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Applications of semiconductor laser amplifiers in intensity modulated digital optical transmission systems were studied theoretically. An optical linear amplifier repeater between electronically regenerating terminal repeaters and an optical linear preamplifier in front of a photodetector in an electronically regenerating repeater are discussed. Both traveling-wave type and Fabry-Perot cavity type laser amplifiers are considered. The noise and error rate performance in these systems are evaluated using formulations for semiconductor laser amplifiers. The mean and variance in the optical amplifier output photons calculated by the photon master equation  is used to obtain the worst case variance in the equalized output voltage  for these systems. The required receiving power reduction from direct detection scheme by a preamplifier system and the repeater spacing expansion between two electronically regenerating terminals by an optical linear amplifier repeater system are delineated.