Debian Linux on Toshiba Satellite 2410-404

@for Debian Linuxers
@author Kai Ruhl
@since
2007-07

Hardware

Model: Toshiba Satellite 2410-404
Processor: Pentium 4 mobile, 1.8 GHz
Graphics: Nvidia Geforce4 420 Go, 32 MB, 1024x768 on 15"
Sound: Yamaha AC-XG
Network (wired): Intel Pro/100 VE, 100 Mbit
Network (wireless): n/a
Bluetooth: n/a
Modem: Toshiba software modem AMR
Media: Toshiba DVD-Rom SD-R2212

Abstract

I have been running my Toshiba Satellite 2410 for a long time under Debian Linux. Overall, I am very satisfied, only having the following minor issues:

Currently, I run Debian 4.0 etch stable under a 2.6.18 kernel.

Modules

If you get any device problems, it might be helpful to consider the following modules:

Normally, everything is loaded automatically, but you never know.

Nvidia Graphics

The Nvidia corporation provides binary drivers for Linux, and also an installer, which is pretty nice. The problem with the Toshiba Satellite 2410-404 is, that you cannot take any driver, but an older one. I use the IA32-1.0-7185 driver. If you want to try other ones, consider the Nvidia Unix driver page.

You install the driver by deactivating the X server (/etc/init.d/gdm stop) and executing the installer on the command line:

sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-7185-pkg1.run

Then load it and also add it to the modules list for the next reboot.

modprobe nvidia

nano -w /etc/modules
    nvidia

Then, confirm that the devices are there:

cat /proc/driver/nvidia/cards/0
cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/card
cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/host-bridge

Once we have that, we can reconfigure the X server.

dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
    driver: nvidia
    modules: disable GlCore

Unfortunately, this is not all; if you started X with this, you would get a 640x480 resolution and a large black bar taking some space away. You have to tweak the X config manually.

nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    Section "Device"
        Identifier "geforce420"
        Driver     "nvidia"
        BusID      "AGP:01:00:0"
        VideoRam   32768
       
        Option     "NoDCC" "1"
        Option     "IgnoreEDID" "1"
        Option     "IgnoreEdidFreqs" "1"
        Option     "GenerateRTList" "0"
        Option     "OverridePolarity" "1"
        Option     "NvAGP" "3"
        Option     "DigitalVibrance" "0"
    EndSection

That should be it. Additionally, you can md5sum the config file so that Debian is not confused:

md5sum /etc/X11/xorg.conf > /var/lib/x11/xorg.conf.md5sum

Now start X as user and try the glxinfo command (should show "direct rendering: yes"). If glxinfo cannot be found, consider installing mesa-utils.

ALSA Sound

Sound works nicely, except recording: I am unable to get either Line-in or Mic to work. Overall, I am still a bit clueless about all the sound mechanisms, so any help is appreciated.

I have a file /opt/bin/megid, which I source in the personal bashrc files of each user (including root), because /etc/profile and /etc/bashrc are not included reliably under X.

nano -w /opt/bin/megid
    export ALSA_CARDS="intel8x0"

apt-get install alsa-utils
    save mixer settings: always

nano -w /etc/libao.conf
    default_driver=alsa

amixer set Master 100% unmute
amixer set PCM 10 unmute

apt-get install mpg321
mpg321 test.mp3

apt-get install bplay
bplay test.wav

These basic steps enable you to play mp3 and wav files.

And now recording. Unfortunately, it does not work, probably bad drivers (it works on another machine of mine; I have no definitive proof, though).

amixer set Line 100% unmute cap
amixer set 'PCM Out Path & Mute' 'post 3D'

apt-get install sox

# record (stop with Ctrl+C) and play:
rec line1.wav
bplay line1.wav

And this does not work. I have played with alsamixer a lot, but to no avail.

Networking

Out of the box. Load module eepro100 if it is not done automatically, and ifup eth0.

Open Ends

Besides the microphone/line-in issue, I never tested the modem.

The fan keeps beautifully quiet, unlike with another Toshiba notebook I tried (and ultimately returned).

I never tested suspend mode (because I heard that there are problems with the Nvidia driver there).

Conclusion

The Toshiba Satellite 2410-404 is something I can live with, only minor issues (sound recording) keep me from giving it the perfect score. It is also quite stable (no parts broken, unlike my older Fujitsu notebook) and keeps relatively quiet (Centrino notebooks are usually better at this, though).

Last Update: 2007-07-19. This article is listed at TuxMobil.

EOF (Jul:2007)