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All major hardware in our laptop and notebook systems is supported in Linux. The EmperorLinux research staff modifies all the popular Linux distros in many specific ways to provide the best possible portable Linux distribution. These include a customized kernel (packed with driver patches and half the size of distribution kernels); a chip-specific X-server with hardware acceleration; full support for PCMCIA, USB, and FireWire devices; full support for 10/100/1000 (gigabit) ethernet and 802.11a/b/g/n wireless; pre-configured power management; modem; stereo sound; and more. (There is extensive detail on the following topics in the supplied owner's manual.) Detailed information about mobile wireless broadband (EVDO, HSDPA, etc) and the Intel Core Duo is also available.

All this is done completely with GNU-GPL software. At EmperorLinux, you don't pay extra for commercial X-servers and sound support, because we only use laptops for which the hardware is known to be supported by truly free software.

X Window System
X Logo

X Windows runs at the full hardware-limited resolution and at the memory-limited color depth on all our systems. We use hardware accelerated X-servers and do the research ahead of time to ensure compatibility. When there are multiple servers that will work on a specific laptop, we benchmark them and install the best one. External X display to your desktop monitor or an LCD projector is fully supported.

USB Logo

Most of our systems have USB v2.0 ports. These support the much faster USB 2.0 speed transfers under Linux. We include support for a large array of USB devices. We have tested the following USB devices: mice (mix with internal touchpad!), keyboards, floppies, printers, Zip drives, CDRW drives, disk-on-key systems, and the Rio500 mp3 player. Keep all your USB stuff hooked up with a hub!

FireWire (IEEE-1394)
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The Rhino, Tiger, Koala, Toucan, Raven, and SilverComet, have excellent FireWire support. We have very carefully tweaked the latest Linux kernel to provide support for IEEE-1394 devices, also known as Apple's "FireWire", and Sony's "i-Link". We have tested the following IEEE-1394 devices: Zip drives, hard drives (up to 500GB and 1TB), and CDRW/DVD drives. 45-55 MB/sec is a typical external HD speed under Linux. No where else will you find out-of-the-box support for FireWire.

External SATA (eSATA)
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Several newer systems, including the Rhino, Tiger, and Koala have External SATA (eSATA) ports. eSATA allows you to connect external SATA hard drives directly to the SATA bus, providing for very high speeds, well beyond those available from USB or Firewire. External SATA drive enclosures are available in 1- and 2-disk formats for 2.5" laptop drives, and you can RAID the 2-drive model.

We also have available 2-port ExpressCard eSATA adapters (both EC34 and EC54 formats), and 2-port CardBus eSATA adapters for machines without built-in eSATA connections.


Sound is fully supported on all EmperorLinux systems, and you don't pay for it. We did all the work to get the modules "just so" for perfect playback of: .wav, .au, .midi, .ogg, and of course .mp3. Our laptop kernels auto-load the necessary sound modules.

May we suggest play, playmidi, xmms, vumeter, aumix, and gmix; they all come on your system. And of course we recommend the excellent grip CD ripper / encoder (with included .ogg support).

The sound quality of .ogg's is truly amazing. You will never have to carry your CDs around again. Also, if you enable event sounds in X, they will play through alongside your xmms audio stream.

Ethernet Logo

Most of our systems have on-board 10/100/1000 Mbps (Gigabit) ethernet; it's ready to go out-of-the-box. The Raven, Toucan, Rhino, Koala, and Gazelle systems have 10/100/1000 Mbps ethernet (aka gigabit ethernet or "gigE"). If you need a second ethernet interface, we also have PCMCIA 10/100 cards.

Wireless 802.11
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Most of our systems have on-board WiFi 802.11 'a/b/g' 54 Mb/s wireless ethernet. We use only cards well supported by Linux, like the Intel Pro Wireless 3945 and Atheros mini-PCI cards. These mini-PCI and mini-PCIe cards are fully internal, with dual-antennas in the LCD panel. We have recently started supporting the Atheros "a/b/g/N" wireless cards.

We also support PCMCIA/CardBus cards for wireless on systems with no working internal card (like the Molecule). We have Lucent (Proxim) 802.11b 11Mb/s and 3Com 802.11b/g 54Mb/s cards. Either way, it's ready to go out-of-the-box. You still get 10/100 or gigabit land-line ethernet, too.

If your system doesn't have WiFi internally, just go out and get any PCMCIA wireless card on the supported list and pop it in. All the modules are there, ready to go. Or you can order a wireless card with your system, and not have to worry about whether it's supported or not.


The software win-modems on the Raven, Toucan, SilverComet, and Rhino series systems are fully supported in Linux with win-modem drivers.

The software win-modems on the series may soon be supported. Currently we offer PCMCIA modems for these systems.

Power Management: Suspend and Hibernate

Systems with the traditional APM (Advanced Power Management) BIOSes support both "suspend" (RAM maintains power, LCD, disk, and CPU off) and "hibernate" (RAM written to disk, all systems powered down).

Systems with ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) BIOSes have no "apm" support. Instead, we use the latest Linux-kernel based suspend code, the "swsusp" code. This lets you hibernate the system to a disk partition (RAM written to disk, all systems powered down).

Whether your system has APM or ACPI, we seamlessly integrate the suspend functionality into Linux, so you can simply run "hibernate" or hit a function key sequence (like [Fn][F4]) to suspend your machine instantly.

BlueKeys Function Keys

Many laptop functions can be controlled using BlueKeys function key sequences (like [Fn][F12]). The most common of these features are volume controls, LCD brightness controls, external VGA, wireless power, suspend and hibernate. These features are fully supported under Linux on most of our laptops.

Biometric Fingerprint Scanner

The fingerprint scanners on the Raven, Toucan, Koala, Rhino, and Tiger are fully supported in Linux. They are tied into the laptops' security services using PAM. They are currently linked to gdm, login, and su. (Others are possible.) All you have to do is train your fingerprints, then you can use them to log in. (Or you can fall back to typing your password.)

The fingerprint scanners on the Gazelle, Ibex, and SilverComet series may soon be supported.

Port Replicator

Port replicators are fully tested and supported; plug in your big desktop monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer. (The Emperor uses an HP LaserJet 2100 connected to his Toucan via the IBM port replicator.) It all works flawlessly. But most importantly, it works with your Palm Pilot.

Parallel Port (25 pin)

Tested with: HJ DeskJet 320, HJ DeskJet 648C (color), HP LaserJet 2100, Epson 9, 24 pin, Tek Phaser 780, Iomega Zip drives - all sizes

Serial Port (9 pin)

Tested with: Palm Pilot 5000, Palm III, Palm V, (also used to debug the Emperor's DSL router)...

VGA Port (15 pin)

All systems tested to display external VGA to desktop CRT's, flat LCD panels, and LCD projectors. All systems can display their native resolution to the external screen, or any lower resolution. Certain models can send higher resolution than native to the external display. Some even have NVIDIA TwinView (Rhino) support.


Some of our higher-end professional systems feature S-Video output, allowing you to connect your system to any TV with an S-Video input. S-Video capable TV's can generally display 800x600, and HDTV's can display 1024x768. Currently, the Rhino has the best S-Video support.

PCMCIA / CardBus

PCMCIA is the standard for laptop expandability, and our systems come with full kernel support for all your CardBus and PCMCIA cards, including hot-plug loading of the firmwares on many newer CardBus cards. This gives our laptops capabilities including: 2nd ethernet cards, upgraded wireless ethernet (802.11 a/b/g) cards, SCSI adapters, CDROMs, PCMCIA Zip drives, and Clik! drives.

Compact Flash
Compact Flash Logo

We support mounting Compact Flash memory cards in all our systems. The Raven X31 and Koala X1 series have an internal CF reader. For other systems, you will need a Compact Flash card reader for your PCMCIA slot. We have tested these under Linux, and have them available.

Solid State Drive

Solid State Drives (SSD) are storage devices where the bits are stored in flash ram chips, and not on physically rotating platters. Since there are no moving parts, SSD drives are 2x-3x times faster than traditional 7200rpm drives. They are also much more robust to high G-loads, and have a longer lifetime MTBF than traditional drives.

Web Camera

Several of our current Dell Latitude and Lenovo ThinkPad models have integrated webcams. These webcams are fully supported under Linux, both for taking still pictures, and for use in video conferencing applications like ekiga.