INSTALLING LINUX ON A TOSHIBA SATELLITE
Note added 24 December 2004: Now that the excellent Debian Installer is available the information given here is largely redundant, except perhaps for the details of the video system. In particular, the Installer detected my sound system and set it up automatically. But I've left the stuff below in place, just in case anyone still needs it. (See my main Linux page for further details.)I've decided to make my own experience of installing Linux on my Toshiba Satellite 4000CDT available here, because I didn't find answers to all my questions on the Net and I had to work out some of them for myself. This is my small contribution towards the Linux enterprise, with thanks to Linus Torvalds.
I installed Debian but the comments I make here should apply to other distributions. I don't cover the whole installation process (see the documentation that accompanies your distribution for this), but deal just with those things that caused me a bit of head-scratching. Installing the system on the Toshiba is in the main no different from installing it on a desktop but there are a few things you need to look out for. One is the "Fn" key, another is, as usual, getting X to work, and a third is the appearance of the screen in text terminals. Finally, although it's nothing to do with Linux, it's useful to know how to restore things if absolutely everything goes wrong: see "Panic Tip" below.
I've given my own solutions to these problems here. I'd be grateful for any feedback or comments.
Initial installationIf you are installing Debian, use the Tecra kernel image, otherwise the process will hang. (Actually this was the case a few years ago; it may not be necessary now.) My current kernel is 2.4.22.
Setting up XThe Toshiba 4000CDT has a C&T65555 chipset. I'm still using the XF86_SVGA server from the 3.x release because I'm not sure that the more recent 4.x release will work. The older version seems to be quite satisifactory with this relatively low-specification screen.
You can probe your system in the usual way, selecting the above chipset; note that you should not include a Clocks line.
For the "Pointer device", use "PS/2" for Protocol and "/dev/psaux" for Device if you are using the built-in pointer.
HorizSync is 31.5-37.9
VertFresh is 60-72
"Depth": I initially set this to 16. However, Alexandre Jousset emailed me to say that if you use the following Modeline you can get 24bit. It works, but make sure your Videomode is 2048. However, there are reports that Netscape isn't happy at 24bit, so you may be better off sticking to 16bit. (In practice, I can't see any difference between them.)
Modeline "800x600" 35.00 800 840 960 1000 600 601 605 630 +hsync +vsync
Thanks to Alexandre for this.
The Fn KeyThis works as advertised in Linux, but I haven't managed to find any way of showing this on-screen. There is a program called toshiba-hotkey but it doesn't work on my machine. (But toshiba-fan does work.)
Advanced Power Management (APM)You need to be careful about compiling this in. The basic APM seems to be all right but if you include some of the options you may find that the Fn key no longer works. (This was the case with the 2.2.x kernels; it may not apply with more recent kernels.) I include only the option to store RTC time in GMT. I also run the apmd daemon and the time and date seem to be preserved correctly when switching off.
Using the full screen in console modeYou'll probably find that when you are in a text mode console only the central part of the screen is being used; there are blank areas above and below. To use the whole screen, you need to do three things:
1. Open the Toshiba hardware tuning program (tsetup.exe). You can do this from within Windows(TM), unless, like me, you've deleted it(!), in which case you can access it by using the Toshiba Companion Diskette or from DOS (copy the relevant file from the diskette). Choose the "Stretch" option, which enables use of the full screen and also do the following:
2. Insert "vga=4" in lilo or the script that runs loadlin.exe (linux.bat in my case).
3. In previous versions of this article I advised using SVGATextmode with a setting of 116x25x8. This does work but there are still blank areas above and below the text. The author of this program has now ceased to maintain it because he thinks it is not longer useful on modern cards. Instead I use:
This gives 40 lines with a nice legible font.
4. Don't forget that with recent kernels you can (at last!) modify the appearance of the cursor in text mode; for example, you can have a non-blinking block cursor in different colours, which is much easier to see on a laptop. See the kernel documentation for details.
Sound ConfigurationIt took me a bit of fiddling to get sound to work. This is how I did it.
Panic TipNothing to do with Linux, but here's how to access the BIOS (Toshiba setup) if all else fails: Switch off and then on again, holding down the "Esc" key meanwhile. If this doesn't work, press the Reset button while holding down the "Esc" key.
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