main index Installation of Linux Ubuntu 9.10 on Fujitsu-Siemens Stylistic ST5022D -- this page may help to install other Linux distributions as well on Stylistic ST5000 series (ST5010, ST5011, and so on).

My other Stylistic-related pages begin here.


Quick note for Ubuntu developers: installation has to be done with ACPI disabled but there is no way to do it without some expert tricks (read below)...!


Recent Ubuntu distributions are quite easy to install on most intel-based PCs, but Stylistic ST5000 series is based on a somewhat old chipset (Pentium-M processor) on interesting hardware (5400rpm hard disk, 2 RAM slots for up to 2Gb RAM, wifi on miniPCI slot, etc).

The Stylistic ST5xxx is a pure "slate tablet" - i.e., it does not feature a keyboard, and only has a stylus and a few application keys.
I don't know how to manage some Stylistic old-school hardware, which is not (anymore) supported in recent Linux distributions: Everything else "just works" right out of the box.

This page is a real mess because I updated information as soon as I was sure that something actually worked.

Important: I feel that Ubuntu 9.10 is faster than Ubuntu 8.10 on the very same Stylistic hardware; I guess that this is due to better hardware acceleration and software optimizations. Thus I happily recommend to upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 - note: my Stylistic has 1Gb RAM; people with less than 512Mb RAM may not get better performance.

Ubuntu 9.10 has proven to fully and reliably work in 256Mb RAM (including shared video RAM).

Note: my old pages related to Linux and Stylistic ST5022D are here.


Ubuntu 9.10 on Fujitsu-Siemens Stylistic ST5022D

Installation: the easiest way is an USB thumb-drive

If you want to do a network install (fetching 700+ megabytes of packages from the internet), you still need to set up a local PXE/tftp server to boot the Stylistic. This is why I think the simplest method is using an USB thumb-drive to install the Ubuntu CD/ROM contents, then add an internet connection and for updates and other packages.

So you need:

Stylistic ST5000 series computers do not have an internal CD/ROM drive, but can boot off an USB drive (if you have an external CD/ROM drive, then you can skip all of the first installation notes here).

Enter any Ubuntu PC, select "System" menu (left top of the screen) and then "Create USB startup disk" (sometimes it is named "USB Startup Disk Creator"; on command-line is simply: usb-creator); it will require "root" privileges. Place the USB-thumb drive in an USB port, select the ISO image, and create the startup disk. Note: the "Create USB Startup Disk" software may ask you permission to format/reinitialize the thumb drive.

In a few minutes it will build the installation filesystem and make that USB drive bootable.

Note: this will work even with older Ubuntu releases or with non-i386 releases. I was able to make a valid "9.10 i386" USB startup disk and a "9.10 PPC" startup disk using the "Create USB Startup Disk" from my old Ubuntu 8 box.


Booting the installation USB drive

You will surely need, for installation purposes only:

Note: the Stylistic BIOS has full USB support; it will not only recognize and use USB disks, but also USB keyboard as well (that's great for such an old Fujitsu-Siemens hardware).

Do not disconnect the USB key; reboot the Stylistic; enter the BIOS menu and select the boot section.

Using cursors/Enter/doubletap/etc, move "Hard disk" on top of the boot list, and expand the "Hard disk" section and be sure that the USB drive appears before the internal hard disk. Then select "Save and Exit" (F10 if you are using the keyboard). It will now boot the USB-drive (if not present, it will default to the next available hard disk).

Warning: some USB thumb drives, while appearing with a regular "DOS/WIN-FAT32/LBA" partition, have actually some slack space before the boot area (the "v" command from fdisk utility reports thousands of unused sectors), which will give out the error "Invalid or damaged Bootable partition" when booting. I solved it by repartitioning the USB-drive:


First installation boot: disable ACPI (ouch!!)

Alas, the Fujitsu-Siemens Stylistic ST5022D BIOS has a (slightly) braindamaged ACPI section and a (surely) braindamaged PNP section.

After selecting installation language, before selecting "Install", press F5 to select expert options, mark "ACPI install" (pressing Enter), then Esc to go back, and then select "Install".
If you leave all as default, it will black-screen before showing the white small Ubuntu installation logo (ouch!!). Don't worry: at the end we will get again ACPI features working.

Installation goes on without problems with ACPI disabled; I selected ext4 as main filesystem and found that the basic installation required less than 2.5 Gb of disk space.

When the reboot is required, remember to manually select again the ACPI-disabling:

If you simply boot all the defaults, you may see again that ugly black-screen freeze before the small white Ubuntu logo.

Note: at the end of this "first boot" you will have a yet incomplete Ubuntu 9.10 running (free/open packages only and possibly incomplete language support - that is, if you selected a language different than English, an internet connection will be needed to install "incomplete language packages").

I did not immediately install missing language packs because I first wanted to add the Stylistic-related parameters.



VERY IMPORTANT: Grub boot parameters

Opening a Terminal and asking for dmesg, I found that the kernel complains about a buggy PNP BIOS (a "kernel oops"! I guess that Linux kernel will happily live with PNP BIOS support disabled) and non-existing native APIC (a local APIC is required). Also, some extra parameters are required (which are explained in detail later in this page).

To add these options:

Note: some hardware features (most notably screen brightness level setting) cannot be used when ACPI is disabled.

To update other Grub settings, you will need the startupmanager utility. If you try to apt-get install startupmanager you will probably get an error because the internet installation sources may be not active/updated.

Then, let's first update the system and add the startup manager utility. Updating the system is highly recommended; after the first installation, I found that more than 116Mb of updates were available, including kernel security updates, Grub updates, and firmware updates (I had to unselect some of the suggested/recommended packages because I had a 100Mb daily traffic limit on my internet wireless connection; tomorrow, the rest of the update will follow!).


Almost useless: generate an editable xorg.conf

Since many lusers were messing too much with xorg.conf, that configuration file has been substituted by autodetection (but Xorg will use the xorg.conf if found in default places, as of man xorg.conf).

Probably useless: if you still want to create an editable xorg.conf file which supersedes defaults from auto-recognition of installed hardware, then execute the commands listed here (warning: this restarts gdm/Xorg - be sure to close all applications before doing this):

I repeat: you do not actually need it anymore on the Fujitsu-Siemes Stylistic ST5xxx with Ubuntu 9.10 or newer.

Enable the internet and do a full update

First, enable the internet. I will not enter details:

Verify that the correct installation sources (in my case it.archive.ubuntu.com) are correctly set (just verify in System / Administration / Software Sources), and then launch the update manager (System / Administration / Update Manager).

When update is completed and before rebooting, install the startup manager utility, for example using sudo apt-get install startupmanager or the Synaptics utility.

Some update packages (most notably the Linux kernel stuff) require a system reboot; remember -again!- to manually add acpi=off to the kernel command line while in Grub menu if you did not yet modify GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX as above.


Configure Grub using System / Administration / Startup Manager

My preferred settings:

Note: editing settings on Startup Manager could wipe out the modifications in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX, which are more important than them.

Remember: activate obex features...

Bluetooth was activated, but the blueman applet has to be installed and activated and set up (in its preferences, "local services", "file transfer") the "object push" feature (so that I can send photos from my cellphone to the Stylistic).


VERY IMPORTANT: enable Xv support

By default, the KMS (kernel mode setting) does not work with the Intel 855GM chipset, making video playing a pain in certain cases.

To correct it, the boot time mode setting must be delayed, using the nomodeset parameter (as already explained above in the Grub settings):

Note: you may want to wipe out that deprecated vga=... parameter.

The Xv support is a must, because saves most of the CPU time required to show a movie. But remember that even a 1.1 GHz Pentium-M CPU, most of the AVI/MKV/Real/etc movies found on the peer2peer networks may need some trick (for example, using mplayer, to use the "hardframedrop" feature to watch with sound and video always in sync - the "d" key if you have a keyboard, or "-hardframedrop" command-line parameter).


VERY IMPORTANT: enable stylus function in Xorg

Be sure to install Wacom tools (sudo apt-get install wacom-tools): on next restart of Xorg, the stylus will work (yay!!!) - you don't need to edit xorg.conf as in previous Ubuntu releases.

To enable the buttons and screen-rotation, this procedure was suggested by Ubuntu guys:

The first command did not work (!!!)

We can do it via "Administration"/"Software sources" - in its menu "Other software":

This will compile and install the fsc_btns (fjbtndrv) utility (you will be able to find the C source in /usr/src/fsc_btns-2.*). Stylistic keys will work as expected (the mail key will start the mail program, the rotate-screen will rotate 90 degrees, etc).

Important: configure ctrl-alt-backspace key

The ctrl-alt-backspace key is disabled by default on Ubuntu 9.xx; it was originally disabled to avoid accidental triggering of X-server restart. I think it is better to have it enabled.

To enable it, you need to select the "Layout Options" in the "Layout" tab in System / Preferences / Keyboard (yes, "Keyboard" options, not "Keyboard Shortcuts" options), where the option "Key sequence to kill the X server" has to be enabled again.


Note: general configuration (some of my preferred settings)

System / Preferences / Appearance:

System / Preferences / Accessibility:

System / Preferences / Mouse:

System / Preferences / Power management:



Important: notification of non-critical updates

Ubuntu 9.xx starts directly update-manager instead of displaying a notification icon. I prefer the notification icon, so I used this command to restore Ubuntu 8.10 style (icon only):
gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch false


Note: ext4 filesystem

I have been a long-time user of reiserfs (Reiser file system), since its first releases. I chose reiserfs because it was faster than ext2 and ext3, both in daily desktop usage and in mount with fixup after some system crash/powerdown, thanks to its "journaling" feature.

The ext4 filesystem has journaling as well, and is rapidly becoming "mainstream". I hope it will not be a delusion for desktop usage.

While browsing directories, I miss those "directory filesizes" of a few hundreds bytes, which made me quickly identify empty or almost-empty directories. In the ext4 the minimum directory size is a "page" (4096 bytes in my case). Thus I have lots of those weird "4096" when asking for a classic ls -al ... :-)


Note: some packages I need for everyday business

Using apt-get install I added some extra packages.

Services and command-line utilities:

Programming:

Creativity:

Other:


Firefox configuration

I added the ifox smooth theme and the swfdec (the Ubuntu shows the Adobe one, the GNU one, and the Gnash one; I did not select Adobe because it loads/shows SWF files automatically, consuming traffic/cpu time/memory; I did not select Gnash because I tried some version some time ago and it appeared to be quite slow and memory hogging).


Nice shot!

Yes, Linux does it!

Ubuntu 9.10 is my first Linux installation on this Stylistic that did not require me to compile any source, neither required me to manually modify any configuration file.

The most interesting feature (you won't find in Windows and Mac OS X): I removed the IDE ATA cable and put the hard disk in an external USB2 box. Reboot. Just works.

The Stylistic booted from there the Ubuntu 9.10 - great! This is because:


BUGS and other glitches

Hmm... Ubuntu 9.10 does not work perfectly on my Stylistic, because:

Other small glitches (Synaptic freezing at the first search after loading, etc) may depend on some of the above.