Monday, February 27, 2006

linux laptop toshiba satellite a105-s1013

I got a Toshiba a105-s1013 laptop last week. It is a fairly nice computer with 512 MB ram, 60GB disk, cdrw/dvd and a 802.11g wifi card. It comes with winxp-home and it works very nicely.

Naturally I wanted to use Linux on it so I began trying various Live CD's that I have. Surprisinly Puppy Linux did not boot nor did Mandrake Live, but Knoppix 4.02 booted fine.

The only thing that didn't work with Knoppix was sound which is not improtant to me -eventually I will get it figured out since the laptop comes with a fairly standard audio card (realtek alc 861).

I installed it on the hard drive. I used qtparted to shrink the ntfs file system and create an ext3, swap, and fat32 set of file systems. I installed knoppix on the ext3 file system and had the grub boot put on the partion instead of the mbr. I found it worked best when I was using knoppix-installer to save the configuration and then edit it so as not to try to create a bootdisk. Once the install was done I used dd to copy the partion boot sector to the fat32 partition (dd if=/dev/sda5 bs=512 `count=1 of=/mnt/sda7/grubboot.bin). I then booted into windows and copyied grubbott.bin to the c drive root directory and then edited boot.ini (after I amde a back up copy) and added c:/grubboot.bin "linux" to the end of the file. Eventually I changed the first line that defines the default boot loader to the linux one. When I now boot the computer I get a choice of linux or windo0ws and it all works great.

My biggest effort was in getting the network to work. I did not at first realize that eth1 (my wifi card ) was not automatically activated and this caused my iwconfig command to hang. THe end resulet was I issued these commands as root:

ndiswrapper -i wificard_driver_file.inf
ndiswrapper -m
modprobe ndisrapper
modprobe ndiswrapper -if_name=eth%

after this I needed at each boot to issue these commands as root:
ifconfig eth1 up
iwconfig eth1 essid 'NAME'
iwconfig eth1 key 1234567890

eventually I set up these commands in /etc/sudoers and created a script in my home directory to execute them. I just need a couple of clicks to connect to the network.

I also found that mozilla firefox didn't work too well so I have begune using kde konqueror which works almost as well as firefox (hard to see any difference) and kmail.