10/09/03 This one is dedicated to installing Gentoo GNU/Linux on the laptop
I began using linux on my desktop a little over a year ago, and once I figured out how to get sound i never looked back. I got the dell inspiron 5100, and i knew I would install linux along with windows xp, mainly because I need some proprietary software for school, and I don't have windows on my desktop.
Intel P4 2.4 GHz
512 Meg DDR RAM
40GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive
24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
Mobility Radeon 7500 Video card
15 inch SXGA+ display
Internal Conexant D480 56K Modem
Integrated Broadcom 440x 10/100 Network Card
2 USB ports
1 Firewire port
1 Svideo output
1 SVGA output
Belkin USB optical mouse
Windows XP Home Edition (pre installed)
The only preparation I went through was backing up data on the windows partition, other than that I followed the installation docs from gentoo.org pretty much word for word.
Sound, Video, and Mouse all work fine. As does the NIC. I have not tried the modem, firewire, or s-video output.
The install went well, Gentoo will take a long time to install everything up to and including X (about 2 days). PCMCIA worked, once I had downgraded the firmware of the Cisco Aironet 350 series wireless pcmcia card to the 4.x series which is supported. USB works, sound, video, etc all work.
1. No APM/acpi (power management) after normal install of gentoo, so far at least I haven't really bothered with this yet, because it isn't all that important to me at this point.