The manufacturer AOPEN does not seem to directly support Linux. Mine came with Microsoft XP-Pro pre loaded. I re-installed XP-Pro and left un-allocated space for Linux.
Mandriva (Mandrake) 9.0 would not install from CD's - so all 3 CD's were copied to a fat32 partition and a Linux install boot floppy made (e.g. with hd.img from CD 1 /images) and with use of an external USB floppy Mandrake was able to be installed (when floppy boots start the installation with "linux ide=nodma " ). Note: newer versions up to 10.0 Official did boot and install from CD. I have managed to get everything working so far (onboard LAN, touchpad - GeForce2 video - usb floppy=/dev/sda etc), only thing not working yet is sound and AOPEN laptops seem to have many parts in common with Acer .
Just some last comments, having available USB keyboard and USB mouse is essential for installing Debian and configuring it. After Debian is setup these are no longer required. For Mandrake (& probably RedHat) having an USB keyboard, USB mouse and USB floppy is essential, though after setup they are no longer required. To get the touchpad to work you may use the Synaptics TouchPadDriver.
Well I have got the Soft Modem AMR working now in both Debian and Mandrake.
(1) See LinModems(http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/resources.html) look for NEW !!! : Modems based on SmartLink chips. All AMR users, please try their last release and report problems, and perhaps successes, to our list as soon as possible.
(2) Oh if you just want to get the driver from the source ? Get it from SmartLink's FTP site(ftp://ftp.smlink.com/linux/) It is an un-supported development directory so do not expect them to give you support but you probably will not nead it. Here are a few Laptops where people have reported their inbuilt modem works with the driver. Toshiba 1900 AMR - IBM X24 AMR and my Aopen 1545 AMR and of course any of the SmartLink AMR modems. There is even stuff in the tar.gz for usb modems !!! OH BTW - the driver(s) at SmartLink is only for Kernel 2.4.x
(3) Linmodems Archives(http://linmodems.org/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi/1) - quite a few posts about Smartlink AMR working
Now (2005/2006) I believe a far better option of GNU/Distros is PCLinuxOS(http://www.pclinuxos.com/). PCLinuxOS is a LiveCD that you can install - if you like it. It has very good hardware detection, every thing just works. PCLinuxOS is a fork of Mandrake/Mandriva _ BUT _ is 100% FREE and it all comes on 1 CD (just under 2 GB will get installed as it is all compressed on the CD) Once installed additional software is installed via the Internet using the Synaptic GUI front end for apt-get(rpm) making it a bit like Debian.
NOTE: I have not used the onboard AMR modem as I now have DSL Once a version is installed, you will never have to re-install to update to a new version. You can use Synaptic even for a new kernel (you do have to re-boot after changing kernels) NB: I originally installed v.p.91 and updated online to v.p.92
The only thing people should know is when booting the LiveCD
to get it to display correctly (EG: fill the screen) is to
use F1 first read the tips (commonly known as Cheet Codes)
livecd xdrv=fbdev xres=800x600
livecd xdrv=nv xres=1024x768
and then hit Enter - log in as guest (psw=guest) then if it
all looks good there is a Install Icon on the desktop when
clicked it will ask for root's psw (psw=root) etc etc. During
the install you have the option to setup multi-boot with Win
if you want to _ or _ just install PCLinuxOS as the only OS.
It is very easy even for non-Linux Geeks - at end of install (1) it asks you to give a new root psw (2) create new user(s) (3) delete the guest user on the HDD install (very good idea) (4) you then re-boot into your new PCLinuxOS - it is so easy
This page is a courtesy for TuxMobil by John Coombes.