Laptops are still a special branch of the PC family. Far more than desktop computers, laptops have tricky hardware quirks which must be dealt with by the Linux kernel and special features that aren't found on full-sized Linux servers. One major area of improvement in Linux 3.0 for laptops is in power management. While previous versions supported power management, the new kernel does it in a more complete way. “Standby” mode, where the system powers down to a RAM image is supported. In addition, Linux has better support for suspending individual unused devices to conserve power and switching between multiple graphics processors on systems that have a “high power” and a “low power” chipset. Laptops also frequently have special keyboard keys (such as for adjusting volume control or the backlight) and Linux 3.0 is able to control and configure many of these devices.
One feature that makes laptops and portable devices unique is that they are easy to carry and easy to drop, especially if you have cats or dogs and like to leave your laptop on the edge of a table. Linux 3.0 includes support for compatible harddisks to “idle immediately”, that is to stop whatever they are doing and remove the drive heads from the platters. In conjunction with an internal sensor, this feature can mean the difference between a nasty look at a pet or loved one or a nasty look at a pet or loved one followed by a trip to the computer store.
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