Hm, looks like I never really got around to completing the page. So in order to keep this relevant, a few quick additions:
  • This laptop just (end of April 2003) reappeared as the Avaratec 3120; it would appear that it is the same unit with merely a faster Celeron processor. The notes here should apply. According the Techbargains, BestBuy is blowing them out for $599 after rebate. Can't go wrong at that price.
  • Mark Ettus sent email indicating that PCMCIA works fine from the Knoppix disk, though with issues on RH8. See his Sotec page for details.
  • DVD playback works just fine. I used both mplayer and ogle straight from the Debian packages, see for packages other than those in the main archive.
  • ACPI support can be made to work. Once I enabled it in kernel 2.4.20, and loaded all the relevant modules (are compiled it directly into the kernel) then shutdown actually powers the machine down. But on the whole ACPI support on Linux is way behind what we used to have with APM. Too bad the entire industry switched, this affects more than just this laptop.
  • The other annoyance is the keyboard which feels flimsy. Other than that, still a great value for the money.

Below is the original email I sent to debian-laptop in December.

From: Dirk Eddelbuettel 
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 00:03:23 -0600
Subject: Debian on Sotec 3120X / 3123X

As I could not find any references with respect to Linux and this laptop
before I bought it, I thought I would drop a short note stating that Linux
works fine on it.  So here it goes, in semi-random order:

* What is it?
An inexpensive ($950), 4.4 pound heavy, 12" screen with a Celeron 1200, 256mb
ram, dvd/cd-rw, and either a 20gb disk (3120X) or a 30gb disk (3123X). The
latter is available at Sam's Club, the other one at Wal Mart, Office Max and
Best Buy.  See the link for specs:

* First things
I dropped Knoppix 3.1 into the 3120X I found at a local Office Max. It works,
but requires the boot line
   knoppix lang=us noscsi
or it will hang on seeking the scsi modules. But x11, sound, ... all work
immediately under Knoppix, which is good.  The pre-Debian 3.0 cdrom I have
   linux video=vga16:off
or the framebuffer would get confused, and the console get unusable.

* Annoyances
The laptop comes with M$ XP home preinstalled as well as on three Ghost
disks.  I did not succeed in resizing the disks using free software.
Partition Magic 8.0 worked, and I was able to install Debian 3.0 without too
much trouble. I pretty much used the Knoppix settings whenever something
wasn't immediately working (as e.g. x11 or sound). Apm does not appear to be
supported in the bios, which sucks.

* Niceties
The laptop is small and light but not miniscule, light and reasonably
fast. Linux works fine. Haven't tried the dvd player yet for lack of a dvd.

I intend to post some more notes at


Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
                                             -- Niels Bohr

Last modified: Sun Apr 27 08:40:20 CDT 2003