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Originally posted by TheOneAndOnlySM what are some good, fairly inexpensive pieces of hardware compatible with linux for sound, ethernet (and wireless), and modem?
There are too many to list. Like stickman asked, what do you have currently as most likely they are supported, buying new hardware won't make it easier to configure in most cases.
also, does linux care if it is installed on a slave hdd? does the boot loader have to be installed on the slave or primary hdd?
I would hate to think as many systems out there with a slave drive that doesn't work cause we use Linux.. hehe.
And usually the boot loader is on the MBR or the first sector of the first hard drive. Or you can even create a boot disk using a floppy if you want for Linux..
Originally posted by TheOneAndOnlySM now, for the problem devices:
modem: lucent win
sound: off the motherboard intel 97 BAM audio
ethernet: off the motherboard intel pro/100 VE
Your modem, not sure without a model. Though by the looks its a winmodem which might not be supported but you can always check out www.linmodems.org to find out which ones do work under linux.
Your soundcard is supported and most likely already has support builtin, or if not, can be a quick kernel recompile away. Your sound should use the same drivers/modules as the AC 97 Audio chipset, which is mentioned many many times on this site, a quick search might find the results to get that working for you.
Your ethernet is supported using the eepro100 module or driver. I did a search and it even appears you can get the drivers from Intel if your distro doesn't already have them compiled, etc.