Linux on the Fujitsu LifeBook P-2040

created by Michael Leuchtenburg: michael <at> slashhome <dot> org

Please note: This is out of date.

I seem to have lost my good copy of this page. I think the only stuff missing is better writing and a link to the patch to make DMA work. You can find that patch here, and also various other places on the web. Also, DRI apparently works with the latest code from the DRI project.

The above patch is under the GPL, natch, being derived from the Linux kernel source.


The Fujitsu P Series is an ultralight Crusoe-based laptop. I recently (13 December 2001, didn't arrive for a couple weeks) purchased one and, realizing that no one else on the web had written anything about getting Linux running on it, decided to do so myself.

Here's the specs:

So, it's a fairly nice ultralight, especially given the price tag: $1500. I rather like it.

How to Make It Go

Installation

I installed Debian GNU/Linux on it from a CD I made using the pseudo-image-kit. I used the DVD/CDRW drive. There were no problems with this. I used the CD only for the base system, then installed the rest of the OS over the network.

X

The next thing I did was to get X working. Making it go was easy, making it have an appropriate modeline wasn't so easy. I used the modeline utility (there is also a Debian package) to generate a few modelines:

ModeLine "1280x768"  84.178  1280  1312  1608  1640  768  769  775  802
ModeLine "512x288"   12.217  512   520   568   576   288  289  292  303
ModeLine "854x480"   35.703  854   870   998   1014  480  481  485  503

The first line is to utilize the entire display. The second one is for playing DVDs (which I have yet to get to work, possibly due to DMA problems), and the third one is for playing a game that only runs at 640x480. I have a seperate configfile which only uses the 512x288 line, as I can see no other way to get X to not use a larger virtual desktop. That way it only allocates RAM on the video card for that size desktop, leaving room for ogle do use Xvideo.

Speaking of which, the ati.2 drivers provide Xvideo support for this adaptor. DRI is not yet supported, though some people have reported success (on other machines using Mach64) with a CVS branch specifically for Mach64 support. The ati.2 drivers changed recently, and the page doesn't particularly reflect this. One, the linuxvideo.org server is NOT used anymore, so if you see links to that, don't use them. Two, you no longer need the os-support stuff except for the CVS ati.2 drivers. So, if you want to try the CVS ati.2 drivers, then you'll need it, but otherwise it'll just crash your box.

All of the other stuff is quite standard; no weird keyboard or mouse drivers neccessary.

Kernel

The next step: a good kernel. The 2.2.17 kernel that came with Debian is not wonderful. Unfortunately, the ATA chipset in the P2040 (ALI make, use the ali15x3 driver) isn't well supported by 2.4.17. In fact, if you enable the ali15x3 driver, it will hang hard. This means, for the moment, no DMA. Other than that, it's fairly simple. Here's a kernel config that works. If you get DMA to work, please tell me. My email is at the bottom and top of this page.

PCMCIA

The kernel config I use has no PCMCIA support, as I use the pcmcia-cs package. It's simple and works well. The i82365 and ds modules are needed to make the PCMCIA go, as well as cardmgr (or homebrewed scripts, I suppose). I've had no problems, other than cardmgr's configuration being horribly annoying.

Network

I generally use my Netgear MA401 802.11b card to connect to the network, but I do occasionally use the onboard RTL-8139 wired ethernet. By default, the BIOS is set not to turn this on when on battery power unless it's in use. This is in the Power section. Unfortunately, this makes Linux not detect it at boot, and thus renumber my ethernet devices; not acceptable. I also have not been able to get Linux to detect the wired eth after a boot in which it doesn't detect it. Hence, I just have the BIOS turn it on all the time. It makes life simpler. If you get Linux to detect this in the power saving mode, please let me know. Maybe by compiling the 8139 as a module and inserting it after the ethernet should be turned on?

Quirks

One of the annoying quirks of this laptop is that the sound doesn't work after it suspends. It starts working again after the trident module has been removed and replaced, but all apps that were running that use sound stop working (notably in my case, zsnes). This might be fixable with proper configuration of apmd. Everything else seems to resume fine. The HDD suspend does work, but it's slightly harder to recover from that, as it seems to mess up the PCMCIA config. This could probably also be fixed. The lphdisk utility can create the neccessary partition for you. This once mysteriously vanished for me, I have no idea why.

In Closing

Linux runs fairly well on the P2040. Current problems are the slight suspend difficulties, the lack of DMA, and not having tested cd writing. This should work using SCSI emulation, I just haven't gotten around to testing it yet. Once the DMA problem is cleared up, I would strongly recommend this laptop to anyone looking for a linux ultralight laptop. Fujitsu seems to be having difficulty keeping it in stock, but Zones seems to have no problems. That's where I ordered mine from, as well as the modular battery and an additional 128MB of RAM. Both are currently back-ordered, but should ship soon IIRC.

If you have any suggestions, comments, questions, please email them to me. If you use the P Series with Linux on it, even if you don't have anything else to say, email me to tell me that you do, especially if you've had any different experiences with it, good or bad.


Michael Leuchtenburg
michael <at> slashhome <dot> org
All text © 2002 Michael Leuchtenburg. All rights reserved. Do not redistribute without prior consent.