IRQ Tag, Mask=0x0010
                TAG=0x79, Length=1 END Tag, Data=0x2F

  Result 1:

  Irq Tag, Mask (bit mapped - ) = 0x0010 = 0000 0000 0000 0001 0000 so,
  it's IRQ 4. (start at 0, count up ..), so this is a SIR only device,
  at IRQ=4, IO=x03e8.

  Example 2 (from an unknown machine)

       In current devNode:
            Size      = 529
            Handle    = 14
            ID        = 0x10F0A34D = 'SMCF010' -- SMC IrCC
            Types:  Base = 0x07, Sub = 0x00,  Interface = 0x02
                 Comm. Device, RS-232, 16550-compatible
            Attribute = 0x80
                 CAN be disabled
                 CAN be configured
                 BOTH Static & Dynamic configuration

       Allocated Resource Descriptor Block TAG's:
            TAG=0x47, Length=7 I/O Tag, 16-bit Decode
                                    Min=0x02F8, Max=0x02F8
                                    Align=0x00, Range=0x08
            TAG=0x22, Length=2 IRQ Tag, Mask=0x0008
            TAG=0x47, Length=7 I/O Tag, 16-bit Decode
                                    Min=0x02E8, Max=0x02E8
                                    Align=0x00, Range=0x08
            TAG=0x2A, Length=2 DMA Tag, Mask=0x02, Info=0x08
            TAG=0x79, Length=1 END Tag, Data=0x00

  Result 2:

  a) it's a SMC IrCC chip

  b) one portion is at 0x02f8, has an io-extent of 8 bytes; irq = 3

  c) another portion is at 0x02e8, io-extent of 8 bytes; dma = 1 (0x02
  =0000 0010)

  Thomas Davis has placed some device information at
  <> .

  WARNING: The package is not intended for the end user, and some of the
  utilities could be harmful. The only documentation in the package is
  in M$ Word format. Linux users may read this with catdoc, available at
  <> .

  8. Use the Device Manager of Windows9x/NT.

  9. You may also use the hardware surveys mentioned below.

     And as a last ressort, you may even open the laptop and look at the
     writings at the chipsets themselfs.  Hardware Survey

  I have made a hardware survey at http:/
  <>. This list also contains
  information about infrared capable devices which are not mentioned
  here (mice, printers, remote control, transceivers, etc.).

  To make this list more valuable, it is necessary to collect more
  information about the infrared devices in different hardware. You can
  help by sending me a short e-mail containing the exact name of the
  hardware you have and which type of infrared controller is used.

  Please let me know also how well Linux/IrDA worked (at which tty, port
  and interrupt it works and the corresponding infrared device, e.g.
  printer, cellular phone).

  Also you can help by contributing detailed technological information
  about some infrared devices, which is necessary for the development of
  drivers for Linux.

  6.2.2.  Related HOWTOs

  1. Linux/IR-HOWTO

  6.2.3.  IrDA Configuration - Survey  IrDA

  The Linux infrared support is still experimental, but rapidly
  improving. I try to describe the installation in a short survey.
  Please read my Linux/IR-HOWTO <> for
  detailed information.  Kernel

  1. Get a 2.2.x kernel.

  2. Compile it with all IrDA options enabled.

  3. Also enable experimental, sysctl, serial and network support.  Software

  1. Get the Linux/IrDA software irda-utils at The Linux IrDA Project
     <> .

  2. Untar the package.

  3. Do a make depend; make all; make install  Hardware

  1. Enable the IrDA support in the BIOS.

  2. Check for SIR or FIR support, as described above.

  3. Start the Linux/IrDA service with irmanager -d 1 .

  4. Watch the kernel output with dmesg .  Linux Remote Control - LiRC

  Linux Remote Control
  <> is maintained by
  Christoph Bartelmus. "Lirc is a package that supports receiving and
  sending IR signals of the most common IR remote controls. It contains
  a device driver for hardware connected to the serial port, a daemon
  that decodes and sends IR signals using this device driver, a mouse
  daemon that translates IR signals to mouse movements and a couple of
  user programs that allow to control your computer with a remote
  control." I don't have valid information about how much infrared
  remote control is working with laptop infrared devices.

  6.3.  Graphic Chip

  6.3.1.  Linux Compatibility Check  Video Mode

  The tool SuperProbe is part of XFree86 and is able to check many
  graphic chips. Please read the documentation carefully, because it
  might crash your hardware. From man SuperProbe:

  "SuperProbe is a a program that will attempt to determine the type of
  video hardware installed in an EISA/ISA/VLB-bus system by checking for
  known registers in various combinations at various locations
  (MicroChannel and PCI machines may not be fully supported; many work
  with the use of the -no_bios option). This is an error-prone process,
  especially on Unix (which usually has a lot more esoteric hardware
  installed than MS-DOS system do), so SuperProbe may likely need help
  from the user.


  At this time, SuperProbe can identify MDA, Hercules, CGA, MCGA, EGA,
  VGA, and an entire horde of SVGA chipsets (see the -info option,
  below). It can also identify several HiColor/True-color RAMDACs in use
  on SVGA boards, and the amount of video memory installed (for many
  chipsets). It can identify 8514/A and some derivatives, but not XGA,
  or PGC (although the author intends to add those capabilities). Nor
  can it identify other esoteric video hardware (like Targa, TIGA, or
  Microfield boards).":

  For testing reasons start the X server with X 2> <error.msg>. And try
  to change the resolution by typing <CTL><ALT><+> or <CTL><ALT><->.
  Note: the + or - sign have to be taken from the numeric pad, which can
  be emulated at the letter pad by some laptops.  Text Mode

  Just watch the display and determine if it works properly. If not, try
  to enable different video modes at startup time. Setting up X can
  sometimes be an exercise in trial and error.

  6.3.2.  Related HOWTOs

  1. XFree86-HOWTO

  2. XFree86-Video-Timings-HOWTO

  3. XFree86-XInside-HOWTO

  4. X-Big-Cursor-mini-HOWTO (useful when running X on a notebook with
     low contrast LCD)

  5. Keyboard-and-Console-HOWTO

  6. vesafb-mini-HOWTO

  6.3.3.  Survey X-Servers

  You might discover that some features of your laptop are not supported
  by XFree86, e.g. high resolutions, accelerated X or an external
  monitor. Therefore I give a survey of available X servers.

  1. XFree86 <>

  2. VESA Frame-Buffer-Device, available with 2.2.x kernels and XFree86

  3. Xinside aka AcceleratedX <> ,

  4. SciTech <> ,

  5. Metro-X at <>,
     commercial .

  If you can't get an appropriate X server working, but don't want to
  effort a commercial X server you may try the VGA16 or the mono server
  included in XFree86.
  6.3.4.  Resources

  You may find a survey about X windows resources at Kenneth E. Harker's
  page Linux on Laptops <> and a survey
  about current graphic chips used in laptops at TuxMobil

  6.3.5.  External Monitor

  There are several different methods to activate support for an
  external monitor: as a BIOS option or during runtime with a keystroke
  e.g. <Fn>+<F4>. Maybe you have to edit /etc/XF86Config by configuring
  int_disp and ext_disp. If you can't get this to work with XFree, try a
  demo version of the commercial X servers mentioned above. Also check
  with the RedHat and SuSE WWW sites as they may have new, binary-only,
  X servers that may work with your laptop.

  6.3.6.  Miscellaneous

  Sometimes you may encounter a display not working properly in text
  mode. Currently I don't have any recommendations, please see Keyboard-

  Take care of the backlight AFAIK this device can only bear a limited
  number of uptime circles. So avoid using screensavers too much.

  For problems with X windows and APM please see the APM chapter.

  6.4.  Sound

  6.4.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  The only way I know to check this, is to compile the different sound
  drivers into the kernel and check whether they are detected or not.
  The best way to do so, is to compile them as modules because it's
  easier to load different parameters such as interrupts and IO ports
  than. For the new 2.2.x kernels, read the
  /usr/src/linux/Documentation/sound/Introduction document by Wade
  Hampton. This document may help you get started with sound. Also, you
  might try one of the commercial sound drivers mentionend below.

  6.4.2.  Related HOWTOs

  1. Sound-HOWTO

  2. Visual-Bell-mini-HOWTO

  6.4.3.  Survey Sound Drivers

  Many new laptops come with 16-bit sound. But MWave and some other
  sound technologies won't work or are very hard to get working, e.g.
  booting to DOS, loading a driver, then using the soundcard as a
  standard SB-PRO. So you might need a commercial sound driver. With the
  recent announcement of Linux support by IBM, it would be GREAT if IBM
  supported the MWave under Linux (hint, hint...). As a last ressort you
  may try the speaker module pcsnd, which tries to emulate a soundcard.

  1. Kernel Sound Driver by Hannu Savolainen

  2. ALSA Advanced Linux Sound Architecture <> ,
     commercial or at least non-GPL (since I found a Debian/GNU Linux
     package I'm not sure anymore, about the commercial status)

  3. OSS UNIX Sound System Lite / OSS <http://www.4front->, commercial or at least non-GPL
     (since the 2.2.x kernels I'm not sure about the commercial status),
     also available from
     <> .

  6.5.  Keyboard

  6.5.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  Usually there are no problems with Linux and the keyboard. Though
  there are two minor caveats: First the setleds program might not work.
  Second the key mapping might not fit your needs. Some Unix users and
  vi users expect to find the <CONTROL> key to the left of the <A> key.
  Many PC-type keyboards have the <CAPS-LOCK> key there. You may use
  xmodmap or loadkeys to re-map the keyboard. Some laptops (e.g.,
  Toshiba) allow you to swap the <CAPS-LOCK> and <CONTROL> keys. Mark
  Alexander offered this solution in the linux-laptop mailing list: On
  RedHat, it's a one-line patch to /usr/lib/kbd/keytables/ , or
  whatever file is referenced in /etc/sysconfig/keyboard:

  ***     Tue Oct 31 14:00:07 1995
  ---      Thu Aug 28 13:36:03 1997
  *** 113,119 ****
    keycode  57 = space            space
          control keycode  57 = nul
          alt     keycode  57 = Meta_space
  ! keycode  58 = Caps_Lock
    keycode  59 = F1               F11              Console_13
          control keycode  59 = F1
          alt     keycode  59 = Console_1
  --- 113,119 ----
    keycode  57 = space            space
          control keycode  57 = nul
          alt     keycode  57 = Meta_space
  ! keycode  58 = Control
    keycode  59 = F1               F11              Console_13
          control keycode  59 = F1
          alt     keycode  59 = Console_1

  6.5.2.  External (Second) Keyboard

  A second (or external) keyboard can be attached using the PS/2 port (I
  suppose this is not possible via the serial port, since there is no
  keyboard controller for the serial port). Also there is one laptop
  with a detachable keyboard the Siemens Scenic Mobile 800. This machine
  uses an infrared connection to the keyboard, but I don't know whether
  this works with Linux. WARNING: Don't plug the external keyboard in
  while the laptop is booted, or plug the mouse in the keyboard port and
  the keyboard in the mouse port. On a Toshiba, this caused one user to
  have to completely shutdown the laptop, remove the keyboard/mouse, and
  do a cold reboot.

  For PS/2 ports there are so called Y-Cable available, which make it
  possible to use external mouse and external keyboard at the same time
  if your laptop supports this feature.

  Parport to AUX port adapter <> In
  some cases one kbd port and one aux port is not enough and you may
  want to add another keyboard or mouse. You can use this adapter,
  together with the parkbd.c module for that.

  On some laptops a splitter works to allow both mouse and keyboard to
  be plugged in; on others it doesn't work at all.If you might want to
  use both you had better check that it works, or you may find yourself
  waiting anxiously for USB support.

  Sun keyboard to PC serial port adapter
  <>: Many people have dreamed
  having their Sun Type 5 keyboard attached to their Linux box up to
  now. And with this adapter, it is finally possible. Because the
  standard Sun keyboards use TTL RS232 at 1200 bps to talk to the Suns,
  it's very easy to make them talk to any non-Sun computer by converting
  this to true RS232. All what you need is a MAX232 chip that'll take
  care about the correct voltage levels, and also some chip to invert
  the signals (CD4049 in the pic, I've used a 7400 quad-nand myself),
  since the MAX232 inverts them as well, and we don't need this. This
  all easily fits into a 25-pin serial connector.

  6.6.  Pointing Devices - Mice and Their Relatives

  6.6.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  You may check your mouse with the mev command from the GPM package.

  6.6.2.  Related HOWTOs

  1. 3-Button-Mouse-mini-HOWTO for serial mice

  2. Bus-Mouse-HOWTO

  3. Kernel-HOWTO

  6.6.3.  Mice Species

  1. Trackpad, Touchpad, used with the majority of current laptops

  2. Trackball, e.g. COMPAQ LTE

  3. Pop-up-Mouse, e.g. HP OmniBook 800

  4. Trackpoint, Mouse-Pin, e.g. IBM ThinkPad and Toshiba

  5. 3 Button Mice, e.g. IBM Thinkpads at least the 600s. I have heard
     rumor about a 3 button mouse for Texas Instruments Travelmates, but
     couldn't verify this yet.

  6.6.4.  PS/2 Mice

  Most of the mice used in laptops are PS/2 mice (actually I don't know
  one with another mouse protocol). You may communicate with the PS/2
  mouse through /dev/psaux or /dev/psmouse. If you use X windows this
  device and the protocol has to be set in /etc/XF86Config, too. In
  earlier releases, sometimes the GPM mouse manager and X windows had
  trouble sharing a mouse when enabled at the same time. But AFAIK this
  is no problem anymore for the latest versions.

  Speaking of Emulate3Buttons, 100ms is usually better than the 50ms
  allowed in most default setups of /etc/X11/XF86Config.

  Section "Pointer"
  Protocol    "PS/2"
  Device      "/dev/psaux"
  Emulate3Timeout    100

  6.6.5.  Touchpad

  Usually a touchpad works with the PS/2 mouse driver. A tip: I've heard
  that tipping with one , two or three fingers on the touchpad
  simultaneously results in pressing the left, middle and respectively
  the right mouse-button (by Martin Hoffmann <> for
  an IPC-Radiance 900).

  There is also a dedicated touchpad driver available. The Synaptics
  Touchpad Linux Driver
  <> supports pointing
  devices used in notebooks by Acer, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, Olivetti,
  Texas Instruments, Winbook, and others. Other URL N.N.

  The recent gpm package (gpm >=1.8 <>)
  includes the above mentioned synaptics touchpad device driver. This
  device driver has been developed by H. Davies <>.
  Instead of using the PS/2 compatibility mode of touchpad devices, you
  can now use native touchpad mode with some pretty impressive features.

  In addition to translating finger motion into mouse motion and
  supporting the buttons, this support currently has several features
  (from the README):

  ·  a "tap" on the TouchPad causes a left mouse click

  ·  a "tap" followed quickly by a finger motion causes a left button
     drag type action.

  ·  a "tap" in one of the corners causes an action the default
     configuration is upper right causes middle mouse click and lower
     right causes right mouse click

  ·  more pressure on the touch pad speeds the motion of the cursor

  ·  a "tap" with a motion component (default > 2mm) initiates a toss
     and catch sequence. This is terminated by a finger touch on the pad
     (the toss also ends after 1 sec since that is the idle timeout
     period for the touchpad).
  ·  if the finger moves close to an edge then the mouse motion will be
     continued in that direction so that you don't need to pick up your
     finger and start moving again. This continued motion is pressure
     sensitive (more pressure is faster motion).

  These features can be enabled/disabled and many of them have time and
  speed parameters which can be adjusted to the taste of the user.

  It seems gpm is best known as a console biased tool. This is true, but
  you may use it as an X input device. gpm is used as a repeater device.
  In this way you can use both the built-in synaptics touchpad with all
  the features and at the same time a serial mouse (with three buttons).
  This all works smoothly together. X reads the mouse events from a
  named pipe /dev/gpmdata in a protocol it understands, which in my case
  is Mouse-Systems-Compatible (5bytes). Most 3-button mice use the
  default protocol. So a simple reconfiguration in XF86Config is all
  that is required, after starting gpm in an appropriate way, of course.

  gpm could be started on your laptop with the following arguments :
  /usr/bin/gpm -t synps2 -M -t ms -m /dev/ttyS0 . Both touchpad and
  serial mouse work in console and X mode. You do have to create the
  named pipe /dev/gpmdata yourself.

  Tapping with two fingers simultaneously to simulate a middle mouse
  button works on Logitech touchpads used in a few machines.

  Thanks to Geert Van der Plas for most of the touchpad chapter.

  6.6.6.  Touchscreen

  The only laptop I know which includes a touchscreen is the Fujitsu
  Biblo 112. It may work in PS/2 or serial mouse compatibility mode. But
  I couldn't check this yet.

  6.6.7.  COMPAQ Concerto Pen

  The latest version of the Linux Compaq Concerto Pen Driver
  <> is available from Joe
  Pfeiffer's home page.

  6.6.8.  External Mouse

  For better handling, e.g. with a 3 button mouse you may use an
  external mouse. This usually a serial mouse or a PS/2 mouse, according
  to the port your laptop offers. Usually this is no problem.

  For PS/2 ports there are so called Y-Cable available, which make it
  possible to use external mouse and external keyboard at the same time
  if your laptop supports this feature.

  WARNING: Don't plug in the external mouse while powered up. If you
  have separate mouse and keyboard ports, make sure you plug the mouse
  in the mouse port and the keyboard in the keyboard port. If you don't,
  you may have to do a hard reboot of the laptop to get it to recover.

  6.7.  Advanced Power Management - APM

  6.7.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  From the Battery-Powered-mini-HOWTO " .. for APM to work on any
  notebook or energy-conscious desktop, the system BIOS ROM in the
  machine must support the APM Specification standard. Furthermore, for
  APM to work with the Linux operating system, the system BIOS ROM must
  support either the 1.0 or 1.1 version of the APM standard, and it must
  also support 32-bit protected mode connections. A system that supports
  APM 1.1 is preferred, as it provides more features that the device
  driver and supporting utilities can take advantage of."

  You may get information about the APM version with the dmesg command
  and in the /proc/apm file.

  6.7.2.  Introduction

  Features of APM according to Documentation/ "The system
  time will be reset after a USER RESUME operation, the /proc/apm device
  will provide battery status information, and user-space programs will
  receive notification of APM events (e.g., battery status change). "

  APM support consists of two parts: kernel support and user-land
  support.  Kernel Land

  For kernel support, enable the parameters in the corresponding kernel
  section. Some features need special tweaking with certain machines
  (e.g. IBM ThinkPad) or even don't work, ("TI 4000M TravelMate and the
  ACER 486/DX4/75 because they don't have compliant BIOSes"). Currently
  all distributions I know don't provide a kernel with APM support
  enabled. So you usually have to compile your custom kernel. Please see
  Kernel-HOWTO or distribution manual for details. The available APM
  options are (please see Documentation/ in the kernel
  source tree for more details):

  ·  CONFIG_APM_IGNORE_USER_SUSPEND Just a workaround for some NEC Versa
     M series laptops.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_DO_ENABLE Enable APM features at boot time.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_CPU_IDLE. Puts CPU in power save mode, if there is
     nothing to do for the kernel.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_DISPLAY_BLANK Some laptops can use this to turn off the
     LCD backlight when the screen blanker of the Linux virtual console
     blanks the screen. Note that this is only used by the virtual
     console screen blanker, and won't turn off the backlight when using
     the X Window system.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_POWER_OFF Turns the machine completely down, when using
     halt. This feature works with most laptops without problems.

     ThinkPad 560.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_IGNORE_SUSPEND_BOUNCE Just a workaround for Dell
     Inspiron 3200 and other notebooks.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_RTC_IS_GMT Stores time in Greenwich Mean Time format. It
     is in fact recommended to store GMT in your real time clock (RTC)
     in the BIOS.

  ·  CONFIG_APM_ALLOW_INTS Resolves some problems with Suspend to Disk
     for some laptops, for instance many newer IBM ThinkPads.

  Joey Hess <> wrote at
  "I just installed kernel 2.2.12 on my laptop, and was having some
  trouble getting apm working. it said apm disabled on user request at
  boot time.  Well, some grepping the kernel sources found that passing
  apm=on to the kernel at boot time enables it now. I can't find any
  record or docs of this change.  User Land

  The utilities for userland support may be found at
  <>. APMD is a set of programs
  that control the Advanced Power Management system found in most modern
  laptop computers. If you run a 2.2.x kernel and want to experiment,
  Gabor Kuti <> has made a kernel patch that
  allows you to hibernate any Linux system to disk, even if your
  computers APM BIOS doesn't support it directly. IMHO you don't need
  this features if your laptop provides a function key to invoke suspend
  mode directly.

  When you first install Linux, you will probably have to recompile the
  kernel. The kernel that came with your distribution probably does not
  have APM enabled.

  Please see the Battery Powered Linux Mini-HOWTO by <>
  Hanno Mueller <> and the page of Kenneth E. Harker
  <> for detailed information.

  README apmd?:On laptop computers, the APM support provides access to
  battery status information and may help you to conserve battery power,
  depending on your laptop and the APM implementation.

  Rik Faith <> has transferred maintenance of the Linux
  apmd package over to me, Avery Pennarun <> and
  I'm finally getting around to making a release with the many updates
  we've collected since the last release back in 1996.

  Here's what apmd can do:

  ·  apmd(8): logs the battery status to syslog every now and then and
     handles background power management tasks;

  ·  apm(1): a command-line tool to print the current battery status or
     suspend the computer;

  ·  xapm(1x): provides a battery meter for X;

  ·  libapm.a: a library for writing similar APM applications.

  Richard Gooch wrote: I'have had a look at the beta version of apmd,
  and I still don't like it, because:

  ·  Only supports one command to run at suspend time.

  ·  Doesn't distinguish between user and system suspends.

  ·  doesn't provide a way to disable policy (the sync(); sleep(0) ;
     sync(); sleep(1); sequence)

  ·  Does not document extra features.

  ·  And I'm not sure that what we want is a single super daemon. A
     collection of smaller daemons might be better, since it allows
     people to pick and choose. A super daemon is bloat for those who
     only want one small feature.

  Though this topic was discussed controversly Richard Gooch has put
  together a package suspendd at
  <> .

  Also, have a look at apmcd (apm based crontab) at <> .
  A tool made by Nicolas J. Leon <> <>.

  Note: I didn't check wether this features are merged into one package
  (apmd eventually) already.

  6.7.3.  Caveats

  If you have another operating system preinstalled or use another
  operating system at the same disk, make sure there is no "hibernation"
  or "suspend" tool installed, which could severely interfere with
  Linux, e.g. it might use disk space which is occupied by Linux or vice

  6.7.4.  Troubleshooting

  If your machine worked with 2.0.x kernels but not with the 2.2.x
  series, take this advice from Klaus Franken :
  "The default changed in 2.2. Search in the init-scripts for halt and
  change it to halt -p or poweroff. See man halt , if you don't have
  this option you need a newer version of halt." You may find it in the
  SysVinit package.

  On some new machines (for instance HP Omnibook 4150 - 366 MHz model)
  when accessing /proc/apm, you may get a kernel fault general
  protection fault: f000. Stephen Rothwell
  <> explaines: "This is your APM BIOS
  attempting to use a real mode segment while in protected mode, i.e. it
  is a bug in your BIOS. .. We have seen a few of these recently, except
  all the others are in the power off code in the BIOS wher we can work
  around it by returning to real mode before attempting to power off.
  Here we cannot do this."

   apmd-rhcn-2.4phil-1 by RedHat
  <> contains an unofficial patch for
  shutting down the PCMCIA sockets before a suspend and patches for
  multiple batteries.

  According to Documentation/ "Some other things you
  should try when experiencing seemingly random, weird problems:

  1. make sure that you have enough swap space and that it is enabled.

  2. pass the no-hlt option to the kernel.

  3. switch on floating point emulation in the kernel and pass the no387
     option to the kernel.

  4. pass the floppy=nodma option to the kernel.

  5. pass the mem=4M option to the kernel (thereby disabling all but the
     first 4 MB of RAM).

  6. make sure that the CPU is not over clocked.

  7. read the sig11 FAQ at
     <> .

  8. disable the cache from your BIOS settings.

  9. install a fan for the video card or exchange video RAM.

     install a better fan for the CPU.

     exchange RAM chips.

     exchange the motherboard.

  6.7.5.  APM and PCMCIA

  PCMCIA Card Services and Advanced Power Management (from the PCMCIA-

  "Card Services can be compiled with support for APM (Advanced Power
  Management) if you've configured your kernel with APM support. ...
  The PCMCIA modules will automatically be configured for APM if a
  compatible version is detected on your system. Whether or not APM is
  configured, you can use cardctl suspend before suspending your laptop,
  and cardctl resume after resuming, to cleanly shut down and restart
  your PCMCIA cards.  This will not work with a modem that is in use,
  because the serial driver isn't able to save and restore the modem
  operating parameters. APM seems to be unstable on some systems. If you
  experience trouble with APM and PCMCIA on your system, try to narrow
  down the problem to one package or the other before reporting a bug.
  Some drivers, notably the PCMCIA SCSI drivers, cannot recover from a
  suspend/resume cycle.  When using a PCMCIA SCSI card, always use
  cardctl eject prior to suspending the system.".

  6.7.6.  APM and Resuming X Windows

  "Many (most?) BIOSes fail to save and restore display controller chip
  registers, and X has no protocol to be notified of resume events, so
  on many systems suspend/resume is more-or-less incompatible with X."
  Linux Laptops has created a fix for this problem.

  Sometimes X windows and APM don't work smoothly together, the machine
  might even hang. A recommendation from Steve Rader: Some linux systems
  have their X server hang when doing apm -s. Folks with this affliction
  might want switch to the console virtual terminal then suspend chvt 1;
  apm -s as root, or, more appropiately.sudo chvt 1; sudo apm -s. I have
  these commands in a script, say, my-suspend and then do xapmload
  --click-command my-suspend .

  6.7.7.  Modularization of APM

  As far as I remember this is controversly discussed, but I don't
  remember the URL. It isn't a kernel feature yet.

  6.7.8.  APM Resume Options

  The new 3.0beta versions add a new feature to apmd:  it can run
  arbitrary commands (like cardctl suspend) when you suspend or resume
  your system.  It also supports BIOS clocks that are set to UTC time.

  6.7.9.  APM and Sound

  Lots of BIOSes fail to restore sound chip registers, so you may get a
  squeal of feedback when you wake up the machine.  A script in
  /etc/apm/event.d can use aumix to save and restore sound mixer

  6.7.10.  Software Suspend

  Software suspend enables the possibilty of suspendig machine. It
  doesn't need APM. You may suspend your machine by either pressing
  Sysrq-d or with 'swsusp' or 'shutdown -z (patch for sysvinit needed).
  It creates an image which is saved in your active swaps. By the next
  booting the kernel detects the saved image, restores the memory from
  it and then it continues to run as before you've suspended. If you
  don't want the previous state to continue use the 'noresume' kernel

  6.8.  ACPI

  ACPI stands for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. This is a
  specification by Toshiba, Intel and Microsoft. Besides many other
  things it also defines power management. This is why it is often
  compared to APM.

  The ACPI4Linux project has started at the beginning of 1999. The
  ACPI4Linux project is a kernel driver project aimed at implementing
  full ACPI support for Linux, including fan control, dock/undock
  detection and a WindowMaker dockable temperature meter. You may reach
  it at ACPI4Linux <>.

  6.9.  Batteries

  For information about available battery types, take a look at the
  Hardware Features chapter above.

  Please see Battery Powered Linux Mini-HOWTO by Hanno Mueller
  <> <> Power
  Supplies for Laptops - (Draft)
  <> for further information.

  Stephen Rothwell
  <> is currently integrating a patch
  that will add multiple battery support to the kernel APM.

  From the mobile-update page (modified by WH): Discharge the battery.
  If your battery runs only for about 20 minutes, you probably suffer
  from memory effects. Most laptops do not discharge the battery
  properly. With low powered devices like old computer fans they can be
  discharged completely. This removes memory effects. You should do so
  even with LiIon batteries, though they don't suffer much from memory
  effext (the manual of an IBM Thinkpad says to cycle the batteries
  through a full charge/discharge cycle 3 times every few months or so).

  WARNING: Try this at your own risk! Make sure the voltage of the fans
  is compatible to your battery. It works for me.
  In the US, this company has most batteries for anything and can
  rebuild many that are no longer manufactured: Batteries Plus, 2045
  Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, GA 30096 +1 770 495 1644.

  6.10.  Memory

  Unfortenately most laptops come with a proprietary memory chips. So
  they are not interchangeable between different models. But this seems

  6.11.  Plug-and-Play Devices (PnP)

  The Plug and Play driver project for Linux is a project to create
  support within the Linux kernel (see Linux.Org for more information)
  for handling Plug and Play (and other semi-PnP) devices in a clean,
  consistent way. It aims to allow a driver of any type of hardware to
  have this hardware configured by the PnP driver in the kernel. This
  driver is then notified when the device is reconfigured, or even
  removed from the system, so as to allow for graceful action in these
  <> .

  ISA PnP tools is another useful package.

  And there is a project at RedHat
  <> .

  The latest PCMCIA driver package (>>3.1.0) has utilities lspnp and
  setpnp to manipulate PNP settings. Note that in 3.1.0 you may need
  this patch to compile them:

  -#ifdef __GLIBC__
  +#if 0 /* def __GLIBC__ */
   #include <byteswap.h>

  6.12.  Docking Station / Port Replicator

  6.12.1.  Definitions

  First some definitions. There is a difference between docking station
  and port replicator.

  I use the term docking station for a box which contains slots to put
  some interface cards in, and space to put a harddisk, etc. in. This
  box can be permanently connected to a PC. A port replicator is just a
  copy of the laptop ports which may be connected permanently to a PC.

  6.12.2.  Other Solutions

  I don't use a docking station. They seem really expensive and I can't
  see any usefulness. OK you have to mess up with some more cables, but
  is it worth so much money? Docking stations are useful in an office
  environment when you have a permanent network connection, or need the
  docking station's SCSI adaptor (e.g., for a CD-R).

  Also all docking stations I know are proprietary models, so if you
  change your laptop you have to change this device, too. I just found
  one exception a docking station which connects to your laptop via IrDA
  the IRDocking IR-660 by Tekram
  <> . It supports
  these connectors: 10Base-T (RJ-45); PS/2 Keyboard; PS/2 Mouse; 25-Pin
  Printer Port (LPT); IR Transceiver; Power (6 VDC). So it seems that a
  VGA port and a port to connect a desktop PC directly are missing. This
  device should work with Linux/IrDA, though I couldn't check it out.

  I would prefer to buy a PC instead and connect it via network to the

  Or use an external display, which usually works well as described
  above, and an external keyboard and mouse. If your laptop supports an
  extra PS/2 port you may use a cheap solution a Y cable, which connects
  the PS/2 port to an external keyboard and an external monitor. Note:
  Your laptop probably has support for the Y cable feature, e.g. the
  COMPAQ Armada 1592DT.

  6.12.3.  Connection Methods

  AFAIK there are three solutions to connect a laptop to a docking

  1. SCSI port

  2. parallel port

  3. (proprietary) docking port

  From Martin J. Evans
  <> "The main problem with
  docking stations is getting the operating system to detect you are
  docked. Fortunately, if you configure your kernel with the /proc file
  system (does anyone not do this?) you can examine the devices
  available and thus detect a docked state. With this in mind a few
  simple scripts is all you need to get your machine configured
  correctly in a docked state.

  You may want to build support for the docking station hardware as
  modules instead of putting it directly into the kernel. This will save
  space in your kernel but your choice probably largely depends on how
  often you are docked.

  1) Supporting additional disks on the docking station SCSI card

  To my mind the best way of doing this is to:

  1. Either build support for the SCSI card into the kernel or build it
     as a module.

  2. Put the mount points into /etc/fstab but use the "noauto" flag to
     prevent them from being mounted automatically with the mount -a
     flag. In this way, when you are docked you can explicitly mount the
     partitions off any disk connected to the docking station SCSI card.

  2) Supporting additional network adaptors in the docking station

  You can use a similar method to that outlined above for the graphics
  card. Check the /proc filesystem in your rc scripts to see if you are
  docked and then set up your network connections appropriately. "
  Once you determine this information, you may use a script, similar to
  the following example, to configure the connection to your docking
  station at startup. The script is provided by Friedhelm Kueck:

  # check, if Laptop is in docking-station (4 PCMCIA slots available)
  # or if it is standalone (2 slots available)
  # Start after cardmgr has started
  # Friedhelm Kueck
  # 08-Sep-1998
  # Find No. of Sockets
  SOCKETS=`tail -1 /var/run/stab | cut -d ":" -f 1`

  case "$SOCKETS" in

  "Socket 3")
  echo Laptop is in Dockingstation ...
  echo Disabeling internal LCD Display for X11
  cp /etc/XF86Config_extern /etc/XF86Config
  # Setup of PCMCIA Network Interface after start of cardmge
  echo "Setting up eth0 for use at Network ..."
  /sbin/ifconfig eth0 netmask broadcast
  /sbin/route add -net gw
  /sbin/route add default gw

  "Socket 1")
  echo Laptop is standalone
  echo Disabling external Monitor for X11
  cp /etc/XF86Config_intern /etc/XF86Config
  echo Network device NOT setup

  6.13.  Network Connections

  6.13.1.  Related HOWTOs

  1. PLIP-mini-HOWTO

  2. NET-3-HOWTO

  3. Ethernet-HOWTO

  4. Term-Firewall-mini-HOWTO

  6.13.2.  Connection Methods  PCMCIA Network Card

  If your laptop supports PCMCIA this is the easiest and fastest way to
  get network support. Make sure your card is supported before buying
  one.  Serial Null Modem Cable

  Probably the cheapest way to connect your laptop to another computer,
  but quite slow. You may use PPP or SLIP to start the connection.  Parallel Port NIC (Pocket Adaptor)

  Accton Pocket Ethernet and Linux <http://www.unix-ag.uni-> This ethernet adaptor uses a
  parallel port and delivers approximately 110k Bytes/s throughput for
  those notebooks that do not have PCMCIA slots.

  Linux and Linksys Ethernet Adaptors <http://www.linux-on-> A short note on the use of the Linksys
  parallel-port ethernet adaptor under Linux. This is a widely available
  networking adaptor that doesn't require a PCMCIA slot.  Parallel "Null" Modem Cable

  Offers more speed than a serial connection. Some laptops use chipsets
  that will not work with PLIP. Please see PLIP-HOWTO for details.  Docking Station NIC

  I don't have experience with a NIC in a docking station yet.

  6.14.  Modem

  6.14.1.  Modem Types

  There are three kinds of modems available: internal, PCMCIA card or
  external serial port modems. But some internal modems will NOT work
  with Linux such as the MWave modems (IBM) or if the laptop has a
  WinModem. This is caused by non-standard hardware. So you have to use
  either a PCMCIA card modem or an external modem.

  Quotation from the Kernel-FAQ: "9.Why aren't WinModems supported?
  (REG, quoting Edward S. Marshall) The problem is the lack of
  specifications for this hardware. Most companies producing so-called
  WinModems refuse to provide specifications which would allow non-
  Microsoft operating systems to use them. The basic issue is that they
  don't work like a traditional modem; they don't have a DSP, and make
  the CPU do all the work. Hence, you can't talk to them like a
  traditional modem, and you -need- to run the modem driver as a
  realtime task, or you'll have serious data loss issues under any kind
  of load. They're simply a poor design."

  "Win modems are lobotomized modems which expect Windows to do some of
  their thinking for them. If you do not have Windows, you do not have a
  connection. "

  Anyway, I have set up a page collecting information on laptops with
  internal modems at <> . Maybe
  it's possible to run such modems with MS-Windows9x/NT emulators like
  wine or VMware, but I don't know it.

  Recently there is a driver for Lucent WinModems (alpha) available at
  SuSE - Labs <> and LTModem
  diagnostic tool <>.

  6.14.2.  Caveats

  WARNING: Pay attention to the different kinds of phone lines: analog
  and ISDN. You can't connect an analog modem to an ISDN port and vice
  versa. Though there might be hybrid modems available. Connecting to
  the wrong port may even destroy your modem. Trick: If you are looking
  for an analog phone port in an office building which is usually wired
  with ISDN, take a look at the fax lines, they are often analog lines.

  For tracking the packets on PPP you may use pppstats. Or pload this
  provides a graphical view of the traffic (in and out) of the PPP
  connection. It is based on athena widgets hence is very portable. It
  also uses very little CPU time. The home of pload is
  <> .

  6.15.  SCSI

  6.15.1.  Hardware Compatibility Check

  If unsure about the right SCSI support, compile a kernel with all
  available SCSI drivers as modules. Load each module step by step until
  you get the right one.

  6.15.2.  Related HOWTOs


  6.15.3.  Survey

  AFAIK there is no laptop yet with a SCSI harddisk. Though there are
  two models with a built in SCSI port: Texas Instruments TI 4000 and HP
  OmniBook 800. Maybe the PowerBook G3 has a SCSI disk, but I didn't
  check this yet. The old Apple Powerbook Duo models had a SCSI hard

  For other models, if you need SCSI support you may get it by using a
  SCSI-PCMCIA card or via a SCSI adapter in a docking station.

  6.16.  Universal Serial Bus - USB

  6.16.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  You should get information about the USB controller with cat /proc/pci
  and about USB devices with cat /proc/bus/usb/devices.

  6.16.2.  Miscelleaneous

  Newer laptops come with the Universal Serial Bus (USB). I haven't
  tried it on any of my systems because I don't have any USB devices.

  Visit <> for the USB
  Linux home page. Also I have set up a page collecting information
  about laptops and USB at TuxMobil <> .

  6.17.  Floppy Drive

  6.17.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  Usually there are no problems connecting a floppy drive to a Linux
  laptop. But with a laptop floppy drive you may sometimes not be able
  to use every feature. I encountered the superformat command (from the
  fdutils package) couldn't format more than 1.44MB with my HP OmniBook
  800. You may also have difficulty when the floppy drive and CD drive
  are mutually exclusive, or when the floppy drive is a PCMCIA device
  (as with the Toshiba Libretto 100). With older laptops, there might be
  a minor problem if they use a 720K drive. AFAIK all distributions come
  with support for 1.44M (and sometimes 1.2M) floppies only. Though it's
  possible to install Linux anyway. Please see Installation chapter.
  Please see kernel documentation for boot time parameters concerning
  certain laptop floppy drives, for instance IBM ThinkPad. Or man
  bootparam .

  6.18.  CD Drive

  Most notebooks today come with CD drives. If floppy and CD drive are
  swappable they are usually mutually exclusive. Sometimes they come as
  PCMCIA devices. Or as SCSI device (HP OmniBook 800). AFAIK there are
  discmans available which have a port to connect them to a computer or
  even a SCSI port. I found an article published by Ziff-Davis
  Publishing Company (September 1996 issue, but missed to note the URL)
  written by Mitt Jones: "Portable PC Card CD-ROM drives transform
  laptops into mobile multimedia machines", which listed: Altec Lansing
  AMC2000 Portable Multimedia CD-ROM Center; Axonix ProMedia 6XR; CMS
  PlatinumPortable; EXP CDS420 Multimedia Kit; H45 QuickPCMCIA CD;
  Liberty 115CD; Panasonic KXL-D740; Sony PRD-250WN CD-ROM Discman.

  6.19.  DVD Drive

  The Linux Video and DVD Project <> has
  made great headway since its start last February. They have just
  released the source code (
  so that a DVD decoder card can unlock and read the DVD. Also provided
  on the site are links to various documents discussing DVD chipset
  specifications. The Linux Video and DVD Project is avidly seeking help
  from the opensource community for development.

  Universal Disk Format (UDF) Driver
  <>: "UDF is a newer
  CDROM filesystem standard that's required for DVD roms. It's meant to
  be a replacement for the ISO9660 filesystem used on today's CDROMs,
  but the immediate impact for most will be DVD. DVD multimedia cdroms
  use the UDF filesystem to contain MPEG audio and video streams.   To
  access DVD cdroms you would need a DVD cdrom drive, the kernel driver
  for the cdrom drive, some kind of MPEG video support, and a UDF
  filesystem driver (like this one). Some DVD cdroms may contain both
  UDF filesystems and ISO9660 filesystems. In that case, you could get
  by without UDF support."
  6.20.  Harddisk

  6.20.1.  Linux Compatibility Check

  Useful programms are hdparm, dmesg, fsck and fdisk .

  6.20.2.  Miscellaneous

  Be careful when using your laptop abroad. I have heard about some
  destroyed harddisks due to a magnetic field emitted from the magnetic-
  holds at the backresttable of the seats in a german railway waggon.

  Though I am quite satisfied with the quality of the harddisk in my
  laptop, when I removed it from the case I unintendedly dropped it, I
  recommend to be very careful.

  6.20.3.  Form Factors

  AFAIK there is only one form factor for harddisks used in laptops the
  2.5" format. This format seems to be available in different heights
  (Please note I couldn't verify this information yet):

  ·  18mm: laptops build before 1996 usually have drives 18mm high

  ·  12.7mm: I got a report about such disks but without a notebook
     model or manufacturer name

  ·  11mm: since 1996 the drives are 11mm high

  ·  9mm: many laptops, including the subnotebooks, now use a 9mm-high
     disk drive. The largest available in this format in late 1999 is
     IBM 12GN.

  ·  9.5mm: Toshiba Libretto L70 and L100 have a 9.5mm HD

  ·  8.45mm: Toshiba Libretto 20, 30, 50 and 60 have 8.45mm tall HDs

  ·  6.35mm: Toshiba Libretto L1000 has a 6.35mm HD

  It might be possible to use a hard disk wich doesn't fit with some
  case modifications.

  Some laptops come with a removable hard disk in a tray, for instance
  the KAPOK 9600D. There seem to be no SCSI drives for laptops

  6.21.  Video Port / ZV Port

  Some high end laptops come with a video or ZV port (NTSC/PAL). Since I
  don't have a laptop with a ZV or video port yet, I can provide only
  some URLs
  <> (driver)
  <> (tvviewer). For
  further information see video4linux at <>. To collect
  information about laptops with video port I have setup a page at <> . Alternatively to the ZV
  port you might use the USB port.

  7.  Palmtops, Personal Digital Assistants - PDAs, Handheld PCs - HPCs

  Palmtops and PDAs are currently not much covered in this HOWTO. Anyway
  it may be useful therefore, too. I just include some links, most of
  them are from Kenneth E. Harker's page <http://www.linux-on-> :

  1. Highly recommended is the page by Russell King  ARM Linux
     <> about PDAs with ARM CPU and
     with links to other Linux related PDA sites.

  2. PalmOS-HOWTO (former Pilot-HOWTO) by David H. Silber.

  3. Newton and Linux Mini-HOWTO
     <> .

  4. Newtl: Newton/Linux Communications System
     <> Newtl allows a Linux machine
     to communicate with a Newton PDA. Automatically send e-mail, print,
     and fax outboxes through your Linux machine, and more.

  5. PilotLink and XCoPilot <>
     PilotLink is an utility that performs data transfers from 3com
     PalmPilot handheld computers to your Linux machine. XCoPilot is an
     emulator of the PalmPilot operating system that runs under Linux.

  6. PalmVNC <> is an
     implementation of the Virtual Network Client architecture that will
     allow you to use a Linux or other UNIX machine to put up a (tiny) X
     Window on a 3COM PalmPilot.

  7. PDAs and infrared remote control, see Hiromu Okada

  8. AFAIK you can run Linux on the IBM PC110 (a tiny PC handheld that's
     no longer manufactured). There's a HOWTO on it running around
     somewhere but I don't have an URL, instead I found a description in
     LINUX REDUX July 1997
     <> by Alan Cox.

  9. For more information on Virtual Network Computing, see VNC
     <> .

     There is also the Handheld Systems(TM) On-line Archives
     <> and a search engine
     about palmtop related topics Palmtop.Net/ <>

     I have setup a small page about Linux with PDAs and Handheld PCs
     <>, too.

  8.  Cellular Phones, Pagers, Calculators, Digital Cameras, Wearable

  Though in my opinion related to the topic, these devices are not much
  covered in this text, yet. For general information about Embedded
  Systems, see  <>. For
  Linux information, see ELKS <> and the
  uCLinux <> project. See

  8.1.  Cellular Phones

  For NOKIA cellular phones see GNOKII project
  <> . And Linux Nserver
  <>. This
  project aim is to produce a GPL replacement for Nokia's Windows
  Nserver, and maybe improve upon it along the way. Initially it will
  emulate the Windows 3.1 version (ie. allow backup, restore and

  openWAP <> is an open source project for the
  implementation of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) for use with
  browsers, servers and tools. WAP is used by PDA devices, cell phones,
  pagers and other wireless devices to transmit internet content to
  these devices. The project is still in its early stages and nothing
  can be downloaded yet.

  GSMLIB <> is a library to access
  GSM mobile phones through GSM modems. Features include: modification
  of phonebooks stored in the mobile phone or on the SIM card, reading
  and writing of SMS messages stored in the mobile phone, sending and
  reception of SMS messages. Additionally, some simple command line
  programs are provided to use these features.

  8.2.  Pagers - SMS Messages

  QuickPage <> is a client/server software package
  that enables you to send messages to an alphanumeric pager. The client
  accepts a message from the user and forwards it to a server using
  SNPP. The server uses a modem to transmit the message to the
  recipient's paging service using the TAP protocol (also known as the
  IXO protocol).

  mail2sms <> converts a (MIME)
  mail to a short message, allowing search/replace, conditional rules,
  date/time dependent actions, customizing the output format, etc. The
  output defaults to 160 characters, which is perfectly suitable for
  sending the text to a GSM telephone as an SMS message. This software
  does not include any code for actually sending the text to anything
  else but another program or stdout.

  email2sms <> is a
  filter written in Perl which converts an e-mail into a form suitable
  for sending as an SMS message. Its main advantage over the
  alternatives is that it uses the CPAN module Lingua::EN::Squeeze to
  compress the text down to as little as 40% of its original size, so
  you can get much more of your e-mail into the 160 character limit
  imposed by SMS. It is fully MIME compatible, and has many configurable
  options, including removal of quoted text. Ideal for use with
  procmail. A Perl script for sending the output to a typical e-mail to
  SMS web gateway is included.

  SMSLink <> implements a
  client/server gateway to the SMS protocol (short messages on the
  mobile phones). It requires the use of dedicated hardware though (a
  serial GSM module). Both SMS emission and reception are supported. The
  server only runs under Linux at the present time and also supports
  interactive mode via telnet. The command-line client already exists
  for Linux, Solaris and HP-UX. A basic web interface is provided. A
  Win32 client is in the works.

  nmsms <> is a very simple program to
  announce incoming email to an SMS address (email address) defined at
  compile time. The original From: and Subject: header are included in
  each mail announced.
  mepl <> is a software for
  3COM/USRobotics Messagemodems to control the self-employed-mode. This
  program can be used for downloading the messages and saving or mailing
  them in gsm or fax-format.

  8.3.  Digital Cameras

  For information about cellular phones and digital cameras see some
  links at my page about Linux with Infrared Devices
  <> and my IR-HOWTO.

  Newsgroup: .

  The Flashpath adapter is a diskette like device which is used to
  transfer data from a digital camera to a computer. See Flashpath for
  Linux <> and James Radley's flashpath
  homepage <>.

  8.4.  Calculators

  Information about calculators e.g. HP-48 is at HP-Calculator.Org
  <> and Keith's HP-48 Page
  <>. HP-48 Kermit Hints and Tips
  <> shows how to talk to the
  HP48 via its serial-line Kermit protocol. The HP-48 may also be used
  as a Linux terminal <>.

  See also at my page about Linux with Infrared Devices

  Backup utility for the CASIO diary
  <>. It is a package ported from
  DOS to allow communication to the CASIO series of hand-held
  organizers.  It allows backup from CASIO to your computer and restore
  a backup file from your computer to the CASIO. It can also output
  human readable file from CASIO. Currently supports: phone, calendar,
  schedule, memo, and reminder. See also alank/ , http://home.t- and

  GtkTiLink <> is a program which
  allows you to transfer data between a Texas Instruments calculator and
  a computer. It works with all cables (parallel, serial, Black and Gray
  TI Graph Link). It supports the TI82, TI89, TI92 and TI92+
  calculators. It can send/receive data and backups, make a capture of
  the calculator screen and do remote control.

  8.5.  Wearable Computing

  Also related to this topic but not covered yet seems wearable
  computing, see
  <> , the page of
  Lionel, "trollhunter" Bouchpan-Lerust-Juery,
  <> for further information
  and <> and <>.

  Sulawesi <> was developed due to
  the problems running a desktop GUI on a wearable computer. It has been
  designed and implemented to tackle what has been considered to be
  important challenges in a wearable user interface, the ability to
  accept input from any number of input devices, such as machine vision,
  speech recognition, portable keyboards, GPS devices, infra-red, etc.
  and to allow services to manipulate the information and generate a
  suitable output such as speech generation, graphics using a
  headmounted display, vibrotactile stimuli, etc. The Gili user
  interface has been updated, more documentation has been added, and the
  Spatial Reminder has been introduced.

  8.6.  Watches

  The datalink library <> allows sending
  information to the Timex DataLink watches. The original datalink
  library supports the model 150 and possibly the model 70 watch. This
  version has been extended to work with the DataLink Ironman Triathlon
  watch. It has been tested with the SVGA output on the Ironman watch
  only, other output devices and other watches may or may not work, I
  have no reports either way. The display must be a CRT display (not a

  9.  Accessories

  9.1.  PCMCIA Cards

  9.1.1.  Card Families

  1. Ethernet adapter

  2. Token Ring adapter

  3. Ethernet + Modem / GSM

  4. Fax-Modem / GSM adapter

  5. SCSI adapter

  6. I/O cards: RS232, LPT, RS422, RS485, GamePort, IrDA, Radio, Video

  7. Memory cards

  8. harddisks

  9. 2.5" harddisk adapters

  For desktops there are PCMCIA slots for ISA and PCI bus available.

  Source: <>

  9.1.2.  Linux Compatibility Check

  With the command cardctl ident you may get information about your
  card. Put this information into /etc/pcmcia/config.opts if necessary.
  But this may not be enough to get the card to work, but works
  sometimes for no-name network cards or modem cards. If you get a card
  to work or have written a new driver please don't forget to announce
  this to the developer of the PCMCIA-CS package David Hinds
  <> . Look the current issue of his file
  SUPPORTED.CARDS <> to get information
  about supported cards.

  Since there are not all cards mentioned I have set up a page PCMCIA
  Cards "Unofficially" Supported by Linux <> .

  9.2.  SmartCards

  SmartCard reader, see Project Muscle - Movement for the Use of Smart
  Cards in a Linux Environment

  9.3.  Memory Technology Devices - RAM and Flash Cards

  The Linux Memory Technology Device <http://www.linux-> project aims to provide a unified subsystem for
  handling RAM and Flash cards (Memory Technology Devices). It is
  intended to be compatible with the Linux PCMCIA code, to prevent
  duplication of code and effort, yet its main target is small embedded
  systems, so it will be possible to compile the drivers into the kernel
  for use as a root filesystem, and a close eye will be kept on the
  memory footprint.

  9.4.  Printers

  Survey about small mobile printers:

  1. CANON: BJC-80, for infrared connections to this printer see the
     links at my page about Linux and Infrared Devices

  2. CANON: BJ-30

  3. HP: DeskJet 340Cbi. This is a small, portable, low-duty-cycle
     printer. It prints either black, or color (3 color). I have had
     some problems with it loading paper. Overall, the small size and
     portability make it a nice unit for use with laptops. I use the HP
     500/500C driver with Linux.

  4. Olivetti: JP-90

  AFAIK only the HP and the BJC-80 machine have an infrared port. Pay
  attention to the supplied voltage of the power supply if you plan to
  travel abroad. Source: <>

  9.5.  Power and Phone Plugs, Power Supply

  When travelling abroad you might consider to take a set of different
  power and phone plugs with you. Also, it's useful if you can change
  the input voltage of the power supply, for instance from 110V in the
  US to 220V in Germany. There also power supplies for 12V batteries
  from cars.

  Some models of power plugs:

                 / () \          _   _              _
  frontal view: |()  ()|        (_)=(_)            (_)           N.N.

  abbrevation.:    C13             C8              ??            PS/2

  symbol......:    ??              ??              -O)-          N.N.

  Caveats: Though some -O)- plug may seem to be compatible to your lap­
  top, because of the according physical size, take extremely care it
  uses the same plus-minus voltage scheme, for instance plus for the
  inner ring and minus for the outer one. Often but not always there are
  the according symbols near the plug.

  9.6.  Bags and Suitcases

  You probably wonder, why I include this topic here. But shortly after
  using my COMPAQ Armada 1592DT I recognized that the rear side of the
  machine (where the ports are arranged) was slightly damaged. Though I
  have taken much care when transporting the laptop, this was caused by
  putting the bag on the floor. It seems that the laptop has so much
  weight, that it bounces inside the bag on its own rear side. So I
  decided to put a soft pad into the bag before loading the laptop. A
  good bag is highly recommended if you take your laptop on trips, or
  take it home every night.

  Laptops computers are frequently demolished in their carrying bag.
  The two main causes of demolition are poking the LC display and
  banging the edges.A good case has very stiff sides to spread out
  pokes, and lots of energy-absorbent padding around the edges to help
  when you whack it on the door jamb.Few cases actually have either of
  these features.

  More laptops are lost to theft than damage, so camouflage is a wise
  too.  Emerson, Tom # El Monte <> wrote: "I
  use for a laptop travelling bag: a Pyrex casserole carrier bag. Yup,
  you might think it odd to use a casserole bag for a laptop, but it
  turns out it has several advantages:

  ·  The one I use has a microwavable heating pad in it -- while I don't
     actually heat this pad (it's meant to keep food warm while in
     transport), it does provide padding underneath the laptop.  The
     carrier I have only has a lower  - heating - pad, but there is also
     a similar carrier that has both a lower  - heating - pad and an
     upper  - cooling - pad - placed in the freezer to get it cold - --
     the intent is that you keep one or the other in the bag to keep
     your food hot or cold as desired.  A secondary advantage to the  -
     cooling pad - pad is that if you've  - chilled - it before taking
     the computer out for the day, it will keep the CPU cooler while
     you're running the laptop...

  ·  the top of the bag has a zipper on three sides, so it  - opens -
     the same way as my laptop -- I don't even need to take it out of
     the carrier to use the laptop

  ·  there is enough room at the side of the bag to store the external
     power supply, a regular Logitech mouseman, and the network  -
     dongle - with BNC/TP ports - and if I had it, the modem/phone port
     as well -

  ·  there is enough clearance on top of the machine to include a
     handful of CD's or diskettes, if needed...

  ·  when it's left - unattended -  in a car, it's less likely to be
     stolen -- think about it, if you were a thief walking through a
     parking lot and eyeing the contents of cars, a  - laptop bag -  is
     instantly recognizable as holding a laptop computer -- something
     that can be fenced at a pretty hefty profit, but if you saw a
     casserole carrier in the front seat of a car, would you think it
     contained anything OTHER than a casserole? - and probably half-
     eaten, at that... - Unless you are a hungry thief, chances are
     you'll skip this and move on...

  ·  likewise, I've heard that keeping a laptop computer in a diaper bag
     is another good - camouflage - technique -- who in their right mind
     is going to steal a bag of - dirty - diapers?"

  10.  Different Environments - On the Road

  10.1.  Related HOWTOs

  1. Security-HOWTO

  2. Multiboot-with-LILO-mini-HOWTO

  3. Ethernet-HOWTO

  4. NET-3-HOWTO

  5. Offline-Mailing-mini-HOWTO

  6. Plip-mini-HOWTO

  7. Slip-PPP-Emulator-mini-HOWTO

  10.2.  Configuration Tools

  10.2.1.  NetEnv

  Do you use your laptop in different network environments? At home? In
  the office? At a customers site?

  If yes, the small package "netenv" might be useful for you. When
  booting your laptop it provides you with a simple interface from which
  you can choose the current network environment. The first time in a
  new environment, you can enter the basic data and save it for later

  Netenv sets up a file containing variable assignments which describe
  the current environment. This can be used by the PCMCIA setup scheme,
  e.g. like the one that comes with Debian/GNU Linux and perhaps others.

  The netenv data can be used for things like:

  1. Network Device: Configure the network device for different

  2. Choose a proper XF86Config: Think of using your laptop standalone
     with touchpad vs. connected to a CRT monitor along with an external
     mouse. For example, a wheel mouse could be used when docked, but
     the driver is not compatible with the normal trackpoint or

  3. Windowmanager: You can set up your windowmanager according to the
     current location of your machine.

  4. Printing Environment: The netenv data can easily be used to set up
     the printing environment.

  Netenv is available as Debian/GNU Linux package as well as tarball. It
  depends on dialog(1) for the menu system. It is developed by Gerd
  Bavendiek you may get it at http://www.uni- <http://www.uni-> .

  10.2.2.  divine

  divine <> is an utility for people who use
  their machines in different networks all the time. "The idea is this:

  ·  you describe the possible networks in /etc/divine.conf, including
     one or more machines that are probably up (routers and NIS servers
     come to mind).

  ·  at boot time, you run divine.

  ·  divine starts a thread that injects fake arp requests into the
     network.  The thread will try again up to three times, pausing 1
     second between retries.  If the last try times out again, the
     thread will print an error message, leave the interface in the
     original state and exit cleanly.

  ·  the main thread just looks for arp replies and exits if one is

  ·  You have one resolv.conf per network, for example
     /etc/resolv.conf.default and /etc/, and divine will
     symlink one of them to /etc/resolv.conf for you.

  ·  You can specify a proxy server plus port and divine will write the
     proxy server to /etc/proxy. This can be evaluated inside your shell
     startup script, like this (zsh):

     export http_proxy="http://`</etc/proxy`/"

  The included perl script will edit the proxy
  settings in your Netscape 4 preferences file.

  ·  You can even specify an additional script to be run for each
     selection.  You can use this to edit /etc/printcap or /etc/issue or
     do something else I forgot.

  The point about divine in contrast to other solutions is that other
  solutions normally use ping or something like that. divine can check a
  large number of networks instantaneously, assuming that the machines
  you ping answer within one second (.4 seconds are normal on
  Ethernets). And pinging an unknown address will do an arp request
  anyway, so why not do an arp request in the first place?"
  10.2.3.  Mobile IP

  From the NET3-4-HOWTO: "The term IP Mobility describes the ability of
  a host that is able to move its network connection from one point on
  the Internet to another without changing its IP address or losing
  connectivity. Usually when an IP host changes its point of
  connectivity it must also change its IP address. IP Mobility overcomes
  this problem by allocating a fixed IP address to the mobile host and
  using IP encapsulation (tunneling) with automatic routing to ensure
  that datagrams destined for it are routed to the actual IP address it
  is currently using."

  HUT Mobile IP <> is a
  dynamical, hierarchical Mobile IP system for Linux operating system.
  The implementation enables a hierarchical model for IP mobility, thus
  decreasing the location update times as a mobile host moves. Dynamics
  system has been designed Wireless LAN technology in mind, and the
  system has optimized functionality for mobility in WLAN. There is now
  a mailing list available. You can join it by sending subscribe on the
  subject line to <> - or you can simply
  check the  mail archive
  <>.  Resources

  1. Linux Mobile-IP <>

  2. Linux Mobile IP from HP Labs Bristol by Manuel Rodrнguez

  3. MosquitoNet Mobile IP

  4. Mobile IP at NUS <>

  5. Linux Mobile-IP <>

  6. Bay Area Research Wireless Access Network (BARWAN)

  Sources: Kenneth E. Harker and Dag Brattli

  10.2.4.  DHCP/BootP

  DHCP and BootP are also useful for working in different environments.
  Please see the DHCP-HOWTO and BootP-HOWTO.

  10.2.5.  PPPD Options

  The pppd command can be configured via several different files: pppd
  file /etc/ppp/<your_options> .

  10.2.6.  /etc/init.d

  You may even choose to do your configuration by editing the
  /etc/init.d files manually.

  10.2.7.  PCMCIA - Schemes

  How can I have separate PCMCIA device setups for home and work? This
  is fairly easy using PCMCIA scheme support. Use two configuration
  schemes, called home and work. For details please read the according
  chapter in the PCMCIA-HOWTO by David Hinds.

  10.2.8.  Bootloaders  LILO

  <> <Martin J. Evans> I have taken this recommendation: The first
  point to note is that init will take any arguments of the form
  name=value as environment variable assignments if they are not
  recognized as something else. This means you can set environment
  variables from the LILO boot prompt before your rc scripts run. I set
  the LOCATION environment variable depending on where I am when I boot
  Linux. e.g.

  LILO: linux LOCATION=home


  LILO: linux LOCATION=work

  Or simply

  LILO: linux

  where failing to set LOCATION means the same as LOCATION=home (i.e. my
  default). Instead of typing LOCATION=place each time you boot you can
  add an entry to your /etc/lilo.conf file and use the append instruc­
  tion. e.g.

  # Linux bootable partition for booting Linux at home
  image = /vmlinuz
  root = /dev/hda3
  label = linux
  # Linux bootable partition config ends
  # Linux bootable partition for booting Linux at work
  image = /vmlinuz
  root = /dev/hda3
  label = work
  # Linux bootable partition config ends

  With the example above you can use "linux" for booting at home and
  "work" for booting at work.

  Armed with the facility above, you can now edit the relevant rc
  scripts to test ENVIRONMENT before running ifconfig, setting up route
  etc.  Other Bootloaders

  There are several other bootloaders which are often overlooked.
  Besides LILO, have a look at loadlin, CHooseOS (CHOS) (not GPL), GRand
  Unified Bootloader (GRUB), System Commander and take a look at
  <>. The NT boot
  loader or OS/2 boot loader may even be used.

  10.2.9.  X-Windows

  From Steve <> I got a configuration for X windows
  with an external monitor: Note that I have introduced a neat trick!
  For my nice 17" monitor I start X with no options and get the default
  16-bit 1152x864 display - but when using the LCD screen I specify a
  15-bit display (startx -- -bpp 15) and get the correct 800x600
  resolution automatically. This saves having to have two XConfig files.

  10.2.10.  E-Mail

  A short introduction about how to setup email on a laptop used at home
  (dial-up) and work (ethernet) by Peter Englmaier <>:  Features

  As a laptop user, I have special demands for my email setup. The setup
  described below, enables me to:

  ·  Read my email from home using a POP email server, which is supplied
     by my university, but could also be setup on a work place computer.

  ·  Write email from home with the right return address in the email
     (which does not mention my computer name).

  ·  Read/write my email while working on a workstation without access
     to my laptop or the POP email server (as a backup).

  ·  Read my email while working on my laptop connected to the ethernet
     of our institut.

  ·  Direct email while connected via ethernet (faster than the
     fetchmail method).

  ·  Indirect email (over pop mail server) while not connected to the
     ethernet at work (either at home via modem or somewhere else via

  ·  Use any emailer, e.g. elm or the simple mail command.

  ·  Sort incomming email, delete spam, split email-collections
     (digests) into seperate emails

  The configuration is based on sendmail, fetchmail, and a remote pop
  account for email.  Configuration of sendmail

  This is the most complicated part. Having installed the sendmail-cf
  package, I created a file named /usr/lib/sendmail-cf/

  define(`confBIND_OPTS',`-DNSRCH -DEFNAMES')
  define(`confDOMAIN_NAME','''')   <---- here you define your domain
  define(`SMART_HOST',`')  <---- there we send outgoing email
  define(`LUSER_RELAY',`') <---- there we send mail to users my laptop does not know
  MASQUERADE_AS(                  <---- again the domain, we want to be seen as
  HACK(check_mail3,`hash -a@JUNK /etc/mail/deny')

  This looks more complicated as it is. All it does is, that it
  redirectes outbound mail to server1 (SMART_HOST) and also mail for
  local users which are not known (LUSER_RELAY). That way, I can write
  email to my colleques without using their full email address. More
  important: the From line in my email points back to my MASQUARADE_AS
  domain and not directly to my laptop. If this where not the case,
  email returned with the reply button might not reach me. You must
  restart sendmail for changes to take effect. Note: this configuration
  is for Redhat 5.2 systems. You may have to change some details.

  Now, all what is needed is to generate the /etc/ file m4 >/etc/ and to add all possible domain names my
  laptop should respond to in /etc/

  # - include all aliases for your machine here.

  It is important to have all aliases in this file, otherwise sendmail
  will not accept the mail (and will reply we don't relay to the
  sender). Finally, you must now test the setup by sending email,
  replying to mail for all possible configurations. Any
  missconfiguration can result in loss of email.  Configuration for fetchmail on Laptop

  One method to get the email into your machine is through fetchmail.
  Fetchmail periodically checks for new email at one or more remote mail
  servers. I use the following fetchmail configuration file (in my user
  home directory): fetchmailrc

  set postmaster "myusername"
  set daemon 900
  poll with proto POP3
        user "mypopusername" there with password "mypoppassword" is mylaptopusername here

  Fetchmail will just get the the email and send it to sendmail which
  will it deliver into your /var/spool/mail/$USER file.  Forward E-Mail to the Laptop

  On my work station I have the following .forward file:


  Here server1 is the machine where I keep my mailbox. All email is send
  to the pop account to be picked up later by my laptop (using
  fetchmail). However, when my laptop is connected via ethernet, I want
  my email to go directly to the laptop, instead of pop:


  In both cases, a backup of my email is send to server1 (where I also
  can read it, in case I cannot get my laptop). I keep/store all email
  on the laptop.

  Switching is done by three script files and a crontab file (on the


  echo ",me@server1" > ${HOME}/.forward


  echo "ppe@laptop,ppe@server1" > ${HOME}/.forward
  crontab ${HOME}/mycrontab


  if /usr/sbin/ping -c 1 laptop  >/dev/null 2>&1 ; then
     # redirect mail to pop
     sleep 10
     if /usr/sbin/ping -c 1 laptop  >/dev/null 2>&1 ; then
        # back to normal
        # deactivate crontab check
        /bin/crontab -l | grep -v check_laptop >${HOME}/tmp/mycrontab.tmp
        /bin/crontab ${HOME}/tmp/mycrontab.tmp
        rm -f ${HOME}/tmp/mycrontab.tmp


  # mycrontab
  0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * ${HOME}/utl/check_laptop

  Each time I connect the laptop to the ethernet, I have to run
  forward_laptop, and each time I disconnect I run forward_pop. In case
  I forget to run forward_pop, the crontab job runs it for me less then
  10 minutes later. To do all that automatically, I change the network
  script files on my laptop as follows:

  /sbin/ifdown (this script runs, whenever a network device is stopped,
  new stuff between BEGIN and END)


  # BEGIN new stuff
  # turn off forwarding email
  mail ppe <<EOF
  turning off forwarding email
  device = ${DEVICE}
  hostname = `hostname`
  if [ "${DEVICE}" = "eth0" -a "`hostname`"
  = "laptop" ]; then
    su -lc "ssh -l myusername server1
  utl/forward_pop" myusername >& /dev/null
  # END new stuff

  ifconfig ${DEVICE} down
  exec /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifdown-post $CONFIG

  Note, that the script checks for the value of hostname. In case, I am
  connected to a foreign ethernet, my hostname and ip-address will be
  something else, e.g. guest1.

  /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifup-post (this script is run, whenever
  a network device is started)

  # Notify programs that have requested notification

  # BEGIN new stuff
  # check for email -- I'm using fetchmail for this
  if [ "${DEVICE}" = "eth0" -o "${DEVICE}"
  = "ppp0" ]; then
     su -lc fetchmail myusername >& /dev/null &

  # set clock if connected to ethernet, redirect email
  if [ "${DEVICE}" = "eth0" -a dquot;`hostname`" = "zaphod" ]; then
     ( rdate -s server1 ; hwclock --systohc --utc ) >& /dev/null &
     # forward email
     su -lc "ssh -l myusername gradj utl/forward_laptop" myusername >& /dev/null &
  # END new stuff

  exit 0
  ______________________________________________________________________  Processing Incomming E-Mail with procmail

  This step is completely optional. The above described sendmail
  configuration calls procmail for each received email, but you could
  have called procmail using the .forward file (see the procmail man
  page). Procmail is a handy tool to block spam and to sort incomming

  You need to setup a .procmailrc file to use procmail. See the man page
  for procmail, procmailrc, and procmailex (examples). My setup
  demonstrates, how to ignore certain email messages and split email-
  collections (digest) into pieces:

  # -- mail filtering -- procmail is called by sendmail --
  # keep in mind:
  # use ":0:" when writing to a file
  # use ":0"  when writing to a device, e.g. /dev/null, or send email

  # - make first a backup of *all* incomming email (but ignore mail tagged below) -
  :0 c:
  *! ^Sissa-Repro

  # - keep only last 50 messages
  :0 ic
  | cd backup && rm -f dummy `ls -t msg.* | sed -e 1,50d`

  # - delete email comming through the 'postdocs' email list, when
  # it is not of any interest
  * ^From.*postdocs
  * ^From.*Ernst Richter
  * ^From.*postdocs
  * ^Subject.*card charge

  # Split mailing list from the sissa preprint server into individual emails
  # - this is quite complicated :(   I can flip through the list much
  #   faster and ignore preprints which have uninteresting titles. Instead of
  #   having to browse through the whole list, my mailer will just present a
  #   list of papers.
  # 1. split it in individual messages
  * ^From
  | formail +1 -de -A "Sissa-Repro: true" -s procmail

  # 2. reformat messages a bit
  # 2.1. extract 'Title:' from email-Body and add to email-header
  as 'Subject:'
  :0 b
  * ^Sissa-Repro
  *! ^Subject
  TITLE=| formail -xTitle:
  :0 a
  |formail -A "Subject: $TITLE " -s procmail

  # 2.2. store in my incomming sissa-email folder. Here, we could
  #      also reject (and thereafter delete) uninteresting 'Subjects'
  #      we could also mark more interesting subjects as urgend or send a copy
  #      to regular mail box.
  * ^Sissa-Repro
  * ^Subject
  *! ^replaced with

  BTW, there is a tk GUI tool to configure procmail (I think it is
  called dotfiles).

  10.2.11.  Email with UUCP

  Another possible solution for Email is to use UUCP. This software was
  made for disconnected machines, and is by far the easiest solution if
  you have several users on your laptop (we are talking about Unix,
  remember?), each with his/her own account.

  Unlike what most people think, UUCP does not need a serial connection:
  it works fine over TCP/IP, so your UUCP partner can be any machine on
  the Internet, if it is reachable from your network attachment point.
  Here is the UUCP sys for a typical laptop:

       system mylaptop
       time any
       chat "" \d\d\r\c ogin: \d\L word: \P
       port TCP

  10.2.12.  More Info

  Using a Laptop in Different Environments
  <> by Gerd Bavendiek . This
  article appeared in the August, 1997 issue of the Linux Gazette
  <>. This is an excellent, short technical
  article describing an easy way to setup your Linux notebook to boot
  into different network and printing configurations, especially useful
  for those who use their machines at home as well as other locations
  such as in the office, at school, or at a customer site.

  10.3.  Data Transport Between Different Machines

  I don't have experience with this topic yet. So just a survey about
  some means of data transport and maintaining data consistency between
  different machines.

  10.3.1.  Hardware

  1. external harddisks

  2. ZIP drive

  Wade Hampton wrote: "You may use MS-DOS formatted ZIP and floppy discs
  for data transfer. You may be able to also use LS120. If you have
  SCSI, you could use JAZ, MO or possibly DVD-RAM (any SCSI disc that
  you could write to). I have the internal ZIP for my Toshiba 700CT. It
  works great (I use automount to mount it). I use VFAT on the ZIP disks
  so I can move them to Windows boxes, Linux boxes, NT, give them to
  coworkers, etc. One problem, I must SHUTDOWN to swap the internal CD
  with the ZIP."

  10.3.2.  Software  Version Management Software

  Although it is certainly not their main aim, version management
  software like CVS (Concurrent Version System) are a perfect tool when
  you work on several machines and you have trouble keeping them in sync
  (something which is often called "disconnected filesystems" in the
  computer science literature).  Unlike programs like rsync, which are
  assymetric (one side is the master and its files override those of the
  slave), CVS accept that you make changes on several machines, and try
  afterwards to merge them. Assymetric tools are good only when you can
  respect a strict discipline, when you switch from one machine to
  another. On the contrary, tools like CVS are more forgetful.

  To synchronize two or more machines (typically a desktop and a
  laptop), just choose a CVS repository somewhere on the network. It can
  be on one of the machines you want to synchronize or on a third host.
  Anyway, this machine should be easily reachable via the network and
  have good disks.

  Then, cvs co the module you want to work on, edit it, and cvs commit
  when you reached a synch point and are connected. If you made changes
  on both hosts, CVS will try to merge them (it typically succeeds
  automatically) or give in and ask you to resolve it by hand.

  The typical limits of this solution: CVS does not deal well with
  binary files, so this solution is more for users of vi or emacs than
  for GIMP fans. CVS has trouble with some Unix goodies like symbolic

  For more information on CVS, see the Web page. The CVS documentation
  is excellent (in info format).  CODA Filesystem

  The Coda File System is a descendant of the Andrew File System. Like
  AFS, Coda offers location-transparent access to a shared Unix file
  name-space that is mapped on to a collection of dedicated file
  servers. But Coda represents a substantial improvement over AFS
  because it offers considerably higher availability in the face of
  server and network failures. The improvement in availability is
  achieved using the complementary techniques of server replication and
  disconnected operation. Disconnected operation proven especially
  valuable in supporting portable computers
  <> .  WWWsync

  This is a program written in Perl that will update your web pages by
  ftp from your local pages. This was originally written for updating
  Demon home-pages, but will work with other providers which provide
  direct FTP access to your web pages. I didn't check this for laptop
  purposes yet. You may get the program at
  <> .  rsync

  rsync is a program that allows files to be copied to and from remote
  machines in much the same way as rcp. It has many more options than
  rcp, and uses the rsync remote-update protocol to greatly speedup file
  transfers when the destination file already exists. The rsync remote-
  update protocol allows rsync to transfer just the differences between
  two sets of files across the network link.  Xfiles - file tree synchronization and cross-validation

  Xfiles is an interactive utility for comparing and merging one file
  tree with another over a network. It supports freeform work on several
  machines (no need to keep track of what files are changed on which
  machine). Xfiles can also be used as a cross-validating disk <-gt;
  disk backup strategy (portions of a disk may go bad at any time, with
  no simple indication of which files were affected. Cross-validate
  against a second disk before backup to make sure you aren't backing up
  bad data).

  A client/server program (GUI on the client) traverses a file tree and
  reports any files that are missing on the server machine, missing on
  the client machine, or different. For each such file, the file
  size/sizes and modification date(s) are shown, and a comparison (using
  Unix diff) can be obtained. For files that are missing from one tree,
  similarly named files in that tree are reported. Inconsistent files
  can then be copied in either direction or deleted on either machine.
  The file trees do not need to be accessible via nfs. Files checksums
  are computed in parallel, so largely similar trees can be compared
  over a slow network link. The client and server processes can also be
  run on the same machine. File selection and interaction with a
  revision control system such as RCS can be handled by scripting using
  jpython. Requirements Java1.1 or later and JFC/Swing1.1 are needed.
  Xfiles <>.  sitecopy

  Sitecopy is for copying locally stored websites to remote web servers.
  The program will upload files to the server which have changed
  locally, and delete files from the server which have been removed
  locally, to keep the remote site synchronized with the local site,
  with a single command. The aim is to remove the hassle of uploading
  and deleting individual files using an FTP client. sitecopy
  <> .  KBriefcase

  The KDE tool Kbriefcase <>
  tries to achieve a similar goal as the Windows briefcase, but in a
  different way. Rather than pulling your files from the desktop, they
  are pushed to the laptop. You drag a file from the local location to
  the briefcase. You are then asked for the remote path to copy it to.
  It will then copy the file to the remote location and make the
  original read-only. When you restore and remove, the file is copied
  back and write permissions are given back. The read-only status, of
  course, makes sure you don't start editing the file again before
  you've brought your changes back from the remote location.

  10.4.  Security in Different Environments

  10.4.1.  Introduction

  I am not a computer security expert. Please read the Security-HOWTO
  for more information. I just collected some information below. Note,
  these means are just small steps to additional security, though I
  recommend that you use them.
  LASG Please read Linux Administrator's Security Guide (LASG) - FAQ
  <> by Kurt Seifried.

  10.4.2.  Means of Security

  1. International Kernel Patch: The idea of the International Kernel
     Patch <> is to collect all crypto patches so
     that using crypto in the kernel will be easier than today. The
     patch includes a number of crypto patches including a crypto API
     including Blowfish, CAST-128, DES, DFC, IDEA, MARS, RC6, Rijndael,
     Safer, Serpent, and Twofish, an encrypted filesystem loopback
     device using the crypto API, CIPE VPN and EnSKIP patches.

  2. Kennsington Lock: AFAIK proprietary lock solution with different
     laptops  <>

  3. SmartCards: by DESKO  <>
     are not available for Linux yet. The only available laptop with a
     SmartCard builtin is the Siemens Scenic Mobile 800.

  4. User passwords: can be easily bypassed if the intruder gets
     physical access to your machine

  5. BIOS passwords: are also easily crackable, though sometimes harder
     than with desktops

  6. Name plates: to reduce the possibility of theft, you may want to
     have a nameplate made and affixed to the cover of the laptop. A
     nice one will cost you about $12, and can be made by any good
     trophy shop. They'll glue it on for you too. You could use double-
     sided tape instead, but glue is more permanent. You may even make
     an engravement into the laptop cover.

  7. Boot loader: a boot loader may be used to put your name and phone
     number (or whatever text you choose) into the boot sequence before
     the operating system is loaded. This provides a label that can't be
     removed by editing files or even doing a simple format of the

  8. Antivirus policy: I have seen an antivir RPM somewhere. Check the
     BIOS for an option to disable writing at the boot sector.

  9. Database of stolen laptops: I have provided a survey of databases
     for stolen laptops <>.

     Laptop as a security risk itself: Since a laptop can easily be used
     to intrude a network, it seems a good policy to ask the system
     administrator for permission before connecting a laptop to a

     Secure Protocol: When connecting to a remote server always use a
     secure protocol.

  10.5.  Dealing with Down Times (Cron Jobs)

  A cron-like program that doesn't go by time: anacron (like
  "anac(h)ronistic") is a periodic command scheduler. It executes
  commands at intervals specified in days. Unlike cron, it does not
  assume that the system is running continuously. It can therefore be
  used to control the execution of daily, weekly and monthly jobs (or
  anything with a period of n days), on systems that don't run 24 hours
  a day. When installed and configured properly, anacron will make sure
  that the commands are run at the specified intervals as closely as
  machine-uptime permits.

  hc-cron This program is a modified version of Paul Vixie's
  <> widely used cron daemon. Like the original program it
  runs specified jobs at periodic intervals. However, the original crond
  relies on the computer running continuously, otherwise jobs will be
  missed. This problem is addressed by hc-cron, that is indended for use
  on home-computers that are typically turned off several times a day;
  hc-cron will remember the time when it was shut down and catch up jobs
  that have occurred during down time when it is started again. Felix
  Braun <> is the author of the programm, it is
  available at /pub/Linux/system/daemons/cron
  < /pub/Linux/system/daemons/cron> .

  10.6.  Noise Reduction

  Due to the proliferation of cellular phones and walkmans it's not
  quite common in our days to take care of a quiet environment. Anyway I
  want to give some recommendations for the polite ones.

  10.6.1.  Console (Shell) and X

  For the console setterm -blength 0 and for X xset b off turns the bell
  off. See also PCMCIA-HOWTO, and much more details in the Visible-Bell-
  mini-Howto by Alessandro Rubini.

  10.6.2.  PCMCIA

  When starting your laptop with PCMCIA-CS configured correctly, this
  will be shown by two high beeps. If you want to avoid this put
  CARDMGR_OPTS="-q" into the PCMCIA configuration file, e.g.
  /etc/pcmcia.conf for Debian/GNU Linux.

  To avoid the dialtones during the modem dialing add

       module "serial_cs" opts "do_sound=0"

  to /etc/pcmcia/config.opts (from man serial_cs). This will disable
  speaker output completely, but the ATM command should let you
  selectively control when the speaker is active.

  10.6.3.  Miscellaneous Applications

  You may configure vi with the flash option, so it will use a flash in
  case of an error, instead of a bell.

  For at least one laptop series, the Toshiba models, there seems to be
  a Linux package available to control the fan and other features.

  11.  Other Resources

  Kenneth E. Harker maintains a quite valuable database at < > .
  Please have a look at his site to get current information about laptop
  related mailing lists, newsgroups, magazines and newsletters, WWW
  sites and a big database about many different laptop pages.

  To join the mailing list visit the
  subsription page at
  <>. There you may also find the
  list archiv.

  To join the other Linux-Laptop-Mailing-List write a mail to
  <> with subscribe linux-laptop in the
  subject. You will get a confirmation message than, which you have to
  reply accordingly. As far as I know there is no list archiv.

  There is now a debian-laptop mailing list. Any questions or
  discussions concerning running the Debian/GNU Linux operating
  system(s) on laptops are welcome. Send mail to <debian-laptop-> with a subject of subscribe. Or visit
  the <> site and use the
  online form.

  Also recently founded was Running Linux on IBM ThinkPads, to join send
  an email to, to post send mail to . See
  thinkpad/ <>.

  Lionel, "trollhunter" Bouchpan-Lerust-Juery, <>
  has written a similar HOWTO, please look at his laptop pages
  <> (French version)
  <> (English version).

  Newsgroups are comp.os.linux.portable, comp.sys.laptops .

  12.  Repairing the Hardware

  There are several different reasons that could make it necessary to
  open the case of a laptop.

  1. repairing broken hardware

  2. get some hardware info, which isn't available otherwise

  3. remove the speakers (speakerrektomie, as described in Visual-Bell-

  4. install overdrive for CPU

  5. change BIOS battery

  6. upgrade harddisk

  7. upgrade memory

  Repairing a laptop can be quite expensive if you don't have a
  manufacturer's warranty. Sometimes professional support is bad. But
  opening a laptop case can be difficult. Often the procedures to
  upgrade the memory and the harddisk are described in the manual. For
  further details, you should try to get the maintainance/technical
  manual. Just be extremely careful and make notes as to where each
  screw goes. You must get most of them back in the right hole or you
  could ruin the machine by damaging the system board. Also after you
  get all the screws to an assembly out (some will be hidden) the parts
  are usually held together with plastic clips molded in, so you still
  must exercise care to separate them. Sometimes you need certain tools,
  for instance TORX screw drivers or a solder kit. Good luck.

  WARNING: Usually laptop manufacturers declare the warranty to be void
  if the case was opened by people other than their own staff.

  13.  Solutions with Laptops

  13.1.  Introduction

  The power and capabilities of laptops are sometimes limited as
  described above. But in turn, they have a feature which desktops don't
  have, their mobility. I try to give a survey about applications which
  make sense in connection with laptops. Since I couldn't try all of
  them, there is currently little documentation. If you can provide
  further material, please contact me.

  13.2.  Mobile Network Analyzer

  I'm not an expert in this field, so I just mention the tools I know.
  Please check also for other applications. Besides the usual tools
  tcpdump, netcat, there are two applications I prefer, which may be
  used to analyze network traffic:

  The Multi Router Traffic Grapher (MRTG) is a tool to monitor the
  traffic load on network-links. MRTG generates HTML pages containing
  GIF images which provide a LIVE visual representation of this traffic.
  <> for an example. MRTG is based on
  Perl and C and works under UNIX and Windows NT.

  Network Top - ntop <http://www-> is a Unix tool that shows the network usage,
  similar to what the popular top Unix command does. ntop is based on
  libpcap and it has been written in a portable way in order to
  virtually run on every Unix platform and on Win32 as well. ntop can be
  used in both interactive or web mode. In the first case, ntop displays
  the network status on the user's terminal. In web mode a web browser
  (e.g. netscape) can attach to ntop (that acts as a web server) and get
  a dump of the network status. In the latter case, ntop can be seen as
  a simple RMON-like agent with an embedded web interface.

  13.3.  Mobile Router

  Though designed to work from a single floppy, the Linux Router Project
  (LRP) , seems useful in combination with a laptop, too.

  13.4.  Hacking and Cracking Networks

  When thinking about the powers of laptops, hacking and cracking
  networks may come into mind. Though I don't want to handle this topic
  here, but instead recommend the Security-HOWTO.

  13.5.  Lectures

  If you are giving lectures, readings or presentations in different
  places, a laptop might suit your needs. You can combine it with an
  overhead display, a beamer or a second monitor. For a second monitor
  or a beamer make sure it is supported by your laptop.
  Though Microsoft's PowerPoint is often used for such things, there are
  also Linux solutions:

  ·  pdftex <> creates PDF files
     from Tex files, which can be used toghether with certain LaTeX
     pakcages for presentations, see the example screen designed users

  ·  The Web and Exerquiz Packages
     <> also a
     sophisticated method to create presentations with LaTex.

  ·  PPower <http://www-sp.iti.informatik.tu->

  ·  Dia <> is a program for
     creating diagrams of all kinds. The current version can do UML
     class diagrams, Entity-Relationship modeling, network diagrams, and
     much more. The engine is very flexible and dynamically loads
     diagram-types from disk. It can currently export to postscript and
     load/save in an xml format.

  ·  See also the software maps at KDE (K-Office)
     <> for the program KPresenter and others. And
     GNOME <> .

  ·  MagicPoint or mgp, is an X11-based presentation tool. The home page
     is <> or
     <> or
     <> .

  ·  Commercial packages are: Applixware
     <> and
     Staroffice, see article 15 in LinuxFocus

  13.6.  Mobile Data Collecting

  13.6.1.  Related HOWTOs

  1. Coffee-mini-HOWTO

  2. AX-25-HOWTO


  4. Serial-HOWTO

  5. Serial-Programming-HOWTO

  13.6.2.  Applications

  A Linux laptop can be used to collect data outside an office, e.g.
  geodesy data, sales data, network checks, patient data in a hospital
  and others. There is support for wireless data connections via
  cellular phone modems and amateur radio. I am not sure whether PCMCIA
  radio cards are supported, see Aironet Wireless Communications <>.

  13.6.3.  Specific Environments

  There are laptops available with cases build for a rugged environment
  (even waterproof laptops). In some environments, for instance in
  hospitals, take care of the Electro-Magnetic-Compatibility of the
  laptop. This is influenced by many factors, for instance by the
  material used to build the case. Usually magnesium cases shield better
  than the ones made of plastics.

  13.7.  Mobile Office

  With KDE <> (K-Office), GNOME, <> and the commercial
  products WordPerfect, Staroffice and Applixware <> Linux has more and
  more business software applications.  With the corresponding hardware,
  e.g. a portable printer and a cellular phone which connects to your
  laptop, you will have a very nice mobile office.

  13.8.  Connection to Digital Camera

  AFAIK there are currently three methods to connect a digital camera to
  a laptop: the infrared port (IrDA), serial port and maybe USB. There
  are also some auxiliary programs for conversion of pictures, etc.

  Eric <> wrote: "I finally succeeded in downloading
  pictures from my digital camera, but not exactly the way I expected,
  i.e. not through USB port but using pcmcia card port and memory stick
  device, part of digital camera hardware. Anyway, some interesting
  things to mention:

  Sony (pretending using a standard) uses the msdos format to store
  images as JPEG files ; so the best way to have your OS recognizing
  them is to mount the raw device like a msdos filesystem; using mount
  directly doesn't work (don't know why) but an entry in the /etc/fstab
  file allows you to mount the device correctly. i.e.:

          /dev/hde1    /mnt/camera    msdos     user,noauto,ro    0    0

  Of course, newfs before mount works too, but there is nothing to see
  at all ;-) I think both noauto and ro are important flags; I tried
  without it and it didn't work. Somehow the mount I got seems buggy .
  And if ro is missing, the camera doesn't recognize back the memory
  stick and it needs to be msdos-formatted.

  According to the camera documentation , both pcmcia and USB port
  behave the same (for Mac and Windoze - i.e. you see a file system auto
  mounted) - I deduce for Linux it should be the same thing too, as long
  as the USB driver is installed. I think now that mounting USB raw
  device the way I did with pcmcia should work, but I still couldn't
  find which device to use."

  OpenDiS (Open Digita Support) <> is a
  library and utility program for cameras such as the Kodak DC-220,
  DC-260, DC-265, and DC-280, that run Flashpoint's Digita operating
  system. The library is a unix implementation of the Digita Host
  Interface Specification, intended for embedding Digita support in
  other products such as gPhoto. The utility is a simple command-line
  program for standalone downloading of photos from the cameras.

  gPhoto <> enables you to take a photo from any
  digital camera, load it onto your PC running a free operating system
  like GNU/Linux, print it, email it, put it on your web site, save it
  on your storage media in popular graphics formats or just view it on
  your monitor. gPhoto sports a new HTML engine that allows the creation
  of gallery themes (HTML templates with special tags) making publishing
  images to the world wide web a snap. A directory browse mode is
  implemented making it easy to create an HTML gallery from images
  already on your computer. Support for the Canon PowerShot A50, Kodak
  DC-240/280 USB, and Mustek MDC-800 digital cameras.

  photopc <> is is a
  library and a command-line frontend to manipulate digital still
  cameras based on Fujitsu chipset and Siarra Imaging firmware. The
  program is known to work with Agfa, Epson and Olympus cameras. Should
  also work with Sanyo, but this is untested. The cameras typically come
  with software for Windows and for Mac, and no description of the
  protocol. With this tool, they are manageable from a UNIX box. Bruce
  D. Lightner <> has added support for Win32 and
  DOS platforms. Note that the program does not have any GUI, it is
  plain command-line even on Windows. For a GUI, check out the phototk

  13.9.  Connection to QuickCam (Video)

  AFAIK there are currently two methods to connect a video camera to a
  laptop: a ZV port and maybe USB, but I don't know how this works with
  Linux. I have heard rumors about using a sound card for video data
  transfer to a Linux box, see
  <> . I have heard rumors about a
  Linux-QuickCam-mini-HOWTO, but couldn't find a reliable URL yet. Check
  the sane package which is build for scanner support, this should
  contain support for still-grabbers as well.

  <> provides
  a graphical interface for controlling Kodak Motion Corder fast digital
  cameras over a serial connection. kmc_remote is built on the
  kmc_serial library, part of the kmc_utils package. kmc_remote provides
  a virtual button panel and simple one-touch commands for changing
  system variables which would involve multiple button operations on the
  real camera button console. Buttons, record settings (image size,
  record rate, shutter speed, trigger mode, burst mode), and playback
  rate control should be fully functional. All camera models are
  supported, as well as both PAL and NTSC video.

  Intel PC Camera Pro Pack <> is one of
  the first webcams with USB ports. Also SONY has announced a webcam
  with USB port. See a survey at Steve's Digicams <http://www.steves->.

  13.10.  Connection to Television Set

  If you have a ZV port in the laptop, it should be easy to connect it
  to a TV set, using either NSCA or PAL, but I don't know whether either
  works with Linux.

  13.11.  Connection to Cellular Phone

  AFAIK there are two methods to connect a cellular phone to a laptop:
  via the infrared port (IrDA) or via the serial port. See the
  Linux/IrDA project for the current status of IrDA connections. AFAIK
  only the Ericsson SH888, the Nokia 8110 and the Siemens S25 provide
  infrared support.

  13.12.  Connection to Global Positioning System (GPS)

  From the Hardware-HOWTO I know there is Trimble Mobile GPS available.
  You may also connect a GPS via a serial port. Most GPS receivers have
  a data port and can connect to a PC with a special serial cable.

  ·  dgpsip provides correct GPS location with DGPS signal from

  ·  gpsd <> is a daemon that listens to a
     GPS or Loran receiver and translates the positional data to
     simplified format that can be more easily used by other programs,
     like chart plotters. The package comes with a sample client that
     plots the location of the currently visible GPS satellites (if
     available) and a speedometer. Added support for the DeLame
     EarthMate as well as a new 'speedometer' mini client.

  ·  The QtGPS <> package contains a piece of
     software for Unix/Linux/X and a GPS receiver. It performs logging
     and replaying of a journey, supporting a moving-map display. QtGPS
     works with Lat/Long and British OSGB (Ornance Survey) co-ordinate

  ·  GRASS <>
     (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) is a free software
     raster and vector based GIS, image processing system, graphics
     production system, and spatial modeling system.

  13.13.  Connection via Amateur Radio (HAM)

  AFAIK laptops are used in HAM contests. Please see HAM-HOWTO
  <> by Terry Dawson,
  VK2KTJ, <> .

  13.14.  Satellite Watching

  Together with an antenna and software like seesat or sattrack you can
  use a laptop to locate a satellite for visual observation. You could
  also use xephem on a laptop when stargazing.

  13.15.  Aviation

  Many people are using laptops for aviation related topics. The
  Aviation HOWTO <> is an
  FAQ, HOWTO like document that provides pointers to software packages
  that run under the Linux operating system and are useful to private,
  commercial, or military pilots. The ultimate goal is to enable pilots
  to use the Linux operating system for all their aviation related
  computing needs.

  13.16.  Blind or Visually Impaired Users

  There are some groups of which could gain a specific profit by using
  laptops. For instance blind or visually impaired people (I explicitly
  avoid to say handicapped people). See ACCESS-HOWTO and Blinux - Linux
  for blind people <> for more information. BRLTTY
  is a program which supports different braille terminals. Festival is a
  speech synthesis system. Screen and cursor magnifiers are available.

  14.  Other Operating Systems

  14.1.  DOS/Windows9x/NT

  14.1.1.  Introduction

  Unfortunately, there are a few reasons which might make it necessary
  to put DOS/Windows and Linux together on one laptop. Often the support
  for the flash ROM of PCMCIA cards and modems is not available for
  Linux, or you have to retrieve hardware information, which is not
  visible with Linux, due to a lack of support by some hardware
  manufacturers. I'm not sure wether this tasks can be achieved under an
  emulation like DOS-EMU or WINE.

  If you want Linux with X, Netscape, etc., and Windows95, things will
  be tight in a 1GB harddisk. Though I do so with a 810MB disk.

  14.1.2.  DOS Tools to Repartition a Hard Disk

  Often you get a preinstalled version of Windows on your laptop. If you
  just want to shrink the Windows partition, you need a tool to resize
  the partition. Or you can remove the partition first, repartition,
  then reinstall. Most of the following information I found at the page
  of Michael Egan <> at
  <> .

  A well known and reliable, but commercial product is Partition Magic
  <> from Power Quest.

  Many people have used FIPS 15c (which may support FAT-32)
  <> for
  repartitioning FAT partition sizes.) Also, another version from a
  different source is FIPS 2.0 (claims to support FAT-32)
  <> for repartitioning FAT
  partition sizes.)

  One more "newer" utility for repartitioning and resizing FAT
  partitions is Ranish Partition Manager/Utility (FAT-32 support is
  claimed for this as well, Linux support is taken into account.)
  <> .

  14.1.3.  Partition Sharing

  You may share your swap space between Linux and Windows. Please see
  "Dealing with Limited Resources" section. Also with Linux you can
  mount any kind of DOS/Windows partition. The other way round there are
  also some tools, for instance at
  <> , which provides a tool to
  read and write ext2 partitions from Windows9x/NT.

  Also you can mount DOS drives of the type msdos, vfat and even
  compressed drives (Drivespace, etc.). For long file names use vfat and
  if you like autoconversion ( a nice feature for text files), you may
  do so by using the conv=auto option. I have used this in my
  /etc/fstab, but be aware this might cause some strange behaviour
  sometimes, look at the kernel docs for further details.

  /dev/hda8    /dos/d    vfat    user,exec,nosuid,nodev,conv=auto    0    2

  14.1.4.  Installation without CD Drive

  You may use the CD drive of a desktop (or copy the content of the CD
  to the hard disk) and connect both machines with a nullmodem cable.
  Than use a DOS boot floppy and the program INTERLNK.EXE to connect
  both machines.

  14.1.5.  Miscellaneous

  Windows/NT offers: RAS - Remote Access Service

  Windows/9x/NT offers the PPTP protocol to connect to remote sites via
  a TCP/IP tunnel. This protocol is also supported by Linux.  PoPToP
  <> is the PPTP server solution
  for Linux allowing Linux servers to function seamlessly in the PPTP
  VPN environment. This enables administrators to leverage the
  considerable benefits of both Microsoft clients and Linux servers. The
  current pre-release version supports Windows 95/98/NT PPTP clients and
  PPTP Linux clients. The PoPToP pre-release server is not yet fully
  optimised. On release, PoPToP will be fully compliant with IETF PPTP
  Internet Draft and it will seamlessly support Windows PPTP clients
  with the full range of encryption and authentication features.

  14.2.  BSD Unix

  1. PicoBSD is a one floppy version of FreeBSD 3.0-current, which in
     its different variations allows you to have secure dialup access,
     small diskless router or even a dial-in server. And all this on
     only one standard 1.44MB floppy. It runs on a minimum 386SX CPU
     with 8MB of RAM (no HDD required!). You probably may also use it to
     install BSD on a laptop as described with micro Linuxes above. You
     get PicoBSD at

  2. PAO: FreeBSD Mobile Computing Package
     <> FreeBSD is a version of the UNIX
     operating system that runs on PC hardware. It uses a different set
     of support for PCMCIA devices, APM, and other mobility related

  3. The CMU Monarch Project <>
     Implementations of Mobile-IPv4 and Mobile-IPv6 for FreeBSD

  4. XF86Config Archive <
     list.html>. A database of XF86Config files used by Linux and
     FreeBSD users. If you need an XF86Config file for your notebook or
     laptop, check out this site. (Some documents available in Japanese

  5. AFAIK there is no IrDA support yet.

  14.3.  OS/2

  At The Notebook/2 Site <> by Dr.
  Martinus you may find information about different notebooks and PCMCIA
  cards working with OS/2.

  14.4.  NOVELL Netware

  The client side with DOS/Windows9x style operating systems seems to be
  no problem, since there are many PCMCIA cards with drivers for Netware
  available. For Linux connections see the mars_nwe package. Also the
  Caldera Linux distribtion is well known for its Novell support.

  I hadn't time to build a Netware server on a laptop yet and couldn't
  check wether there are network connections possible (PCMCIA driver for
  Netware server).

  14.5.  Debian GNU/Hurd (hurd-i386)

  The GNU Hurd is a totally new operating system being put together by
  the GNU group. In fact, the GNU Hurd is the final component which
  makes it possible to built an entirely GNU OS -- and Debian GNU/Hurd
  is going to be one such (possibly even the first) GNU OS. The current
  project is founded on the i386 architecture, but expect the others to
  follow soon.

  The GNU Hurd Hardware Compatibility Guide
  states that Hurd should work on laptops, but PCMCIA support isn't
  ready yet.

  15.  ToDo

  1. mention the corresponding kernel options in the Linux Compatibility
     Check sections

  2. write more Hardware sections

  16.  Revision History

  v0.1 13 January 1999, first draft

  v0.2 15 January 1999, minor changes

  v0.3 28 January 1999, APM chapter started, minor changes

  v0.4 8 February, APM chapter rewritten, removed some lint

  v0.5 17 February 1999, added small USB chapter, added Dealing with
  Limited Resources chapter, added Solutions with Laptops chapter, minor
  editorial changes, released draft to the public

  v1.0 19 February 1999, added Sound and Keyboard chapter, minor
  changes, release to the LDP

  v1.1 28 February 1999, spelling, grammar, style checked and many
  additional information added by W. Wade Hampton, added CD Drive,
  Harddisk and Kernel chapters, many minor changes

  v1.2 5 March 1999, added Debian-Laptop-Mailing-List, added information
  about apmcd and suspendd to APM chapter, changed some URLs, minor

  v1.3 8 March 1999, minor changes

  v1.4 25 March 1999, added ACPI information, added chapters Appendix C
  - NeoMagic Chip NM20xx by Cedric Adjih and Appendix D - Annotated
  Bibliography , minor changes

  v1.5 4 April 1999, added chapters about setting up E-Mail by Peter
  Englmaier and Noise Reduction, minor changes

  v1.6 26 June 1999, rewrite of APM chapter, added install method via
  LapLink cable, URLs changed or added, spell checking, minor changes

  v1.7 28 September 1999, changed <htmlurl ..> SGML tags to <url ..>,
  ACPI chapter separated, touchpad chapter separated and improved,
  preface rewritten, added information about divine, noflushd and
  parted, new chapter Linux Tools to Repartition a Hard Disk, added
  appendix E about specific laptops, some URLs updated, minor changes

  v2.0 2 October 1999, added information about gphoto, kmc_utils, Memory
  Technology Devices and HUT Mobile IP; changed structur of document
  (moved chapters Accessories, Laptop Distribution and chapter about
  partitioning), new DVD chapter, started Aviation chapter, started OS/2
  chapter, started Blind and Visually Impaired Users chapter, changed
  entity &tilde; in URLs to ~ to improve SGML-Tools PS output (otherwise
  ~ is missing), link to new Lucent WinModem driver, minor additions and

  v2.1 2 November 1999, added information about email with UUCP, the use
  of CVS and other tools to synchronize two machines, the noatime mount
  option, GPS systems, presentation tools, and hard disk form factors,
  started chapter about the Hurd, changed URL of PCMCIA-CS package and
  LDP, reworked credits chapter, reworked APM chapter, minor changes

  v2.2 2 December 1999, reorganized the chapters about Cellular Phones,
  Pagers, Calculators, Digital Cameras, Wearable Computing and Noise
  Reduction, many minor changes and bug fixes

  v2.2a 3 November 2000, links updated

  v2.2b 27 February 2003, links updated (,, linux-

  17.  Credits

  I would like to thank the many people who assisted with corrections
  and suggestions. Their contributions have made this work far better
  than I could ever have done alone. Especially I would like to thank,
  in order of appearance:
  ·  First of all Kenneth E. Harker <kharker at>, from his
     page Linux on Laptops <> I have
     included much material into this HOWTO, but didn't always quote him

  ·  The other HOWTO authors from the LINUX DOCUMENTATION PROJECT - LDP

  ·  The members of the Linux/IrDA Project

  ·  The members of the Linux-Laptop Mailing List.

  ·  The members of the Debian-Laptop Mailing List.

  ·  The visitors and contributors of my TuxMobil <>

  ·  David Hinds, the maintainer of the PCMCIA-CS
     <> package.

  ·  Frank Schneider <SPATZ1 at T-ONLINE.DE>.

  ·  Stefan Martig <martig at>.

  ·  Michele Andreoli, maintainer of muLinux

  ·  Klaus Franken <kfr at>.

  ·  W. Wade, Hampton <whampton at>, did much of spell,
     grammar and style checking and added many valuable information.

  ·  Anderson MacKay <mackay at>, RLUG - Rice University Linux
     User Group  <>, gave many different detailed

  ·  Sean 'Shaleh' Perry, <shaleh at>, Debian maintainer of
     anacron and other packages, for Debian support.

  ·  Bob Toxen <bob at>.

  ·  Peter Sprenger <spre at>.

  ·  Felix Braun <fbraun at>.

  ·  Steve Rader <rader at>.

  ·  Richard Worwood <>
     <richard at>, for mirroring of the HOWTO.

  ·  Marcel Ovidiu Vlad <marceluc at leland.Stanford.EDU>.

  ·  Ludger Berse <lberse01 at>.

  ·  Cedric Adjih <cedric.adjih at>, wrote the chapter about
     the NeoMagic chipset.

  ·  Peter Englmaier <ppe at>, provided the chapter about a
     sophisticated email setup.

  ·  Michael Wiedmann <mw at>, PIA - X11 based
     PalmPilot Address Manager <>
     , found many spelling errors and more.

  ·  Adam Spiers <adam at>.

  ·  Lionel, "trollhunter" Bouchpan-Lerust-Juery, <trollhunter at>, for providing the French translation
     and information about wearables
     <> .

  ·  Nathan Myers <ncm at>, from LL - LinuxLaptops
     <> for numerous additions.

  ·  Ben Attias <hfspc002 at>.

  ·  Igor Pesando <ipesando at>.

  ·  Geert Van der Plas <Geert.VanderPlas at>,
     provided information about the touchpad driver included in the GPM.

  ·  Chandran Shukla <chandran at>.

  ·  Harald Milz <hm at>, from SuSE <>
     provided numerous additions.

  ·  Ingo Dietzel <> <ingo.dietzel at>, for his patience with the project.

  ·  Emerson, Tom # El Monte <TOMEMERSON at>, for his
     idea about laptop bags.

  ·  Thomas Traber <traber at>.

  ·  Bill Gjestvang <datawolf at>.

  ·  Leandro Noferin <lnoferin at>, for proofreading the
     italian parts.

  ·  Stephane Bortzmeyer <stephane at> for his suggestions
     about email with UUCP, the use of CVS or related tools to
     synchronize two machines, and the noatime mount option.

  ·  Peter Teuben <teuben at>, for some suggestions about
     hard disks.

  ·  Guido Germano <> <guido at>, for information about the Macintosh Powerbook 145B.

  ·  Joel Eriksson <joel.eriksson at>, for
     information about Atari laptops.

  ·  Gilles Lamiral <lamiral at> for providing the PLIP

  ·  Alessandro Grillo <Alessandro_Grillo at>, started the
     Italian translation.

  ·  Gledson Evers <pulga_linux at>, started the Portuguese

  ·  Dan Kegel <dank at>, pointed me to the Toshiba
     Linux page.

  ·  Jaime Robles <> <ea4abw
     at>, gave me some information about the HAM-HOWTO.

  ·  LuftHans <> <LuftHans at>,
     announced this HOWTO to the maintainer of the Hardware-HOWTO.
  ·  Jari Malinen <> <jtm at>,
     for support with HUT Mobile IP.

  ·  John Beimler <john at>, provided the URL of photopc.

  ·  Steven G. Johnson <stevenj at MIT.EDU>, provided the information
     about Apple/Macintosh m86k machines.

  ·  Ulrich Oelmann <ulrich.oelmann at>, gave valuable
     additions about the installation with muLinux.

  ·  Lucio Pileggi <lucio at>, provided information about
     the Siemens S25 cellular phone.

  ·  Eric <dago at> wrote how to transfer pictures from a
     digital camera.

  ·  Sorry, but probably I have forgotten to mention everybody who

  18.  Appendix A - Survey about Micro Linuxes

  Because of their small or non-existent footprint, micro-Linuxes are
  especially suited to run on laptops -- particularly if you use a
  company-provided laptop running Windows9x/NT. Or for installation
  purposes using another non Linux machine. There are several micro
  Linux distributions out there that boot from one or two floppies and
  run off a ramdisk.

  See  <> or
  <> for details. You
  may find a FAQ and a mailing list about boot-floppies at
  <>. Also a
  BootDisk-HOWTO is available. Thanks to Matthew D. Franz maintainer of
  Trinux for this tips and collecting most of the following URLs. See
  also the content of Console/Mini Distributions at FreshMeat

  1. MuLinux <> by Michele Andreoli

  2. tomsrtbt
     <> "The most Linux on one floppy.
     (distribution or panic disk)." by Tom Oehser

  3. Trinux  <> "A Linux
     Security Toolkit" by Matthew D. Franz

  4. LRP "Linux Router Project"

  5. hal91

  6. floppyfw
     <> by Thomas Lundquist

  7. minilinux are/mini-linux/
     < are/mini-linux/> (seems no more
     valid) or

  8. monkey

  9. DLX
     <> by Erich Boem


     <> "A mini-distribution
     to run games"

     Xdenu <> ,
     quotating Alan Cox: "Xdenu is a small distribution program that
     installs as a set of DOS zips onto a DOS partition and gives you a
     complete X11 client workstation."

     LOAF <>

     pocket-linux <http://pocket->





     SmallLinux by Steven Gibson
     <> Three disk micro-distribution of
     Linux and utilities. Based on kernel 1.2.11. Root disk is ext2
     format and has fdisk and mkfs.ext2 so that a harddisk install can
     be done. Useful to boot up on old machines with less than 4MB of

     cLIeNUX by Rick Hohensee client-use-oriented Linux distribution /pub/colorg <

     linux-lite by Paul Gortmaker for very small systems with less than
     2MB RAM and 10MB harddisk space (1.x.x kernel)

     See also the packages at MetaLab formerly known as SunSite!INDEX.html
     <!INDEX.html> and
     the Boot-Disk-HOWTO

     You may also consider some of the boot floppies provided by various
     distributions falling into this category, e.g. the boot/rescue
     floppy of Debian/GNU Linux.

     If you like to build your own flavour of a boot floppy you may do
     so manually, as described in the BootDisk-HOWTO or using some
     helper tools, for instance mkrboot (provided at least as a
     Debian/GNU Linux package) or pcinitrd, which is part of the PCMCIA-
     CS package by David Hinds.

     Also you might try to build your Linux system on a ZIP drive. This
     is described in the ZIP-Install-mini-HOWTO.

  19.  Appendix B - Dealing with Limited Resources or Tuning the System

  19.1.  Related HOWTOs


  2. Small-Memory-HOWTO

  19.2.  Introduction

  As mentioned in the introduction laptops sometimes have less resources
  if you compare them to desktops. To deal with limited space, memory,
  CPU speed and battery power, I have written this chapter.

  19.3.  Small Space

  19.3.1.  Introduction

  There are different types of techniques to gain more disk space, such
  as sharing of space, freeing unused or redundant space, filesystem
  tuning and compression. Note: some of these techniques use memory
  instead of space. As you will see, there are many small steps
  necessary to free some space.

  19.3.2.  Techniques

  1. Stripping: Though many distributions come with stripped binaries
     today it is useful to check this. For details see man strip. To
     find every unstripped file you can use the file command or more
     convenient the tool findstrip. Attention: don't strip libraries,
     sometimes the wrong symbols are removed due to a bad programming
     technique. Or use the --strip-unneeded option.

  2. Perforation: zum(1)reads a file list on stdin and attempts to
     perforate these files. Perforation means, that series of null bytes
     are replaced by lseek, thus giving the file system a chance of not
     allocating real disk space for those bytes. Example: find . -type f
     | xargs zum

  3. Remove Odd Files and Duplicates: Check your system for core files,
     emacs recovery files <#FILE#> vi recovery files <FILE>.swp, RPM
     recovery files <FILE>.rpmorig and patch recovery files. Find
     duplicates, you may try finddup. Choose a system to name your
     backup, temporary and test files, e.g. with a signature at the end.

  4. Clean Temporary Files: , e.g. /tmp, there is even a tool tmpwatch.

  5. Shorten the Log Files: usually the files in /var/log.

  6. Remove Files: Remove files which are not "necessary" under all
     circumstances such as man pages, documentation /usr/doc and sources
     e.g. /usr/src .

  7. Unnecessary Libraries: You may use the binstats package to find
     unused libraries (Thanks to Tom Ed White).

  8. Filesystem: Choose a filesystem which treats disk space
     economically e.g. rsfs. Tune your filesystem e.g. tune2fs. Choose
     an appropriate partition and block size.

  9. Reduce Kernel Size: Either by using only the necessary kernel
     features and/or making a compressed kernel image bzImage.

     Compression: I didn't check this but AFAIK you may compress your
     filesystem with gzip and decompress it on the fly. Alternatively
     you may choose to compress only certain files. You can even execute
     compressed files with zexec

     Compressed Filesystems:

     - For e2fs filesystems there is a compression version available
     e2compr , see
     <> .

     - DMSDOS which enables your machine to access Windows95 compressed
     drives (drivespace, doublestacker). If you don't need DOS/Windows95
     compatibility, i.e. if you want to compress Linux-only data, this
     is really discouraged by the author of the program. See
     <http://fb9nt-ln.uni-> .

     Partition Sharing: You may share swap-space (see Swap-Space-HOWTO)
     or data partitions between different OS (see mount). For mounting
     MS-DOS Windows95 compressed drives (doublespace, drivespace) you
     may use dmsdos

     Libraries: Take another (older) library, for instance libc5 , this
     library seems to be smaller than libc6 aka glibc2 .

     Kernel: If your needs are fitted with an older kernel version, you
     can save some space.

     GUI: Avoid as much Graphical User Interface (GUI) as possible.

     Tiny Distributions: There are some distributions available which
     fit from one 3.5" floppy to 10MB disk space and fit for small
     memories, too. See appendix A and below.

     External Storage Devices (Hard Disks, ZIP Drives, NFS, SAMBA):
     Since many notebooks may be limited in their expandability, using
     the parallel port is an attractive option. There are external
     harddisks and ZIP Drives available. Usually they are also
     connectable via PCMCIA. Another way is using the resources of
     another machine through NFS or SAMBA etc.

  19.4.  Harddisk Speed

  Use the tool hdparm to set up better harddisk performance. Though I
  have seen laptop disk enabled with striping, I can't see a reason to
  do so, because IMHO aka RAID0 striping needs at least two different
  disks to increase performance.

  See UNIX and LINUX Computing Journal: Tunable Filesystem Parameters in
  /proc <> How to increase,
  decrease and reconfigure filsystem behavior from within /proc.

  19.5.  Small Memory

  19.5.1.  Related HOWTOs

  1. Small-Memory-mini-HOWTO by Todd Burgess < >

  2. Modules-mini-HOWTO

  3. Kerneld-mini-HOWTO

  19.5.2.  Techniques

  Check the memory usage with free and top.

  Mergemem Project  <>.
  Many programs contain memory areas of the same content that remain
  undetected by the operating system. Typically, these areas contain
  data that have been generated on startup and remain unchanged for
  longer periods. With mergemem such areas are detected and shared. The
  sharing is performed on the operating system level and is invisible to
  the user level programs. mergemem is particularily useful if you run
  many instances of interpreters and emulators (like Java or Prolog)
  that keep their code in private data areas. But also other programs
  can take advantage albeit to a lesser degree.

  You may also reduce the kernel size as much as possible by removing
  any feature which is not necessary for your needs and by modularizing
  the kernel as much as possible.

  Also you may shutdown every service or daemon which is not needed,
  e.g. lpd, mountd, nfsd and close some virtual consoles. Please see
  Small-Memory-mini-HOWTO for details.

  And of coarse use swap space, when possible.

  If possible you use the resources of another machine, for instance
  with X, VNC or even telnet. For more information on Virtual Network
  Computing (VNC), see http://
  <> .

  19.6.  Low CPU Speed

  You may want to overdrive the CPU speed but this can damage your
  hardware and I don't have experience with it. For some examples look
  at Adorable Toshiba Libretto - Overclocking

  19.7.  Power Saving Techniques

  1. If you don't need infrared support, disable it in the BIOS or
     shutdown the IrDA device driver. There are also some IrDA features
     of the kernel which are useful for saving power.

  2. PCMCIA services consume much power, so shut them down if you don't
     need them.

  3. I'm not sure to which extend the backlight consumes power. WARNING:
     AFAIK this device can only bear a limited number of uptime circles.
     So avoid using screensavers.

  4. For some examples to build batteries with increased uptime up to 8
     hours look at Adorable Toshiba Libretto

  5. For information about APM look at the APM chapter above.

  6. A hacked rclock  <>.
     Booker C. Bense has hacked the rclock program to include a simple
     battery power meter on the clock face.

  7. xbatstat <>. A
     battery level status checker for Linux and X.

  8. The "noatime" option when mouting filesystems tells the kernel to
     not update the access time information of the file. This
     information, although sometimes useful, is not used by most people
     (do you know that ls -lu gives you the access time?). Therefore,
     you can safely disable it, then preventing disk access each time
     you cat a file. Here is an example of a /etc/fstab with this power-
     saving option:

       /dev/hda7 /var ext2 defaults,noatime 0 2

  9. hdparm
     hdparm is a Linux IDE disk utility that lets you set spin-down
     timeouts and other disk parameters. It works also for some SCSI
     Mobile Update Daemon
     <> This is a
     drop-in replacement for the standard update daemon, mobile-update
     minimizes disk spin ups and reduces disk uptime. It flushes buffers
     only when other disk activity is present. To ensure a consistent
     file system call sync manually. Otherwise files may be lost on
     power failure. mobile-update does not use APM. So it works also on
     older systems.

     noflushd <>: noflushd
     monitors disk activity and spins down disks that have been idle for
     more than <timeout> seconds. It requires a kernel >=2.2.11 . Useful
     in combination with hdparm and mount with noatime option to bring
     down disk activity.

     Toshiba Linux Utilities
     <> This is a set of Linux
     utilities for controlling the fan, supervisor passwords, and hot
     key functions of Toshiba Pentium notebooks. There is a KDE package
     Klibreta, too.

     At Kenneth E. Harker's page there is a recommendation for LCDproc
     LCDProc <> . "LCDproc is a small
     piece of software that will enable your Linux box to display live
     system information on a 20x4 line backlit LCD display. This program
     shows, among other things, battery status on notebooks." I tried
     this package and found that it connects only to the external
     Matrix-Orbital 20x4 LCD display
     <>, which is a LCD display connected
     to a serial port. I can't see any use for a laptop yet.

     Diald: Dial Daemon  <> .
     The Diald daemon provides on demand Internet connectivity using the
     SLIP or PPP protocols. Diald can automatically dial in to a remote
     host when needed or bring down dial-up connections that are

     KDE <> provides KAPM, Kbatmon
     and Kcmlaptop. Written by Paul Campbell kcmlaptop is a set of KDE
     control panels that implements laptop computer support functions,
     it includes a dockable battery status monitor for laptops - in
     short a little icon in the KDE status bar that shows how much
     battery time you have left. It also will warn you when power is
     getting low and allows you to configure power saving options.

     Similar packages you may find at the GNOME project <> . See the software
     maps at both sites.

     Please see Battery Powered Linux Mini-HOWTO by Hanno Mueller,
     <> for more information.

  19.8.  Kernel

  19.8.1.  Related HOWTOs

  ·  Kernel-HOWTO

  ·  BootPrompt-HOWTO

  Many kernel features are related to laptops. For instance APM, IrDA,
  PCMCIA and some options for certain laptops, e.g. IBM ThinkPads. In
  some distributions they not configured. And the kernel is usually
  bigger than necessary. So it's seems a good idea to customize the
  kernel. Though this task might seem difficult for the beginner it is
  highly recommended. Since this involves dangerous operations you need
  to be careful. But, if you can install a better kernel successfully,
  you've earned your intermediate Linux sysadmin merit badge. - Since
  this topic is already covered in other documents I want handle this

  19.9.  Tiny Applications and Distributions

  A small collection yet, but I'm looking for more information.

  1. BOA - "Lightweight and High Performance WebServer. boa is a single-
     tasking HTTP server. That means that unlike traditional web
     servers, it does not fork for each incoming connection, nor does it
     fork many copies of itself to handle multiple connections. It
     internally multiplexes all of the ongoing HTTP connections, and
     forks only for CGI programs (which must be separate processes.)
     Preliminary tests show boa is capable of handling several hundred
     hits per second on a 100 MHz Pentium."

  2. MGR - a graphical windows system, which uses much less resources
     than X.

  3. Low Bandwidth X:

     Alan Cox in LINUX REDUX February 1998 " .. there are two that
     handle normal applications very nicely. LBX (Low Bandwidth X) is
     the official application of the X Consortium (now OpenGroup Dxpc
     <> is the alternative most
     people prefer. These systems act as proxy X11 servers and compress
     datastreams by well over 50 percent for normal requests, often
     reaching a reduction to 25 percent of the original bandwidth usage.
     With dxpc, X windows applications are quite usable over a 28.8
     modem link or across the Internet."

  4. blackbox - "This is a window manager for X. It is similar in many
     respects to such popular packages as Window Maker, Enlightenment,
     and FVWM2. You might be interested in this package if you are tired
     of window managers that are a heavy drain on your system resources,
     but you still want an attractive and modern-looking interface."

  5. xfce - xfce <> is a lightweight and stable
     desktop environment for various UNIX systems.

  6. linux-lite - distribution based on a 1.x.x kernel for systems with
     only 2MB memory and 10MB harddisk. URL see above.

  7. smallLinux -
     <> . Three disk micro-distribution
     of Linux and utilities. Based on kernel 1.2.11. Root disk is ext2
     format and has fdisk and mkfs.ext2 so that a harddisk install can
     be done. Useful to boot up on old machines with less than 4MB of

  8. cLIeNUX - client-use-oriented Linux distribution.

  9. minix - not a Linux but a UNIX useful for very small systems, such
     as 286 CPU and 640K RAM
     <> . There is even X support
     named mini-x by David I. Bell
     <> .

     screen - tiny but powerful console manager. John M. Fisk
     <> in LINUX GAZETTE July 1, 1996 :"It's
     a GUI, GUI, GUI, GUI world! " -- or so the major OS manufacturers
     would have you belief. Truth is, that while this is increasingly
     the case, there are times when the command line interface (CLI) is
     still a very good choice for getting things done. It's fast,
     generally efficient, and is a good choice on memory or CPU
     constrained machines. And don't forget that there are still a lot
     of very nifty things that can be done at the console."

     tinyirc - "A tiny, stripped down IRC Client. Doesn't have most of
     the more advance commands in the ircII family of IRC Clients, nor
     does it have any color, but it works, and it's tiny."

  19.10.  Hardware Upgrade

  You may also take into account to upgrade the hardware itself, though
  this may have some caveats, see chapter Open a Laptop Case above. If
  you need a survey about the possibilities, you can take a look at <>, this page is also
  available in French and English.

  20.  Appendix C - NeoMagic Chip NM20xx

  20.1.  Introduction

  Hence the NeoMagic chipset series NM20xx is one of the most used
  graphic chips in laptops in our times, I will spent a few words on
  them. Though a long time this chip was only supported by commercial X
  servers, since the middle of 1998 RedHat provided a binary X server
  manufactured by PrecisionInsight. Since version 3.3.3 this X server is
  also available by XFree86.

  20.2.  Textmode 100x37

  This chapter is a courtesy of Cedric Adjih < >.
  I changed some minor parts.

  An apparently little known fact about the Neomagic chipset NM20xx is
  that you can run text mode in 100x37 (i.e. 800x600). This text mode is
  very nice (as opposed to the 80x25 which is ugly). I tried this with a
  HP OmniBook 800 and suppose it might work with other laptops using the
  NeoMagic chip, too. The following that I wrote was much longer than I
  expected so I wrote it as a kind of mini-howto :-) :

  The main problem is that is a bit difficult to set up, and if you're
  going wrong with SVGATextMode/restoretextmode some results on the LCD
  might be frightening. Although I didn't manage to break my LCD with
  many many attempts going wrong, DISCLAMER: THIS MIGHT DAMAGE YOUR

  20.2.1.  Survey

  You need to do three main steps:

  1. Enable Linux to boot in 800x600 textmode. The problem is that you
     won't see any text before the following two steps aren't done.

  2. Automatically run restoretextmode with correct register data.

  3. Automatically run SVGATextMode.

  20.2.2.  More Details

  All the files I have modified, are available for now at
  <>  Enabling Linux to Boot in 800x600

  Recent kernels (2.2.x) need to be compiled with CONFIG_VIDEO_GFX_HACK
  defined. Default is off. (look in

  This is done by passing the parameter vga=770 to older kernels or
  vga=7 to 2.2.x kernels. Example with lilo.conf:

  append="svgatextmode=100x37x8_SVGA" #explained later
  ______________________________________________________________________  Running restoretextmode  and SVGATextMode  at Boot Time

  You must arrange to run restoretextmode <name of some textreg.dat
  file> and SVGATextMode 100x37x8_SVGA at boot time.

  An example textreg.dat for restoretextmode (obtained using
  savetextmode) is in my tar archive in tmp/, and an example

  Since I'm lazy, I've simply put SVGATextMode and restoretextmode in
  the /etc/rc.boot/kbd file from my Debian/GNU Linux which get executed
  at boot time (also available in the tar archive).  Now the Key Point

  Annoying things will be displayed if you don't use the right
  SVGATextMode in the right video text mode: this is why I also pass the
  environmental variable "svgatextmode=100x37x8_SVGA" (arbitrary name)
  to the kernel (using append=xxx in lilo.conf) when I also set vga=7:
  the script /etc/rc.boot/kbd tests this variable and calls
  restoretextmode and SVGATextMode IF AND ONLY IF.

  20.2.3.  Road Map

  1. Recompile the kernel 2.2.x with CONFIG_VIDEO_GFX_HACK

  2. Insert the restoretextmode with the correct parameter in the
     initialisation script, with no other changes.

  3. Boot with normal text mode (80x25) but restoretextmode: you should
     see the screen going to 100x37, but with only 80x25 usable. Don't
     use SVGATextMode yet.

  4. It is much better to conditionnalize your initialize code as I did,
     to keep the possibility of booting in both modes: you may test this
     now with some reboots (starting restoretextmode or not).

  5. Boot with 100x37 text mode using parameter vga=7 (lilo.conf), you
     should see white background at some point, but the characters will
     be black on black. This is ok. You'll have to reboot blindly now.

  6. Insert the <path>/SVGATextMode 100x37x8_SVGA after the
     restoretextmode in initialization scripts.

  7. Reboot with vga=7 (lilo.conf)

  8. Should be OK now. Enjoy.

  21.  Appendix D - Annotated Bibliography

  ·  Linux guides and HOWTOs, available at the Linux Documentation
     Project (LDP)
     <> . These sources of information are
     highly recommended.

  ·  I found two books about PC hardware which contain a dedicated
     chapter about repairing laptops.

     Author: Scott Mueller

     Title: Upgrading and Repairing PCs

     Publisher: QUE Corporation.

     Author: Marc Misani

     Title: The Complete Hardware Upgrade and Maintainance Guide

     Publisher: unknown

     Both books don't know about Linux and both are quite short about
     laptops. The book by Marc Minasi provides a little more information
     about laptops.

  ·  Authors: Alessandro Rubini, Andy Oram Title: Linux Device Drivers

  ·  Author: Stephen J. Bigelow

     Title: Maintain and Repair Your Notebook, Palmtop, or Pen Computer

     Publisher: McGraw Hill Text, September 1993

     Review by Booknews, Inc. , January 1, 1994: A guide to performing
     routine maintenance and simple repairs to notebook, palmtop and pen
     computers. Covers such topics as how to diagnose and replace faulty
     LCD and plasma displays, and how to protect circuitry from
     electrostatic damage. Written with beginners in mind -- but some
     hardware experience would be helpful in understanding the
     subtleties and cautions involved. Annotation copyright Book News,
     Inc. Portland, Or. Though this book seems outdated I don't know a
     newer one.

  ·  Author: Frank van Gilluwe

     Title: The Undocumented PC

     Publisher: Addison Wesley Developers Press

     Review by Craig Hart: There are two editions. Edition 1 has a
     purple cover, edition 2 has a grey marble background photo with
     brown-on-yellow text panel. Edition 2 is not much better than
     edition one - only about 10%; of the information has changed,
     although a lot of typographical errors have been corrected. This is
     an excellent book, because it not only lists the raw data required
     to program something, but it has lot's of explanations, how-to's
     and example programs.

  ·  Authors: Gerald Reischl <> / Heinz Sundt

     Title: Die mobile Revolution

     Publisher: Frankfurt: Ueberreuter 1999

     Some speculations about the future of mobile communication.

  22.  Appendix E - Resources for Specific Laptops

  Certain laptops have found some more enthusiastic Linux users, than
  other models. This list is probably not comprehensive:

  22.1.  IBM ThinkPad

  ThinkPad Configuration Tool for Linux tpctl

  Mailing list linux-thinkpad <

  22.2.  Toshiba Laptops

  Toshiba Linux Utilities  <>
  This is a set of Linux utilities for controlling the fan, supervisor
  passwords, and hot key functions of Toshiba Pentium notebooks. There
  is a KDE package Klibreta, too.

  See also Toshiba Linux Utilities <>

  Mailing lists: linux-on-portege
  <> , Linux on
  Toshiba Satellite 40xx linux-tosh-40xx <>.

  Toshiba itself offers now  Toshiba Linux Support
  22.3.  COMPAQ Concerto Aero

  COMPAQ Concerto Fan's Home Page
  <> and Aero-FAQ

  The latest version of the Linux Compaq Concerto Pen Driver
  <> is available from Joe
  Pfeiffer's home page.

  22.4.  DELL Laptops

  Mailing list at linux-dell-laptops

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