Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ubuntu 8 on Toshiba Satellite u300

This post is in English hoping it can help out a wider audience on Linux compatibility issues. Also see Linux on Laptops page.

I have purchased a sweet little Toshiba Satellite u300 laptop and am running Ubuntu 8 on it; Sound, video worked out of the box.

Wireless caused problems, to get around it, you need to download and install compat-wireless package found here. Before installing this package, the network icon on the upper right corner will not detect any wireless networks, and don't fiddle with anything in the system to get wireless "working" - it won't. Until you install compat-wireless. Get the sources, then "make" "sudo make install" and "sudo make load". After this last step, driver will be loaded, and network icon in upper right corner will change, it will detect and connect to a wireless network. From now on, if you want to load the drivers, you need to run "sudo make load" (I am still looking for a way to make this part of startup without changing startup scripts).

There is a problem with the volume control on the left side of the machine. When you roll the wheel up or down, it gets stuck on changing the volume action and will not yield control to your keyboard. At this point you are screwed, the only thing you can do is rebooting the machine.

My solution is to disable the wheel volume up or down event. Go to System | Preferences | Keyboard Shortcuts and assign "any" key combination to Sound | Volume up and down events. Anything except the X86blabla event. Then you will be set. Make sure you have turned volume all the way up before you do this.

By the way; To shut off the annoying drum, tamtam sound when you login, go to System | Administration | Login Window and to Accesibility tab. There uncheck the sound option for question.wav.

Out of the box, you won't have external display capability. In order to enable TVOUT so you can watch movies, presentation on an external display, you need to enable TwinView.

From cmd prompt, sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf then add the following two lines to your "Section" block in your xorg.conf.

Section "Screen"
...
Option "TwinView"
Option "TVOutFormat" "SVIDEO"
SubSection "Display"
Virtual 1280 800
EndSubSection
EndSection

You need to reboot for external display to take effect everytime you use your external display. When you reconnect, same way, reboot so you get back to your normal display. I am sure there are easier ways to do this, this was easiest way for me with least amount of trial and error.

I will update this post with any other u300 + Linux related problems and solutions.

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