COMPAQ Presario 1200-XL205
Configurations for running Linux
Andika Triwidada: andika@debian.usindo.com



Overview

I installed Debian Potato (Debian stable 2.2r3), dual booted with Windows 98 SE on my 12XL205. Linux runs much more reliably, never stucks on boot. One thing I miss is serial port. I really need it on my machine, but I can't afford to buy serial-to-USB converter :-(
Some of info here taken and adopted from Tom Hunt's Installing and Running Redhat Linux 6.2 on the Compaq Presario 1200-XL125 Laptop after some verification.
I have upgraded Debian installation on my machine into Woody (Debian unstable). No problem!

Specifications

Interfaces Detailed Setup

X Setup
SVGA XServer supports CyberBlade. The key is to use cyberblade chipset, and 32 bpp. I can't activate SVGA's lower color depths yet. My XF86Setup is here. VGA16 XServer can be used too, to run display on 4 bpp.

Sound Setup
I prefer ALSA than sound drivers included in stock kernel. I use ALSA driver version 0.5.9d, configured this way:

  ./configure --with-cards=via686a
Then modules.conf should be modified to contains:
 
# ALSA native device support
alias char-major-116 snd
options snd snd_major=116 snd_cards_limit=1
alias snd-card-0 snd-card-via686a
options snd-card-via686a snd_index=0 snd_id="VIA"

# OSS/Free setup
alias char-major-14 soundcore
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-ossalias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss
On Debian, you should put lines above on /etc/modutils/alsa, instead of directly modifying /etc/modules.conf. I used mp3blaster to test sound, because it comes with its own mixer (easier to setup and use than other command-line mixer).
If you can't compile ALSA, sound driver module in standard kernel can be used, too. But unlike ALSA driver, I got 'clicks' on every transition between MP3 songs. /etc/modules should contain these lines:
via82cxxx_audio
You can ignore via82cxxx: timeout while reading AC97 codec message.
Another difference between ALSA and kernel sound driver is mixer setting. ALSA set all default mixer values to zero, while kernel set it to 2/3 of max.

Internal Modem Setup
There is Linux driver for the internal modem now. Check this page http://www.mbsi.ca/cnxtlindrv/ which contains driver and documentation.

APM/ACPI
Default Debian kernel does not support APM, you don't have to recompile kernel to activate APM, but add append="apm=on" on your /etc/lilo.conf. It's a pity that this Presario battery - APM interface only tells battery charge percentage. Anyone knows any application which will calculate / extrapolate battery time from that percentage info?
After experimenting with ACPI, I can successfully turn-off notebook power using poweroff command, while using APM, I still have to press power button for more than 4 seconds after poweroff to really power-off this box.

PC Card
Nothing special must be done to make Debian knows PC Card. I use DLink DMF-560TXD (10/100 Mbps ethernet + 56kbps data/fax modem) which flawlessly recognized by Linux, and enable me to connect again to Internet without having to use Windows.

Road Warrior
A little package on Debian, divine, is very helpful if you have to change network often, but you have to use fixed IP address. It works by checking whether a specific machine with known IP address is exist, by sending an ARP request. I found that we can't choose any Windows NT or Windows 9x machine for that ARP interrogation, because they won't answer such a request (???).

USB
USB ports are recognized by kernel 2.2.18pre21. Testing using serial-to-USB converter was success. Kernel used was 2.2.20 and 2.4.18. USB mouse also works.

Software detailed info

Bad news
Battery is effectively dead :-( It will only last less than 5 minutes, so I take it out and left it at home.

Latest version of this document is available in http://research.indocisc.com/~andika/12XL205/


$Id: index.html,v 1.6 2002/08/26 17:44:25 andika Exp andika $