For information on finding an affordable, elite laptop to run Linux, see mobile device buying guide.

You will likely have to do some fine-tuning to get all of the features of your mobile computer working correctly with your distro of choice. Many problems have general solutions, however, and ThinkWiki often has the answer to your power management question.

Finding guidance for your specific model

  • http://www.linux-on-laptops.com - Guides for specific models/distros, often quite dated but a good starting point for finding out what you have a reasonable assurance of getting working, pre-purchase.

FAQs

How can I prevent my laptop from waking up in my bag?

Some laptops tend to trigger lid-switch events just by being bumped/compressed, causing them to wake up, often while in a heavily insulated bag, resulting in overheating, possible hard drive damage, and a drained battery. On these laptops, it is essential that you disable the lid switch as a wakeup event. Once you have done so, it will be necessary to press the power button to wake the machine. Note that this will not disable sleeping when the lid is closed, only waking (which is what we want).

To disable the lid switch wake event for the current session:

    sudo bash -c "if [ `cat /proc/acpi/wakeup|grep -ce '^LID.*enabled'` -ge 1 ]; then 
        echo 'LID' > /proc/acpi/wakeup; fi;"

Now test that the lid switch behaves as expected. To arrange for the script to be run at startup (on upstart-based systems such as Ubuntu and Fedora), just create the file /etc/init/disable-lid-switch.conf containing:

description "disable lid switch"

start on startup

task
script
    if [ `cat /proc/acpi/wakeup|grep -ce '^LID.*enabled'` -ge 1 ]; then 
        echo 'LID' > /proc/acpi/wakeup; fi;
end script

How can I calibrate my touchscreen

We are very lucky to have a tool now that will calibrate all the different touchscreens supported by xorg/xinput.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tias/xinput-calibrator-ppa
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install xinput-calibrator
xinput-calibrator

There will also be an icon in the System menu.

How to disable Pulseaudio on Ubuntu 9.10+

Pulseaudio has poor audio quality, uses a ton of CPU, and adds latency. This article has some good info, even if you don’t want to try OSS4 (like me)

sudo aptitude remove pulseaudio
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dtl131/ppa
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade
gstreamer-properties # update your sources/sinks in this dialog