Manual Laptop-specific user's manuals

The manuals that come with EmperorLinux portable systems are each software- and hardware-specific to that particular system. They give the exact details on the interaction of the Linux OS with the hardware. They tell you exactly how to manipulate your machine in the ways described below. These manuals are typeset in LaTeX on the Emperor's Toucan, professionally printed at 1200 dpi, and bound in a nice cover.

Getting Started

Your system comes ready to go right out of the box. When you first boot, it you will take about 30 seconds to configure your root password, your IP address and your time zone. This is all covered. Then the boot continues all the way into X-Windows.

Next we cover adding user accounts, changing the host name, useful commands to play with, and the popular window managers and how to switch between them.

The Linux Kernel: empkernel

Then we discuss the customizations to the kernel that allow these systems to have 700kB kernels and still support ALL the internal hardware. We tell you what we took out (i386, RAID, SMP, router, ...) and why. Then we're into what we specifically added (APM/ACPI, sound, USB, FireWire, PCMCIA, 802.11 wireless, ...). This includes coverage of modules and kmod which controls them. Upgrading to the latest empkernel is also covered (it's easy with RPM).

The X Window System

The X11 Window System provides for the display of images on bitmap capable hardware. Simply, X11 displays images on your monitor. Our manual covers the chip in your laptop and the server used to drive it. We cover virtual terminal switching, mode switching (changing resolution on the fly), and how to change your bit depth. Connection to you desktop monitor is covered, as well. 3-D acceleration on applicable systems is also explained.

Networking: WiFi/Ethernet/Modem

We explain how to use 802.11 "WiFi" wireless ethernet, including encryption. The included EmpTool makes using wifi in multiple locations a snap. We also go over which kernel module drives your internal 10/100 (or Gigabit!) ethernet, how to set up static or dynamic IP addressing, and what you need to know about firewalls, ssh, and more. You'll be up surfing the net in no time. Many models have working winmodems, so we cover everything you need to use your modem for surfing. The manual includes which drivers we use, and dialing with wvdial, or kppp, and pppd.

Power Management: APM/ACPI

All our systems use ACPI Power Management (the older APM having fallen out of use). Our laptops support suspend and hibernate (via the swsusp code). There are several ways to invoke the various power saving levels. We cover suspend, hibernation, LCD brightness control, and WiFi power kill and the various hot-keys to enter those states.


Life without music would be very dull. The manual covers your sound chip and the kernel modules that drive it. Not that you really will do anything with this, the second you fire up xmms the modules get automagically loaded. Play CDs or rip them into .ogg's or .mp3's, play and record .wav's, ...

There are Holes in our Systems

Holes in the laptop are covered, every hole, from the obvious to the obscure. We cover using mtools with the (perhaps USB) floppy; printing with lpr and the parallel port (or port replicator) (or USB); syncing your Palm Pilot with the serial port; plugging in your external monitor or a projector (and dual-display, TwinView, ...); the PCMCIA and CF slots and the various things you can put there (including CardBus cards); USB devices, like Disk-on-Key, floppies, and printers; and FireWire devices, like CDRWs and hard drives. Too much stuff, really.

PCMCIA Interface

PCMCIA slots (1 or 2 depending on the system) can take modems, ethernet cards, SCSI adapters, external CD-ROM drives, and more, we explain it all in detail. It's so easy!

USB Interface

USB ports (2 or 3 depending on system) can take mice, floppy drives, printers, USB hubs, Zip drives, cameras, and more. We explain in detail how to connect these cutting-edge devices to your laptop. (You'll be printing color photos through your USB printer in no time!). Of course, the external mouse mixes with the touchpad. Use them both at the same time.

IEEE-1394 "FireWire" Interface

FireWire (aka IEEE-1394 or "i.Link") is an amazingly fast connection for CDRW/DVD drives, huge (250+ GB) external hard drives, DV cameras, and Zip drives. External hard drives are faster than internal drives, so these are great for high speed data acquisition.

Rescue Partition

The /rescue partition is there to save you if you ever futz around too much with the kernel and get it wrong. It has everything you could ever want for system admin on its own little partition, so it's there like a safety net. We cover using it to get out of several possible binds.

Replace Windows with MP3s

If you ordered MS-Win left on your system, and you decide to change your mind, we'll tell you in four short commands how to turn this partition into an .ogg and .mp3 music storage warehouse.


We give a large and ever growing listing of the best books on Linux, from beginning topics to advanced wizardry. Is your library up to speed?