Linux Laptops- Micron GoBook

 

 
 

Specifications

CPU Intel Pentium 233MMX (Tillamook)
CHIPSET Intel 82371AB PIIX4 USB and ACPI support.
BIOS Phoenix You know what that means...
HARD DRIVE IDE - Hitachi (particular makes and models vary)
CDROM ATAPI-IDE Sanyo CRD5342
VIDEO NeoMagic NM2160 Partially supported. See below.
AUDIO ESS 'Maestro' No Linux drivers. See below.
PCMCIA Texas Instruments PCI 1250 rev. 2 Cardbus
RAM 64MB

 

Details

 Since I was pressed for time I installed the newest distribution I had on hand, Red Hat 5.2. I prefer Debian but I do not have Slink on CD and expected that the commercial dist. would have better support for the multimedia. I was immediately annoyed that the Phoenix BIOS automatically enabled ROM to RAM shadowing and this feature could not be disabled. I turned off Plug-and-Play (-and-Play-and-Play) but left power management enabled.
 The RH CD would not boot, not a surprise since it had failed to boot on a few PC's, so I began with a boot floppy. I tried using Disk Druid to resize the existing partitions but found the utility entirely obtuse and instead just trashed an existing 1.2Gb logical partition. The installation was smooth and I set LILO to boot both Win98 and Linux.

 The first problem, as expected, was the Video. The LCD supports 800x600x64k under Win9x but none of the supplied X-servers would drive it. Superprobe detected a Yamaha chipset, so that was no help. Strangely, I was able to autoconfigure the scan frequencies. I had researched this ahead of time and downloaded a binary-only driver from RH on another PC, copied it to a floppy, ran into the below problem and later got the laptop running X.

 The next problem, which I should have expected, was the floppy drive. The floppy has a minimal carriage with cable which plugs into the parallel port. The BIOS detects it and it is accessible from DOS and Windows but not Linux. I checked DejaNews and Altavista but could not find a solution and left it at that. PCMCIA worked flawlessly and I was quickly up on the network using a trusty 3Com Etherlink-III, a very good thing since I didn't have a floppy drive.

 The third problem, also expected, was the Audio. From what I can discover there is no free support for this chipset.

 Another problem cropped up with the power management. I had created a few users, installed some RPMS and left the laptop running X and WP7 and returned some time later to find the screen black. I tapped a key and the screen came back to life but the hard drive didn't make the familiar whine as it spun up. Dead. Nothing I did could get Linux to respond. I tried pinging it from another PC without success. I rebooted and disabled power management in the BIOS. The laptop has both sleep and suspend modes and I suspect that it died while going into the latter since some of the users have claimed that even Win9x occasionally doesn't survive its round trip ticket to suspend-to-disk.