Linux or winblows
Probably the worst place to ask, but lets start the discussion... What OS do I want for my carpc (largely still in planning / aquisition phase)?
Not a complete linux newbie - but it's been at least 5 years since I've run it (first install was kernel 0.86 (slackware), last was the original redhat release). Understand the basics but it's gonna be a hell of a retraining from what I see from playing with the knoppix livecd.
Primary need is as a network/print server (odd I know) mainly routing connections to public wifi's and a couple private systems I pay for access to (want it to sniff em out and connect where possible) and puking out files to my HP deskjet 350 (current laptop requires a reboot every time I connect to recognize it due to usb-> parallel connection). GPS will be used mostly for datalogging - I'm working on figuring out how to puke that to a website so I can eliminate those doze "where are you - where are you going" calls a day. Occasional use - GPS navigation and MP3 serving (Neither is likely more than 2-3x per month - keeping my kenwood head unit for radio/music) as well as tuning megasquirt - easily handled by megatune - available for linux.
Toughbook CF-45 - Convenient with the already owned aspect including stupid $$$ panasonic 12v car plugin -> laptop adapter. Conveniently has real Serial / Parallel / VGA ports on the back + dual pcmcia + usb of course.
Deskjet 350 printer
Orinoco 802.11b pcmcia
(2nd wireless card to be determined - got the MA101 USB running under knoppix livecd - may use that)
Still looking for the right in-dash LCD touchscreen for my application
May add a cellphone for alternative data access
GPS receiver - undecided on hardware
Obviously network/file/printer sharing is easiest under linux... Wifi of course (especially hopping network to network) is more of a pain. GPS well reading here leads me to believe harder - yet the datalogging part is easier - it's the navigation that's more difficult... Megasquirt doesn't care either way.
Anyone seeing anything major I'm missing? Any specific software I should be sitting down with the howto's/faqs with?
Sounds like you've done your homework.
I don't know how much harder wifi roaming is in the current version of ubuntu Linux but I know that the next version Feisty (April 2007) is going to include better wifi managment. It is supposed to automatically switch between profiles depending on where you are at.
GPS seems to be the major Linux stopper at this point but even that can be solved via win32 emulators.
Keep us updated on your progress.