Since both my old computer (a HP Pavilion 522n) and my new laptop (Dell Inspiron 9100) have 60 gigabyte hard drives, I decided to simply copy everything over on the old computer to a folder in my home directory. As I watched hundreds of Windows DLLs scroll by that I would most likely never need again, I could not hope but feel like this was the beginning of a new era. This feeling intensified as I spent hours configuring (and reconfiguring) my kernel, trying to get the wired Ethernet and wireless connections working. This is mostly my fault for manually tweaking the kernel, instead of using the generic Gentoo kernel, genkernel. The wireless connection was particularly annoying. While the wired Ethernet card was supported in the kernel, the wireless PCI card is made by Broadcom, which refuses to make Linux drivers for its wireless cards.

Enter ndiswrapper. With some help from shinzui's "Dell Inspiron 9100 on Linux" page (and associated comments section), a post on the Gentoo forums about ndiswrapper setup, and some other assorted pages. It works, AFAIK; since I do not have a wireless router, I cannot actually test it. I will have to wait until I get back to school, I guess.

The only serious problem that I have not been able to resolve is with the keyboard. Since switching between the touchpad and the laptop's keyboard was annoying, I decided to hook up my wireless keyboard and mouse through the USB port. This works fine, as long as I do not press "Fn + F2," which is the command to disable/enable the WiFi & Bluetooth cards. When I used this combination to turn them off, it would be detected by the system as a "unknown key." This caused both my wireless keyboard and the internal keyboard to stop responding. This occurred twice before I realized what was happening; I chose the simple solution of disabling that keyboard combination in the laptop's BIOS. Looking into it further, I might have been able to fix the problem by using setkeycodes. I will try this later and write in the comments section whether or not it worked.

Other than that, it works fine. I thought about switching around some applications (Evolution instead of Thunderbird, a desktop RSS reader instead of Sage, totem instead of xine, fluxbox instead of Gnome, etc.), but mostly ended up staying with a similar configuration as when I dual-booted (thanks to my older sister, I am using beep media player (bmp) instead of xmms)). I still have to install OpenOffice and a couple of other applications I will need, though.