Debian Sarge GNU/Linux on a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo M7425 Laptop

Abstract

This is my Guide to a working Installation of Debian Sarge GNU/Linux on the Amilo M7425. It may be useful for other distributions too, i used a kernel.org 2.6.10 kernel. I’m not yet finished, but it runs well enough. If you are using Suse, check out the Lugoland Amilo M7425 manual. Since I don’t use debian any more, this page wo’t be updated again.

Some notes to Ubuntu

I recently switched to ubuntu. I was impressed how fine this machine works with ubuntu, no need for a selfcompiled kernel, WLan works during the installation process. All I had to do was adding "ac", "battery", "speedstep_centrino" and "cpufreq_ondemand" to /etc/modules and activate my little speedstep script ("update-rc.d speedstep defaults").

Installing the Base System

A short test run with Knoppix indicated Linux should work on this machine, so I decided to install it. My first try was a failure. I reduced the size of the preinstalled Windows Partition using Knoppix’ QTParted and installed Debian at the last 10GB of the HD. It failed to load grub stage 1.5 at boot, and as i tried using Lilo this also failed. It was a surprise as i inserted the Rescue CD shipped with the laptop in order to get Windows back into the MBR, but the Rescue CD didn’t want to do anything. It just said "Setup untersucht die Hardwarekonfiguration ihres Computers" and afterwards showed pure blackness. So I reformated and installed Linux at the first 10GB of the HD. Now Linux worked, but the Rescue CD failed as before. I also tried a standard XP-CD and my old Win98-CD, all failed. I called the fujitsu-siemens hotline who gave me the "advice" to reformat using knoppix. It actually hurt to format a working linux installation, but i tried it. It really helped.

I still don’t know what the actual problem is. The rescue CD shows the blue setup screen if i insert it in my desktop PC, even if there is only a broken harddisc in it or no hd at all. I finally succeeded by creating a small /boot partition at the beginning of the HD and the windows partition as partition 2.

Working in a unmodified Debian Distribution

Once debian was installed it worked well. Sound worked, Ethernet worked, Synaptics Touchpad worked(you have to modify the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 in order to use the Touchpad and a usb-mouse simultaneously – see files at the end). USB worked, probably more.

Accelerated 3D Graphics

the standard X11-driver "ati" does not (yet?) support the 3D-Acceleration of the Radeon Mobility 9600(or whatever it is called). If you want that Acceleration you need to use ati’s proprietary drivers, available at Ati website. They are not free as in "free software" and will "taint" your kernel, so if you intend to become a saint in the church of emacs don’t use them.

If you however try to install them I haveto warn you they won’t work with all kernel versions. They are working with an unpatched kernel.org 2.6.10, with the debian 2.6.8, they did not work with a 2.6.11-rc2 and a 2.6.11-rc1-bk6. Unfortunately the Ati drivers are in rpm format. So you’ll have to apt-get alien(can turn .rpm to .deb) or get the debian packages from Flavio Stanchina. If you get an error concerning overwriting libGL.so while installing, check Jimmy’s homepage or do a dirty dpkg -force-all.

Note that fglrx does not support suspend yet, or at least not without kernel patching and similar stuff.

TV-Out and external Monitor

This seems to be difficult. If you boot up with a monitor attached it will work, but you can’t use fn-f4 to toggle. It’s probably a feature of the ati driver.

ACPI

I installed the acpid package. It does not complain, but i haven’t tested if it saves energy etc.

CPU frequency scaling

This part of the kernel seems to be in a rapid development. Using kernel.org 2.6.10 and the config below, i could do a "modprobe speedstep_centrino" &&
"echo "ondemand" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor" and then cpu frequency/MHz varies from 600 to 1400. I havent tested the impact on energy consumption yet, but since the fan is not always working the laptop is more silent.

Extra Buttons

Execute the line "setxkbmap -model logiik -layout de -variant nodeadkeys" or modify the XF86-Config-4 as I have done(see files). Then you can assign the keys "XF86Mail" and "XF86WWW" to actions you need, also the fn-f5/f6 key combinations. I used "Control Center" – "Regional & Accessibility" – "KHotKeys" to configure them. I tried DCOP calls to control the volume, but unfortunatel the name of the "Remote Object" changes every restart.

Network

No Problems here, the card works fine. I had some Problems with dhcp killing my vpn-connections, but this is possibly a vpnc-problem. It worked after i switched to dhcpcd instead of dhclient. Possibly following this my Laptop now wants a “ctrl-c” when booting up and not being attached to a ethernet network.

Wireless LAN

This worked well. Using the kernel 2.6.10 i downloaded driver and firmware from ipw2200.sf.net and installed them(driver version 1.0.0, firmware "v0.19-current". Copy the firmware files *.fw to /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/ (as advised in the INSTALL of the driver), "make" the driver, turn on wlan and hopefully enjoy a working "modprobe ipw2200". I haven’t found out how to automatically load the driver. Note that there is also a package for Debian sid. If this driver does not suit your purpose, try ndiswrapper. In order to use wlan with some comfort, try installing "waproamd" and modify /etc/network/interfaces (Every network I use has a dhcp server, so i just copied the lines from eth0) For unknown reasons my wlan device is sometimes called eth1 and sometimes eth2. So configure both devices.

USB

USB works fine. Haven’t checked USB 2.0 yet. In order to access a usb-storage device, create /mnt/usb and add the line "/dev/sda1 /mnt/usb vfat user,noauto,dmask=000,fmask=0111" or something similar to your /etc/fstab.

DVD/CD

Works fine, burning with k3b is no problem, however the system gets *very* slow while burning.

Incomplete

At the moment the boot process and the kernel configuration are a mess. it works, but reports lots of errors and takes some time.

To be tested: Firewire, pc-card reader,…

If not connected to an ethernet network dhcpcd waits too long at bootup.


filetype amilo/XF86-Config.txt (16.57 kiB, 2005-03-02)
filetype amilo/config_prometheus.txt (34.47 kiB, 2005-06-24)
filetype amilo/speedstep (614 B, 2005-06-24)

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2 Responses to Debian Sarge GNU/Linux on a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo M7425 Laptop

  1. Etsuko says:

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  2. Sobaba says:

    I recently itnlalsed Open Suse 11.1, but I’m having problems get the nic-card to talk, I.e. I’m having issues connecting to the internet. Anyone outher having similar problems. What do I need to do to get it to work? Thanks

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