continua (next page) main index Installing Linux Ubuntu 8.10 on a Fujitsu-Siemens ST5022D tablet PC

Note: back in The Ancient Times, one had to manage some issues to install Linux on a notebook-like computer. Today, Linux installation on most of the notebooks has become straightforward and flawless.

In this page I describe an Ubuntu 8.10 installation on my Stylistic ST5022D "slate" tablet PC.

Update, update! Installation of Ubuntu 9.10 is here!

I can guess the same notes apply to all Stylistic ST5000-series. Most of them may be helpful for ST6000-series as well.

In January 2008, the very same week I got my Stylistic (it came with Windows), I installed OpenSuse 10.3 for backward compatibility with my previous notebook. Eventually I found a number of reasons to suggest to not to install OpenSUSE 10.3.

One of my friends gave me a bootable USB pen-drive with Ubuntu 8.10 (32 bit version). I had a quick look at it. My OpenSUSE, installed 10 months before, seemed old like a Stone Age. Thus, I decided to do a full backup and go on with installing.

Hardware installation preparation

I have no external CD/DVD reader. Having a 1Gb Ubuntu bootable USB pen-drive, I did not need an external CD reader, neither I had to try PXE-boot/tftp solutions (network install).

I installed it using Italian localization; some of my notes in this page may not have an accurate English translation, sorry.

An external USB mouse and keyboard are required for installation, because:

  1. the external Stylistic ST5000-series keys need a special driver; they are not "keyboard", they are "SM-bus" peripherals: the BIOS supports them, but after booting Linux BIOS is not used anymore, so you won't be able to use them during installation;
  2. the Ubuntu 8.10 installer does not recognize by default the Wacom Penabled active digitizer (which uses a 9600/8N1 RS232 internal interface).

I had a spare "USB adapter for PS/2 mouse + PS/2 keyboard", and an old keyboard and old mouse. If you have USB keyboard and USB mouse, you will need an USB hub, because the Stylistic has only two USB ports and one is reserved for the USB pen-drive installer.

Ready? Go!


Plug the Ubuntu installation USB pen drive and turn on the Stylistic.

If it does not boot, restart the Stylistic and check in the BIOS settings the boot order.

Use the Stylistic keys to choose your language (default is "English"), and then choose "Installation".

Wait some time (USB pen drives are slower than common disks) until a graphical installer appears with a "Welcome!" window ("step 1 of 7... release notes...").

Now connect external keyboard and mouse (you may see, at this point, that the Stylistic stylus and hardware keys do not work).

Go on selecting your location. Note: Ubuntu installer expects that the hardware clock is set to GMT; I live in Italy (GMT+1) but in BIOS setup I had set the clock to local time, so I see now "11:09 am" instead of "10:09". We will be able to change this later.

Keyboard setup: I set up a keyboard mapping even if I don't plan to use one.

Step 4: disk partitioning - I chose to use the entire 60Gb Stylistic disk for Ubuntu, as suggested by the installer.

Personal information: I also selected "auto-login" (for now, I do not want to be prompted for a keyboard when I turn on the Stylistic when I am wandering outside without extra hardware!)

Step 7: installation summary. You may want to click on "advanced" settings to set some extra stuff.

Note: I went back with partitioning stuff and manually created a different partition scheme (you don't need to do this if you don't understand why and how):

  1. Reiser filesystem on root ("/") instead of Ext3
  2. no swap partition (will use file-based swap)

Now wait some time the installation goes on (remember that even the fastest USB pen-drives are somewhat slow when compared to your favourite hard disks...!)

After package installation, a reboot is required. Click on the "reboot now" button and remove the USB pen drive when you see again the BIOS screen image (to not to let it to boot again from USB).

The full installation requires less than 2Gb of disk space (some 1990 megabytes). Add the Reiser FS "overhead", and I see 56.6Gb free space out of a 60Gb disk (actually 58.8).

The installation CD does not contain all bells and whistles, so you will need a fast internet connection to download other applications (like latest OpenOffice 3 release, etc).

The installed desktop is based on Gnome. Firefox is already there.

I already see that the Intel 855 graphics acceleration was correctly recognized ("faster" window effects than OpenSUSE version I had before).

Ubuntu 8.10 is now ready and running! We now have to fix some things. Ubuntu suggested a languages library upgrade, but I will have a look at it later.

First, let's plug an ethernet cable to some internet connection (the default "auto eth0" with DHCP is already there).

I don't have one, so I will need to fiddle a little with Firewire networking (which is disabled by default), to get a shared internet connection from my Mac OS X Powerbook.

So I opened a Terminal (under Applications/Accessories submenu), gave a gorgeous sudo bash command to have a "root" prompt, and gave the same commands that worked on Opensuse:
modprobe ieee1394
modprobe ohci1394
modprobe eth1394

Then, on the Apple Powerbook, I went in System Preferences, under Sharing, under Internet, and selected share from current connection to computers using Firewire networking.

The Apple DHCP service does not like the standard dhclient by ISC (the command dhclient eth2 cannot get a DHCPOFFER), but -at least- uses predictable addresses (I can verify them using ifconfig fw0 on Mac OS X). So I configured manually an address "acceptable" to Apple Mac OS X "shared internet" networking stack, setting a client IP address, a default routing rule and a primary DNS, and finally a half dozen tries to verify that "we're on the internet". I just I issued:
ifconfig eth2 up
route add default
echo nameserver > /etc/resolv.conf
ping -c 4

If you like to enter via ssh on your fresh installed Ubuntu machine, you need to install the openssh server, which is not installed by default. I first started the Synaptic package manager to set up remote (internet) software repositories, then I selected "Reload" (in Synaptic "Edit" menu), and then gave this command in the terminal window while in "root" shell prompt:
apt-get install openssh-server

Oops: I did not yet discover that it is simpler to use the Synaptic package manager to do package installations... :-)

Now we can go on.

Wacom Penabled stylus

Status: WORKS!

I don't know if there is a different mode to set up the stylus; here I just show the method that worked also for the previous Linux installation.

We just have to edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add the following lines: at the end:

Section "InputDevice"  # the three Wacom serial devices for the screen...
  Driver      "wacom"
  Identifier  "stylus"
  Option      "Device"      "/dev/ttyS0"
  Option      "Type"        "stylus"
  Option      "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"

Section "InputDevice"
  Driver      "wacom"
  Identifier  "eraser"
  Option      "Device"      "/dev/ttyS0"
  Option      "Type"        "eraser"
  Option      "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"

Section "InputDevice"
  Driver      "wacom"
  Identifier  "cursor"
  Option      "Device"      "/dev/ttyS0"
  Option      "Type"        "cursor"
  Option      "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"

Section "ServerLayout"
  Identifier   "normallayout"
  InputDevice  "Stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
  InputDevice  "Eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
  InputDevice  "Cursor" "SendCoreEvents"
  Option       "Clone" "on"
  Option       "AllowMouseOpenFail" "on"
  Option       "Xinerama" "off"
  Screen       "touchscreen"

After next reboot, the stylus will work.

Note: we modified an automatically-generated file. If we run some "debconf", we will probably loose them. I will investigate later some mode to establish those modifications.

"Right button" emulation using the stylus

Status: WORKS!

When you press the stylus on the screen, the system sees it as a "left button click". My stylus does not have a "right button click".

We are able to emulate it with by holding down the stylus: we just need to choose "Simulate Secondary Click" in the "Accessibility" pane of the "Mouse" section of the System/Preferences.

"Assistive technology" is not enabled by default: the first time we enable the Simulate Secondary Clock, it will need to log out and log in again.

When pressed for a certain period of time (configurable; by default is something like 1,7 sec), the cursor shape changes from white to green and then emits a "right click" event. Beware: this means that the programs will first get a "left click" event, and then a "right click". In most cases this will not be a problem, but sometimes it can get quite tricky.

Main tablet utilities: handwriting recognition and freehand journaling

Status: both WORK!

You just have to go in Synaptic and find out the "xournal" and the "cellwriter" packages and install them.

Once started, cellwriter remains available as an applet in the top bar.

Stylistic hardware keys

Status: WORK!

You need to install fsc_btns (I tried version 1.41 and it was OK), as already described in this page.

Ubuntu 8.10 already comes with Linux kernel 2.6.27, and fsc_btns works without hassles. Just unpack the source and, while in "root" prompt, compile it and install using these commands:

make install
depmod -a
modprobe fsc_btns

You can edit /etc/rc.d/rc.local to add the modprobe fsc_btns to load the module at every boot.


Status WORKS out of the box!

No configuration required.

After installation, you can use the Stylistic power button to enter Suspend mode ("stand-by"): the two power/battery LEDs will start flashing. Again, the power button mode will resume operation.

The suspend and resume times are not fast, but reasonable (some five seconds to enter suspend mode, and some five to six seconds to resume); I guess that we cannot get better times due to the Stylistic hardware design.

Don't forget that the "resume" operation requires the user to enter its password (what if you don't have a keyboard?!)

Thus, I suggest to wipe out password requirement for resume operation.

Screen brightness control

Status: WORKS out of the box!

Just have the brightness applet on your desktop:

The Stylistic screen contrast is simply excellent, so I don't think that a contrast setting applet, if ever existed, would ever be useful.

I will have to do some research to see if the brightness up/down commands can be associated to hardware keys (when you are watching a movie in full-screen mode, you don't want to go to the status bar to change the brightness!)

Graphics acceleration

Status: WORKS out of the box!

The Stylistic ST5022D has a fairly old graphics chipset (intel 855 series), but glxgears breaks the 500 fps barrier in standard mode and 120 fps in fullscreen mode (but without enlarging original graphical pattern).

Hardware-Fest a casa di Massimo

Hardware-Fest a casa di Massimo

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