APM on a Toshiba
January 28, 2004 8:10 AM   Subscribe

i just got a toshiba m30-s309 laptop and i'm trying to get everything working in mandrake linux 9.2, especially APM so i can get the battery indicator working. i plan to upgrade to kernel 2.6.1, but does anyone have specific advice they could offer as to how to get APM working? do i just append apm=on to lilo?
posted by callicles to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Is it APM or ACPI? If it's ACPI you may need to patch the kernel. Also check if your model is supported by the toshiba.o module.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:44 AM on January 28, 2004

i'm pretty sure ACPI is built in to the 2.6 kernel, so no need to patch. i say APM because the laptop tools that came with mandrake 9.2 asked for APM when i tried to use them.
posted by callicles at 9:22 AM on January 28, 2004

My Toshiba Satellite was a real pain to get working in linux. It used ACPI, etc., and custom sound modules that never quite worked and couldn't do dual displays, and the fan was stuck on full-blast, and no battry saving features. This was with Mandrake 9.1, kernel 2.4.18. I hope you have better luck with your model, though. For me it just wasn't worth the effort in the end.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:56 AM on January 28, 2004

You might want to try one of the BSDs. I've been playing with it since Friday, and I like it a *LOT* better than Linux so far.

Linux seems to have "accumulated." FreeBSD is "designed."
posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 AM on January 28, 2004

as far as i know, everything is a bit of mess, notebook power management wise, in linux at the moment. i believe that apm was solid in 2.4 and that while acpi is in 2.6, both it and apm are unreliable. but that's all from when 2.6 just came out - maybe it's got better. i gave up and stuck with windows/cygwin. life's too short.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:14 AM on January 28, 2004

as far as i know, everything is a bit of mess, notebook power management wise, in linux at the moment.

andrew cooke is right: here there be dragons. It turns out that many companies have implemented ACPI on their laptops such that, while working with Windows, it does not conform to the published ACPI standard.

There is a way to get ACPI to work in most cases. It is, however, very complicated. Basically, what you have to do is decompile the DSDT table provided by your computer's BIOS--this is the description of the computer's power control features that is interpreted and addressed by the ACPI driver. You'll then have to find the bugs in this decompiled table, hack them out, recompile the table, and tell your ACPI module to look for the corrected table on hard drive rather than at the BIOS. It's also possible that your computer might be on a "black list" of incompatible machines included in the ACPI module, in which case the module will abort loading. If this is the case, you'll need to hack the source for the ACPI module, take your machine off of the black list, and recompile the module. Here's a brief guide to DSDT hacking; you can find much more with a Google search.

Linux seems to have "accumulated." FreeBSD is "designed."

I can address this only in the most general of terms, since my BSD experience is minimal... Most people believe that one of the advantages of the Linux "accumulation" approach is that it better allows for the development of low-level drivers compatible with a wide variety of hardware, since everyone and their brother is writing and submitting drivers for whatever set up they happen to have running. BSD is generally perceived to be inferior in terms of the variety of hardware with which it plays well. My instinct would tell me that FreeBSD would therefore be less likely to support some funky Toshiba ACPI implementation, though I of course can't say for sure.

The easy, guaranteed-to-work solution for running a UNIX-like operating system on a laptop is to buy a Mac.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:45 AM on January 28, 2004

well crap, i'm seriously doubting my ability to do all that. hopefully i can dig a little deeper in the google morass to pull out a simpler solution.
posted by callicles at 11:55 AM on January 28, 2004

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