Install log for Linux OpenSUSE 10.3 (64 bits) on a Compal IFL 90 PM2
I do not take responsability for any problem that occurs in your system. Use this
information at your own risk.
Some weeks ago I started to look for a laptop to replace my old PIV desktop
running FC7. Obviously, Linux support was a major concern.
The Compal IFL 90 offered very decent specs for an attractive price. As a bonus,
it would allow me to avoid paying for a Vista license that I would never use. It
is hard to find a laptop sold without it around here :P
I spent a lot of time on the web investigating this issues. I found several
reports of problems on getting Linux to work on this platform. To tell the truth
I was a bit scared with the work I had ahead. There are reported problems of
installers that will not work at all (not recognizing the DVD drive correctly),
others must be installed in text mode, or with several hacks, etc.
I use Fedora Core at work (and at home) so that was my natural first option. I tried
the Fedora Core 7 DVD 64bits but had the problem stated above. The installer
did not find the DVD drive. I tried the “all-generic-ide” hack but with no
success. There are other reported "work-arounds" that might work.
Some years ago I used SuSE in colege. It was a very good distro then. Having
heard of the release of OpenSuSE 10.3 I decided to give it a try. I downloaded
the 10.3 64 bits DVD. I have to say that it was amazing how well things
worked. I installed the KDE desktop (an option in the installer). The
installation went smoothly without any workaround or hack.
This document intends to help you know what you can expect from OpenSuSE 10.3 in
this particular laptop. It is not supposed to be a detailed installation log.
Gutsy Gibbon installation on a Compal IFL 90
In my investigations, this was the most complete site I could find. It has lots
of information and was extremely useful to me (especially regarding the sound
card issues but not only). So my thanks to the author.
Here goes the description of the Compal configuration I bought:
Compal IFL 90 PM2 Barebone
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 Ghz (T7500) “Santa Rosa” FSB 800Mhz
Chipset Intel 965+ICH8M
Ram: 2GB 667 Mhz
Nvidia 8600 GT 512 Dedicated Ram
Hard-drive: 250GB 5400rpm
Screen: 15.4" WXGA+ Glare Type TFT 1440 x 900
No turbo memory as the machine is to be used with Linux only. No Vista here :)
What will work out of the box
Graphics with correct resolution (but no 3D acceleration)
Hibernation to disc
CD / DVD burning (tried using k3b in raw mode)
What will will not work out-of-the-box but it easly solved:
Nvidia 3D acceleration
External VGA plug (for an external monitor)
Sound card is detected but no sound is played (in the speakers or phones)
Hibernation to ram
What I still can't get to work:
Fingerprint reader (I think that this is currently not supported...)
Procedure to get 3D acceleration (and external VGA monitor)
In order to enable the 3D support, the latest
Nvidia driver must be
installed. For this you can use the
install feature. However, after this procedure I could not get the google
earth to work. It would crash at start-up with a signal 11.
So I downloaded the installer directly from the NVidia site. It did not find any
pre-compiled version of the driver from my kernel so it had to compile it.
If you do this make sure you have installed the following packages (from the
- kernel sources
(Note: some packages more maybe needed depending on what you have installed)
After this, google earth worked fine. And running the
glxgears test gave me a
+/- 6000 fps.
To configure an external monitor (or projector) use the nvidia-settings utility and configure it as a clone view.
Procedure to get sound to work
This was the harder problem to solve. But now it is not that complicated ;)
The symptom I experienced was that the sound card was correctly detected by YAST
but no sound was played through the speakers or through the headphones output.
I followed the procedure reported
The OpenSUSE 10.3 ships with the latest stable version of alsa (1.0.14). There
seems to be a problem with the HDA-intel (ICH8M chiptset). The latest
available version from the OpenSUSE “testing” repository was 1.0.15 RC1. I
tried that but with no success.
In order to get the sound to work I downloaded the
from the alsa site compiled it and installed it on the system.
Then, in YAST -> System -> Audio edited the configuration and set the
model = “toshiba”. Restart the sound server and you should have sound.
Important Update 18/10/2007:
Meanwhile the alsa project released a new stable version
1.0.15. Just upgrade and then set your model to "toshiba" and everything shall
To test the sound you can use:
# speaker-test -c2 -Ddefault -twav
The laptop's built-in microphones will also work but the sound is too noisy.
Make sure you have your mic levels and boosts high in the sound mixer.
Sound applications hanging problem:
I had a strange problem with all sound applications. They would play for a few
seconds and then hang and become unresponsive. After several hours of googling
and trying things, I discovered that disabling the kde sound server would solve
the problem. The problem has something to do with the sound card sharing by
You can also keep it enable but check the 'Activate network sound' in the
kcontrol sound configuration. This seems to work fine.
Procedure to get suspend (to ram) to work:
After install, the kpowersave suspend action did not work well. Searching the
net I found the s2ram software contained in the suspend package (search in the
OpenSuse site and install it through the 1-click feature).
After that, the following command (as root) will correctly suspend the laptop to
s2ram -f -a3
I found an article that explains how to integrate the s2ram with the kpowersave
but I still had no success:
here it is!
A very nice contribuition from Dr. Rainer Kaluscha:
"To get suspend to RAM to work from kpowersave I had to configure pm-utils
instead of powersave. I added:
S2RAM_OPTS="-f -a 3"
/etc/pm/config.d/config to make pm-utils use "s2ram -f"
However, it took me some time to find out that
/etc/powersave isn't used
anymore for config files in OpenSuSE 10.3.
I'm using the nvidia display driver so I also added
Option "NvAGP" "1"
Now suspend to RAM works fine. "
Procedure to get the web cam to work
Just go to the OpenSuSE site and use the 1 click install to get
package. Tested in kopete , works fine.
Procedure to get the Card Reader to work
I followed the instructions in
and the card reader worked fine.
I did the first two commands and the kde immediately recognized the sd card that
I had in the reader.
/sbin/setpci -s <your device> CA=57
/sbin/setpci -s <your device> CB=02
Note on 64 bits choice
You should keep in mind that you will have some problems with the 64 bits Linux
distros. Of course you can run 32 bits binaries but sometimes problems can still
occur because the libraries needed by a 32 bits program will not be installed
(of course you can always install both 64bits and 32bits versions of the
One good example is the flash plugin for firefox. To the date there is still no
64 bits version of the flash plugin and so, you cannot directly install it in
your 64 bits firefox. Anyway, there are solutions reported in the web on how to
solve this. And that goes beyond the scope of this document. The most obvious
one is to install a 32 bits firefox.
Other problems that I had (regarding the 32 bits versus 64 bits issues): Skype,
Eclipse Europa (Java IDE), Lightzone (raw editor). All this problems are easily
Hope that this report is useful to you. The Compal IFL 90 is a great machine
that comes with a very interesting price tag. If your intention is to use Linux
in it, maybe this report can be of help.
If you need to contact me, do so here:
Here is the link to my homepage (about photography):
Last Update 2007-10-17