"The Compaq Presario 711 is a nice upgrade from my 475MHz AMD
desktop system. The configuration I recently bought from Costco.com
includes too many features to list here, but it has more than two
times the power that my desktop system has and includes a FireWire
port and an 8x DVD drive. The pre-installed version of Windows XP
wasn't a big selling point for me, though; I wanted to use Linux on
my new laptop.
"Linux has made great progress on desktop systems. Installing a
modern operating system like RH 7.3 on a desktop is almost easy
enough for Aunt Minnie, as Jerry Pournelle likes to call the
everyday computer user. But laptop installs are a different matter.
The hardware on laptops is less generic than what's on the desktop,
but with the move to ATX-style motherboards with integrated
peripherals, this has become less of a problem.
"The first step toward Linux freedom on my new Presario was a
basic install of Red Hat 7.3. For me this consists of selecting a
laptop install from the friendly GUI installation manager, and then
going through the package list to remove everything but the bare
essentials needed to get X and the development tools up and
running. The only real issue with the installer is that it doesn't
auto-detect the video chipset the Presario has, which is a
variation of the Savage chipset called Savage Twister K. So you
have to manually select 'Savage' from the list of video drivers
presented during the install..."