Due to a lack of support by some manufacturers, not every feature of a laptop is always supported or fully operational. The main devices which may cause trouble are: graphic chip, IrDA® port, sound card, PCMCIA controller , PnP devices and internal modem. Please try to get as much information about these topics before buying a laptop. But often it isn't quite easy to get the necessary information. Sometimes even the specifications or the hotline of the manufacturer aren't able to provide the information. Therefore I have included a Linux Compatibility Check chapter in everysection of the Part II in Linux on the Road Hardware In Detail part below.
Depending on your needs, you might investigate one of the vendors that provide laptops pre-loaded with Linux. By purchasing a pre-loaded Linux laptop, much of the guesswork and time spent downloading additional packages could be avoided. See Kenneth E. Harker's page for a list of vendors Linux on Laptops.