Quick note for Italian users:
ho comprato un notebook Asus A1370D appositamente per
usarlo con Linux. In queste pagine mi permetto di spiegare
un po' di cose, sperando che tornino utili a qualcuno.
La traduzione in italiano (con abbondanti commenti extra) è in questa pagina.
Scusate l'inglese, come al solito maccheronico.
Se invece cercavate le pagine sui notebook Apple, sono qui!
| Below, some information about Asus A1370D notebook, and how I
installed Linux on it.
Italian translation is in this page.
Please excuse me for my poor English.
I will update this page as soon as I have more good news.
STUNNING: I've been told that even official Asus tech guys used
my pages for reference. Simply great. I hope that their Linux
support will increase...!
Click here for latest news (updated 2003-Sep-04)!
As of July 2008, I salvaged its motherboard (screen was broken, keyboard
was broken, hard disk was broken, etc)... and used it as a "no moving parts"
home server, nailed on the wall!
Click here if you were searching for Apple Powerbook pages.
This is the "Asus A1370D (A1000-series) and Linux" notebook page.
IMPORTANT: I got lots of explicit "success reports" - these notes were
useful to install Linux on other machines, explicitly
Asus A1330, A1375, A1360, A1368,
A1356D, A1358R, A1350D, and other Asus machines,
and even on Mitac 7521, Aristo Sirion,
Progress 2800, Eurocom 2700T, Asem NB410S,
IPC MagicNote/U and Medion 9438 notebooks and other
SiS630-based Pentium III notebooks.
THIS PAGE: I got e-mail feedback from: España, Thailand,
Poland, Argentina, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and others from China,
Switzerland, Egypt, Ireland, USA, Denmark, Netherland, Lebanon, Malaysia,
Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania, France, New Zealand, Belgium,
Italy... and even girls from Italy and Germany!!! ;-)
- Linux support for these Asus A1xxx notebooks (and similar machines, see
above) is quite mature, thanks to the work (free, great, quality work) of
a huge number of volunteers (including me), generally called "Linux
community", "Linux people", "loosely-knit team of hackers", etc.
- My old Asus+Linux page is rather large
(225k of HTML) and contains the history of Linux
installation and useful goodies on my notebook from the day I got
it in March 2001 up to November 2003.
- This page now contains only the latest status of almost everything
related to Linux and Asus A1xxx notebooks.
- If you don't find something in this page,
have a look to the old page.
If the same information is found on this new page and also
on that old page, you should consider reliable
this page and possibly obsoleted that old page.
Sigh, sniff, sob!
As of 2004-Sep-04, the screen backlight doesn't work anymore. This means
that the LCD screen doesn't show anything. It's time to buy a new notebook.
More than 41 months of massive usage (not less than a few hours per day),
and I have now to leave it... sigh! See you on my next notebook! :-)
The buried board is the one marked as A11204-A04-03676, just under the
screen cover, near the internal microphone. It contains an MP1011EMA chip.
The board takes seven input wires (the connector on the left) and outputs
two wires (white and gray). The MP1011 chip produces a perfect sinewave
output suitable for the screen backlight circuit. I already tested the
surface-mounted fuse (the light green one on the left part of the board)
but the board still doesn't show signs of life. It's a very hard thing
to "debug" a full SMD board.
Latest news added in these pages:
Index of this page
- SonyEricsson P900: how to get networked its filesystem on a
Linux directory, how to transfer data files (MP3s, vCard's, JPEG, etc),
how to convert to/from Linux readable formats to P900 formats, etc.
- Nokia 7110 cellular phone: how to connect it to this
notebook via infrared port, using its internal GSM modem to connect to
the Internet, and sending/receiving SMS messages.
How to install a SuSE Linux 9.0 distribution
I assume that the entire hard disk of the notebook will be dedicated
to Linux. I did so with my 30Gb hard disk. If you need a Windows
partition, or if you want to "resize" one, please check out for other
documentation on other sites.
Installation from the five CDs is quite straightforward: just follow
the steps below.
- Must boot from the first CD.
- Have your Asus USB mouse connected, and reboot the notebook.
Once you get to the boot screen, select "Installation" and let the
installer load. Then it will ask you to select your language, and
then proceed choosing "new installation".
- I use an "Italian" keyboard, but prefer the "US" layout.
RECOMMENDED: go to "expert mode" and switch to off the "NumLock"
- Now you have to partition the hard disk. Two partitions: a
swap partiton and a Linux partition. Why?
The swap partition should be about the same size of the core memory.
If you have 192Mb of RAM, you should set swap to no more than
170-180Mb. Too much swap space may lead to infinite swapping
in case of programs with memory leak bugs.
- A swap partition is faster than a swap file.
- A swap partition, placed in the very first space of the hard
disk, may actually save you in case someone tries to format the
hard disk or even install another operating system (at least until
he proceeds for hundreds of megabytes): a swap partition can be
re-formatted in a moment. Consider this swap space as an extra
- A swap partition can be disabled to experiment some other
operating system without having to touch the Linux partition.
Uh, you will be able to try QNX or Beos, but you won't be able
to install the latest Windoze releases.
Having one giant Linux partition speeds up everything, and won't
waste useful space (a number of times I found myself with zero
blocks free while copying/moving large files). Currently I have
172Mb for the first swap partition, and the remaining 30Gb for
Linux partition. The latter should be formatted in reiserfs
mode for a number of good reasons.
It's a Very Good Thing to write down a note of the partition
table, something like: "partition 1, cylinders from 1 to 24;
partition 2, from 25 to end of disk" (you don't need other
information). In case of unwanted hard disk formatting,
you may be able to re-create it and see your computer alive
- I prefer lilo as boot manager because I know well its
configuration file. I lowered the boot menu time to two seconds
(instead of eight) because I don't want to wait for the default
kernel to be loaded.
- We should prefer the "CMOS clock uses local time" setting,
instead of "GMT time", to not to fight against weird clock values
when switching from/to summer time.
- Software selection: to the standard stuff one should add at
least the KDE packages. I wouldn't recommend Gnome
because KDE is better, nicer and faster.
Go to the installation of specific packages, and select also the
antiword, findutils-locate and xmms-plugins, which by default
are not installed. The antiword program translates a .DOC of
Micro$oft Word to formatted .TXT; the findutils-locate contains
the locate program which will save you a lot of time when you
need to find a file given (part of) its name (and part of its
possibile directory). The xmms-plugins are needed to play lots
of other music files (I need it to play mod, s3m, etc, in
compressed or uncompressed format).
I also added installation of the "100dpi fonts" for X/free.
- The SuSE 9.0 release has a number of translation
errors; some of them are not only screen labels. I got an error
"Fatal: image name contains a blank character", due to the stupid
SuSE mode to create the lilo configuration:
"Memory-Test" (safe lilo label name, without spaces) was
translated to an entire Italian sentence ("Verifica della memoria")
which was not accepted by lilo (it had to be a label name, not an
on-screen text!). I had to select to configure manually lilo...
- At the end of the first CD, leave the CD into the drive and
let the SuSE installer restart. It will boot from disk and continue
installing. Select your "root" password (the one you will use to
get in "root" mode for maintenance programs) and configure the
network. Please DISABLE the dhcp stuff, because your notebook
is not a desktop computer part of a giant network. Also, assign
your preferred host name (the name of your pet?) instead of those
"linux", "localhost", etc.
- The modem gets incorrectly recognized as an "Intel 537 winmodem
56k", but I don't think it will be useable. I will experiment soon.
- Add your internet service provider information. Remember that
this is a standalone machine, and if you will connect to the internet
in dial-up ppp mode, the utility programs will reassign again DNS
and IP addresses as needed.
- Hardware configuration: in the desktop section, leave out the
"3D acceleration" to "no" (I will explain later how to get 3D
acceleration; don't use SuSE's suggested stuff). Go to change
the monitor type from "monitor 1024×768" to "LCD 1024×768×75";
enable DPMS support, and select 1024×768×24bpp resolution. Don't
use a too high default sound volume (I set it to about 50 because
sometimes I turn the computer on while in the classroom).
- Once completed softwre installation, start the Yast Control
Center, go to Security/Users, select "halt" option for ctrl-alt-del
(you won't ever need to reboot the notebook with that command; it's
better to use that keys to have a quick way to shut off everything).
In the updatedb section choose "root" instead of "nobody", so
that your locate program will find out any file (see below to
know issues about locate).
- Go to runlevel editor to STOP these useless services:
isdn (you don't have an isdn card on the Asus notebook), fbset
(you will use 2D and 3D acceleration, not the framebufer support),
nscd (your notebook isn't a large internet server), vocald
(you won't use "voice over IP" services).
- After login, disable the susewatcher (you won't do a local
software update every time you connect to the internet) and
kandalf (nice things, but for newbies only).
- Go to KDE Control Center, and select in the system administration
the last tab "autologin" feature: select "passwordless access" and
select your user name, and do "apply". You don't need a password check
while booting your personal notebook; it's useful only on computers
used by lots of people. If you don't want other people accessing your
notebook, just set the BIOS password.
- In the KDE control center select your preferred theme (in the
dialogs section and in the window decoration section); I don't
like Keramik; I like System++ theme. Also, in the sound section,
disable the arts sound server, because it seems to fail and lock
the system when there are high loads. This is an old, old, old bug
of arts running on the sound card of this notebook.
Linux kernel questions.
- Why do you prefer Linux 2.6 kernel?
Linux 2.6 series is the current "stable" series.
Compiling one of the 2.6 kernels (thousands of source files) and
almost getting no warning messages means that they are doing a great
work. I don't think there is in the whole world a software of that size,
reliable as Linux, and with extremely clean sources.
The main reasons to switch to the 2.6-series kernel are the preemptible
kernel calls and the new "SCSI-like" IDE/ATA driver, which can sport
terrific speed improvements on some disk-I/O-intensive programs.
The recompilation of this site, which required from 1'20" to 2'00" with
old hard disk and 2.4-series kernel (intensive open/read/write/close of
thousands of files), now is performed in less than 0'40"!!
(well, lots of features will be surely backported to 2.4-series,
but I cannot guess when it will happen).
- Why do I need to re-compile the kernel from scratch? Can't I use
the standard SuSE (Debian, Mandrake, etc) kernel?
Any software distribution comes with a "stock" kernel that is
much different than the latest official kernel release. To add some
of the latest features, they give you a "overweight" ultra-patched
hyper-modified Linux kernel, surely suitable for the 99% of the machines
out there, but... what if you have a computer with one little weird
difference? (our Asus notebooks contain some little weird things...).
The cleanest approach of the Software Purist requires a compilation
from scratch; this way, we will not experience the problems like
"DistroXXX 2.4.21 kernel does not have the bug of DistroYYY 2.4.21
Another urgent reason for starting from a stock kernel is to compile in
the latest developed SiS support for our Asus machines.
- Where can I get the latest Linux kernel and how do I compile it?
Please don't bother me. Surely your Linux distribution has the
collection of "HOWTO's" that you need. You will find there the
Kernel-HOWTO which describes step-by-step also for "newbies".
The latest official kernels (and the only "Linus Torvalds approved" ones!)
are here: Kernel.org, 2.4 series and 2.6 series.
Known problems of latest Linux kernels which I used on my Asus A1370D
notebook using using SuSE Linux 9.0.
The 2.6.1 kernel gives out only these warnings:
- Local APIC disabled by BIOS -- reenabling... Could not enable APIC!
(this warning is here since Linux 2.4.10, depending on the Asus ACPI
stuff; we can safely ignore it)
- cpufreq: Intel(R) SpeedStep(TM) for this chipset not (yet) available.
Let's wait some other months...
- sis5595 smbus 0000:00:01.0: Looked for SIS5595 but found unsupported
sis5595 smbus 0000:00:01.0: SIS5595 not detected, module
not inserted. Uh, another thing which support isn't (yet) available.
- cpufreq: No CPUs supporting ACPI performance management found.
We have to wait...
- "ACPI: No IRQ known for interrupt pin A of device 0000:00:00.1"
I do not know what does this mean; anyways, it doesn't show extra
- The compactflash problem disappeared.
- The sound initializations problem disappeared.
- Infrared port still doesn't work (updating to irda-utils 0.9.17-pre2
didn't help). It seems that there is some confusion about infrared
protocols (IrTTY and other), I have to do some other debugging.
- Since I still didn't updated to the latest insmod utilities,
I compiled this kernel without module support (everything in the kernel!
the compressed imagesize is about 2100kb).
Click here for latest IrDA stuff
- The Asus USB mouse wheel, remapped to buttons 4 and 5 ("ZAxisMapping"
option in XF86Config), still doesn't run.
The 2.6.0 kernel shows out these problems:
- inserting a compactflash card I get the pcmcia error "ide-cs:
RequestIRQ: Unsupported mode" (this comes in the dmesg output
section even if the ide-cs was compiled as a kernel module! then
it's a kernel issue, not a cardbus userland software problem);
the cardctl insert command gives out a weird new error
"PCMCIA: socket c9c07c2c: voltage interrogation timed out."
- cannot get infrared port working on an IrCOMM-compliant device;
- automatic module loading doesn't run (this is not a kernel problem:
it's a SuSE 9.0 problem, because kernel module objects are now
named *.ko instead of *.o and need new insmod utilities);
- the "Could not enable APIC" warning is still there...! also
this kernel cannot handle the local APIC of our Asus A1xx notebooks:
remember, the last kernel that correctly used APIC was the 2.4.9;
from 2.4.10 on, the insertion of ACPI stuff ("ACPI"!) made impossible
to use the local APIC ("APIC"!);
- I get these two error messages in the dmesg output, maybe from
the SiS/sensors section: sis5595 smbus 0000:00:01.0: Looked for SIS5595
but found unsupported device 0630; sis5595 smbus 0000:00:01.0: SIS5595
not detected, module not inserted.
- after sound initialization I get this kernel dmesg output error,
but I consider it a warning message only because ALSA sound modules
were compiled in the kernel instead of modules:
request_module: failed /sbin/modprobe -- snd-card-0. error = -16
- sadly, "cpufreq: No CPUs supporting ACPI performance management found."
- there is a weird warning, maybe a different report of an old problem:
"ACPI: No IRQ known for interrupt pin A of device 0000:00:00.1"
- ALSA modules "dummy", "virtual midi", etc, get precedence (sigh!)
over the standard Trident/4D soundcard, so you shouldn't use them if you
want to be sure all your sound-related programs run;
- Synaptics touchpad support should be disabled because Xfree 4.3.0
doesn't understand its protocol: while your finger is on the touchpad,
the cursor arrow seems to have some little shivering all over with cold
:-) and the "tap touch" doesn't run. The touchpad runs without problems
if used with "PS/2" protocol.
I've been told about a better Synaptics driver (requiring Synaptics
support in the 2.6 kernel) which features even the "multifinger detection"
(if you tap with two or three fingers, you will get the second or third
key event): click here if you want to experiment.
The main processor cooling fan is a Sunon GC054006VH-8 fan (DC 5V 0.5W)
with 11 (eleven!) 4mm-high blades, and its base has space for three screws.
I still didn't find neither a replacement, nor an equivalent. I use Linux
and don't use high CPU-intensive programs, so I don't care too much. But
I found lots of other people needed to replace the fan. They wrote me
because found the string "Sunon GC054006VH-8" on my site...!
I got this email from an Italian guy:
I have a Sony Vaio notebook and found that the Vaio notebooks are very
similar to Asus A1xxx notebooks! I need the same Sunon cooling fan, but
Sony assistance cannot provide it.
There are two solutions:
- www.inkjet4u.co.uk (60euro, from Great Britain to Italy);
- www.sunon.com (150 euro, from Taiwan to Italy, but sea shipping,
30 to 90 days for delivery).
I got also an email from USA:
I found the best solution for my Sony Vaio (and maybe for your Asus)
on www.alliedelec.com (search for PartNumber GC054006VH-8).
I got also an email from Germany:
The Sony Vaio (and maybe your Asus) compatible fan is available on
www.reichelt.de site, part number LÙFTER-54006, at 34.80euro plus shipping.
I did not test it yet, but I immediately report it to you. An user told
me that he had success connecting his Asus A1340D (so we can expect it
to be good for all Asus A13xx notebooks) with its Nokia 6610 cellular
phone via infrared connection.
The Asus have kn133 infrared chipset, so you need to compile your
kernel 2.6.3 with via-ircc support; then download latest
irda-utils and, after the machine boot, use these commands:
echo 115200 > /proc/sys/net/irda/max_baud_rate
irattach irda0 -s
Have a try!
This page is work in progress - please wait some weeks I will write
- send e-mail