Linux on the Acer TravelMate 245LC laptop


Last update: 09-03-2004

Considering that good links and good principles have to be reused, this presentation is based on the TravelMate 640 LC page : http://wojas.vvtp.tudelft.nl/acertm/

This document is not a Debian installation walkthrough, it points out some specific configuration procedures for the Acer hardware. If you're not familiar with Debian you might want to take a look at the OS News Very Verbose Debian 3.0 Installation Walkthrough.


Specs

The specs of the laptop are (see http://www.acer.fr) :


Linux compatibility

3D AGP intégrée

works

DVD/CD-RW

works; DVD region hack available, but not tested

USB

works

PCMCIA

works

Sound card

works

IrDA

works (haven't tried FIR)

Network Interface Card

works

IDE controller

works, including UDMA

Synaptic Touchpad

works with specific synaptic driver

Acer funkeys (email, browser, volume, etc)

works, except the mail led (not verified)

Lucent AMR winmodem

beta driver recently released, not tested

ACPI/APM sleep and suspend

Not verified : doesn't not work on other models



Installation notes

The system came with 2 Windows CD's, Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 and Norton Antivirus 2003. Be carefull these 'recovery' CD's usually overwrite the entire hard disk so don't use them after you have installed Linux ! And don't forget to make a backup if you really need to.

The hard disk image is transferred using Ghost to a FAT32 disk. It is possible to convert the disk to NTFS. If you want to use FIPS to reduce the partition size, do it before this ! After it's converted you need a commercial program like Partition Magic to do this.

TIPS from <wojas at vvtp.tn.tudelft.nl> UPDATE 19-10-2002
It is possible to restore manualy to a partition instead of letting the Acer tools overwrite your entire hard disk:

  • Boot from the Acer System CD (Disk 1).

  • Click on 'Exit'. You will be dropped into a DOS console.

  • Type ghostro to start the limited version of Symantec Ghost Acer has licensed to restore the images.

  • Insert the first XP (or 2000) recovery CD.

  • Select 'restore a partition' in Ghost and select the image from the \IMAGES directory.

  • Ghost will prompt you for a password, enter ACERMSU.

  • Select the target disk and partition.


The disk was originally partitionned in C: of 27 MB in FAT32 with WindowsXP Professional Service Pack 1 and D: 10 MB ; the partition D: has been converted into Linux partitions :

Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders, total 78140160 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *          63    57641219    28820578+   c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/hda2        57641220    78124094    10241437+   5  Extended
/dev/hda3        78124095    78140159        8032+  1e  Hidden W95 FAT16 (LBA)
/dev/hda5        57641283    67408739     4883728+  83  Linux
/dev/hda6        67408803    68388704      489951   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda7        68388768    78124094     4867663+  83  Linux

The second partition is a special Acer partition, We suspect it's for the suspend to disk function. It's an empty FAT16 disk.

After determining partitioning, Linux can be installed. I tried first Knoppix3.3 but the boot frozen the laptop as described for similar TravelMate in the http://www.knoppix.net/ forum, the same think appeared with MandrakeMove and the install of satndard Mandrake 9.2 failed : it seems to be a recent problem for booting from CDROM that can be avoided using floppy boot ; fortunately I had still an old Debian Woody on 7 CDROM which succeed for the installation fully from the CDROMs ; however, it was necessary to upgrade on Debian sid to have all the Graphics, haptics and sounds functionalities : that upgrade was also successful but took many hours with ADSL 512kb connexion :

Filesystem 1K-blocks Used     Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda5  4806904   4412948  149772    97%  /
/dev/hda7  4791140   4056     4543704   1%   /home
tmpfs      119680 0  119680             0%   /dev/shm
/dev/hda1  28806480  7286144  21520336  26%  /hda1

My /etc/fstab:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>     <options>               <dump>  <pass>
/dev/hda5       /               ext2       errors=remount-ro       0       1
/dev/hda6       none            swap       sw                      0       0
proc            /proc           proc       defaults                0       0
/dev/fd0        /floppy         auto       user,noauto             0       0
/dev/cdrom      /cdrom          iso9660    ro,user,noauto          0       0
/dev/hda7       /home           ext2       defaults                0       2

The configuration viewed by the kernel at boot time from the dmesg command : dmesg040308.txt

Here is the /etc/modules describing all the usefull modules especially for the sound.

Here is the /etc/lilo.conf using initrd.

Here is the verbose lspci.


Afterwords I tried to install the brand new Mandrake 10.0 and it was very easy and fast except for some LSB packages not yet compatible with 2.6.3 kernel.

The configuration viewed by the kernel 2.6.3 at boot time from the dmesg command : dmesg.mdk

Here is the /etc/modules.mdk describing all the usefull modules soon with the sound.

Here is the /etc/lilo.conf.mdk using initrd.

Here is the verbose lspci.



Video card

The video card is a Intel(R) 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics Controller with 64 MB memory.

Write an appropriate /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file or use mine.



DVD/CD-RW

The DVD/CD-RW drive can be used like any IDE CD-ROM drive, but to get CD burning to work you will need to use IDE SCSI emulation.


USB

Worked out of the box. This system needs the OHCI USB driver. You might want to install the usbmgr, usbutils and usbview packages.


PCMCIA

Works out of the box.


Sound card

The sound chipset are i810 and AC97

You might want to install the aumix package to change mixer settings and restore these every system boot

There is no sound with Mandrake 10.0 : hope it is possible.


Network Interface Card

It's a Realtek 8139 10/100 MBit NIC. Load the 8139too module.


Touchpad

Works with a specific synaptic driver


ACPI/APM

The precompiled kernel 2.4.25 from debian sid has no ACPI module : it is necessary to recompile a kernel with that module option.



/proc/interrupts

           CPU0       
  0:     104291          XT-PIC  timer
  1:       1490          XT-PIC  keyboard
  2:          0          XT-PIC  cascade
  8:          4          XT-PIC  rtc
 10:          0          XT-PIC  Intel ICH4, Texas Instruments PCI1250 PC card Cardbus Controller, Texas Instruments PCI1250 PC card Cardbus Controller (#2)
 11:      15449          XT-PIC  eth0
 14:      45762          XT-PIC  ide0
 15:         14          XT-PIC  ide1
NMI:          0 
LOC:          0 
ERR:          0
MIS:          0


Screenshot

And of course the useless obligatory screenshot [167340 bytes]


Related links


(c) CopyLeft 2004 Aimé Vareille <aime.vareille at wanadoo.fr>
If you have some information or a link that you would like me to put on this site, feel free to mail me. Don't email me with generic questions, try Google and the Linux Documentation Project first. If you can't find an answer there, try one of the comp.os.linux.* newsgroups. I will ignore all email I consider inappropriate, writing a document on the Acer laptop doesn't mean I like doing free helpdesk work for everyone's little unrelated problem.