Installing Linux on a DeskNote a900
This is a amptron desknote a900 machine. This one has a centaur samual II 733MHz cpu (marketed as a GigaPro), 14.1 XGA TFT screen, cdrom, external USB floppy, SiS630 chipset and a realtek 8139 network interface. This is not a real notebook in the sense it has no battery but it is certainly more like a notebook than a desktop machine!
I installed redhat-7.2, the installation failed the first time out 70% of the way in downloading files from an ftp server. The second time I installed a more minimal set of packages and it went smoothly. Experience with the SiS300 graphics on another notebook shows there are problems here but the FrameBuffer device is fine. Therefore do not test the X11 config in install or set the default login to level5 instead chose text login. The SiS630 chipset includes sound which was detected no problem. The net problems are due to a bug in the rtl8139too driver when it is used as a module (as in Redhat kernels), apparently this will be fixed in a future kernel release (I upgraded to 2.4.9-12 and it was still broken).
Configurating X the problem here is that the SiS301 chip is not recognised by Linux (no released spec's) therefore the framebuffer device has to be used. In the lilo.conf file I changed image=/boot/vmlinuz to become image=/boot/vmlinuz vga=0x317. This gives a framebuffer device of 1024x728 at 16bits. I installed the fbset rpm and the XF86-FBDev rpm. I had to manually link XF86_FBDev to X in the /usr/X11R6/bin directory. I then used the following XF86Config file
# Start for XF86Config for Framebuffer-Device Section "Files" RgbPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled" EndSection Section "ServerFlags" AllowMouseOpenFail EndSection Section "Module" EndSection # This section is no longer supported # See a template below # Section "XInput" # EndSection Section "Keyboard" Protocol "Standard" XkbRules "xfree86" XkbModel "us(pc101)" XkbLayout "us" XKbSymbols "pc101" XkbVariant "nodeadkeys" EndSection Section "Pointer" Protocol "PS/2" Device "/dev/psaux" SampleRate 60 BaudRate 1200 EndSection Section "Monitor" Identifier "Primary-Monitor" EndSection Section "Device" Identifier "fbdev" VendorName "fbdev" BoardName "fbdev" EndSection Section "Screen" Driver "fbdev" Device "fbdev" Monitor "Primary-Monitor" SubSection "Display" Depth 16 Modes "default" EndSubSection EndSectionTo get the backspace to work I used xmodmap -e 'keycode 22 = BackSpace'. Overall the notebook works well with Linux, the rtl8139too bug is annoying but aslong as the transfer is < 1Gb in a session it works. When it fails I take the net down and unload the module and reload it and restart the net. In summary this notebook works well with Linux and acceptably with XFree86.