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Linux on an Asus L7300

Asus L7300   Asus L7300

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Here's how I installed Linux on my laptop... feel free to mail me if you have any suggestions, problems or comments!

My laptop's specs :

Intel Celeron 300
160 MB RAM (32 built-in + 128 added)
4GB hard drive
13"3 TFT display (1024x768)
Yamaha OPL3 sound chip
Silicon Motion SM910 video chip

Installing Linux :

Now, here we go... I chose RedHat 6.2 mainly because it's the Linux distribution I'm the most familiar with, but also because it came out the day I got my laptop which means all the software (XFree, irda...) was the most recent I could get.
I booted off the CD and ran the install process in expert-text mode. I don't know if the graphical install would have worked, I'm just used to doing it in text so I didn't even try just in case (type in "text expert" at the boot prompt). I then made 3 partitions, one for Windows, one for swap space and one for Linux. Since this computer is going to be used for personal stuff only, I didn't bother making many partitons for different mount points... since then Windows has been completely deleted and here is what it looks like now :

hda : 4003776 (total)
hda1 : 133024 (linux swap, about 130M)
hda1 : 1052352 (linux native, about 950M for '/' was the fat32 before)
hda3 : 2818368 (linux native, about 2.7G for '/home' was the '/' before)

With RedHat, the only way to get only primary partitions instead of having only the first one being primary and all the others in an extended one, is to use fdisk instead of diskdruid by choosing "expert" at boot time. I'm not quite sure, but it seems like 6.2 let's you choose even during a normal installation... another good improvement over the previous versions :)
Another thing you usually have to be careful with is the 1024 cylinders limit for Lilo : The kernels must be on a partition that doesn't exceed the 1024th cylinder of the disk... since this 4GB drive only has about 1000, I was able to make that unique Linux partition at the end of the disk whithout any hassles (it's the /home now anyway) :).

For the installed components, I've selected them according to what I will use. The computer is usually either on my local network or directly connected to the internet at work so all the useful network stuff was installed. Some extra packages not included on the standard RedHat CD were added : openssl, openssh, staroffice, some games, all the RedHat updates, a 2.2.16 kernel, php4, helix gnome... if you need thoses packages , go looking for them on

Here's my list of installed RPMS (given by rpm -qa)

Configuring Linux :

It was a good surprise : Everything was supported so there wasn't much to do! I ran "sndconfig" which found a "Yamaha OPL3 card" and I heard the sound tests immediately. It was almost the same for the X configuration... I wasn't able to get things working with Xconfigurator, but XF86setup got things going fine :) Here is my XF86Config file if you need it.
Apart from that, I did my usual little changes, like turning the "beep" for bash off (add a line containing "set bell-style none" in /etc/inputrc ) since I'm almost sure I'll use it one day close to someone sleeping ;)

Files :

Here are some files I've changed. Only the /etc/X11/XF86Config and the /etc/conf.modules files are really important to change. I've also now compiled the sound drivers into the kernel now.

Strange things :

Now for a little more fun... here is a list of strange things that happen (why? I don't know!).

  • When resuming after a suspend mode, the keyboard doesn't respond for about 5 seconds after the wake-up process is finished.
  • When adjusting the brightness or accessing any of the Fn+* that display something in the top-left corner of the screen, X behaves strangely and nothing is displayed anymore... in gdm, only the cross cursor stays there... an X configuration problem? Folling around with the Fn keys a little more sometimes fixes this (!) otherwise I've got to kill the X server :(
    Answer : It's the display that switches to the external device instead of the internal LCD! Just hit Fn+F7 to fix this.
  • When I hit the left "Windows (R)" key when I'm using one of my virtual terminals, it brings me back to my X session who is running in the background (!)
    Update : The right key does about the same thing... funny :)

That's all folks!

Well that's about it! I've installed Windows 98 SE the same day, and... I had to go get all the drivers from! (vga, sound) I wonder who ever said Windows was plug'n play and Linux wasn't :) Anyway... since I needed more space on my hard drive, Windows is just a bad memory now!
This Asus laptop is really great with Linux, if you need an average laptop (good stuff, pretty cheap too!) that will work almost straight ahead with Linux, this is an exellent choice!

Things I still need to do (mail me if you know how to do them!)

  • Get rid of the X screwing up each time the Fn keys are used to change the brightness or the volume.
    Update : Since I use a frame-buffered console mode, this doesn't happen anymore!
  • Try to get the console mode in full-screen : It doesn't seem possible to do without the Frame Buffer...
    Update : Done :)))) Just put the framebuffer support in the kernel and "vga=791" in /etc/lilo.conf.
  • Get some pccard peripherials and IR ones to check that out!
    Update : Done too :) I've got a Xircom 10/100+56k pcmcia card that worked great straight ahead! I also used the IRDA stuff with another computer (IP network) and it worked!

email : Thias

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