From: Andrew Sobala (andrew_at_sobala_n_o.S_P_A_M_net)
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 16:09:52 +0100
Installing Linux on a Toshiba 2450-101 Laptop
Table of Contents
Notes about the experience
This documents my experience in installing GNU/Linux onto a
Toshiba 2450-101 laptop. I used Red Hat Linux 9 as my
distribution of choice. Mileage may vary with other
distributions, though anything that's possible under Red Hat
should be possible under all distributions with appropriate
The essential website for any Toshiba laptop linux
experimenting is Toshiba's unofficial Linux page.
After going through the standard install process, the
following hardware works.
* Touch pad
* Hard drive
* CD-R/RW/ROM and DVD-ROM
* Graphics card
* Sound card
* Network card
* USB ports
Some of the hardware I haven't tested since I don't use it on
a regular basis, if at all.
* Firewire ports (although they are detected)
* Monitor/S-VIDEO out
* PC card slots
* Software modem
Although I have not tested the software modem myself, I have
read reviews where people have got this particular model to
work under Linux. Extra drivers are required, though.
Power management - ACPI or APM - doesn't seem to work at all,
at least with a 2.4 kernel. This means no hibernate, suspend
or auto-power-off. If someone can get this to work, please
Power management does work under Windows.
Notes about the experience
Repartitioning the hard drive
From the factory, the hard drive is pre-partitioned with 1
FAT32 partition containing Windows XP. If you want to have a
Linux-only machine, you can boot the installation CD-ROM
straight away and wipe this partition. If, like the majority
of people and myself, you wish to dual-boot, you will have to
shrink this partition.
The most well-known way of doing this is to use Partition
Magic. I used Partition Magic 7 to shrink my Windows partition
down to 15 Gb, which worked fine. I didn't create any Linux
partitions with Partition Magic because I trust the Linux
tools more for doing that sort of thing.
The laptop only has a 30 Gb hard disk. 2 operating systems
will use a few Gb of this in their normal installs. Be sure
that 30 Gb is enough for your everyday needs.
When creating partitions, I created a standard Red Hat 100 Mb
/boot partition (though this is excessive, 25 Mb will do
fine), 200 Mb /tmp partition (the theory in having a separate
partition for this is that a runaway program won't fill your
root hard drive with silly logs), a 250 Mb swap partition and
the rest as the root partition. Since then I have removed the
/tmp partition since the GNOME 2.4 CD burning tool that comes
with Ximian Desktop needs 500 Mb free space in /tmp for
creating a CD image. So that was a waste of space, since I
can't resize ext3 partitions.
The graphics driver
If you only want to use 2D applications, the graphics driver
installed by Red Hat is fine. If you want to play Tux Racer
you'll need a 3D accelerated driver.
This is available from NVIDIA's linux driver page. You need
the IA32 version. Note that it is free of charge, but not Free
Software. Installation is fairly easy, but remember to read
the README. You need to make small changes to /etc/XF86Config.
The monitor automatically blanks after a certain amount of
time. When it unblanks, the graphical X desktop is misaligned.
It's difficult to describe the problem, but it makes X
unusable without a restart. This happens with either GeForce 4
It can be fixed quite easily, by going into the BIOS settings
by holding down ESC when you see the Toshiba logo at boot and
then pressing F1 when prompted. You can then disable screen
blanking. This has the side effect of your screen being always
on, though, but it's the only workaround I have been able to
Reinstalling Windows (if you ever need to)
The CD that comes with the laptop is a Windows recovery CD,
not a proper install disk. It resets the hard disk to as it
was when you bought the laptop, including partition table
information. If you ever use it, you will completely wipe
linux from your hard drive. Back up first!
This laptop is Linux-compatible, with the exception of power
management. I was nervous when I installed Linux, certain that
something would go wrong, but I haven't had any major
problems. Big thumbs-up to Toshiba!
-- Andrew Sobala