Linux on the Toshiba Satellite 100CS Laptop

Disclaimer | Summary | Introduction | Installation | X-Windows | APM | PCMCIA | Acknowledgements

Disclaimer: This is freely available information which comes with absolutely no guarantees. Use at your own risk.

Summary: Installation was easy and without problems. Linux runs great, including PCMCIA.

Introduction: This file contains information relevant to installing, and using Linux on a Toshiba Satellite 100CS laptop computer that was purchased in March 1996. It comprises a Pentium clocked at 75 MHz, 8 MB of EDO RAM upgradeable to 40 MB, a 504 MB harddisk with 13 ms avg. access time, a dual-scan DSTN, a 1 MB graphics card (resolution up to 1024x768 on an external display, or 640x480 on the laptop), a 82 keys keyboard with an accupoint. Expansions are provided via two PCMCIA slots, a parallel port, a serial port (16550A compatible), SVGA display, PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors and an `Enhanced Port Replicator'. It has a NiMH battery and the power supply is integrated into the laptop. The 100CS does not contain sound support, and has no cdrom. As of early March, the price is 1999 US dollars. The model used for this installation was upgraded to 16 MB by the dealer.

Installation: The first thing was to back up Windoze 95 (which comes preinstalled on the machine) onto 38 disks .... which will probably be never get used again. Debian GNU/Linux was then installed using its current disk set: a boot disk, a root disk and three base disks. A new Debian distribution is in the works and will be released soon, so you might want to watch the website.
The most recent boot disk available at the time of installation (March 7) contains a 1.3.43 kernel which booted fine. All the usual steps from the menus (disk partioning, swap setup, file system setup, installation and configuration) were executed in order. At the end, booting of the new system is possible via the boot disk and by passing "linux root=/dev/hda3" to the kernel (/dev/hda3 was chosen for the / partition).
Those five floppies were the last floppy disks the laptop has seen --- the base setup already contains the required tools for an ftp session via a PLIP (parallel port) or SLIP (serial port) interface, and the required drivers are in the boot disk kernel image. A CSLIP connection through a null-modem cable connecting the laptop ("bird") with the desktop ("miles") can be started by using the commands

setserial -b /dev/cua0 auto_irq autoconfig spd_vhi
stty crtscts 38400 < /dev/cua0
slattach -l -L -s 38400 /dev/cua0 &
ifconfig sl0 miles pointopoint bird
route add bird 

on the laptop side and the equivalent ones on the desktop. (The SERIAL- and NET2-HOWTOs explain it all in more detail.)
As my desktop contains a local mirror of the Debian distribution, I first transfered, and then installed, the development packages (gcc, binutils, libc5, lilo, ...) well as sources for the 1.3.68 kernel by ftp. After building a kernel on the laptop, I ftp'ed the netbase and netstd packages and mounted the Debian mirror via NFS from the desktop. Debian's fine dselect tool was then used to install the rest.

X-Windows: SuperProbe showed that that the Toshiba 100CS uses the CT65545 video chipset. I use the SVGA server even though the dual-scan display only supports a resolution of 640x480 pixels as it might prove handy on an external SVGA monitor. I simply tried the most conservative values proposed by the Debian installation script, combined with the SuperProbe results and the standard 640x480 modeline from Linux on the Toshiba 410CS Laptop. It worked on the first attempt. Here are the essential lines:

Section "Pointer"
    Protocol    "PS/2"
    Device      "/dev/psmouse"
    Emulate3Timeout    50

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier  "Dualscan"
    VendorName  "Toshiba"
    ModelName   "Unknow"
    HorizSync   25-64
    VertRefresh 40-70
ModeLine "640x480" 28.3 640 664 760 800 480 491 493 525

Section "Device"
    Identifier	"Generic VGA"
    VendorName	"Unknown"
    BoardName	"Unknown"
    Chipset	"ct65545"
    VideoRam	1024
    Clocks	28.3

Section "Screen"
    Driver      "svga"
    Device      "Generic VGA"
    Monitor     "Dualscan"
    Subsection  "Display"
        Depth       8
        Modes       "640x480" "800x600" "1024x768"
        ViewPort    0 0
        Virtual     640 480

For your reference, you can also consult my complete XF86Config file. More information on Linux and XFree86 with this video chip is available at Ken Raeburn's page on the ct65xxx.

Advanced Power Management (APM): The APM package by Rik Faith compiled straight out of the box. It works great: apmd logs power status into /var/adm/daemon.log, apm prints the /proc/apm output nicely and xapm is a small X11 tool that display battery status.

PCMCIA: The laptop also works well with the PCMCIA package by David Hinds which I compiled from the Debian pcmcia source package. I use it with the IBM Home and Away card, a dual 10baseT and 14.4 modem card that I picked up for just over 50 US dollars in Toronto. David Hinds provides very good documentation in the PCMCIA-HOWTO.

Acknowledgements: I have benefited from browsing the Linux Laptop and the Notebook Graphics and PCMCIA Survey web pages.

Disclaimer | Summary | Introduction | Installation | X-Windows | APM | PCMCIA | Acknowledgements

Last modified: Sun Aug 6 16:57:12 EDT 2000