I recently purchased a Toshiba Portege R200 to run Linux because my R100 seemed to be having hardware problems after about 18 months of use.
General impressions: Great laptop. Light, reasonable screen. Good battery life.
- light weight
- relatively new newtorking: Gigabit ethernet and 802.11g built in
- compared to the R100, video works out-of-the box on current Linuxes (Fedora Core 4)
- neither its Ethernet chip nor wireless are supported by the current (Fedora Core 4) Linux kernel (2.6.14), although both have third-party drivers (As of Fedora Core 5, there is a partially successful Ethernet driver.)
- the keyboard and trackpad feels funny compared to my R100 (maybe I’ll get used to this)
- have to pay for Windows
Machine stats for the R200: Intel Pentium-M processor at 1.2GHz, 1.2GB RAM (in my model with third-party expansion memory), 60GB disk, video is Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller, audio is an Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) AC’97 Audio Controller, internal software modem (of some kind) [not tried], internal Ethernet is Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8053 Gigabit Ethernet Controller [not supported in default Linux as of 2.6.14, but third party driver exists], internal 802.11a/b/g is Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC [not supported in default Linux as of 2.6.14, but third party driver exists], BIOS TBD.
Disclaimer: PC models change very quickly, what’s on this page may not have bearing on later models. YMMV.
As of Nov. 2005 there are no other web pages describing Free Unix (BSD or Linux) on this box.
Installation: I installed Fedora Core 4 from CD-ROM via a USB DVD drive. A graphical installation went smoothly.
Fedora autoconfigures the video, audio, USB, and touchpad without problem. Wireless and ethernet are not supported; see below for fixes.
I later updated to Fedora Core 5 via a network install. The upgrade is relatively smooth.
Video: I’m running X.org 6.8.2 (in FC4). Autodetect worked fine, but one must manually tell X the screen should be 1024x768 resolution. (Via the GUI Desktop > System settings > Display.)
Power management: ACPI suspend/resume to memory works for me. I don’t use suspend-to-disk. FC4 makes the power button shut the machine down by default; comment out all of /etc/acpi/events/sample.conf with #’s to make this stop. [Update for Fedora Core 5: basic suspend/resume breaks the new ethernet driver, see below for details.]
CPU speed auto-adjust seems to work out-of-the-box.
Modem: The modem is a “win”modem. I haven’t looked at it yet.
Ethernet: The internal Ethernet is Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8053 Gigabit Ethernet Controller [not supported in default Linux as of 2.6.14, but third party driver exists]. A third-party driver exists at Syskonnect. I used their install-8_28, following instructions at TUDelft and on fedora-list. (Building it requires full kernel sources that I installed via the src-rpm.)
Update for Fedora Core 5: FC5 includes the sky2 driver, supporting Ethernet out of the box. In addition, sky2 works with one ethernet switch where the sk98lin driver failed (for me). However, the sky2 driver doesn’t survive suspend/resume (see Redhat bug #190512 for status).
Wireless: The internal wireless is an Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC (rev 01) [not supported in default Linux as of 2.6.14, but third party driver exists]. I got the madwifi drivers for this chip via a sourcerpm provided by a contributor (thanks!). To install you must have sharutils (
yum install sharutils from FC extras). Once built against my current kernel it seems to work.
Update for FC5: I’m now running madwifi-ng-r1531-20060427 successfully.
To date I have no reports about FreeBSD on this box. Let me know if you get it working.