Linux on a Best 5650 laptop computer

Last modified: 2004-04-19

This laptop was previously sold in Sweden by Best Technology. It is really a Clevo 5600P model that Best Technology sold under their own name.

Hardware

Installation

I installed Red Hat 7.3 from CDROM. There were no problems during installation and many things worked out of the box after the installation, including X, sound, network and USB.

Extra drivers and programs

Harddisk DMA

The first problem I noticed was that the machine was slow when accessing the hard disk. The problem was that the kernel failed to enable DMA mode for hard disk transfers. I found a fix for this problem in kernel 2.4.19-pre10-ac2, which I extracted and put in my kernel patch collection. (See below.)

Modem

The built in modem works very well with the binary only drivers from smartlink. I'm currently using version 2.7.14.

Synaptics TouchPad

The synaptics touch pad works as a normal 2 button PS/2 mouse by default, but if you want more features, you can install a special XInput driver for XFree86. I found a good driver which lets you emulate a 5 button mouse with the touch pad. I fixed a few things in the driver to make it work even better. Read more about the changes and download the driver from this page.

If you are using another mouse as additional pointing device, you may also want to use the xinput program to remap buttons as needed. (The xmodmap utility can only remap buttons for the X CorePointer.) I have a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 USB mouse and I have put this line in /etc/X11/xdm/Xsetup_0 so that it is always run when the X server starts.

xinput set-button-map Mouse1 1 2 3 6 7 4 5

Hotkeys

The keyboard has six different hotkeys that can be used for anything, but their intended purpose is to start a mail reader, a web browser, a user-defined application and to increase/decrease/mute the audio volume. The keys generate regular keycodes, so no kernel driver is necessary to support them. I use hotkeys and XOSD to make the buttons perform their intended behavior. There is no built in support in hotkeys for this keyboard, so I had to write a new keyboard definition file.

There is one problem with the hotkey program for this keyboard though. For some reason, some keys generate the key release event before the key press event. (I think this is a hardware hack to disable autorepeat for those keys.) This interferes with hotkeys use of the XKEYBOARD extension, so that when you press such a key, the X server gets into a state where it waits for the corresponding keyrelease event before processing any other keyboard events. I don't know the proper way to fix this, but an acceptable workaround is to patch the hotkeys program. Here is the patch I use: hotkeys.clevo.patch

Clock drift

I originally had problems with very large system clock drift, approximately 1 minute/hour. This was caused by using kernel apm support. I don't know why this causes clock drift, but using acpi instead of apm cures this problem.

Patches and configuration files

For reference, here are some of my configuration files.

I run kernel 2.4.19-rc3 with a few patches. Here is a tarball with the patches and a script to apply them.
And here is the corresponding linux kernel .config file for kernel 2.4.19-rc3.

The XFree86 config file: XF86Config-4

Untested

I haven't tested the IR port or the FireWire port.

Unsolved problems

Things that are currently not working on my computer. This doesn't necessarily mean there is no linux support for these things, just that I haven't figured out how to use them yet.

Links

Charl P. Botha has a good page with more information about linux on this computer, including how to get suspend to disk working.

The Synaptics TouchPad Interfacing Guide.



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