There are a lot of other people who succeeded to install GNU/Linux on the
Compaq Contura Aero Laptop and provide information about it.
A list of pages I know of:
Ali Albayrak / Harald.T.Alvestrand: "FAQ for Linux on the Compaq Aero"
Most technical problems are described and solved here.
Nils Faerber: Compaq Contura 4/25c
Interesting: He has compiled an own X-server to run with the aeros display.
Because it is only supposed to work with the aero it seems to be smaller than
the common ones. I didn't try it out.
Bruce Richardson: 4mb Laptop HOWTO
This HOWTO is widespread now and can be found on most linux documentation mirrors.
Beneath the aero he also writes about the Toshiba T1910. Main topic - like most
of the other linux-aero-webpages - is the problematic installation without
cd-rom-drive. Bruce Richardson solves this by starting with a small floppy
linux-distribution, creating a linux-filesystem with it on the aeros harddisk.
Then he copies the files of the floppy-linux to the harddisk, so he can start
that mini-linux from hdd and won't need the floppy any longer. Afterwards he
plugs a network-card into the now free pcmcia-port and installs a bigger
linux-distribution over network.
James Paige: Linux on a Compaq Contura Aero 4/25
A quite recent (August 2002) description of installing debian 3.0 and 2.2 on the
Robert Geer: Installing Linux on a Compaq Contura Aero 4/33C Laptop
Installation with a self-created pcmcia-supporting bootdisk and then over
network with the Network File System (NFS). Very tricky because you need to u
nplug the floppy and insert the pcmcia-network-card - but normally this isn't
recognized without reboot. This page shows how an installation can get
terribly time consuming.
Matthew A. Smith: RedHat Linux 6.0 on a Compaq Contura Aero
Installation with a Panasonic DXL-783A 8X External PCMCIA (SCSI) CD-ROM and over
R. Lonstein: Linux Laptops- Compaq Aero
Installation from a parallel port Iomega Zip drive, finished over NFS.
Brandenburg Linux User Group - Linux auf einem Compaq Contura Aero
Webpage (in german) about ZipSlack, Debian Woody and Slackware 9.1 on the Aero.
Installation by taking out the harddisk and plugging it to a second (faster)
More general sources of information about running GNU/Linux on laptops are:
Both of them collect links to Laptop related sites. Tuxmobil is also a great
ressource for common issues on portable computers like APM or PCMCIA.
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.portable can also be a help. Search the google image
If you are new to GNU/Linux, you will need information about its general concepts.
"Trial and Error" is useful to understand MS Windows applications.
But it will be extremely frustrating and time consuming to use the "Trial and
Error" method to discover the possibilities of a UNIX terminal.
I would recommend to get a book, which can be used as reference. Try to get
a book about concepts rather than applications. For instance it should
explain the filesystem, which is completely different to what most people know
from Windows (user permissions, symlinks).