About 3 months ago I purchased a new laptop to replace my ageing Hitatchi notebook with more failing parts than an American made car. In the process of looking for a good replacement laptop, cost was a major concern of mine. I found that the Alcam Designer Notebooks were reasonably priced (About $1400 USD) and had the hardware I wanted. Since I wouldn't buy a laptop with one of those crummy Intel Celeron chips, AMD K6-2 was the way to go for sure, and 400 MHz seemed like a nice speed.
When ordering my new machine, Alcam had claimed on their site a couple of things that turned out to be untrue. Number one was the hardware listing, that said the Designer 400's shipped with a S3 Video Chip set (Can't go wrong with s3, I was assured linux compatablity here for sure) and a Yamaha OPL-3 Sound Device. The OPL-3 was very good news to me, because I knew the OPL's worked fine under OSS (Open Sound System by 4Front Technologies
) and plus was a TRUE full-duplex card (Unlike Soundblasters/Soundblaster clones that are only 8bit/16bit full-duplex.... Big difference). When my machine finally arrived it had a ATI Rage Lt Pro Video card (Luckily a new X Server was released that week that had support for this chip set) and a Maestro-2E sound card that was "Soundblaster Pro Compatible" and turned out to be most problematic.
On Alcam's site there was an option to choose your OS (WIN98/NT/Linux). Because you could choose linux as your OS, I assumed (Wrongly) that all the hardware would work fine under the major distros (SuSe, RedHat, Debian, etc.). I should have known something was wrong because there was no apparent linux support on Alcam's site, and I couldn't "Opt-Out" of having Win98 bundled w/ my laptop (Arrrg!).
I put this site together because I had such a hard time getting everything working under Linux and hoped that I could save some time for people that also bought one of these Alcam laptops and would like to run a REAL operating system.