Mandrake Linux 9.0/9.1 on Toshiba Tecra 8200

Author: Just van den Broecke
Organization: Just Objects B.V.
Email: just@justobjects.nl

FileID: $Id: linux-tecra-8200.xml,v 1.6 2003/10/07 20:58:28 just Exp $
Date: $Date: 2003/10/07 20:58:28 $

This document contains notes of an installment of Mandrake Linux 9.0 (PowerPack Edition) and a subsequent upgrade to 9.1 on a Toshiba Tecra 8200 laptop.


1. Intro

Back in 2001 I have tried to install Linux (Redhat 7.2) on my Tecra 8200. This was a mixed blessing. There were various problems still open, the major issue being partial support for the Trident Cyberblade XP driver in XFree (no HW accel, no 1400 res). But now the time seems right. I was also interested trying another distribution, namely Mandrake Linux 9.0. My main source of information came from the Toshiba-Linux users mailing list. Below are short notes for each of the installment steps. At the end I have listed some open issues. If you have any remarks or suggestions, please let me know.

2. Preconditions

   Toshiba Tecra 8200
   Intel PIII 1GHz
   512 Mb RAM 
   30Gb HD (Toshiba MK3017GAP)
   Trident CyberBlade XP video card
   Yamaha YMF-754 soundcard
   1400x1050 TFT
   TOSHIBA DVD-ROM SD-R2002 (swappable with floppy)
   Intel EtherExpress PRO/100
   WLAN Intersil PRISM2 11 Mbps Wireless Adapter (Lucent Orinoco?)
   video out.
   USB hub (Texas Instruments TUSB2040)
   logitech wireless USB mouse
   HP deskjet 970 CXi printer
   Epson Perfection 1200U scanner
   
   Win98/Redhat7.2 dual boot
   
   Mandrake Linux 9.0 (PowerPack Edition)
   kernel 2.4.19-16mdk
   XFree 4.2.1 patch level mdk3
   Toshutils 2.0.1
   

3. Installation

3.1. Boot

My machine already had a dual-boot configuration for Win98/RedHat 7.2 so no partitioning was required. Booting from CDROM went ok by just pressing [F2] during boot. This didn't work in the past when I tried to install Redhat (due to ISO CD spec mismatch) where I used a dosutil to boot directly from DOS to Linux.

3.2. Freeze!

Everything went smooth during the install, even using the graphic install mode (with RH only text mode worked). But then the whole system froze during network setup. The freeze was so bad that I had to switch the system off, rendering a half-installation and worse the unability to boot even to Win98! Just the word "LI" came up during boot. This issue was quickly resolved by booting to DOS (none of my windows partitions were visible!) and typing format /mbr. This reformats the boot sector to DOS and yes, luckily my Win98 system was intact. During the second try I skipped network install and things went more smooth. See next.

Other people found this issue. From http://newsforge.com/newsforge/02/11/12/1628202.shtml?tid=23:

The biggest warning I have for anyone installing Mandrake 9.0 on a laptop with both a built-in network card and a PCMCIA wireless adaptor is, "Don't set up your network during the install." I tried to do this not once but three times, and all three times my laptop hung on its first post-install bootup. I looked through the manual for a way to click past that service's start and didn't find a way to bypass the hung-up part of the install routine. Finally I did an install without setting up the network, and set up the wireless network later, and everything went fine.

4. Configuration

After the freeze in the first installation attempt, the second installation was more or less smooth. Most system devices/cards were recognized and configured.

4.1. Video

I was the most curious how well this would work out since this gave most of the headaches in previous installs. This has mainly to do with the fact that driver development is hindered by Trident not opening up specs for the CyberBlade XP video card.

4.1.1. XFree

XFree 4.2.1 (patch level 3mdk) was installed and configured but during install the 1400 resolution was not present. I downloaded the latest Trident driver from www.xfree.org/~alanh. According to /var/log/XFree86.0.log it is version 1.0.31 (though it says compiled for 4.2.0):

(II) LoadModule: "trident"
(II) Loading /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/trident_drv.o
(II) Module trident: vendor="The XFree86 Project"
        compiled for 4.2.0, module version = 1.0.31
        Module class: XFree86 Video Driver
        ABI class: XFree86 Video Driver, version 0.5
    
I also downloaded an XF86Config-4 from http://linux.toshiba-dme.co.jp/linux/eng/memo/tecra_8200_2.htm

I replaced the Trident driver, but couldn't use the downloaded XF86Config-4 as is (Mandrake uses the xfs font server plus the keyboard/mouse settings were different). So I merged the relevant info (ServerFlags, Device, Monitor, Screen) from the downloaded XF86Config-4 and voila for the first time I saw a 1400 resolution. A remaining issue is that a few pixels are cutoff at the left side of the screen and appear at the right side. This is a known issue among Trident CyberBlade XP users. I experimented with different driver options (FbDev, CyberStretch etc) but to no result. Here is my XF86Config-4. This is XFree Log Output

4.1.2. Ugly Fonts!

From what I read off the web on this issue, getting fonts right on Linux is not an exact science. There are many, many knobs to turn and tweak and many issues are application-specific, most notably Mozilla and Java (Swing) apps. Useful links are XFree86 Font De-uglification HOWTO and Qt (KDE) fonts HOWTO

Mandrake defaults to using the xfs font server. This means that fonts should be configured in /etc/X11/fs/config. Here is my xfs config file.

Fonts looked ugly in Mozilla and IntelliJ IDEA, a Java IDE I use in most of my work. I tried the following in no particular order:

  • installing my windows TrueType fonts from the windows partition
  • tweaking DPI settings
  • changing order in font path (put 100dpi fonts before 75 dpi fonts)
  • adding :unscaled to first fonts in font path
  • experimenting with anti-aliasing

I now have a workable result, though mostly bold and italic font faces are "vague"/"skewed" and mozilla/IDEA are still far from their appearance under Windows. I have not yet tried another font server like xftt. Any suggestions welcome!

4.1.3. Resolution Switching

I was not able to switch resolutions in X. Normally this should be done using [CTRL][ALT][NUMPAD-] or ...[NUMPAD+], but these keys are not available nor does the hotkey work. Needs investigation.

4.1.4. Video Apps

None of the video apps worked though: Sound can be heard from the RealPlayer G2 v8.0.3.421, but video is never shown plus it crashes with a segfaultwhen opening a SMIL presentation. Xine was even worse: it crashes during startup with the message: X Error of failed request: BadAlloc (insufficient resources for operation). There are some messages related to the Trident driver and this error message on the XFree Expert mailing list, but the archives have disappeared. Needs further investigation. I got a suggestion to try 1280 resolution...

4.2. Network

The Tecra owns both a 100Mb wired network interface (eth0) and a wireless 802.11b (11Mb) built-in device (eth1). One advice: don't use the Mandrake's "network setup wizard", at least in my system it frooze the installation (9.0) and after install it mixed up eth0 and eth1 devices.

4.2.1. Wired Interface

The Intel EtherExpress Pro/100 was recognized and the module eepro100 was installed. The installation stumbled over the Lucent Orinoco WLAN card (my guess). Getting the networking right took some tweaking. Somehow two devices (eth0 and eth1) were present but were not working right. I had to manually disable eth1 in modules.conf and removed from /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts. Also I had to manually add my gateway server using route add. Still the card manager tries to configure the WLAN card as eth1, but it doesn't appear when typing ifconfig.

Now networking was working but after some activity it just stopped ! Browsing the Toshiba-Linux mailing archives I found that the solution was to replace the eepro100 driver with e100. This problem seems to be appear in some versions of Linux kernels and appearantly this one (2.4.19-16mdk) as well. In modules.conf I added the line alias eth0 e100.

4.2.2. Wireless Interface

Getting this to work with my LinkSys WAP54g took quite some tweaking, mainly in the scripts under /etc/sysconfig. But it now works like a charm. Hot switching between wired and wireless using ifup/ifdown eth0|1 works. Also install WaveMon to view details of your wireless connection. (Will add specifics later).

4.3. Toshutils

Several extra steps were required to get the Toshutils compiled and working properly.

Now the wmtuxtime applet worked.

4.4. PalmPilot

My old PalmPilot communicates using the serial port. To start there was no device in /dev that seems to represent a serial (COM-type) port like /dev/ttyS0 or a more modern variant. The serial port is also not visible in harddrake. Pilot-sync works fine on this same machine under Win98. A very basic issue is to be solved first: getting a serial port device installed.

I contacted Mandrake Support and registered incident #48071 at http://www.mandrakeexpert.com. They were of great help. The cause was something stupid: the serial port was somehow disabled in the BIOS. Setting it to "COM1 IRQ4" enabled the serial port. Syncing with my PalmPilot now works as a breeze through JPilot.

4.5. Scanner

My Epson Perfection 1200U worked without any extra effort through USB. Using the sane tools, scanning has never been easier! In particular when using scanimage in combination with ImageMagick to automate multiple scans or to convert a scan to PDF and send to the printer. Some examples below.

# scan and convert to PDF
scanimage --resolution 144  > /tmp/f.pbm
convert /tmp/f.pbm f.pdf

# scan a 15x10 image in upper left corner and convert to JPG
scanimage --mode Color --resolution 150 -l 72 -x 143.9 -y 97.9 > /tmp/f.pbm
convert /tmp/f.pbm f.jpg

4.6. Camera

The Canon Digital Ixus V was easily accessed using GPhoto2 both graphically and from the commandline.

4.7. Archos MP3 Player

The Archos Jukebox Recorder 20 was easily mounted as a USB storage device. I put the following lines into a script since somehow several steps are required.

modprobe usb-uhci
modprobe usb-storage
mount -t vfat -oumask=0 /dev/sda1 /mnt/archos

The following script synchronizes my entire MP3 collection with to the Archos.

rsync -rltv --delete --modify-window=1 --copy-links \
	  --exclude='.??*' --exclude='*~' --exclude=\*.jpg \
	  --exclude=\*.ajz --exclude=\*.ucl --exclude=.rockbox \
	  /mnt/banda/homes/archive/media/mp3/ /mnt/archos/mp3/

If you own an Archos MP3 player be sure to install RockBox from rockbox.haxx.se.

5. Upgrading to MDK 9.1

One lesson learned in several years of Linux installs: never use a .0 distribution . So I was expecting things to be better in MDK 9.1. I downloaded and burned the ISOs choose the upgrade option and after some time the upgrade was ready. The system came up but from there on quite some work was needed to get everything working as it did in 9.0. Specific problems:

5.1. Suspend/resume

The suspend/resume scripts under /etc/sysconfig/suspend-scripts have been rewritten in 9.1.

In /etc/sysconfig/suspend set LOCK_XFREE="no" to disable having to set your password on each resume.

The most annoying side-effect of suspend/resume is that networking is screwed up on resume: somehow the system "thinks" that eth0 is now the wireless interface (was eth1 before suspend) while other settings (kernel?) assume the wired interface. Restarting the network doesn't help. My workaround is to eject the pcmcia cards, restart the network and insert pcmcia again, i.e.

   cardctl eject
   service network stop
   service network start
   cardctl insert
   

I added these lines to the resume() function in /etc/sysconfig/suspend-scripts/suspend. Not elegant but suspend/resume works as expected.

5.2. Sound

Sound was not working, but using the following settings found in http://linux.toshiba-dme.co.jp/ML/tlinux-users/2500/2507_2.conf in modules.conf did the trick (don't ask me what they mean). All volumes may default to 0, be sure to set them with e.g. Aumix

.

6. Open Issues

Stuff to resolve and install

References

[TLS]
Toshiba Linux support (hosts Toshiba-Linux mailing list) http://linux.toshiba-dme.co.jp/linux/
[OSI]
Getting XFree/Trident/1400 res working fotap.org/~osi/toshiba_1400_and_xfree.html
[RH72]
[RH71]
Redhat 7.1 on Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600; http://www.roe.ac.uk/~hme/tosh4600
[MD82]
Mandrake Linux 8.2 (Bluebird) and Win 2000 on Toshiba Tecra 8200 mini-HOWTO http://home.sprintmail.com/~khollenshead/linux/linux-winnt-tecra8200.html
[TDE]
Toshiba Germany support centre; http://newsletter.toshiba-tro.de/main/
[TUT]
The Toshiba Linux Utilities; http://www.buzzard.org.uk/toshiba/
[FON1]
[FON2]
XFree86 Font De-uglification HOWTOwww.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/mini/FDU/index.html