Promise SATA card not working in RHEL

Q I'm using CentOS (based on RHEL), and I cannot get my Promise SATA card (with attached 500GB disk) to work properly. The latest driver on Promise's website is for an older kernel and doesn't work. I have emailed Promise 20- 30 times and I always get a default email reply, but no help at all. Also, I'm planning to buy an IBM laptop, but I want to scratch away Windows XP and install Linux. Can you advise me on which distro I should use - which distro supports IBM laptops with all its, drivers and so on?

A I have a Promise SATA controller in this computer, so I know they work. The reason Promise only has drivers for older kernels on its website is that they were incorporated into later kernels, so a separate driver is no longer needed. The chances are that your kernel has been compiled without support for your particular controller, so you may need to recompile it. If you have never compiled your own kernel before, it may seem a daunting task, but it's really quite straightforward. The main thing to remember is that you should install the new kernel alongside the old one, not overwrite it, so you still have your old setup as a fallback option.

There are various HOWTOs on kernel compilation, such as the one at www.digitalhermit.com/linux/ Kernel-Build-HOWTO.html. As for which distribution to install, IBM laptops are about the best supported in Linux, so any distro should work with your hardware - that means you can make your choice based on which one you prefer to use rather than which one works. Most distros have some form of Live CD or DVD available, so you can try out a few before you decide which one to install. See the Distrowatch section on page 34 for details of what's new.

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