Setting up Linux on a P Series Lifebook
Since I was checking out Linux
on Laptops for something on the P Series and I couldn't find anything,
it became my time to contribute.
What currently works
So, here's what I've done so far (and this will be updated as I get
other features working):
- Install the OS
- X is working
- APM is working
- Sound is working
- CD-RW and CD-ROM is working
- PCMCIA is working (kernel support in 2.5.7)
- Configure both the built-in network card and the WaveLAN card
What needs to be working
- Get the DVD sound working
- The modem (not sure I care about this because I have high-speed at home,
however, if you have any suggestions, email me).
The most difficult part is getting something that works
So, to get started, the only distribution of UNIX I found to work is Debian
through the CDs. Debian on disk doesn't work (the USB floppy will not run
the root disk), and both Redhat and Mandrake CDs hang (it doesn't matter
because I like Debian better anyway). I went as far as NetBSD, but that
get me "invalid disk partition" error and wouldn't boot from the hard
My partition table
Since it's a small hard drive by today's standards, I have a very
simple partition strategy:
Disk /dev/hda: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 2432 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 1 498 4000153+ 83 Linux
/dev/hda2 499 622 996030 82 Linux swap
/dev/hda3 623 2432 14538825 83 Linux
The first partition is the root /, the next partition is swap
space, and the last partition is /self.
I also played around with my partitions so I'm running ext3. Gotta love
the journaling. :) I'll eventually work on writing this up.
To get the basic distribution working, go through the Debian install
process (format the disks, partition the disks, install the drivers,
install the software packages).
Make sure you have SCSI support (general and emulation) to get the
external disks and CD-RW working.
After doing the basics, you'll have to setup a user and root password,
etc. See the
Debian installation docs for more details on how to install from a
Kernel upgrade to 2.5.7
To upgrade your kernel, download the source from http://www.kernel.org. My .config file is here, which contains all the good stuff you need to have (including sound, because the 2.5 kernels include the alsa drivers for sound).
Use the Alsa sound drivers to get sound. The sound controller is Multimedia audio controller: Acer Laboratories Inc. [ALi] M5451 PCI South Bridge Audio (rev 01), so use the ALi drivers. Make sure you use alsaconf to configure your network card and alsamixer to turn on the sound.
Then after you're done, make sure you have networking working. To configure
your network card, edit the /etc/network/interfaces card to have your
valid network card and information:
# /etc/network/interfaces -- configuration file for ifup(8), ifdown(8)
# The loopback interface
iface lo inet loopback
# The first network card - this entry was created during the Debian installation
# (network, broadcast and gateway are optional)
iface eth0 inet static
If you're running a second ethernet card (as I am for wireless), it
will be eth1 instead of eth0 if you run them both at
the same time. Since I don't load the Realtek network drivers for the
builtin ethernet at startup, usually my eth0 is my wireless card.
Once you have your networking working, make sure you have the following
lines in the /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ unstable main non-free contrib
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ unstable main non-free contrib
deb http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US unstable/non-US main contrib non-free
deb-src http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US unstable/non-US main contrib non-free
This will let you download the latest packages from Debian (don't use
stable as it's really outdated. Use the unstable. If you want really the latest, use testing).
Now run the following commands:
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade
Don't forget to install the X server (xserver-xfree86,
xfree86-common, and xbase-clients). Use the debconf
to configure X, and use the advanced option (use 30-130 and 60-160 for the
graphical ranges). Then launch the X server, and you should be set. Here's my
XF86Config-4 if you want to use it.
Again, see the Debian docs for more
information setting up an X server.
It works fine once you have your kernel compiled with SCSI support. I
only use CD-Rs, so I use xcdroast without any special handling. Make sure that you have all your
CD-ROM and CD-RW drivers installed as modules or it won't work.
What? No more?
I'll have more once I figure out how to get the other things working.
Last updated: Mon Apr 1 14:34:37 PST 2002