Big Bubbles (no troubles)

What sucks, who sucks and you suck

Laptops and Linux

This post is mostly for the benefit of any other poor sods trying to run Linux on a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo L7320GW, but it touches on general problems with penguins and laptops.

These are the data points as of the current posting date:

  • Tried CentOS 5.0 and, while it worked reasonably well, resuming from suspend or hibernation failed (disk spins up but screen is blank and there’s no network or response). A modified Suspend2 kernel from the extra repos also failed. However, I recall that the pm-hibernate script worked, just not any of the GUI-driven options. I abandoned CentOS as it wasn’t really targeted at laptops.
  • Resume from hibernation (i.e. to disk) works with recent kernels in Fedora 8, but resuming from suspend (i.e. to RAM) still fails as above. If you use KDE, I strongly suggest installing KPowerSave via YUM instead of relying on the default applet. (Annoyingly, there’s no suspend option from the login menu.)
  • X11 works once you locate a working xorg.conf for this model or similar via Google. Use the Openchrome display driver (may not be installed by default).
  • Audio works once you ensure that the pulseaudio daemon is running and the KDE pulseaudio RPM is installed.
  • Wifi works with the madwifi driver from the Livna repo (not the included ath5k), but there are various reported bugs with NetworkManager and WPA encryption; it seems to ignore a correctly configured (working) wpa_supplicant config and ask for keys anyway, then fail to reconnect after a resume. The best solution I’ve found so far with a permanent (i.e. home or office) network is to disable NM and use the static network rc script (which fails initially because wpa_supplicant won’t be running yet, but is needed to bring the interface up for the latter), then add /sbin/dhclient _interface_ to rc.local.

In all honesty, I would have reinstalled XP by now if the machine didn’t hang while booting from the CD, purely to regain hassle-free wifi and suspend. Fingers crossed, I might now have an adequately working system - if further annoyances occur, there’s a real danger that this laptop will be heading binwards. In pieces.

(Doesn’t the Asus Eee PC look great?!)