AMD 1.1GHz with Power Now! Technology
Windows XP Home edition. / Linux ( Dual boot )
20GB hard drive,
14.1" XGA TFT (1024x768) Screen
DVD / CD ROM
1.44 floppy disc
Full System Specifications: [click here] this is pdf format.
This document talks about Installation of Redhat 7.3 on the above hardware
This particular laptop uses ACPI (Advanced Configuration & Power Interface) to manage BIOS events.
In short this was the more complicated problem when installing linux.
Background on ACPI
On this particular machine there is not a typical BIOS
You will find if you go into the BIOS setup, there is a single option, and that is the boot order.
That nature of ACPI is to have the operating system control the hardware.
On the windows side of the story, all the ACPI stuff is built in.
On Linux, the support for this is in the kenel. (So, it has to be complied in)
The kernel version of Redhat 7.3 is 2.4.18-3
First, I tried to recompile the 2.4.18 kernel with ACPI support which it has, and is marked (experimental) and that did not work.
Than I did some reading ACPI is not quite mature yet for linux, but it seems to be coming along. I read that there were
more advances, and more support in the current development kernel.
The latest Development kernel was the only way I was able to get support for the ACPI
As of writing this that version was 2.5.25
Next, I will describe how I compiled the kernel to gain ACPI support
General Kernel compile instructions:
Get your Source code and untar it
I used make xconfig.
Make sure to select under ACPI support for all, or most of the options including thermal events ( I left debugging off )
Thats it, once you compile you will have ACPI support
To double check this, go to your /proc filesystem and check for the ACPI directory
If you have it.. /proc/acpi you have done well, and now have ACPI support
As of writing this there is little control for sleep or for suspend, and you may have to echo data to a file in /proc filesystem to get it to sleep.
But it will Throttle your CPU, and you want this to save battery.
What happens without ACPI support:
Its not too nice and you may need gloves to handle the machine ( it gets very hot )
The fan will turn on every few seconds and the machine will not throttle the CPU
The battery will last about 50 minutes without ACPI support and I would be concerned about damage to the machine due to overheating.
So, a recompile is highly recommended (or if you live in an igloo you could use the laptop to keep warm)
Kernel Compile Continued:
fyi - A large portion of the chipset is VIA. For full system specs click [here] ( this is .pdf format )
The sound card is fully Sound Blaster Compatible, so make sure you turn on OSS and select fully sound blaster compatible for the sound to work
The specific video driver was not found on install of Linux but what ever it picked worked at 1024 x 768 at 16 bit (this was fine for me)
It has a internal NIC card that works under linux. Make sure to enable kernel options for ( I believe PCI network cards )
I think it has a WinModem and we all know what that entails, so if you want compile the (experimental) support for WinModem, maybe it will work.
If you use ext3... Make sure to enable this option in the file systems part of the kernel config.
The floppy and CD-ROM does also work right out of the box on 7.3 but, on kernel compile the floppy didn't so I must have missed something.
SCSI support is not needed and I found the compile failed if this was enabled in the kernel.
APM will NOT be used on the laptop, but it says it can be enabled in the kernel and will coexist nicely.
More Info on ACPI:
Once ACPI is working you will have that directory in the /proc filesystem, again if you don't, you missed something and must recompile again.
Under /proc/ACPI/processor/CPU0/ there are a few files you can cat out to see whats going on, and even change.
For example the AMD duron has 7 throttling levels and you can set the level by using this example:
echo -n 7 > throttling ( you will now see a star by the T6 or T7 if you cat out the file ) and your processor will be throttled by 87% or so.
Note: The throttling levels are T0 thourgh T7 or T6 ( the T stand for throttling )
The throttling will change on its own depending on how the computer is being used.
You should be able to get 2 or 3 hours of battery life with ACPI support. Although this test was performed with very little load on the CPU.
Also check the /proc/ACPI/battery/BAT0/ directory and cat out some of those files, from there you can see the mAh of the battery.
The battery at full charge was reading 4011 mAh and you can watch it decrease over time, or increase if you charging.
Note: Some options under ACPI directory will not be supported or enabled.
For even more Battery saving features there is a patch to the kernel that talks about setting the CPU Frequency
This patch did not work for me and setting the processors frequency is still in early stages for this paticualar CPU (AMD Duron) and the settings can not be changed as of yet. But, in the future they may, so keep this in mind.
For more information on ACPI go to: http://www.columbia.edu/~ariel/acpi/acpi_howto.txt or click [here]
I have had good luck with mplayer for linux, and it can be used to play DVD's. Although, I have not tried this.
System Sound issue:
The other minor problem was getting system sounds to work in Gnome (e.g. the little clicking noises or sounds when you open, close or minimize a windows) this sometimes locked up the machine.
For this to work so you may need to reconfigure ESD (Enlightenment Sound Daemon) to fix this.
Note: Sounds do work by default on the standard install of linux, e.g. .wav files, and most likely music CD's
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