Ok, so here is how to get Fedor Core 5 Linux up and running on a Sharp MM20 ultra-mobile laptop. If your curious about the specs on this machine please check out my older review and FC2 install here.

UPDATES:

May 04, 2006: Well it’s finally a reality, the driver patch is now upstream (kernel 2.6.16.10 and later) as well as the latest Fedora Core Kernel (kernel-2.6.16-1.2107_FC5). So no more patching the kernel to get AGP DRI working. Just run yum update and be happy.

The Install:

Stage 1 of the install: Base Install

Well, a lot has changed in version 5 of Fedora Core. First off you no longer have to type in the nomux stuff to get the touchpad to work. It just works thanks to the work mentioned here. What this means is that you pretty much just install it like any other computer now. There is one catch though, after you have installed everything and you get the the first boot graphical config screen (which will ask to take care of some post install initializations) you will be asked to setup your display. Go ahead and do this, but don’t panic when after this your screen goes blank and you can’t access the system. It’s still running, just push the power button down for 1 sec and then wait as the machine shut’s itself down. Once it is shutdown you can then reboot, and by editing the boot paramters force it into run level 3 for command line only mode. We’ll get the graphics working again in the next stage.

Stage 2 of the install: Gettig hardware AGP DRI again.

UPDATE: You can ignore most of the following if you are willing to update to the latest Fedora Packages. After your first boot to the command line with network working, just run “yum update” and get the latest kernel which now has working AGP DRI. If you aren’t planning on updating your packages and still with to have working AGP and DRI, then read on below.

Ok, so yes the stock kernels (all the way to kernel.org 2.6.16.9) are still broken. You can’t run DRI on this machine, UNLESS, you patch the kernel with a fix. Again for the details check out Kernel Bug 4513. With the patch in this bug report you can get DRI with AGP 4x working, and I’ve gotten GLXGears to run at 850fps! Here’s how:

First patch your kernel, if you want to just download prepatched version I’ve placed all my builds here:

kernel-2.6.15-1.2055_FC5.dcafaro.i686.rpm
kernel-2.6.15-1.2055_FC5.dcafaro.src.rpm
kernel-devel-2.6.15-1.2055_FC5.dcafaro.i686.rpm

kernel-2.6.16-1.2080_FC5.dcafaro.i686.rpm
kernel-2.6.16-1.2080_FC5.dcafaro.src.rpm
kernel-devel-2.6.16-1.2080_FC5.dcafaro.i686.rpm

kernel-2.6.16-1.2096_FC5.dcafaro.i686.rpm
kernel-2.6.16-1.2096_FC5.dcafaro.src.rpm
kernel-devel-2.6.16-1.2096_FC5.dcafaro.i686.rpm

Then just boot into run level 5, you should have everything setup correctly from the firstboot config stage. To try and get a little more performance out of it you can add this /etc/drirc file.

This will help get a little bit more. Unfortunetly the CPU and HardDrive are so slow in these machines you still aren’t going to get much with any recent 3D based games. These laptops were just not built for that. Special thanks to Brian Hinz for the above drirc trick!

Stage 3 of the install: Wireless Network

Well the wireless card works almost out of the box. You still need to download the firmware from here: Prism54.org. Rename the firmware file isl3890 and place it in the /lib/firmware directory. Once you have that installed you just need to get NetworkManager up and running. You can go here for instructions on that. This will give you easy access to wireless network setup and scanning.

I decided that I really need WPA support and since the Prims54 drivers still don’t work with WPA_Supplicant (and hence no WPA support), I decided to try a little hardware swap. I puchased an Intel 2915ABG mini-pci wireless card and swapped it into my laptop. So far it has worked with no problems. I now have 802.11A/B/G support with WPA support. Like the Prism54 cards you must install firmware files for it to work. I just added freshrpms.net to my yum repos files and installed the ipw2200-firmware rpm using “yum install ipw2200-firmware“. You can install this rpm to get the freshrpms.net packages added to your yum system. The only thing that I lost with the use of this card is that that I no longer can turn the wireless on and off with the keyboard switch.

Stage 4 of the install: Power Management

Ok, I’ve stuck to being very simple with this. I just left it as is. I’ve found that from the default install of Fedora Core 5, power management works more or less. When plugged into the wall it defaults to full performance mode. When on battery it all depends on your Mobile/Normal Switch. In Mobile mode the CPU will work at minimum speed to conserve battery power, in Normal mode it will run at full speed. For me that’s enough for the power mangement and cpu scalling. Also Suspend to RAM and Suspend to Disk works about 75% of the time. I have found that before going to or coming out of suspend the Mobile switch should be set to Normal mode for best results. I get the most consistent suspends and hibernates when the CPU is at full power. Even when suspend to ram or hibernate doesn’t work, the worst that happends is that the screen locks on resume. You could still SSH into the machine, or you can just hit the power button for 1 sec and then let the machine cleanly shut itself down. You can use the gnome power manager to configure what the lid closing does when running on battery.

Stage 5 of the install: The Dock

Still works as expected of any USB Harddrive, enough said.

References:

Still to come…

One Response to “FC5 Sharp MM20 laptop.”

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