From the Battery-HOWTO:"Installing and using Linux on a laptop is usually no problem at all, so go ahead and give it a try. Unlike some other operating systems, Linux still supports and runs well on even very old hardware, so you might give your outdated portable a new purpose in life by installing Linux on it."
One of the great benefits of Linux are its numerous and flexible installation features, which I don't want to describe in detail. Instead I try to focus on laptop specific methods, which are necessary only in certain circumstances.
Most current distributions support installation methods which are useful for laptops, including installation from CD-ROM, via PCMCIA and NFS (or maybe SMB). Please see the documents which are provided with these distributions for further details or take a look at the above mentioned manuals and HOWTOs.