Linux on a
Fujitsu LiteLine C400DVD

(These notes also work for Mitac MiNote 6133 and IPC Topnote notebooks. See below)

Heiko Holtkamp <heiko@rvs.uni-bielefeld.de>
last modified 2001-06-22

Please note: This page is no longer maintained and updated


This is a guided tour to install Linux on a Fujitsu LiteLine C400DVD notebook (I don't know if this is really a Fujitsu notebook. The label on the ground says only 'built for Fujitsu'. But here is some information on this). Information on this page should be relevant to all distributions of Linux. However, since I personally use SuSE Linux (currently version 7.1), my instructions may need to be modified if you use a different distribution such as Debian, RedHat or Slackware. If you have any information regarding a different Linux distribution provide me the details and I will (perhaps... ;-)) add it.

But before we continue, please understand that I am not be held responsible for any damage that you do to your own system in case something goes wrong! E.g. it is possible to damage your display by using a bad mode, so keep that in mind when you use other peoples values - including mine - even if it works for them. The same is true for any other modifications that you make.

Table of Contents

Setting up Linux to Coexist with Windows95/98

My Fujitsu notebook arrives with one big partition (FAT32) for Windows98. The easiest way to install Linux and Windows coexistent is to use Partition Magic to resize the Windows98 partition without destroying it. Partition Magic is also able to resize Linux partitions. But since I don't have Partition Magic I had to do it the "hard way"... (another cause for the hard way was that I will use only FAT16). I used the Linux fdisk tool to repartition my harddisk. After repartitioning you have to create at least one Linux swap partition (type 82) and one Linux native partition. Its sizes depend on your needs and your RAM (since I have 128MB RAM I have chosen to create a 128MB swap partition). If you want to use the suspend-to-disk feature of your notebook you also have to create a suspend-to-disk partition. But you can't create this with the Linux fdisk tool. Normally your notebook is shipped with the tool to create a suspend-to-disk partition. So my partitions look like this: 130MB suspend-to-disk, 128MB Linux swap, 2000MB Linux native and the rest is for Windows98.

The next step is to install Linux and Windows98 on your notebook. After you have installed Linux you can use LILO to dual boot Linux and Windows. You should edit your /etc/lilo.conf file to make it look like this (the exact configuration for your lilo depends on your installation etc.):

# Start LILO global Section
boot=/dev/hda
read-only
prompt
timeout=100
default=Windows
# DOS bootable partition config begins
other = /dev/hda1
label = Windows
table = /dev/hda
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz_990404
root = /dev/hda3
label = Linux
read-only
vga = 792

Next run /sbin/lilo. If everything works fine its output will show something like this:

Added Windows *
Added Linux

The * indicates that this is the default "system" for booting. The next time you boot you will see the LILO prompt on the screen. Now you can choose which OS to boot by typing "linux" or "windows". Pressing the TAB key at the LILO prompt will show you all bootable OSs.

Base Installation

As said before I use SuSE Linux 7.1. The installation is straightforward. I installed it directly from the CD-ROM since the DVD drive in my notebook can boot from CD/DVD. So there is nothing more to say here :-)

Note on kernels >= 2.4.x

I have experienced problems using 2.4.x kernel version. The system always hangs at boot up (sometimes directly after loading lilo, sometimes after detecting harddisks etc.). But there is a solution to this problem: upgrade your BIOS to a version >= 1.17 and everything works fine with 2.4.x kernels. You can get the latest BIOS version at the MiTAC support website (http://www.mitacservice.com/visitor/v_fileBrw.asp).

Note: When you update your BIOS from an older version to 1.17 und you are using MS Windows you may experience problems with your old windows installation. Windows detects a new version of IrDA etc. and tries to install new drivers. On my system this causes some problems and at least I had to reinstall Windows completly. May you have better luck...

Setting up X11

Free X Server

Xfree86 versions < 3.3.5

First of all I have to thank Steve Hsieh (Linux on a Dell Inspiron 7000 Laptop) and Christian Czezatke (Installing Linux on Asus notebooks) for their great instructions on how to set up XFree86 for ATI Rage Pro LT graphic cards - Thanks!

Currently the stock Xserver developed by the XFree86 project appears to only partially support the ATI Rage Pro LT (these problems are solved with Xfree86 >= 3.3.5, see below). There are a number of workarounds to the XF86_Mach64 server but I never tried to bring them to work (you can find a workaround of the Mach64 server at Steve Hsieh's web site). Instead I preferred to use the VESA Framebuffer method as described by Steve Hsieh and Christian Czezatke.

First you have to install a 2.2.x kernel or one of the 2.3.x develop kernels or a 2.4.x kernel develop kernels using a framebuffer console. If you don't already have a 2.2.x, 2.3.x or 2.4.x kernel you can get one from ftp.kernel.org (or for a german mirror ftp.de.kernel.org). I actually use kernel version 2.4.4 (I started using kernel version 2.2.4). If you don't know how to compile a kernel I strongly recommend that you read the Kernel-HOWTO. But compiling a new kernel is not as hard as installing MS Windows and bring it to work properly :-). But you have to know what you are doing since you can end up with an unbootable system. It's a good idea to have a rescue disk, CD or kernel before you proceed.

To recompile the 2.2.x / 2.3.x / 2.4.x kernel using a framebuffer console you have to activate the option "Prompt for development and or incomplete code/drivers" (CONFIG_EXPERIMENTAL) in section "Code maturity level options" because the framebuffer console is currently only experimental. Next you have to activate the "Support for frame buffer devices" (CONFIG_FB_VESA) and "VESA VGA graphics console" (CONFIG_VIDEO_SELECT) options in section "Console drivers". I also activated the "ATI MACH 64 display support" (CONFIG_FB_ATY) but it seems as if it has no effect(?). The next step is to recompile the kernel as usual (I assume you know what you have to do to compile the kernel - otherwise read the Kernel-HOWTO...). Copy your newly compiled kernel wherever you want (I assume you copy it to /boot/vmlinuz-new). Add the frame buffer device under /dev with:

mknod /dev/fb0 c 29 0
ln -s /dev/fb0 /dev/fb0current

(for a detailed explanation of these settings see the vesafb.txt file in the Documentation/fb directory of the Linux kernel source tree).

Edit your /etc/lilo.conf file to add a new section to be able to boot the new kernel:

	image=/boot/vmlinuz-new
	label=Linux
	read-only
	vga=792

Note: The vga=792 line is absolutely mandatory! (for 1024x768@32bpp for the ATI Rage Pro LT) For other values, e.g. if you use a 12.1" screen with 800x600 you need to set vga=789 instead of 792, see the vesafb.txt file in the Documentation/fb-directory of the Linux kernel source code tree. If you don't have a global root= line in your lilo config file you should add a root= line to the above (after the image= line). The right value for the root= line is your "root-partition". Normally there is a root= line in your lilo configuration file so you can take its value.

At least run the lilo utility and if no errors occur reboot... :-)

If everything works fine and your new kernel boots (of course you have to select it at the lilo prompt for boot...) you should get a penguin logo on the upper left corner of the screen and then the regular console text should appear (but now with a graphical framebuffer console). If Linux doesn't boot or hangs up while booting, then something went wrong with the installation of your new kernel :( You should be able to get your original setup by rebooting and selecting your old kernel at the lilo prompt.

If everything looks good, then we can take the next step: configuration of X. If you don't have already installed the XF86_Mach64 server you should do this right now. I assume that you use XFree86 3.3.3 or newer because I don't know if older versions work. Then you can get my XF86Config file here (it is based on Steve Hsiehs XF86Config file which you can get here) and replace the generated XF86Config file on your system with my XF86Config file (Normally the XF86Config file is stored in /etc. If you can't find yours, you can search it via find / -name XF86Config). Peter Stilz has send me another XF86Config file because my configuration file does not work on his notebook - you can find it here. But keep in mind: I am NOT be held responsible for any damage that you do to your own system in case something goes wrong! The configuration in this file is as default for a 1024x768 display. In case you need a configuration for a 12.1" display at 800x600 you have to change all occurrences of "1024x768" inside the screen section of this file to "800x600". But I don't know if this really works since I have only a 1024x768 display. Now you can try to run X (by running startx, xinit or whatever you normally do to start X). If X works - congratulations! If you get some wired lines or something like this you can try to decrease the dot clock inside XF86Config. But in this case you are alone now because I am not very familiar with this kind of configuration... (sorry!).

Gerd Sussner provided me the information that some notebooks (in his case an IPC notebook with the ATI RAGE PRO LT graphics chip) need the option "sw_cursor" activated in the XF86Config file. Thanks Gerd!

Note: There seems to be a general problem with the ACPI BIOS of the notebook and the framebuffer device with some Fujitsu LiteLine notebooks. Some other users of Fujitsu LiteLine notebooks reported that their systems show some strange blue or white lines when booting and finally the system hangs up when they have activated the framebuffer support and the APM support in the kernel. Without APM support the framebuffer device works fine. So if you have problems with the framebuffer try deactivating the APM support! This seems to be a general problem of the APM support in the Linux kernel and the ACPI compliant SystemSoft BIOS. But ACPI support is under development. Take a look at the APM section below. But however if you have problems with the framebuffer device try deactivating APM first.

Xfree86 >= 3.3.5

There are no more problems with Xfree86 version >= 3.3.5 and the ATI Rage Pro LT. The chip is fully supported by xfree. Just install the XF86_Mach64 server, edit the XF86Config file to support your display (see above) and everything should work fine. On most newer linux distributions you don't have to write the XF86Config file on your own and everything is set by a configuration tool.

Commercial X Server

Another possibility to bring X11 to work is to use a commercial Xserver like AcceleratedX from Xi Graphics (http://www.xigraphics.com). The package retails for $199 (students can get a 25% discount off the retail price) but you can get a free demo version of AcceleratedX from Xi's web site. I installed the demo version of AcceleratedX LX version 5 (LX stands for Xi's notebook server) and it worked fine. As reported by Steve Hsieh there is some confusion as to whether or not the ATI Rage Pro LT is officially supported by Xi Graphics. But as said before on my notebook it worked fine. But for the retail version I think $199 (with or without 25% discount) is a little bit to much... So I prefer to use the XFree86 server.

Setting up PCMCIA services

This was an easy job :-) The Fujitsu C400DVD notebook has two PCMCIA type II slots (or one PCMCIA type III slot) which are controlled by a Texas Instruments PCI-1225 CardBus controller. The most current version of the PCMCIA card utilities (by David Hinds) at this time is 3.1.22 (I started using version 3.0.9). You can obtain the latest PCMCIA driver source from http://pcmcia-cs.sourceforge.net. In order to get PCMCIA cards to work under Linux on the Fujitsu notebook it is enough to install the PCMCIA card utilities. But please remember that you have to recompile the Linux PCMCIA card utilities after each kernel reconfiguration/recompile. I have successfully used a 10MBit Ethernet PCMCIA adapter (Gericom 10M Ethernet Combo Card - NE2000 compatible) with the notebook under Linux.

Setting up Audio

The Crystal SoundFusion CS461x chips are supported by ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture). Version 0.3.1 of ALSA added support for the CS461x chips (Many thanks to Chris Hübsch for providing me this information and useful tips on ALSA). Installation of ALSA is rather simple (currently I'm using version 0.5.9x). Just download the sources for the ALSA drivers, libraries and utilities from www.alsa-project.org. Compile the sources and install the modules as described in the ALSA manual (it's the normal './configure - make - make install' stuff). You need to compile all three because the utilities help you to unmute your soundcard. And please note that kernels 2.2.x / 2.3.x / 2.4.x need to have general sound support(!), whereas kernels 2.0.x need to have all sound support disabled(!). Next you have to prepare the ALSA-sound-devices in your /dev-directory, because the ALSA-driver has it's own devices. You can make them using the ./snddevices script from the ALSA-driver-package.

After you have done all this, you have to load the driver. There are two ways to use the ALSA-sound-modules: Inserting with modprobe or using kerneld. I prefer using modprobe. So here is what you have to do using modprobe. It's just a simple 'modprobe snd-card-cs461x'. Now you should be able to test if the sound driver is really available. Once the ALSA-sound-drivers are loaded, you should see something like this, if you do a 'cat /proc/modules':

snd-pcm1-oss           13196   0 (unused)
snd-card-cs461x         1804   0 (unused)
snd-cs461x             63240   0 [snd-card-cs461x]
snd-pcm1               16764   0 [snd-pcm1-oss snd-cs461x]
snd-timer               7292   0 [snd-pcm1]
snd-ac97-codec         12952   0 [snd-cs461x]
snd-mixer              24000   0 [snd-card-cs461x snd-ac97-codec]
snd-midi               12108   0 [snd-card-cs461x]
snd-pcm                 7340   0 [snd-pcm1-oss snd-card-cs461x snd-pcm1]
snd                    32640   1 [snd-pcm1-oss snd-card-cs461x snd-cs461x
                                  snd-pcm1 snd-timer snd-ac97-codec
                                  snd-mixer snd-midi snd-pcm]
pcnet_cs                7956   1
8390                    6240   0 [pcnet_cs]
ds                      6316   2 [pcnet_cs]
i82365                 22480   2
pcmcia_core            35888   0 [pcnet_cs ds i82365]

If you have trouble with your card or need more information on how to test your card take a look at the ALSA-sound-mini-HOWTO or the general ALSA documentation.

Next you have to unmute the sound chip (ALSA mutes it by default). Unfortunately the command line syntax for the amixer-tool has changed since version 0.3.0 and the manual describes only the older version of the amixer. So you have to figure out on your own what you have to do to unmute you soundcard. With the mixer-tool it is rather complicated, so I prefer to use the alsactl-tool. alsactl dumps the information on your sound-devices to a file. Just do a 'alsactl -f<yourfile> store' to store the info to a file called <yourfile>. Next you can edit this file with your favorite editor and restore the settings: 'alsactl -f<yourfile> restore'. Here is my file to unmute the sound card on my notebook (a more detailed explanation of the setting will come later... perhaps :-)).

Just another note: ALSA is compatible with the OSS/Free and OSS/Linux sound drivers, but has its own interface. If you need OSS/Free or OSS/Linux compatibility, you need to insert one more driver, the snd-pcm1-oss driver. Do a 'modprobe snd-pcm1-oss'. This will give you /dev/audio and /dev/dsp-support, just as the OSS/Free and OSS/Linux drivers.

Setting up IrDA

No precise information at this time. But IrDA seems to work. You can compile the IrDA kernel drivers and the IrDA utilities (the latest version at the time of this writing of the IrDA utilities is 0.9.3pre8). Next time I will try to test the Linux IrDA support for IrLPT, IrLAN and IrCOMM. For more information on IrDA take a look at http://irda.sourceforge.net and http://www.mobilix.org/Infrared-HOWTO/Infrared-HOWTO.html.

Note: If you want to save battery power you should try to deactivate the IrDA port. On my notebook battery time increases when the IrDA port is deactivated.

APM & ACPI

APM - Advanced Power Management

When booting a kernel with APM support on the notebook, the kernel may freeze after probing the hard disk or rather before it probes the DVD-ROM (CD-ROM) drive (This is also reported by other users of different Fujitsu LiteLine notebooks. It seems to be a general problem of older versions of the SystemSoft MobilePro BIOS). There are at least two solutions to this:

ACPI - Advanced Configuration and Power Interface

ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) is an open industry specification co-developed by Compaq, Intel, Microsoft, Phoenix, and Toshiba. It establishes industry-standard interfaces for OS-directed configuration and power management on laptops, desktops, and servers. For more information on ACPI take a look at http://developer.intel.com/technology/iapc/acpi/index.htm or http://www.teleport.com/~acpi/.

If you want to use ACPI on your notebook you can take a look at ACPI4Linux (http://phobos.fachschaften.tu-muenchen.de/acpi/). ACPI4Linux is currently a patch to the Linux kernel wich enables you to use ACPI compliant power management. All I can say at the moment is: it works (you can't really see if it works, because there are no tools which show your battery status etc.).

For 2.2.x kernels all you have to do to use ACPI4Linux is:

Note: The last patch for a 2.2.x I used was for a 2.2.11 kernel. I don't know if there are other patches for later 2.2.x kernels. The developers of ACPI4Linux now focus on kernels >= 2.3.x (see below).

ACPI4Linux and 2.3.x kernels:

ACPI4Linux and 2.4.x kernels:


If you are running SuSE Linux you have to do a little modification in the /sbin/init.d/halt-script, if you want to have power off on shutdown. You have to add the option '-p' to the halt-command:

...
case "$0" in
        *halt)
                message="The system is halted."
                command="halt -p"
                ;;
        *reboot)
...

More information on ACPI will come!

More about the notebook

I found more information about the notebook on the web. As said before it seems the notebook is only 'build for Fujitsu'. But there is only little information on the LiteLine series on the Fujitsu-Siemens web site. You can get product information and updates (BIOS, VGA etc.) on the Fujitsu-Siemens web site: http://www.fujitsu-siemens.com/en/liteline (german web site: http://www.fujitsu-siemens.de/de/liteline).

I also found the web pages from Mitac International Corporation (http://www.mitac.com). It seems as if the MiNote 6133 notebook is exactly my Fujitsu LiteLine notebook. The specifications are identical (Intel Celeron Processor up to 400MHz, 13.3" TFT-Display, ATI RAGE LT PRO chip, up to 128MB RAM, 24x CD-ROM, optional DVD-ROM ...). So if you are in need for new drivers (only for Windows!) and/or BIOS updates you can also take a look at http://www.mitac.com or the MiTAC support website http://www.mitacservice.com/visitor/v_fileBrw.asp.

Something more on my specification:

Other LiteLine notebooks

[Note: If you have a different LiteLine notebook running Linux on it, it might be helpful for others to tell them if it works (or if it does not work) ...]

There are still some other versions of the Fujitsu LiteLine notebook. Alessandro Tommasi reported that he has a Fujitsu LiteLine notebook that seems to be the Mitac 5033 model (see http://www.mitac.com). So here is what he says about his notebook:

"Our notebooks have similarities, though, and I am running Linux (RedHat 6.0) on it too, so I though I'd share some of the configuration tricks I used. The differences in my LiteLine are: 12"1 DSTN 800x600, Trident 9660 (chip Cyber 9358 or whatever) 2MB PCI graphic adapter, CPU AMD K6-3D now 300Mhz, 32 MB RAM, ESS AudioDrive 16 bit sound card.
No trouble configuring the video card, which is supported by XFree86. I found it difficult to get the display to work, though, because the entry "800x600 LCD" in the monitor section seems to apply only to TFT matrices (can you confirm this?). So I just told X11 that I have an '800x600' svga monitor, and everything went ok. I had to make sure I turned off dpms, though (which doesn't make any sense in a laptop anyway), or when entering powersave mode the server would draw an horizontal line on the LCD which, if left there for minutes, could burn out the crystals. I turned the thing off by 'xset -dpms'.
About the sound card: as you see, I seem to have a different chip on my laptop. The ESS works fine with the Sound Blaster module that comes with the kernel (OSS module). I don't know about yours, but you might want to see if you can get the ALSA recent driver to work (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture). It should be OSS compatible.
About the APM: it works! I have experienced the lockup at startup you describe, right after the HDD detection, but there is the reason: in the kernel configuration I had activated the feature "Make CPU idle calls when idle", which was what caused the hang-up. Activating the APM but deactivating that feature got the APM (provided you loaded the apmd daemon as well) works great: I have correct battery charge and on-line detection. To be more precise, I activated the APM feature in the kernel, and deactivated ALL the other APM features but 'power off on shutdown'. It works ok, you might want to check if that's the problem with you too.
Finally, a curiosity: even though the kernel documentation suggests to build the kernel for a 586, on an AMD-K6, I have found that building it for a 686 made it 10% faster (I am testing it on my thesis project)."

Thanks to Alessandro for this Information!

Other (Laptop) Resources

Revision History


Heiko Holtkamp <email: heiko@rvs.uni-bielefeld.de>

Last modified: 2001-06-22