I recently (09/2004) bought a Desknote A535-2 laptop, it's quite nice, has all features I need, at a reasonable price.
It comes without preinstalled OS, so no M$-Tax has to be payed, ideal for Linux-Installation .
The only annoyance I discoverd so far is the Fan - makes too much noise for my taste.

Debian Sarge on Laptop ECS 535-2

Well, to get Debian working is not quite easy if you don't have the right installation CDs. I ended up using the recent Debian-installer. Works quite well, as it seems by now.
Indeed, the built-in Hardware-recognition-system found most of the components (Graphics,Sound,NIC etc. - even the external USB-Mouse !) and configured them correctly - fine !

The first thing which wasn't correctly found/configured is the touchpad, it's a synaptics touchpad, and well supported by X.
Download the latest version of the driver here.
Install the required devel-packages:

apt-get install xlibs-dev
Then compile the driver and copy it to /usr/X11/lib/modules/input/ .
Modify your /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 to contain

Section "InputDevice"
	Driver        "synaptics"
	Identifier    "Synaptics Touchpad"
	Option        "Device"        "/dev/psaux"
	Option        "Protocol"      "auto-dev"
	Option        "Edges"         "1900 5400 1800 4000"
	Option        "Finger"        "25 30"
	Option        "MaxTapTime" "80"
	Option        "MaxTapMove" "220"
	Option        "VertScrollDelta" "100"
	Option        "MinSpeed"      "0.02"
	Option        "MaxSpeed"      "0.18"
	Option        "AccelFactor" "0.0010"
	Option        "EdgeMotionUseAlways"   "true"
	Option        "CircularScrolling"     "on"
	Option        "CircScrollTrigger"     "3"

This will work, but you can easily configure the pad to your like, just see the homepage of the driver.

Next thing to consider is the external USB-Mouse, which will work nicely, if configured like this:

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Configured Mouse"
	Driver		"mouse"
	Option		"CorePointer"
	Option		"Device"		"/dev/input/mice"
	Option		"Protocol"		"ImPS/2"
	Option		"Emulate3Buttons"	"true"
	Option		"ZAxisMapping"		"4 5"

So far, Debian concerns, now let's take a look at:

Gentoo Linux on Laptop ECS 535-2

This is another story, requires some more action than Debian, but I prefer Gentoo because of it's ease of keeping up with the latest Desktop software like KDE etc.

First, get an appropriate iso-image (i686 type is the right choice) for installation from your favourite Mirror and burn it to a CD.
Boot the Laptop from this CD.
Follow the instructions in the Gentoo Linux/x86 Handbook

Of course, the whole procedure is easiest if you have a working LAN with Router/DHCP - this is how I did it.
Once a basic system is setup, it's time to configure/compile a kernel suited to the underlying Hardware. For those who want to have a basic working configuration - here is a Link to a suitable .config file which will incorporate most needed drivers (e.g. r8169 for the NIC) - note this setup is for use with 2.6 kernel series, alsa sound system - for setting up alsa, refer to the Gentoo Linux ALSA Guide (driver used here is intel8x0).
Anyways, I had trouble to actually get sound to work - it turned out that I had to MUTE 2 controls in alsamixer as shown in this screenshot (thanks to Michal !).

Touchpad: see above (Debian Section).

X-Server Setup: this is my xorg.conf file.

Well, this took me awhile to get it to work, since I missed to modprobe the necessary kernel-modules (namely usbcore,usbhid,ohci_hcd) after having built them - shame on me ;-)

The built-in modem is a SmartLink Modem - the driver is in portage and can easyly be installed using 'emerge slmodem'.
Then use the following commands:

  • modprobe slamr
  • /usr/sbin/slmodemd -c GERMANY &

Update (03/2005):
I must admit that getting the whole thing actually to work was not just that easy. It turned out I had to upgrade wvstreams to 4.0.1, wvdial to 1.54. In addition, /etc/ppp/options had to be adjusted with the following entries:
This solved some issues, but I had still problems with pppd dying directly after connect.
And this problem wasn't that easy to overcome - I had to investigate alot and after some RTFM, google around and ask for advice on the linmodems.org list, I finally tracked it down - see the story at gentoo forum .

Wireless LAN: still to be investigated.

Having managed to do all this, you're ready to install your favorite Desktop - 'emerge kde' ).
Have fun !

At this point, I'd like to mention that there are still some issues to be solved, like getting wireless LAN to work, etc. - I will tell here how it went when I have had the time to accomplish this.
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