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Old 06-15-2004, 02:18 AM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Slackware current & occasional dabbling with Mandrake 10.0
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Success! Slackware-current/kernel 2.6.6 on an Acer Aspire 1502LMi!!!

Okay, I admit it. I'm partly posting this to be smug.
But on the other hand, someone else might find the product of my torment useful, and since I'm planning on turning this into some sort of document somewhere, I can't think of anywhere better to find people to pick holes in my mistakes (aka a free editorial service *g*). It's written in the style of an idiot's guide, because, well, I'm an idiot, and the notes are primarily for my benefit.

As it stands, I haven't yet got around to making the tap functions work on my ALPS touchpad, and I remain convinced that I can squeeze more performance out of the graphics card. Anyway, taking into account that there's a tad more testing and tweaking to do, here's how I did it.

If you intend to use this as a guide to setting up your own system, remember to read it through completely to find out what needs to be compiled into the kernel, as it's possible that I missed something when listing them.

How I Learned To Install Slackware-Current with Kernel 2.6.6 on an Acer Aspire 1502LMi Laptop
(and Love The Bomb)

Please note, where I indicate that software should be downloaded, always grab the latest available version of whatever program it is, as the more recent the program, the more likely it is to support the various differences which appear in the 2.6.x kernels.

For the record, I got my installation CD from the Christmas 2003 edition of Linux Format magazine (UK). I gather it's a standard incarnation.

Basic Slackware Installation
Perform full install from Slackware 9.1 CD, partitioning as desired (I went for root, swap, and a large home partition).
The touchpad seems to more or less work when set up as a ps2 mouse, although the buttons and multi-finger tapping don't work, resulting in what is effectively a one-button mouse.
If you think you'll want to burn CDs before you get round to upgrading to kernel 2.6.6, ask Slack to append "hdc=ide-scsi" to lilo to enable scsi emulation for CD writing.

Reboot, login as root.

Run alsamixer to unmute (press m to unmute each channel) and raise volumes on at very least master and pcm channels. Raise the volumes to 84 or so. Alt-Q to exit.
Type alsactl store to save your mixer settings.

adduser to set up a non-root user. It'll ask you to enter a variety of information - all that is actually required is a username and password.

Login as your new user.

You should now be up and running in a basic sense, and your chosen window manager should be working (being a wuss, I use KDE).

Making It Sound Pretty
The sound will probably be be distorted. Let's fix that first.
Add the following line to /etc/modules.conf:
options snd-via82xx index=0 dxs_support=2

Reboot, and your sound output should be working perfectly. I suggest that you put on some music.

Enable Shutdown
Add this to /etc/lilo.conf:

I just copied it off my desktop system. Didn't seem to work properly under 2.4, but everything shuts down fine under 2.6.6.

Your ethernet and wireless networking cards are not supported by default. You'll need a driver. From the internet. And if, like me, you connect to the internet via an ethernet router, you won't be able to get online to download the driver until after you've installed the driver...

Download the Linux driver from

And no, I can't believe the site demands a Javascript compatible browser either. At least Flash is optional.

Save the driver to floppy, copy it to the laptop, unzip.
I installed from source, and the instructions included in README.TXT for doing so worked perfectly. I strongly suggest taking this approach.
And lo, we have net (or I do, at least).
Let us rejoice.

Swaret Package Tool
Now, get your arse over to and download a copy of swaret. Install it using pkgtool. You'll need to edit your /etc/ file and save it as /etc/swaret.conf to make it work properly. It should include something vaguely similar to the following line:

Remember, Swaret has to be run as root.
I'm going to periodically refer to packages that you can download and install using this tool. While this is the easiest approach, there's nothing to stop you from compiling from source if you prefer.
I'll try to mention all the most important packages to get this running, but this should not be taken as a definitive list. SDL and its associated packages will prove useful for games in particular, so you might as well install them now.
Swaret isn't the only package tool out there - many people use Slapt-Get instead or as well. I just find Swaret easier to configure.

Use Swaret to download a new version of RPM. The one your Slackware comes with is very likely to be broken, and it can come in handy sometimes, even if you are usually better off with rpm2tgz and pkgtool.

Upgrade to slackware-current
Modify /etc/swaret.conf so that VERSION=current
Now you can upgrade using the
swaret --upgrade
command. This will probably take a while, even on a broadband connection.
This would be a good time to get a bit of sleep, maybe some fresh air, reassure your family that you haven't died or run off to join the circus or anything...

I found that KDE 3.2 would not run until fam-2.7.0 had been seperately installed via swaret. The dependency search seems a little broken on this one.

The Consequences of Upgrading
Doing this will probably kill off your sound, producing messages along the the lines of
"/dev/dsp not found". Now, you could try fixing it... but on the other hand, doesn't this seem like a great time to upgrade to the 2.6.6 kernel?
(Yes it bloody does. I'll not stand for any argument on the subject after everything I've been through.)

Kernel 2.6.6
Download full 2.6.6 kernel source from or one of its mirrors.
Kernel compiliation is nowhere near as terrifying at it is made out to be, particularly if you use xconfig. I advise compiling most things as modules rather than into the kernel itself,
but that's just me. ALSA in particular seems more cooperative as a module.

Following the kernel compile guide at
did the job for me. You might want to take this opportunity to modify your config to remove any uncessary components. You'll definitely want to enable various new improvements offered by the kernel, include support for the full power of the AMD64, include APCI functions to enable software monitoring of the laptop's status, and so on.

Stuff You Ought To Include
Note: This is NOT a definitive list in any way, shape, or form. I just thought I ought to mention a few things to which I refer later on. And I may have missed some of those. If anyone's that desperate, I can provide a copy of my working (but slightly bloated) kernel .config.
  • Processor type and features > Processor family > Opteron/Athlon64/Hammer/K8
  • Power management options > ACPI > everything except ASUS & Toshiba specific stuff and debug ##this makes your battery monitor &c work
  • IEEE 1394 > I included everything except debugging and the OUI database
  • Character devices > /dev/agpgart > AMD Opteron/Athlon64 on-CPU GART support (as modules)
  • DO NOT include Character devices > Direct Rendering Manager
  • Graphics support > Support for frame buffer devices > VESA VGA graphics support
  • Graphics support > Console display driver support > Framebugger Console support > Select compiled-in fonts > VGA 8x8 & VGA 8x16
  • ALSA > PCI devices > VIA 82C686A/B, 8233 South Bridge (as modules - I also included a load of OSS-related bits that appear in the ALSA section).
Like I said, just because it's not in that list does not necessarily mean that you don't need it.

The Blank Screen on Boot Problem
At very least, to avoid this you should reconfigure lilo to start in normal vga mode, otherwise your screen is likely to be blank in console mode. (Although it will still be possible to log into X by typing blind - thanks for the reminder, mipia.)

There is another way round this, though, to do with your kernel configuration.
I got my information on this at:

Using xconfig (or whatever), in Graphics support, enable Support for frame buffer devices and VESA VGA graphics support. In Console display driver support, Select compiled-in fonts, VGA 8x8 and VGA 8x16. Select everything in Logo configuration.

Insert the following line into lilo.conf:
vga = ask
Lilo will now query you at boot as to which resolution you want.

If you need to make any changes later, please note that if you recompile with your settings as they are, lilo will again reconfigure itself and you'll lose access to your old kernel through the slack.old option.

Ethernet should still work okay, but you'll find that you now have a new selection of problems to fix. Joy!

Drivers for ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 & 3d Acceleration
You don't want to know what I had to do to get this working.

This solution owes a hell of a lot to this one:

In your kernel, /dev/agpgart and AMD64 on-chip support must be enabled, and the Direct Rendering Manager disabled.

Get the latest (4.3.0 at time of writing) ATI Radeon driver from

You'll also need to download DRI. Now, the latest version snapshot (as of 09-Jun-2004) doesn't work. One that does work (from 08/02/04) is available at:
Let me know if you encounter a more recent one that does the job.

This is all best done at the command line - not in a shell console.

run rpm2tgz on the ati driver rpm, and use pkgtool to install it.
cd lib/modules/fglrx/build_mod
cd ..
modprobe fglrx

lsmod to make sure that amd64_agp, fglrx, and agpgart are all loaded


You'll have to enable external agp here. And don't forget to tell it about your touchpad. When you're asked if you want to save, say no to all the suggested file names and locations, and instead provide it with the following address:

BEFORE YOU DO THIS IT IS A VERY GOOD IDEA TO MAKE A COPY OF YOUR OLD xorg.conf FILE. Call it xorg.conf-old or somesuch. If everything goes horribly wrong, you can copy it back to its original name to get X to at least load again.

Go to wherever you've unpacked dri and

Add this to modprobe.conf:
install fglrx /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install fglrx && { /sbin/modprobe amd64_agp; /bin/true; }

You should be able to startx with everything working now, but I like to reboot, just in case (years of Micro$oft related paranoid behaviour are hard to shake).

In X, open up a shell terminal.
There are a couple of useful utilities that you can use to test your card.

Measures the speed in 3d - enlarge to full screen and leave running for 30 seconds or so before closing. At fullscreen 1050 x 780 it reports:
1318 frames in 5.0 seconds = 263.600 FPS

Provides info on your card. The line you really want to see is:
"direct rendering: Yes"

ATI's version of the speed test. Currently produces the error: "Error: couldn't get fbconfig"

Should now produce the following result:
display: :0.0 screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: MOBILITY RADEON 9600 Generic
OpenGL version string: 1.3 (X4.3.0-3.9.0)

If you want, you can use pkgtool to remove the mesa driver. If you do it after the ATI driver install is complete, you'll probably have to reboot to get glxgears working again.

Now to try a 3d game. We're going to need a test subject.
Make sure you have the SDL libraries, then go to and download the tuxracer package (tuxracer is bitchy about compiling from source under Slack, but this package offers a solution to that).

Be nice if we could do something about that fbconfig error though...

Alps Touchpad
Touchpad info & driver:
I gather that it may be advisable to use pkgtool to remove gpm
another touchpad driver -
Make and install the touchpad driver. If it's not already working, you should now have basic touchpad functionality - you can move the cursor with the pad and click with the buttons, but tapping doesn't work. Not entirely sure if this is the result of the kernel upgrade or of the driver install, I'm afraid.
Having got basic functionality out of the thing, I'm going to return to it later to finish tweaking.

Upon installing kernel 2.6.6 the sound crackle problem we encountered earlier will reappear, with reinforcements.
Leave dxs_support at 2 (also works at 4), as above. Open up alsamixer. Mute all the IEC958 channels, and turn all the dxs channels up full. I also turned up ac97, but I dunno if that makes a blind bit of difference.
You should now have sound.
If it's choppy and clicky under XMMS, you can instruct the program to use the OSS driver rather than the ALSA driver, which should solve that (ah, that would be why I compiled those OSS modules). A command line app called mpg321 is worth downloading (Swaret again) in order to test mp3 playback in a non-GUI environment.

This is a copy of the relevant bits of my modprobe.conf:

alias char-major-116 snd
alias snd-card-0 snd-via82xx
options snd-via82xx index=0 dxs_support=4

alias char-major-14 soundcore
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0

alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-midi
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss

CD-ROM drive - Reading
Upgrading to 2.6.6 renders the old system for mounting CDs obsolete. In practice, this means that you'll have to change a couple of files before you can mount them.

While /dev/cdrom still exists (and - on my system at least - the symlink points to /dev/sr0 - a SCSI device - and an entry still exists in fstab), it won't respond to mount commands. For instance:

bash-2.05b# mount /dev/cdrom
mount: /dev/cdrom is not a valid block device

This is what you do about it:
Add the following to the boot image in lilo:
and remove the hdc=ide-scsi line you put in earlier (way back at the top of the page).

Now change the fstab entry to:
/dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom iso9660 noauto,owner,users 0 0

Playing Music CDs
Use Swaret to grab a copy of Totem.
While some of the CD players have been a bit iffy about the whole thing, Totem will load audio CDs without any complaint.

Playing DVDs
Use Swaret to download Ogle, libdvdcss, and the a52 decoder.
To play a DVD, enter ogle /dev/hdc at the command line
So far, this seems to be the only method that works well under 2.6.6.

CD-ROM drive - Writing
This seems to work as is.

bash-2.05b# cdrecord dev=ATAPI --scanbus
Cdrecord-Clone 2.01a31 (i686-pc-linux-gnu) Copyright (C) 1995-2004 Jörg Schilling
scsidev: 'ATAPI'
devname: 'ATAPI'
scsibus: -2 target: -2 lun: -2
Warning: Using ATA Packet interface.
Warning: The related libscg interface code is in pre alpha.
Warning: There may be fatal problems.
Using libscg version 'schily-0.8'.
0,0,0 0) 'PIONEER ' 'DVD-RW DVR-K12RA' '1.10' Removable CD-ROM

According to a post at
"to burn just add dev=ATAPI:0,1,0 instead of dev=0,1,0 or better still use k3b 0.11.9"

Indeed, k3b does make life much easier. Download and install it via Swaret.
I've successfully burned a test CD, and I see no reason for DVD burning not to work equally well, although I have yet to test that.

USB Devices
(In this instance a Fuji Finepix S7000 digital camera, which used to load on /dev/sd0.) No big difficulties here. Camera registers as a storage device.
Add a directory called 'removable' to /mnt and add the following line to fstab:
/dev/sda1 /mnt/removable vfat noauto,users 0 0
Certainly works when booted with the camera attached and switched on - haven't tested under other circumstances yet.
Still need to test with scanner.

Browser Plugins
Swaret again. Download j2sdk (the Java development package). It should automatically create the correct symlinks in Mozilla's directory at very least (or is this something that already existed post-install?). Copy the symlink to anywhere else it would be useful (such as in Firefox's plugins directory, if you've installed that browser).
Download swftools for Macromedia Flash support. (Doesn't seem to work properly??)
Download the generic mozilla-plugs, firefox-plugins, etc.

Firewire/IEEE1394 DV cam setup
For most mini-DV cams, you'll need an ieee1394 lead that had 4pin (small) connectors at both ends, rather than the 4pin/6pin variety that are more common with desktop systems.
Grab kino via swaret so as to have something to test with (requires ffmpeg & libavc1394, which dependency resolution in swaret may not pick up).

Under Slackware, the appropriate entries in /dev aren't made. They're easy enough to add manually using the following commands:

mknod -m 666 /dev/video1394 c 171 16
mknod -m 666 /dev/raw1394 c 171 0

Reboot, startx, and kino should now work.
Video capture is rather resources hungry, and I suspect that the system may require tweaking to work at its best.
If you get a resources related crash, it may help to instruct kino to drop frames as necessary.

Well, that's what I've got so far. The laptop now seems to meet my basic requirements for functionality. An additional quirk worth noting is that, when I run off the battery, kde will close itself with a low battery warning twice before it agrees to behave. I suspect that this may be because I have both acpi and apm in the kernel
Now to get Neverwinter Nights on to this thing!

Last edited by 1351; 06-15-2004 at 11:06 PM.


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