Mandrake 10.0 on the Toshiba Satellite M35X-S149

I just got this laptop from Bestbuy at a Christmas sale .. 645 dollars after rebate. I upgraded it with 512 mb of RAM, so I now have 768 mb to play around in :) I installed Mandrake Linux 10.0 .. I didn't really find any linux installation documentation for this specific model so I thought I'd write one. The reason for choosing Mandrake 10.0 wasn't because I particularly love the distribution .. I would probably have tried to install Debian at this point, or at least Fedora. But I am part of a research group in college which uses Mandrake as a standard, so I have to stick with it, at least until I finish college :)

Update: I have since installed Ubuntu, and all I need to say about that installation procedure is: it works. I am currently on Hoary, and WiFi, 1280x800 display, hibernation all works out of the box. I have no idea about the modem since I do not have a normal phone line. In conclusion, I would highly recommend installing Ubuntu Hoary over Mandrake 10.0.

If you still want to install Mandrake 10.0, read on! :)

Note: This document does assume some knowledge of Linux - I have not explained a lot of terms which might seem confusing to anyone installing Linux for the first time. Also, this document is provided for your information only .. it works for me but I will not be held responsible if something happens to your laptop!

Specifications
Product Height: 1.5"
Product Width: 14.4"
Product Weight: 6.6 lbs.
Product Length: 10.8"
Processor Brand: Intel Celeron M
Processor Speed: 1.5GHz
Display Type: WXGA TFT active-matrix widescreen (1280 x 800)
Screen Size: 15.4"
System Bus: 400MHz
Cache Memory: 1MB on die Level 2
System Memory (RAM): 256MB - expandable To 2.0GB
Type of Memory (RAM): PC2700 DDR SDRAM
Hard Drive Type: EIDE
Hard Drive Size: 60.0GB (4200 rpm)
Optical Drive: DVD-ROM/CD-RW
Optical Drive Speeds: Drive speeds not available
Diskette Drive: Optional
Diskette Drive Type: USB external 3.5" 1.44MB floppy (optional)
Graphics: Integrated Intel 855GME
Video Memory: 16MB (shared) - expandable to 64 MB
Modem: 56 Kbps* ITU V.92
Networking: Built-in Wi-Fi-compliant Atheros wireless LAN(802.11b/g)
10/100Base-TX Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
Audio: 16-bit stereo; SRS TruSurround XT technology; Direct 3D Sound
Speakers: Built-in stereo speakers
PCMCIA Slots: 1 Type II
USB Ports: 3 USB 2.0
IEEE 1394 FireWire: Ports - 1
Parallel Ports: None
Serial Ports: None
Game Ports: None
Battery Type: Lithium-ion
Pointing Device: Touchpad
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition


Partitioning
I used PartitionMagic to partition the WindowsXP partition .. it came preinstalled with one 60 GB drive as a single partition. Don't you just hate that? If anyone has used any other open source partitioning tools, I would really appreciate hearing about it. This copy of Partition Magic was one I borrowed from a friend who wasn't using it .. I uninstalled it as soon as my work got done and returned the copy. I have since been told by a number of readers that it's easily doable using the ubuntu live cd and qparted.

Installation
Mandrake 10.0 booted quite nicely and the installation went without a hitch .. almost. I did a graphical install and my touchpad worked, so I went on to choosing the packages etc. The screen was configured as 1024x768 .. XFdrake couldn't do better. I chose not to boot into X by default. The soundcard was autodetected and worked right away. Incidentally, the speakers are fairly decent, not very powerful but with nice sound.

The next phase was getting the wireless card to work. It's an integrated Atheros 802.11G card. I had to plug into a lan for this, since there was no other way to download the drivers I needed. I downloaded the madwifi driver from cvs, and followed the installation instructions. When loading the modules compiled during this installation, please use modprobe and not insmod! Also, one thing to watch out for .. by default the madwifi driver seemed to compile for a different architecture. You have to export certain variables before you compile the driver, the README talks about it. But the madwifi FAQ is a good one, and I managed to get it compiled and loaded in no time at all. I got the architecture flag related information from the FAQ. Note: I connect to two wireless networks: one at school and one at home and both are unencrypted, I have not yet tried to get the encrypted network up and do not intend to.

The modem is something I have not yet tried out.

The next task was to get the screen working at 1280x800. Like some other screens I have seen, including on IBM's, if you run it at a lower resolution it doesn't look very good .. looks a little washed out. So I really wanted the 1280x800 .. I don't use Windows so the fact that it was working there wasn't very helpful. I tried adding just 1280x800 to the screen resolution part of the XF86Config-4 file but that didn't work - I got a virtual screen which moved around. Not very useful. So I hunted around a bit on google and found some modelines that work.

This is what I added to the Monitor section of the file:
ModeLine "1280x800" 83.46 1280 1344 1480 1680 800 801 804 828

and this to the Screen section:
Subsection "Display"
Depth 16
Virtual 1280 800
EndSubsection


After that I fired up X and lo behold! a glorious 1280x800 widescreen :)

If anyone wants my XF86Config-4 file just email me .. I'll try to put it up as soon as I can but till then email should be fine. Update: Here is the XF86Config-4 file.

At this point I was really worried since I didn't really know anything about modelines, and I still don't. But I read a page where a guy decribes how the Dell tech help people told him that modelines don't harm an LCD screen. Also, I found this website from the same page:
http://xtiming.sourceforge.net
It generates modelines for you .. I intend to try this one out and will update this document with the results.

So there, Linux up, wireless working and 1280x800. I was almost happy .. but I had yet to install my new graphics tablet. (I burned a lot of money this month .. all on toys like this I'm afraid) Well, I needn't have worried too much. The pointer part of the tablet works fine, with one minor modification. Edit the /etc/hotplug/blacklist file and add usbmouse there. Then it works fine. I haven't yet checked for pressure sensitivity or tried to compile the drivers provided by the linux wacom project on sourceforge .. thats my next task.

Toshibas are pretty well supported under Linux. The monitor brightness can be adjusted if you are running on the battery, and the volume dial on the side works too.

I hope this document helps you, if nothing you will know that Linux works on the laptop. If you have any comments or feedback, please email me at sampanna (AT) vsnl (DOT) net.

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