Linux on the Road

Linux with Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs, Mobile Phones and Other Portable Devices

Werner Heuser

Version 3.22

Copyright (c) 2000-2011 Werner Heuser. For all chapters except "Lectures, Presentations, Animations and Slideshows" permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being "Preface" and "Credits", with the Front-Cover Texts being "Linux on the Road - the First Book on Mobile Linux", and with the Back-Cover Texts being the section "About the Author". A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".


Revision History
Revision 3.222011-12-12wh
The address of the opensuse-mobile mailing list has been added, a section power management for graphics cards has been added, a short description of Intel's LinuxPowerTop project has been added, all references to Suspend2 have been changed to TuxOnIce, links to OpenSync and Funambol syncronization packages have been added, some notes about SSDs have been added, many URLs have been checked and some minor improvements have been made.
Revision 3.212005-11-14wh
Some more typos have been fixed.
Revision 3.202005-11-14wh
Some typos have been fixed.
Revision 3.192005-11-14wh
A link to keytouch has been added, minor changes have been made.
Revision 3.182005-10-10wh
Some URLs have been updated, spelling has been corrected, minor changes have been made.
Revision 3.17.12005-09-28sh
A technical and a language review have been performed by Sebastian Henschel. Numerous bugs have been fixed and many URLs have been updated.
Revision 3.172005-08-28wh
Some more tools added to external monitor/projector section, link to Zaurus Development with Damn Small Linux added to cross-compile section, some additions about acoustic management for hard disks added, references to added to X11 sections, link to laptop-mode-tools added, some URLs updated, spelling cleaned, minor changes.
Revision 3.162005-07-15wh
Added some information about pcmciautils, link to SoftwareSuspend2 added, localepurge for small HDDs, added chapter about FingerPrint Readers, added chapter about ExpressCards, link to Smart Battery System utils added to Batteries chapter, some additions to External Monitors chapter, links and descriptions added for: IBAM - the Intelligent Battery Monitor, lcdtest, DDCcontrol updated Credits section, minor changes.


Mobile computer devices (laptops, notebooks, PDAs, mobile cell phones, portable audio and video players, digital cameras, calculators, wearables, ...) are different from desktop/tower computers. They use certain hardware such as PCMCIA cards, infrared and BlueTooth ports, wireless LAN, LCD displays, batteries, docking stations. Hardware parts cannot be changed as easily as in a desktops, e.g. the graphics card. Often their hardware is more limited (e.g. disk space, CPU speed). Though the performance gap to desktops is becoming smaller, e.g. in many instances, laptops or notebooks can become a desktop replacement.

Hardware support for Linux (and other operating systems) and mobile computer devices is sometimes more limited (e.g. graphics chips, internal modems). They often use specialized hardware, hence finding a driver can be more difficult. Many times they are used in changing environments, so there is a need for multiple configurations and additional security strategies.

Though there are laptop, notebook, PDA and mobile phone related HOWTOs available already, this guide contains a concise survey of documents related to mobile computer devices. Also Linux features, such as installation methods for laptops, notebooks and PDAs as well as configurations for different (network) environments are described.

Although there are some caveats, Linux is a better choice for mobile computer devices than most other operating systems, because it supports numerous installation methods, works in many heterogeneous environments and needs smaller resources.