Linux on the Toshiba Portege 7020CT
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- Unit bought April 11, 1999 w/ 192MB by a friend of mine. Here
are my notes that we assembled after a laborious installation.
If you start from the same principles as me, it pays to go over
the BIOS setup (ESC-F1 at bootup) and check the items. In particular
you want the PC card to be in "PCIC" mode, and also power-up modem
should be "resume".
- Split the disk with FIPS20, no problems there. 6GB drive, and gave
W98 a wopping 1.5GB! We set the machine up for dual boot, giving
W98 the faster tracks on the disk.
- This nice 3 lbs machine has no cdrom, which can complicate install
(see below :-)
- RedHat 5.2 refused to install. Eventually I gave up, too much to
write about what failed. We tried network,
scsi jaz and PLIP installs. I probably should learn how to hit ALT-F2
at the right time and beat the boot proces... maybe that's where the
- Slackware 4.0beta fared much better, although network install also
failed (it hung the machine). We decided to copy the CD files to
a JAZ drive, and install from that. That worked fine, i believe
i had to manually insmod the scsi driver.
I booted from a March 25 snapshot, but are upgrading bit
by bit (ok, this is where redhat would shine a little more)
- Initially kernel 2.2.3 hung the keyboard,
but it appeared the machine was ok,
as judged from responses on inserting PC cards.
Solution was to rescue boot and modify the PC networking card info
and come in the back door. Downloaded an older (2.0.36) kernel
and lilo'd the disk, and voila, it worked again.
It could have been a side-effect of the PC card controller
(see below) being in the wrong mode (BIOS), but it could
very well be that linux booting in HI power mode (see below)
is unstable. By hitting the RETURN key during boot i found
out i could more reliably get past the critical point. Probably
best to boot in LOW mode.
- BIOS setting for PC Card controller should have been set to
"PCIC compatible", not automatic (vs. Cardbus). This solved
a lot of the problems,possibly also my earlier redhat problems?
- SVGA server handles the Neomagic 2200 (256AV) quite well,
bpp 8, 16 and 24
run fine in 1024 and 640 modes, but the 800 modes appears missing
or bad. 24bit mode is really disappointingly slow though.
The Tecra 8000 and Portege 7010 also use this chip.
- The fan on the right side is pretty noise, but it can be turned
of I believe. WHen you turn the machine in LOW power mode
(use Fn-F2 to toggle Low/User/High) it is much less active.
- APM works fine. Suspend to disk is probably not available for
a while. I did not even see a disk partition for this purpose
in fdisk, as with some other laptops.
- ps/2 mouse works fine both keyboard-pointer (I personally cannot
stand it) and the now port-extender-attached-external-mouse
(a mouth full, and that's what installing it is, quite
cumbersome "on the lap") can be active at the same time. You
can also attach the external mouse even if not booted with it.
Too bad they could make some space on the unit itself to add
a little hole for the external mouse.
- The default battery in W98 claims only has 1 hour and 20 minutes
(little display top right in W98), although Linux' APM claims
much more (2-4 hours, but erratic. I believe the battery is
not very smart, in APM lingo.
- The onboard modem ("com2") does not appear to work in linux. Also
odd is that the boot program reports it as a "8250" instead of the
- Bootinfo like the BogoMIPS (/proc/cpuinfo) appear erratic. I've
seen bogomips vary from 89.5 to 175 to 366. I believe there are
only two power modes, HI and LO. Probably related to this?
- Sound: no luck yet. Rumors are that people are working on a native
Maestro driver, since the supposedly SB16Pro driver i tried
in 2.0.36 doesn't appear to work.
- Other people have also written about this or related units
(there may be more links on the
Linux Laptop Page since this was written):
- Portege 7000
- Portege 8000 [has the same Neomagic 256AV video as the 7020)
TOSHIBA Linux Utilities (Jonathan Buzzard)
- Toshiba keeps a link to with full specs, but as most companies
go, you can't find it anymore after a while: