Monday, November 13, 2006

Mandrake 10 on a Gateway Solo 2500

Installing Linux on a laptop can sometimes be tricky. You don't know what will work and what won't so I'm posting about my experience to let you know a head of time, what you're getting yourself into.

Here are the specs of my Gateway Solo 2500:

CPU: Pentium II 333 Mhz
LCD: 13.3 inch 1024x768
Video: NeoMagic NM2160 with 2 MB integrated RAM
HD: 4 gig Hitachi
Ram: 192 MB
Sound: NeoMagic NMA 2


I used Mandrake 10 (and eventually upgraded to Mandriva 2006) on my Solo. Installing was a breeze. I had to be somewhat cautious of what I installed because space was limited. I chose KDE when I first installed it but eventually switched to IceWM. Both worked fine, its just IceWm used less memory and less disk space.

What Worked:

During the Mandrake install, it is very good at getting all your hardware setup properly. It even gets the scroll wheel in the touch pad. The video is detected with no problems along with the LCD. My PCMCIA Prism2 based wireless card was detected at install, along with the CD-rom drive and floppy drive.

What Didn't:

The sound card. It isn't detected out of the box like everything else. The only way I was able to get it to work was to go to opensound and download the drivers. They were easy to install and setup and worked very cleanly. I used the Generic Yamaha OPL3-SAX (YMF719) non-PNP. You'll need to possibly mess with the dma settings so they match whats in your BIOS. Once configured properly you should be able to experience sound through your laptop.

They have much newer Kernels out now from when I last installed Linux on my laptop. Supposedly there was a bug in ALSA back when I installed Linux keeping the sound from working. You can read more about it here: BugTrack.

More Information:

To find our more about Linux and Laptops visit or They have a wide variety of Laptops running Linux.


Adam said...

I'm currently installing xubuntu 7.04 on a gateway 2500. Everything was smooth sailing with only a few issues (the sound worked out of the box). I'm only getting 800x600 as a default. Anybody have any thoughts?

Brandon Hudson said...

I like your style of writing. You break it down nicely. Very informative post. Keep up the good work.

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