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Toshiba Satellite A200-237

Johan Vromans
Articles » Toshiba A200 » Fedora 9 » Overview

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The Fedora 9 Live CD

I first tried the Fedora 9 Live CD. In fact, I took it with me to the shop to make sure the notebook could run it. All relevant components did work, so I bought it.

Getting rid of Windows Vista

WARNING! Some components cannot (yet) be enabled from Linux, so they must be enabled from Windows first. For this reason I suggest to not remove Windows from the disk.

The notebook came with Windows Vista Home Premium (Dutch version) pre-installed. I used the ‘Product Recovery’ CDs to re-install the English version of Vista. When using expert (advanced?) install you can specify the size that must be allocated to Windows. The original Vista install occupied 16GB, so I allocated 24GB for Windows.

Installing Vista from the ‘Product Recovery’ CDs takes a long time (two hours, if I recall correctly) and lots of reboots :().

Upon completion, this was the disk layout:

Disk /dev/sda: 250.0 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x33034612

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1         192     1536000   27  Unknown
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2   *         192        3251    24576000    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3            3252       30401   218092374+   7  HPFS/NTFS

I assume the first partition is used by the Windows recovery software, so I left it untouched.

Installing Fedora 9

I have the Fedora install files on a server on the LAN, so I booted the notebook with the Fedora 9 install kernel using PXE.

Using Anaconda I removed the big (empty) NTFS partition and created two new partitions instead:

/dev/sda3            3252        3276      200812+  83  Linux
/dev/sda4            3277       30401   217881562+  8e  Linux LVM

/dev/sda3 becomes /boot. In the LVM I created a 15GB partition F9Root and an encrypted 15GB partition Home.

The rest of the install went smooth. And fast.

After reboot (only one :)) I got kernel 2.6.25-14.fc9 (install kernel) that was booted with options noapic acpi=no. Time to check the functioning of the major components.

Processor OK No frequency scaling (ACPI?)
Display OK 1280 x 800
CD/DVD R/RW   Not tested
Graphics OK No accellerated graphics
Touchpad OK Cursor movement, H/V scroll, not mouse clicks
Battery FAIL Not detected (ACPI?)
Ethernet OK  
Wireless OK  
Bluetooth   Not tested
Hibernate   Not tested
Suspend (to RAM) FAIL Not possible (ACPI?)
Sound OK  
Fn keys FAIL OK: Brightness, Mute
56k modem   Not tested
Firewire   Not tested
SD Card Reader   Not tested
PCMCIA   Not tested
Webcam   Not tested
VGA-Out   Not tested

Clearly, ACPI is a must. I updated all installed packages to the most recent versions, and also installed kernel (production kernel). I changed grub.conf to boot this kernel with vga=791 to enable the frame buffer.

Processor OK Dynamic frequency switching can be seen on power applet
Display OK 1280 x 800
Graphics OK No accellerated graphics
Touchpad OK Cursor movement, H/V scroll, not mouse clicks
Battery OK Percentage, estimated time
Ethernet OK  
Wireless OK  
Bluetooth OK See Notes
Hibernate (SwSusp) OK  
Hibernate (TuxOnIce) OK  
Suspend (to RAM) FAIL Does not resume
Sound OK Record and playback
VGA-Out OK See Notes
S-Out   Not tested
Webcam OK  
Fn keys FAIL See Notes
56k modem   Not tested
Firewire OK  
SD Card Reader OK See Notes
PCMCIA   Not tested


  • The expected battery time is not available, only an estimate is given. This is also the case under Windows so it is probably not a Linux problem.
    A fully charged battery lasts for about 90 minutes only on an lightly loaded system. This is very disappointing. Moreover, after four months this is already reduced to just over one hour.
  • The Touchpad, WiFi and Bluetooth must be enabled from Windows since the Fn keys cannot be used to control them!
  • When 'Hibernate' is selected through the Power Manager, it executes the software suspend hibernate, not TuxOnIce.
  • As opposed to many other members of the Satellite A200 series this model has a Phoenix BIOS, and hence does not have Linux support for several specific Toshiba features like Fn keys. Some keys, however, work:
    Fn-Esc (Mute): Works.
    Fn-F2 (Suspend): Works (Generates ACPI event).
    Fn-F6 / Fn-F7 (Brightness): Works. However, something in my system seems to switch the display to full brightness again after a couple of seconds.
    Multi-media button Stop: Ejects the CD/DVD.
  • Bluetooth works with help of the OmniBook kernel module.
  • SD Card Reader works for SD cards, but I could not get it to access a Sony MemoryStick. The necessary driver for this seems to be under construction.
  • When an external monitor is connected and activated using xrandr --auto, the LCD bleaches and does not come back anymore. An X-server restart is necessary.
  • Mouse clicks (taps) on the TouchPad can be reenabled by installing a fixed synaptics driver. See Issue 439386 for details.

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articles/Toshiba-Satellite-A200-237/fedora9/index.html last modified 10:34:44 24-Jun-2009