"Probably every true geek has thought about it, but far fewer
have actually taken the plunge. The stories of long hours,
frustration, high cost, and the chance of ultimate failure can be
rather daunting. But the siren song is loud and long, and
eventually yours truly was seduced by the promise of possessing one
of the world's finest geek toys: a functioning Linux laptop!"
"Linux, as we all know, started out as a desktop OS. That made
it easy, because a desktop machine has lots of hardware
flexibility: your video card doesn't get along with XFree86? Swap
it out for one that does. Hard drive controller hangs? Drop in a
new one on a PCI card. Soundcard silent? Cruddy CPU-based modem?
Ditto. Desktop hardware is cheap and easy to find, and generally
standardized to the point where a quick web hunt will give you a
pretty good idea of what will work and what won't."
"With a laptop, there's much less room to maneuver. Your video
and sound chips are soldered to your motherboard, along with your
disk controller and maybe your modem. And your pointing device is
screwed, glued, or snapped onto the case. Sure, you could replace
some of these things with add-on cards in PC Card slots or hanging
off the back of your machine, but that gets awkward, expensive, and
generally annoying. You want everything in that fancy notebook you
bought to work!"