Linux on Laptops

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General Configuration
Power Management and Suspend
Infrared Communications Devices
USB, RS232, Parallel Ports, and Video Ports
Touchpads, Touchscreens, and Pens
Miscellaneous Utilities

Linux Laptop System Configuration

The following are reference materials concerning the use of Linux on laptop and notebook computers that are not generally specific to a particular make or model. These include some tools that have uses beyond laptops, but are of particular interest to laptop users.

General Configuration

  • 4MB Laptop HOWTO
    This document is not a general HOWTO about installing Linux on laptops. It simply describes a way of squeezing a large Linux distribution into a very small space, citing two specific machines as examples.
  • Mapping the Mouse Buttons onto the Keyboard in XFree86
    This tutorial can help make a laptop keyboard more useful and comfortable by making good use of the otherwise useless Windows and Menu keys as virtual mouse buttons.
  • How to Make Your Windows Keys Useful
    You can map just about anything possible to the <Win95> and <Start> keys. This document describes how to modify the Linux and X Window System keytables to suit your purpose.
  • KDE Laptop Control Panels
    This set of control panels for the K Desktop Environment implements laptop computer support functions, including a battery status monitor, and a warning when power is getting low, and a configuration tool for power saving options.
  • Xfiles: File Tree Synchronization and Cross-Validation
    Xfiles is an interactive program that can be used to keep your laptop file tree up to date with another machine, such as your desktop Linux box or a file tree on a server. It's also useful as an alternative backup strategy.


  • The XFree86 Project
    Check out the latest developments for the X Window System implementation used by Linux.
  • XF86Config Archive (in Japanese)
    A database of XF86Config files for several notebook computers available on the Japanese market.
  • XFree86 Cirrus Logic Laptop Configurations
    This site contains a small repository of XF86Config files for numerous notebooks, particularly those using the Cirrus Logic 7543 and 7548 chipsets.


  • Linux PCMCIA Information Page
    The authoritative source for the latest information about the PCMCIA Card Services for Linux, including documentation, files, and generic PCMCIA information.
  • IOMEGA Clik! PCMCIA Card Drive under Linux
    Iomega's Clik! hard drive is a 40M removable media drive in the shape of a PCMCIA type II card. This contains instructions on how to get the drive to work under Linux.

Power Management and Suspend

  • Battery Powered Linux Mini-HOWTO
    Help out other Linux notebook and laptop users optimize their battery life and performance by providing your hints and suggestions to this Mini-HOWTO.
  • Power Management
    The Linux Advanced Power Management Daemon (APMD) distribution is a set of programs that controls the Advanced Power Management system found in most modern laptop computers.
  • Linux lphdisk
    lphdisk is a Linux utility to format hibernation partitions for use with the APM Suspend-To-Disk features on laptops with Phoenix NoteBIOS.
  • Mobile Update Daemon
    This is a drop-in replacement for the standard "update" daemon that is specially tailored for notebooks to reduce unnecessary hard disk spin-ups.
  • A hacked rclock
    Booker C. Bense has hacked the rclock program to include a simple battery power meter on the clock face.

  • A battery level status checker for Linux and X. The latest version requires Xforms and the apmd utilities.

Infrared Communications Devices

  • The Linux IrDA Project
    IrDA ("infrared") serial ports are built in to many modern notebooks. The overall goal of this project is to incorporate the IrDA protocol stack into the Linux kernel.


  • Linux WinModem Support
    The Linux WinModem Support project hopes to make something useful out of the WinModem problem. Some WinModems are now actually working under Linux, including chipsets in some notebook computers.


  • NetEnv
    If you use your notebook in multiple network environments, NetEnv might be useful for you. When booting your laptop, it provides a simple interface from which one can choose from among several custom network configurations.

  • This utility lets you boot Linux with one of several different network configurations and environment settings.
  • QuickSwitch
    QuickSwitch is a utility that lets Linux/Unix laptop users create and use roaming network profiles.
  • Linux
    A version of Mobile IP is now available for Linux and Solaris. This package allows a portable computer access to the Internet from different networks without changing its IP address.
  • Dynamics HUT Mobile IP
    Another implementation of the Mobile IP concept, Dynamics, developed at Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), is a scalable, dynamical and hierarchical Mobile IP software for Linux operating system.
  • Accton Pocket Ethernet and Linux
    This ethernet adaptor uses a parallel port and delivers approximately 110kBytes/s performance for those notebooks that do not have PCMCIA slots.

USB, RS232, Parallel Ports, and Video Ports

  • Linux USB Project
    If you have a laptop with a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port, you may wish to check out this site for the latest news on the Linux USB support project.
  • Devices and Linux
    Since many notebooks may be limited in their expandability, using the parallel port is an attractive option. This site contains information about the efforts to write device drivers for many popular parallel port hardware devices.

Touchpads, Touchscreens, and Pens

  • Synaptics Touchpad Linux Driver
    The Synaptics touchpad is a pointing device used in notebooks by Acer, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, Olivetti, Texas Instruments, Winbook, and others.
  • Linux Touchscreen Drivers for Fujitsu Lifebooks
    This document describes a new device driver for using the touchscreen on certain Lifebook models of Fujitsu notebooks.
  • Linux Trackpoint Utilities
    The Linux Trackpoint Utilities is a user mode driver / daemon for IBM TrackPoint devices that makes advanced TrackPoint features available under the Linux operating system.
  • Linux Compaq Concerto Pen Driver
    The latest version of the Linux Compaq Concerto Pen Driver is available from its author's home page.

Miscellaneous Utilities

  • tpctl: ThinkPad Configuration Tool for Linux
    tpctl is a program that does some of what PS2.EXE does under DOS and the ThinkPad Configuration program does under Windows. tpctl gives the user access to all the functions of the SMAPI BIOS that are documented in the various ThinkPad Technical Reference manuals.
  • Toshiba Linux Utilities
    This is a set of Linux utilities for controlling the fan, supervisor passwords, and hot key functions of Toshiba Pentium notebooks.

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