Linux installation (Debian Squeeze) on a Compaq Mini 110c Laptop


This report is listed at tuxmobil.org

Hardware description

Processor Intel Atom N270, 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR2, 1 Gb
Hard Disk Drive Samsung SATA 160 Gb
Screen WXGA, 10.1″, SD LED, max resolution 1024×600
Video Card Intel Mobile 945 GME, VGA output
USB 3 hi-speed USB2 ports
Network Ethernet 1Gbit/s, Atheros AR8132
WLAN 802.11 B/G with manual kill switch, Broadcom BCM4312
Memory Cards Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro / SD / MMC / XD
Audio Intel ICH7 High Definition Audio Controller
TV-out no
Bluetooth no
Ir-DA no
Accessories Webcam
Dimensions 26.15 x 2.63 x 17.2 cm
Weight 1.2 kg
Battery Lithium-Ion, approximative autonomy 4h

General state

Revision of this document: March, 2010.

Here is a short table summarizing what I could have made with the hardware.

Hardware components Status
Integrated network card fully functional
Wifi network card fully functional
Display fully functional
USB fully functional
Sound fully functional
Mobile CPU fully functional
Memory Cards reader fully functional

Kernel

All description below are based on a vanilla kernel version 2.6.32.

Boot time

The kernel needs to be appended with the parameter fake_ecdt in the configuration file of Lilo or Grub. Otherwise, the computer may hang during its startup period.

Network

Integrated network card

The network card is an Attansic Atheros AR8132 L1C. The kernel driver is atl1c (experimental). It works fine.

Wifi network card

The Wifi card is a Broadcom BCM4312. No vanilla kernel driver can run this hardware. So you will have to get the appropriate source code. Debian provide them with two packages you will have to get: broadcom-sta-common and broadcom-sta-source.

Now you have to compile and install them : tar xfj broadcom-sta-source.tar.bz2, then make && make install && depmod -a.

Now it’s OK, as you can see after loading the kernel module and starting the network interface : modprobe wl and ifconfig eth2 up.

You can see it’s working with two possible commands:

anteia:~# iwconfig eth2
eth2      IEEE 802.11bg  ESSID:""  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.412 GHz  Access Point: Not-Associated   
          Bit Rate:54 Mb/s   Tx-Power:24 dBm   
          Retry min limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Managementmode:All packets received
          Link Quality=5/5  Signal level=0 dBm  Noise level=0 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0
anteia:~# iwlist eth2 scan
eth2      Scan completed :
[...]
          Cell 03 - Address: CA:9C:2E:EF:B7:56
                    ESSID:"FreeWifi"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:2.422 GHz (Channel 3)
                    Quality:1/5  Signal level:-88 dBm  Noise level:-91 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s
                              18 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s
                              24 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s
[...]

You must not load the kernel modules b43 or rfkill!

Display

Display at boottime

Instead of the classical 80×24 console during boot time, you can get a nice framebuffer console. You’ll have to compile into the kernel the VESA framebuffer driver (CONFIG_FB_VESA). The specific Intel framebuffer driver does not work as expected, you should prefer the generic VESA one.

Don’t forget to reconfigure your OS loader. With lilo you will have to specify the parameter vga=0x315 in the configuration file so as to get a console in 800x600x16M.

You may like to get a nice image displayed buring boot time, instead of the kernel messages. You can install the software splashy to do that. I did not manage to make it work without an initrd, because too many libraries and woftwares are needed by splashy. So you need to run update-initramfs and add a line initrd=/boot/your-initrd.img in lilo.conf. Do not forget to also add the support for initrd in your kernel!

Graphical display

Nothing special has to be done there, everything with Xorg works out the box with the Intel 945 GME display card.

USB

Nothing tricky with the USB configuration. You just have to activate the kernel support of UHCI and EHCI and it will be OK.

Sound

The network card is an Intel ICH7 one. The kernel driver hda-intel works fine.

CPU

To get a CPU with frequancy scaling, you will have to compile the kernel driver acpi_cpufreq. You will get a CPU which can downsize its core frequency to the half:

anteia:~# cat /proc/cpuinfo 
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 28
model name      : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270   @ 1.60GHz
stepping        : 2
cpu MHz         : 800.000
cache size      : 512 KB
physical id     : 0
siblings        : 2
core id         : 0
cpu cores       : 1
apicid          : 0
initial apicid  : 0
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 10
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 xtpr pdcm movbe lahf_lm
bogomips        : 3193.05
clflush size    : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes   : 32 bits physical, 32 bits virtual
power management:
[...]

If you want to monitor the temperature, you will also have to compile the module cpucore and lm-sensors will be able to display it:

anteia:~# sensors
coretemp-isa-0000
Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 0:      +31.0°C  (crit = +90.0°C)                  

coretemp-isa-0001
Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 1:      +31.0°C  (crit = +90.0°C)                  

Memory card reader

The memory card reader is an USB2 one, manufactured by Realtek. It works out of the box: just plug and read!

Webcam

The webcam is an HP Webcam-50. The chip is a Syntek one. The kernel module to use is uvcvideo. When loaded, tests can be done with luvcview -f yuv or mplayer -vf screenshot -fps 30 tv://.

Appendix

These are some files you could find interesting, configuration files and log files:


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