Ubuntu Linux on a Mecer N223II Notebook


Colin Muller (colin - durbanet co za), 3 February 2005. I will update this page as I test other features.

For other notebooks, see http://www.linux-laptop.net/

The Summary

It works out of the box with a new install of Ubuntu Linux - with a few configuration tweaks.

Hardware and Installation Notes

The Notebook

Installation Process

The first install did not go well, and I ended up with a 640x480 display in X, and a non-working wireless card.

I then reinstalled from scratch. The process which worked was:
That was it for the initial install. Ubuntu installed and started up easily. Then I fixed the wireless connection by putting the following lines into /etc/network/interfaces. The key setting appears to be "open" on the key. Replace the asterisks with the values appropriate for your setup. You can test first at the command line by replacing "wireless_" with "sudo iwconfig ".
iface eth0 inet dhcp
name Wireless LAN card
wireless_essid *********
wireless_key open s:*****
wireless_ap **:**:**:**:**:**
After that, everything I immediately need was running, apart from some fine tuning of RAM and of the touch pad as per the detailed hardware notes below.

Device Status and Detailed Hardware Notes

Item
Model and Details
Status under Ubuntu Linux
Notes
CPU
Intel Centrino Pentium M 2.00GHz
Working
Fan a bit noisy.

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 13
model name : Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor
2.00GHz
stepping : 6
cpu MHz : 600.227
cache size : 64 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 2
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 apic
sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat clflush
dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss tm
pbe tm2 est
bogomips : 1191.93

RAM
2GB (2 x 1GB 200 PIN DDR PC266 DIMM) Working
The Ubuntu i386 kernels are compiled without HIGHMEM and use less than 900MB of RAM, so I installed linux-image-2.6.8.1-4-686, which sees all of the memory. However, it crawls unless you pass a "mem=" parameter at the boot line. The largest which works properly is mem=2016M. Anything larger makes the machine crawl. BIOS reports 2040M of RAM, and memtest86 reports 2039M usable, but these both slow the machine down, as do 2032M and 2048M.
Hard Drive
Fujitsu 80GB Ultra DMA-100 (9.5mm), model MHT2080AT Working
Noisy blighter when very busy, but reasonably quiet most of the time.
Optical Drive Slimtype DVDRW SOSW-852S: CD-RW / DVD+RW / DVD-RW (24W / 10RW / 2.4W / 4RW / 8DVD) Working
Burnt a 590MB CD in about 5 minutes. Have not yet burnt any DVDs.
Screen
WXGA 1280x800 12" TFT LCD  Working at full resolution, and also at 1024x768, 800x600, and 640x480, using the Gnome Screen Resolution changer.
Selected 1280x800 (and, just in case, 1024x768) when prompted during the Ubuntu install.

I'd had one false start when I selected 1200x800 by mistake during the first install. Nothing I could do after that would make it run at 1280x800, so I reinstalled.

A nice, bright, crisp display.
Graphics Card
Intel 82852/855GM Working
See "Screen" section above. Shares some of the system RAM, if I understand correctly.
Wireless LAN Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG
Working
Driver, as per dmesg:
ipw2200: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200/2915 Network Driver, 0.11

I had to set the WEP  key to "open" for this to work with the ipw2200 driver which Ubuntu installs. See description of installation process above. WEP does work, though. Command-line method:
sudo iwconfig eth0 key open s:*****
Ethernet 10/100TX: Realtek RTL8139, Chip type "RTL-8100B/8139D"
Working
It's one of those maddening ethernet cable ports into which some RJ45 connectors do not clip firmly, but it nonetheless does not come loose too easily.
Modem 56K V.90 Untested
$ lspci |grep -i modem:
0000:00:1f.6 Modem: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 03)
PCMCIA 1 Slot Untested
The kernel module is inserted, so I guess it will work.
USB
2 x USB 2.0
Untested
Looks normal in dmesg, no reason to expect they won't work.
IEEE1394 (Firewire)
1
Untested
$ lspci |grep -i firewire:
0000:01:0a.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments TSB43AB22/A IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link)
S-Video Out
1
Untested

External VGA port

Untested

Card Reader 4-in-1: SD, MS, MMC, MS-Pro Cards
Untested

Touch pad
Synaptics
Working
I don't much like tapping on the touch pad instead of clicking. I added to the appropriate InputDevice section of /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 this line:
Option "SHMConfig" "on"
After that (and restarting X), this command disables tapping on the touchpad :
synclient MaxTapTime=0 

Here's what dmesg has to say about the pad:
Synaptics Touchpad, model: 1
Firmware: 5.9
180 degree mounted touchpad
Sensor: 18
new absolute packet format
Touchpad has extended capability bits
-> four buttons
-> palm detection
input: SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad on
isa0060/serio2
Sound
Intel 82801DB (ICH4) AC'97 Audio Controller (Rev 03)
Working

Keyboard

Working
Have not yet experimented with all of the the function keys.

The volume control keys seem not to work under Windows or Linux; the software volume controls do work, though.

The brightness keys work.
Power Management

Silent Mode Button Works.
Lid closing seems to have problems.
The rest untested
The Silent Mode button is marked "P" and immediately lowers the power consumption and noise (and, presumably, speed) of the system.

Closing the lid resulted in the screen going black, and nothing short of a re-boot would bring it back on. To be further investigated.





- Colin Muller (colin - durbanet co za).