The 3COM combo PCMCIA card may work out of the box, but it depends on the exact model. A Xircom combo card usually works. Try to find the exact model number and go to the Winmodems are not modems page
. About half way down the page there's a link to a table of modems. Click there and do a search on your combo card's model number. In the left column of the table is an indicator as to whether it's a Winmodem
, tested and works with Linux
, or unknown
. There is also some real good info on that page about how some Winmodems can be made to work with Linux -- for those manufacturer's that cooperate with the Linux community.
As for your floppy drive, I have a ThinkPad (TP365CD) with an external connection that just works! Does yours not work on installation, or does it not work after installation? After install, can you post your /etc/fstab file here? That may show the source of the problem.
For your CD-Rom, what type of connection does it have with the laptop? Is it a parallel connection, USB, PCMCIA?
Actually, during setup, I think as it probes the hardware (serial ports, USB, etc.), it should ask display/ask for confirmation the harware it finds. Again, that may be in the "expert" type install process. I'm really more familiar with Mandrake that RedHat, but they still have certain similarities, although the details may be a little different.