Report: Installation of Debian 6/7 on Toshiba A100-589 laptop (english)

Build-In Hardware overview
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Type: A100-589, purchased April 2007 in Germany
Processors: 2x Intel(r) Centrino(r) T2050 1.6 GHz
Memory: 2 GiB
Mainboard: Intel(r) MPAD-MSAE Customer Reference Boards
Graphics: Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller
Sound: Intel(r) N10/ICH 7 Family High Definition Audio Controller
WLAN: Intel(r) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection
Harddisk: FUJITSU MHV2160B, 160 GB capacity
DVD: NEC DVD_RW ND-7550A („DVD+Rewriteable“)
Display type: 15″ TFT
Bios: Phoenix Technologies LTD, version 2.10
other: SD-Card drive

This laptop was one of the last ones with a TFT-display. Newer laptops had this kind of reflecting displays which works as a mirror – unusable for any work in my opinion.

Operation System
I installed Debian 6 „Sequeeze“ stable, updated it and switched then to the testing branch of upcoming Debian 7 „Wheezy“. Earlier I had Linux Mint Debian Edition and Ubuntu 8.10 – 10.04 on it but this is not the scope of this report. All of this were 32-bit versions.

Installation
I used the graphical installer. During installation i was asked to insert a memory stick with the non-free drivers for wlan. I copied the zip file with all non-free drivers for Debian 6 (size about 6 MB) on a FAT32 formatted portable 1″-HDD (with 2 GB capacity, it was a geek toy when purchased years before) from a second machine, connected it to this laptop and proceeded with installation. I created two partitions by hand: (1) with a extfs 4 – filesystem and 158 GB space and mountpoint = „/“; (2) with type = „Swap“ and the remaining 2 GB space. This was the only step in which i made some changes. The options of all other steps were left on default. The system worked fine after reboot. During installation until after updating to Debian „Wheezy“ testing branch the machine was connected via Ethernet cable to my router. Thus I can not tell if WLAN works with Debian 6, as well as DVD. But there are no problems during installation, no error messages were poping up.
Hint 1: If you plan to use an encrypted home directory, please encrypt it right after installation _before having your data in it_. I saw a encryption fail on a home dircetory with GBs of data in it. A FAILED ENCRYPTION MEANS THAT ALL DATA ARE LOST! Please make a backup of all your data, with „Back in time“ it is a joy!
Hint 2: I found memory sticks and external harddisks – as purchased – formatted with a FAT32 file system! The FAT32 file system can not store files of 4GB size and above – regardless of the operation system. Do not wonder if copying a big file aborts with message „not enough space“ if there is enough space on the drive (i saw this message on Windows(r), really!). Please do not blame GNU/Linux for it – this is a limit of the FAT32 file system. I would recommend to re-format them with a NTFS file system (can used on Windows(r)-machines but much slower on GNU/Linux machines) or Ext-4 file system (needs a 3rd-party-driver for Windows(r) if it works at all but much faster on GNU/Linux machines).
Hint 3: If the fonts seems to look not smooth enough, change the Rendering. On Gnome 2.x go to System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> (Tab) Fonts -> „Rendering“. „Subpixel (LCDs)“ works fine for this laptop.

After installing some software (Qt4-libraries, QT4-designer, QT4-help, VirtualBox…) the system required (all folders except /home) 4.7 GB.

Build-In Hardware test
Health check: Machine boots to graphical login (Gnome 2.3.x). User can login, desktop appears. File manager works. No Error messages.

Keyboard, mousepad, USB: Works out of the box. Localisation is de_DE_UTF8 (I selected german localisation). Pressing „Y“-key prints an „Y“ not „Z“. Can type Euro-Sign €, |, @, \, ÄÖÜäöüß (AOUaou-umlaut + sharp s). Mouse moves, mousekeys works, (after changing the configuration through the graphical program which come whith Gnome for this purpose) double-hitting the mousepad works also. Can connect and disconnect USB-devices.

Network: Ethernet + WLAN works out of the box.

Graphics: Bad news first: It seems to be impossible to decrease the brightness of the screen. The „tosh_acpi“ driver did not work with this machine because it has a Phoenix Bios. This is well known.
The good news are: There is really no need to change the brightness. It still runs offline, see „Accumulator“.
This laptop comes with an external VGA-connector (analog). Connecting it to a Flatscreen it shows a useable view but only a resolution up to 1024×768. This may a limitation of the hardware because I had resolutions up to 1920×1280 on Ubuntu with a Dell E4300 laptop.

Sound: Works out of the box, very good. Even the volume-control wheel on front works (if you miss the sound – there is a small wheel on the front below mousepad, then right – turn it to the right to increase volume ;-)

DVD: works fine, as well as sound and graphics. Please note that the DVD works only with DVD+RW not with DVD-RW. This I a limit of the hardware not of GNU/Linux. (I had to use the program K3b to burn the DVD because Brasero failed: With one exception a files on DVD had 0 Byte size.)

SD-Card drive: Works fine (read/write) with a 1GB-SD-Card and even with a 16GB-SD-Card. An old 256-MB-Card from a TomTom(r) Navigation system (purchased in 2005 or 2006) could only read, not written.

ACPI: Fan runs only short from time to time. If the machine has to work harder, the fan starts running (in two steps) but stops running within a minute after work load is done. The machine did never overheat.

Accumulator: It runs 2 hours offline, 2.5 hour if you switch off WiFi (turn „Airplane-switch“ to the right, near front so that the light is off).

Not tested Hardware
(1) Internal (analog-)Faxmodem (still important for people in some regions)
(2) firewire connector

External Hardware test
Mobile Connect HSDPA/UMTS/EDGE/GPRS data card for Express PCMCIA-Slot:
– Type: Merlin XU870
– Model: NRM XU870
– FCC ID: NBZNRM XU870
– IC: 3229A-XU870
– got it April 2007 from my mobil provider
Works perfect out of the box. I use it often to connect to my mobile data provider and observe good speed every time, even updating my Debian from testing branch is a joy.

Samsung CLX 3170 printer (on WLAN): It wasn’t able to detect the printer on WLAN. So I plugged it into USB, was informed that there no driver installed for it and asked if i would like to search for a driver. I said „yes“, the driver was installed and I was able to use this printer.
To get it working on WLAN I used this trick: I went to the tool to configure the printers (on Gnome 2.x this is System -> Administration -> Printing), copy+pasted the printer and then changed the connection of the copy of this printer by selecting this printer but on the network (right-click on the copy of the printer -> properties -> Settings (left side of window) -> button change next „Device URI“ -> Autheticate -> on left side of window „Change Device URI“ open tree „Network Printer“). Finally I had to activate the new printer (right-click on it and select „Enabled“)! Now it works via WLAN too.

Speed
This is not a fast machine regardless it’s operation system. Booting with actual configuratuion needs about 1:45, starting LibreOffice Writer with an empty document 0:15 (I measured it). This may also caused by using an encrypted home directory (I used encryptfs). But thanks the lean Debian GNU/Linux + Gnome 2.3.x this old heap is fast enough for every days work! Doing my business as developer, working with LibreOffice, Mozilla, Thunderbird and TrueCrypt, play videos and listen to music – all works fine! It is even fast enough to run a Virtual machines with Microsoft(r) WindowsXP(r) SP3 (512 MB Memory) with Virtual Box 4 on it and work comfortably with it. Only processes which write a lot of data to the virtual harddisk (like installing the patches for Windows(r)) takes really time.
Memory usage (running Gnome 2.30.2 + gedit) is actual 149 MB, Swap usage 0 Bytes.

Conclusion
With GNU/Linux this machine runs fine. I use this 4-year-old machine every day and like it. You can not change the brightness of the display but this is not necessary. With the lightweight Debian GNU/Linux operation system there is really no need to buy an expensive high end-system to work with.

Hardware en detail, generated by lshw
(Please understand that i replaced any personal inforamtion like serial numbers by „*****“)
*****
description: Computer
product: Satellite A100
vendor: TOSHIBA
version: PSAA8E-28U044GR
serial: *****
width: 32 bits
capabilities: smbios-2.31 dmi-2.31 smp-1.4 smp
configuration: administrator_password=enabled boot=oem-specific cpus=2 frontpanel_password=unknown keyboard_password=unknown power-on_password=enabled uuid=68855590-83CB-11DB-A70E-00A0D162CACB
*-core
description: Motherboard
product: MPAD-MSAE Customer Reference Boards
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 0
version: Not Applicable
serial: Not Applicable
*-firmware
description: BIOS
vendor: Phoenix Technologies LTD
physical id: 0
version: 2.10
date: 10/23/2006
size: 111KiB
capacity: 960KiB
capabilities: isa pci pcmcia pnp apm upgrade shadowing escd cdboot acpi usb agp biosbootspecification
*-cpu:0
description: CPU
product: Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2050 @ 1.60GHz
vendor: Intel Corp.
physical id: 4
bus info: cpu@0
version: 6.14.8
serial: *****
slot: U1
size: 1600MHz
capacity: 1600MHz
width: 32 bits
capabilities: boot fpu fpu_exception wp vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe constant_tsc arch_perfmon bts aperfmperf pni monitor est tm2 xtpr pdcm cpufreq
configuration: id=0
*-cache:0
description: L1 cache
physical id: 5
slot: L1 Cache
size: 16KiB
capacity: 16KiB
capabilities: asynchronous internal write-back
*-cache:1
description: L2 cache
physical id: 6
slot: L2 Cache
size: 2MiB
capabilities: burst external write-back
*-logicalcpu:0
description: Logical CPU
physical id: 0.1
width: 32 bits
capabilities: logical
*-logicalcpu:1
description: Logical CPU
physical id: 0.2
width: 32 bits
capabilities: logical
*-memory
description: System Memory
physical id: 12
slot: System board or motherboard
size: 2GiB
capacity: 2GiB
*-bank:0
description: SODIMM DDR Synchronous
physical id: 0
slot: M1
size: 1GiB
width: 32 bits
*-bank:1
description: SODIMM DDR Synchronous
physical id: 1
slot: M2
size: 1GiB
width: 32 bits
*-cpu:1
physical id: 1
bus info: cpu@1
version: 6.14.8
serial: *****
size: 800MHz
capacity: 800MHz
capabilities: ht cpufreq
configuration: id=0
*-logicalcpu:0
description: Logical CPU
physical id: 0.1
capabilities: logical
*-logicalcpu:1
description: Logical CPU
physical id: 0.2
capabilities: logical
*-pci
description: Host bridge
product: Mobile 945GM/PM/GMS, 943/940GML and 945GT Express Memory Controller Hub
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 100
bus info: pci@0000:00:00.0
version: 03
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
configuration: driver=agpgart-intel
resources: irq:0
*-display:0
description: VGA compatible controller
product: Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 2
bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
version: 03
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: msi pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
configuration: driver=i915 latency=0
resources: irq:16 memory:dc100000-dc17ffff ioport:1800(size=8) memory:c0000000-cfffffff memory:dc200000-dc23ffff
*-display:1 UNCLAIMED
description: Display controller
product: Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 2.1
bus info: pci@0000:00:02.1
version: 03
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm bus_master cap_list
configuration: latency=0
resources: memory:dc180000-dc1fffff
*-multimedia
description: Audio device
product: N10/ICH 7 Family High Definition Audio Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1b
bus info: pci@0000:00:1b.0
version: 02
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=HDA Intel latency=0
resources: irq:43 memory:dc240000-dc243fff
*-pci:0
description: PCI bridge
product: N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 1
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1c
bus info: pci@0000:00:1c.0
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pci pciexpress msi pm normal_decode bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=pcieport
resources: irq:40 ioport:5000(size=4096) memory:84000000-841fffff ioport:84200000(size=2097152)
*-pci:1
description: PCI bridge
product: N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 2
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1c.1
bus info: pci@0000:00:1c.1
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pci pciexpress msi pm normal_decode bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=pcieport
resources: irq:41 ioport:2000(size=4096) memory:d8000000-d9ffffff ioport:d2000000(size=33554432)
*-pci:2
description: PCI bridge
product: N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 3
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1c.2
bus info: pci@0000:00:1c.2
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pci pciexpress msi pm normal_decode bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=pcieport
resources: irq:42 ioport:3000(size=4096) memory:da000000-dbffffff ioport:d4000000(size=33554432)
*-network
description: Wireless interface
product: PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:05:00.0
logical name: wlan0
version: 02
serial: *****
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
configuration: broadcast=yes driver=iwl3945 driverversion=2.6.38-2-686 firmware=15.32.2.9 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11abg
resources: irq:44 memory:da000000-da000fff
*-usb:0
description: USB Controller
product: N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #1
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1d
bus info: pci@0000:00:1d.0
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: uhci bus_master
configuration: driver=uhci_hcd latency=0
resources: irq:23 ioport:1820(size=32)
*-usb:1
description: USB Controller
product: N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #2
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1d.1
bus info: pci@0000:00:1d.1
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: uhci bus_master
configuration: driver=uhci_hcd latency=0
resources: irq:19 ioport:1840(size=32)
*-usb:2
description: USB Controller
product: N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #3
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1d.2
bus info: pci@0000:00:1d.2
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: uhci bus_master
configuration: driver=uhci_hcd latency=0
resources: irq:18 ioport:1860(size=32)
*-usb:3
description: USB Controller
product: N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #4
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1d.3
bus info: pci@0000:00:1d.3
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: uhci bus_master
configuration: driver=uhci_hcd latency=0
resources: irq:16 ioport:1880(size=32)
*-usb:4
description: USB Controller
product: N10/ICH 7 Family USB2 EHCI Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1d.7
bus info: pci@0000:00:1d.7
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm debug ehci bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=ehci_hcd latency=0
resources: irq:23 memory:dc444000-dc4443ff
*-pci:3
description: PCI bridge
product: 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1e
bus info: pci@0000:00:1e.0
version: e2
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pci subtractive_decode bus_master cap_list
resources: ioport:4000(size=4096) memory:dc000000-dc0fffff ioport:80000000(size=67108864)
*-pcmcia
description: CardBus bridge
product: PCIxx12 Cardbus Controller
vendor: Texas Instruments
physical id: 6
bus info: pci@0000:07:06.0
version: 00
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pcmcia bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=yenta_cardbus latency=176 maxlatency=5 mingnt=192
resources: irq:18 memory:dc007000-dc007fff ioport:4400(size=256) ioport:4800(size=256) memory:80000000-83ffffff memory:88000000-8bffffff
*-firewire
description: FireWire (IEEE 1394)
product: PCIxx12 OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
vendor: Texas Instruments
physical id: 6.1
bus info: pci@0000:07:06.1
version: 00
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm ohci bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=firewire_ohci latency=128 maxlatency=4 mingnt=2
resources: irq:17 memory:dc006000-dc0067ff memory:dc000000-dc003fff
*-storage
description: Mass storage controller
product: 5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD)
vendor: Texas Instruments
physical id: 6.2
bus info: pci@0000:07:06.2
version: 00
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: storage pm bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=tifm_7xx1 latency=128 maxlatency=4 mingnt=7
resources: irq:18 memory:dc004000-dc004fff
*-generic
description: SD Host controller
product: PCIxx12 SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller
vendor: Texas Instruments
physical id: 6.3
bus info: pci@0000:07:06.3
version: 00
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=sdhci-pci latency=128 maxlatency=4 mingnt=7
resources: irq:18 memory:dc006800-dc0068ff
*-network
description: Ethernet interface
product: PRO/100 VE Network Connection
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 8
bus info: pci@0000:07:08.0
logical name: eth0
version: 02
serial: *****
size: 10Mbit/s
capacity: 100Mbit/s
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm bus_master cap_list ethernet physical tp mii 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd autonegotiation
configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=e100 driverversion=3.5.24-k2-NAPI duplex=half firmware=N/A latency=66 link=no maxlatency=56 mingnt=8 multicast=yes port=MII speed=10Mbit/s
resources: irq:20 memory:dc005000-dc005fff ioport:4000(size=64)
*-isa
description: ISA bridge
product: 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC Interface Bridge
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1f
bus info: pci@0000:00:1f.0
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: isa bus_master cap_list
configuration: latency=0
*-ide
description: IDE interface
product: 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7 Family) SATA IDE Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1f.2
bus info: pci@0000:00:1f.2
logical name: scsi0
logical name: scsi1
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 66MHz
capabilities: ide pm bus_master cap_list emulated
configuration: driver=ata_piix latency=0
resources: irq:19 ioport:1f0(size=8) ioport:3f6 ioport:170(size=8) ioport:376 ioport:18b0(size=16)
*-disk
description: ATA Disk
product: FUJITSU MHV2160B
vendor: Fujitsu
physical id: 0
bus info: scsi@0:0.0.0
logical name: /dev/sda
version: 0000
serial: *****
size: 149GiB (160GB)
capabilities: partitioned partitioned:dos
configuration: ansiversion=5 signature=00051396
*-volume:0
description: EXT4 volume
vendor: Linux
physical id: 1
bus info: scsi@0:0.0.0,1
logical name: /dev/sda1
logical name: /
version: 1.0
serial: *****
size: 147GiB
capacity: 147GiB
capabilities: primary bootable journaled extended_attributes large_files huge_files dir_nlink extents ext4 ext2 initialized
configuration: created=2011-04-09 20:37:50 filesystem=ext4 lastmountpoint=/ modified=2011-04-22 17:38:29 mount.fstype=ext4 mount.options=rw,relatime,errors=remount-ro,commit=600,barrier=1,data=ordered mounted=2011-05-11 21:56:37 state=mounted
*-volume:1
description: Extended partition
physical id: 2
bus info: scsi@0:0.0.0,2
logical name: /dev/sda2
size: 1945MiB
capacity: 1945MiB
capabilities: primary extended partitioned partitioned:extended
*-logicalvolume
description: Linux swap / Solaris partition
physical id: 5
logical name: /dev/sda5
capacity: 1945MiB
capabilities: nofs
*-cdrom
description: DVD-RAM writer
product: DVD_RW ND-7550A
vendor: _NEC
physical id: 1
bus info: scsi@1:0.0.0
logical name: /dev/cdrom
logical name: /dev/cdrw
logical name: /dev/dvd
logical name: /dev/dvdrw
logical name: /dev/scd0
logical name: /dev/sr0
version: 1.32
serial: *****
capabilities: removable audio cd-r cd-rw dvd dvd-r dvd-ram
configuration: ansiversion=5 status=nodisc
*-serial UNCLAIMED
description: SMBus
product: N10/ICH 7 Family SMBus Controller
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1f.3
bus info: pci@0000:00:1f.3
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
configuration: latency=0
resources: ioport:18c0(size=32)
*-remoteaccess UNCLAIMED
vendor: Intel
physical id: 1
capabilities: inbound

Germany, May 2011

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