This guide will explain the procedures involved in the installation and configuration of Gentoo GNU/Linux on Acer Extensa 5620Z Laptop.
Why Gentoo GNU/Linux?
Gentoo is my favorite GNU/Linux distribution, because it has great package management system a.k.a “Portage” and it gives you the ability to optimize the system for your machine. There is also great community build around it.
More information about Gentoo it’s ideology and the features it provides, is available on Gentoo website.
||Intel Pentium dual-core processor T2330 (1.6Ghz, 533MHz FSB, 1MB L2 cache) – 64bit
||2GB SODIMM DDR2 Synchronous 533 MHz (1.9 ns)
||Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) SMBus Controller
||160 GB WDC WD1600BEVS-2
||Intel Corporation 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) SATA AHCI Controller
||Intel Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller
||Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
||Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM5787M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
||Atheros Communications Inc. AR5001 Wireless Network Adapter
||Texas Instruments PCIxx12 OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
|SD Host controller
||Texas Instruments PCIxx12 SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller
||Texas Instruments 5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD)
||SuYin Acer CrystalEye web c
The laptop also provides 2x PCMCIA slots, TV Out and DVD-RW drive.
Gentoo installation notes
The installation was preformed using Gentoo amd64 minimal CD (install-amd64-minimal-20101111.iso). After booting the minimal CD all devices needed for a successful installation were recognized.
Please note that to be able to download stage3 and portage-snapshot or to have an active Internet connection during the installation process you need to configure your LAN interface ( usually eth0 ). The wireless card is recognized by the minimal CD but you will need some tools to configure it, not available in the environment provided by the CD.
For complete installation instructions consult Gentoo Handbook available here.
This configuration is based on kernel 2.6.34. You can download my config file here.
Code Listing: Using the config file
cp config.txt /usr/src/linux/.config
Note: I use LZO compression method for my kernel image, so if you decide to use my config file, emerge lzop or change the compression method to Bzip2 or other.
Provided config file includes support for all the hardware available on the machine, temperature and other sensors, CPU frequency scalling, ACPI sleep/hibernate, ext2, ext3, ext4, NTFS (read/write support), vfat, nfs client, synaptics, etc… For complete feature overview run make menuconfig.
Every option is compiled in the kernel.
Code Listing: Compiling and installing the kernel
make && make modules_install
cp arch/x86_64/boot/bzImage /boot/kernel-2.6.34-gentoo-r12
Nice terminal resolution
In order to improve the terminal resolution append the lines below to the kernel parameter of your grub.conf.
Code Listing: Setting nice terminal resolution by editing grub.conf
In order to make the Fn key combinations and multimedia keys work copy following HAL policy file 10-laptop-panel-mgmt-policy.fdi from /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor to /etc/hal/fdi/policy.
Code Listing: copying HAL policy file for laptop panel managment
cp /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/10-laptop-panel-mgmt-policy.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy
X Server configuration
In your /etc/make.conf add VIDEO_CARDS=”intel” and INPUT_DEVICES=”evdev synaptics” then emerge xorg-server.
Configuration of the touchpad is simple, copy HAL policy file 11-x11-synaptics.fdi from /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor
to /etc/hal/fdi/policy open the file in your favorite text editor and remove the comments surrounding the match tag.
Code Listing: copying HAL policy file for synaptics touchpad
cp /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/11-x11-synaptics.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy/99-x11-synaptics.fdi
To enable tapping ( mouse clicks using the touchpad ) add the following line to your 99-x11-synaptics.fdi policy file:<merge key=”input.x11_options.TapButton1″ type=”string”>1</merge>
If you want to disable your touchpad while typing make syndaemon start’s with X, by adding exec syndaemon to your .xinitrc or by a desktop specific way. For KDE 4 see below:
Code Listing: Autostart syndaemon when KDE starts
vim (or editor of your choice) syndaemon
*** SYNDAEMON SCRIPT CONTENT BEGIN ***
*** SYNDAEMON SCRIPT CONTENT END ***
Type man synaptics for additional configuration options and help.
Most of the laptop power management is preformed by HAL, but additional steps are required for CPU frequency scaling and suspend / hibernate.
CPU frequency scaling
In order to enable CPU frequency scaling one should emerge cpufreqd and add it to the default runlevel. More information about CPU freq scaling is available in Gentoo power management guide.
Suspend / hibernate
Suspend and hibernate are handled by HAL, but in order to use them you should add yourself to the plugdev group and emerge pm_utils.
Code Listing: Adding a user to plugdev group
gpasswd -a <user> plugdev
Resuming from hibernation
In order to resume the system to it’s pre hibernated state ( I assume that you are using my kernel config file, if not enable hibernation in the kernel, if you haven’t done so ) append the following line to your grub.conf file:
Code Listing: Enabling hibernation
NOTE: <SWAP> is the location of your SWAP partition