-[ Mobile Linux - Part 2 ]-

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ASUS-LAPTOP

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Debian Linux on a Asus L2 series

The Asus L2 series comes in a few flavours, mine is the one packing a P4 1.6Ghz chip, and Asus Motheboard with various Intel controllers, see below for the output of 'lspci'. I've installed Debian Woody on it, although a number of factors prompted me to upgrade to Debian unstable.

steved@wintermute:~$ lspci 
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82845 845 (Brookdale) Chipset Host Bridge (rev 04)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82845 845 (Brookdale) Chipset AGP Bridge (rev 04)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corp.: Unknown device 2482 (rev 02)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corp.: Unknown device 2484 (rev 02)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp.: Unknown device 2487 (rev 02)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82820 820 (Camino 2) Chipset PCI (-M) (rev 42)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp.: Unknown device 248c (rev 02)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp.: Unknown device 248a (rev 02)
00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 02)
00:1f.6 Modem: Intel Corp.: Unknown device 2486 (rev 02)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon Mobility M6 LW
02:05.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139 (rev 10)
02:07.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev a8)
02:07.1 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev a8)
02:07.2 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd: Unknown device 0552

Installation

The kernel(s) which come with Debian "Woody" need the video=vga16:off parameter passed to them, otherwise the last few lines of the text console go off the bottom of the screen. apm=on was also handy, but more on APM later.

X Windows

This was the number 1 reason I had to go to Debian unstable, The ATi Radeon 7500 only seems to be supported by Xfree 4.2. Once I installed 4.2 though, everything was easy, the installation script produced a working XF86Config, and I was up and running. Since then I've also installed the Synaptics touchpad driver and the scroll buttons now work too. Add to that the 'corner taps' for middle and right buttons, and the touchpad has all the same features as it does in Windows.
Debian installed all the required OpenGL libraries, and 'glxgears' clocks about 180-200 FPS whilst the machine is running nautilus, apache, galeon, mysqld, sawfish (and gnome desktop). A lot better than my old one! A few artifacts do get left around the screen after running 'glx-gears' a sort of phantom of the glx window.
When playing DVD, or any program using the Xvideo extension, the Xvideo window is ALWAYS the top window, meaning the programs menus appears under the video. One way around that is to use 'xine' and configure it to use XShm for playback ( 'xine -V XShm' will do it from the command line). I'm not sure why this is happening, or if it's a bug with the Radeon drivers?

Here is my XF86Config-4 I haven't yet got in and customised this as much as my other XF86Config files here

Power Management

The Users guide for the Asus L2 states that the BIOS is ACPI only, NOT APM compatible. I can vouch for this by the number of random hard-lockups I experienced whilst running an APM enabled Kernel, although it only ever seemed to happen in X Windows.

Using the acpi patches which can be found at the ACPI Sourceforge page, the machine now powers on and off correctly, but at the moment ACPI doesn't support Suspend modes. Even so, using the acpid daemon, the machine does respond to all the ACPI events, such as causing the fan kicks in at 50 deg.
I can keep a track of the Battery and Temperature state using the 'gkacpi' plugin, since GkrellM doesn't support ACPI without this plugin. Building this plugin required the 'gdk-imlib-dev' and 'libgtk1.2-dev' packages.

CPU frequency throttling isn't in the main Linux kernel, but experimental patches can be found here. I haven't tried these out yet. Without them the CPU runs at 1200Mhz on battery power, and 1600Mhz if booted up connected to the mains power.

Connectivity

The Realtek network chip is supported by the '8139too' driver, and this worked first time. The modem may be supported by the PC-Tel Modem driver, but I couldn't get it to work, not that I use the modem anyway!
I haven't tested the Firewire ports under Linux (anyone want to send me a DV camera to play with?), but USB worked fine using the UHCI controller. With the 'hotplug' package installed, and the usb-storage modules (I compiled the SCSI support in), my USB memory key worked with the following /etc/fstab line:
/dev/sda1	/mnt/key	vfat	defaults,user,noauto	0	0
IrDA: Not tested.
Serial/Parallel Ports: Not tested, but how different could it be?
SVideo and VGA out: Not tested yet.
'Portbar': Not tested

DVD/CDRW Combo drive

'dmesg' reports this drive is identified as:
Vendor: MATSHITA  Model: UJDA720 DVD/CDRW  Rev: 1.01
Type:   CD-ROM                             ANSI SCSI revision: 02
I haven't yet tested CD-burning speeds, but otherwise the drive works as both a CDRW and as a DVD drive, using the SCSI emulation. Putting "hdc=ide-scsi" in my lilo.conf and compiling in the SCSI support enabled that.
When using 'Grip' and it askes for a "SCSI Generic Device" in the setup, you need to use /dev/sg0 ( or appropriate ). Not any of the /dev/scd0 devices, this tricked me for quite a while.

Last Modified: November 12, 2002, 4:56 pm
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