(Suse-)Linux on a Samsung VM8100XTC laptop

On this Website I am documenting my experiences with the installation of Suse-Linux on my Samsung VM8100XTC laptop. This Page is part of the linux-on-laptops and TuxMobil.org projects.

I have installed the Suse versions 7.2 - 9.0. Since version 8.0 (XFree4.2,kernel 2.4.18) the SIS graphic chip is fully supported, including the hardware acceleration. For the other two versions I worked out an easy to realize (Suse-specific) solution, not including the hardwareacceleration.

NIC/USB are recognized and configured automaticly by all Suse versions.

(PCMCIA under Suse8.0): I have briefly borrowed an PCMCIA-NIC from a friend wich could be easily configured with Yast and worked fine. Otherwise I have got no experience with PCMCIA-Cards.

The important function keys "Backlit", "CRT/LCD", "Rest" (with enabled APM) work.

Since some people asked me for my XF86Config, I have uploaded it now. It is the standard configuration generated by Yast(Suse8.0) and it has not been altered by myself.

The build in modem is working with the driver you can find on http://www.smlink.com.
Use the Driver optimized for i686 and follow the README instructions closely.

ACPI/APM:
I can neither get ACPI nor APM to work properly on my laptop.
With enabled APM the laptop goes to suspend every couple of minutes even during the boot process.
With enabled ACPI the System crashes while initializing the sound (Suse8.1). Somebody wrote me that the kernel parameter "pci=acpi" solves this problem but it did not work for me.

I got feedback from people who claim that APM works for them with the original bios and that ACPI works with the new (21gk) bios. Unfortunately I can not confirm this, but since I do not really need this feature I have not tried very hard. So try for yourself. Good luck!
You can download a new BIOS version and the flash program from the Samsung site.

Index

Hardware

Samsung Website (German)

My comments about the hardware:

Details

Information according to http://linux-sis630.decode.info:

The SiS630 chipset is a single chip. There are several "sub"-chips integrated onto the SiS630, such as:
- SiS900 [Network Interface Card]
- SiS5513 [IDE Interface]
- SiS7018 [Sound Device]
- SiS7001 [USB Controller]
- SiS7013 [HAMR5600 Winmodem]
- SiS630 VGA subsystem [mainly compatible with SiS300]

Installation of Suse8.0

XFree

Everything works fine including the hardware acceleration.

Mouse

I had a USB mouse plugged in during the installation which was configured right, thus the touchpad was not found. But it is no problem to later add the touchpad (as standard PS/2 mouse) with Sax2 additionally.

APM

First it worked, but after two or three reboots the System begun to suspend to RAM every 2 minutes or so. I ended up booting the kernel with the "apm=off" parameter.

Sound(alsa0.9)

The Sound works flawlessly and did not conflict with the APMD (as long as it worked) as it did with prior Suse versions.

CD-RW

The CD-recorder was automaticly configured and works fine.

Installation of Suse8.1

XFree

Everything works fine including the hardware acceleration.

Mouse

I had a USB mouse plugged in during the installation which was configured right along with the touchpad.

ACPI

Suse 8.1 comes with ACPI compiled into the kernel by default. I recommend to start the installation with the "acpi=off" parameter because the computer freezes when Yast tries to set up the sound chip otherwise.
After the installation I started the System with ACPI support again. I installed the "acpid" thus the acpi events were logged in the "/var/log/acpid". Before I could configure the ACPI the laptop froze again.
Right now I see no other way but to choose between sound or power management, therefore I start the kernel with "acpi=off" since.

Sound

The Sound works flawlessly with disabled ACPI.

CD-RW

The CD-recorder was automaticly configured and works fine.

FTP-Installation

I've been reported that you will experience problems with X, when installing Suse8.1 from a FTP-server.
You need to boot the "failsafe" option and start Sax with following parameter to configure the graphic chip:
sax2 -m 0=sis

Installation of Suse8.2

The only relevant difference, concerning the installation, to Suse8.1 is that you do not need to boot the system with the "acpi=off" parameter any more. The sound chip seems to get along with the ACPI-kernel now.
Maybe ACPI will work now with the new BIOS, though I did not make any further efforts (updating my BIOS) to get the powermanagement working.

Installation of Suse9.0

coming soon ...

Reconfiguration of the Windows-keys

You can give the Windows-keys a useful existence:
The file to change is ~/.Xmodmap.

In my opinion the "Atl_GR" key can not be reached very comfortably. What I did was changing the right Win key and the Menu key to Alt_Gr by adding following lines to ~/.Xmodmap:

keycode 116 = Mode_switch
keycode 117 = Mode_switch

Execute xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap to use the new changes.

Disclaimer

I'm no Linux expert and some technical descriptions may be inaccurate. In case you have corrections, questions, better solutions, or any further Information about this topic please contact me:

Last modified: Mai 02, 2003
GOWEBCounter by INLINE