openSuSE 10.3 on FSC Amilo Pro Pa1538

What’s this all about?

The article explains the installing openSuSE Linux version 10.3 released on October 4th 2007. on a Fujitsu-Siemens Computers laptop Amilo Pro Pa1538. FSC Amilo Pro Pa1538 comes with bellow characteristics:

CPU: AMD Turion64 X2 TL52 (up to TL60)
RAM : 1Gb (max. 2Gb)
Chipset: nVidia C51D + MCP51
GPU: nVidia GForce Go 7400/128Mb DDR2
HDD: Western Digital SATA 160Gb (5400rpm)
DVD: DVD-RW with DL support
Display: 15,4″ WXGA (1280×800) Brilliant View display
Sound: ALC883 7.1 sound via SPDIF
I/O: 4 USB 2.0, DVI for external monitor, TV Out, Firewire, Touchpad
I/O: Headphones (SPDIF)/MIC, 4 in 1 Card reader, ExpressCard 34/35
LAN: Ethernet controller 10/100 MCP51
WLAN: Atheros 802.11 b/g chipset
Modem: Integrated Smartlink (Conexant chipset) 56k v.92
Other: Kensington lock, Bluetooth (optional)

Installation

With kernel 2.6.22.x-xx shipped with openSuSE 10.3 installation process is straight forward and everything works out of the box with no need to use any special kernel parameters during installation (ACPI, APIC, VGA etc.). Nevertheless, seems like there is still a was a problem with NVidia drivers from both official NVidia openSuSE repository as well as with manual install. However, these problems were resolved after deinstalling and reinstalling the driver from NVidia repository using YaST package manager. Beside NVidia proprietry drivers, after installation is done, you may also wish to add Atheros Mad WiFi driver repository in order to use wireless connectivity of your laptop. Other hardware was detected with no problems and laptop uptime has been over 48 hours so far (don’t ask me why).

* Adding additional repositories with YaST
With new YaST adding NVidia repo is a breeze, 1-click-install provided that you know the root password – click on .ymp link, follow instructions, “at voila” – soon your new repo is added to YaST installation sources. Also visit openSuSE additional repositories page, select and add repositories you want.

Quirks and tips

  • I still havent managed to enable special function keys (Fn key combinations) for controlling audio, dimmer, video out and suspend, but am looking for a solution. If you have some idea please leave a comment for mine and other users sake.
  • nVidia GForce Go 7400 graphics card comes with it’s own 128Mb DDR2 RAM and it works in 2D with no problem but if you wish to enable 3D/OpenGL capability using nVidia proprietry drivers you may experience laptop freezing with no apparent reason. This behaviour has been noticed by many other users of GForce Go 7xxx series and the solution that worked for me was to install/deinstall/reinstall NVidia drivers from the official NVidia openSuSE repository. Glxgears gives me framerates above 2,700 FPS and all installed 3D/OpenGL games work fine.

Not tested

  • Modem – I don’t use it as I have ISDN line built-in Netmod USB modem
  • Express Card – thought of ExpressCard TV tuner but till and if I get it I don’t know if Card Bus works
  • My laptop came without bluetooth option so I don’t know if that one works

Summary
FSC Amilo Pa1538 is a pretty nice laptop if you don’t mind it’s silverish design (as some do!). It could be a practical replacement for your desktop if you’ve came to conclusion, as I did, that it’s simply hard to keep-up with and administer two computers at home at certain age. It is reasonably light and compact, doesn’t have all the connectors you may (n)ever use but it’s still a reliable and fast machine for a reasonable price.

One thought on “openSuSE 10.3 on FSC Amilo Pro Pa1538

  1. Some words about Express Card.
    I use Kyocera KPC680 Express Card on FS Pa1538. It works well.
    SuSE Linux 10.3 and Gentoo 2008.0.
    Kernel 2.6.26.5
    Start from 2.6.24;

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