RedHat Linux 9 on the ECS Green 732
ECS computers are resold under various trade names and manufacturers, some of these alternative trade names include: Novatech, and apparently MDG (I have not confirmed this). This particular model of laptop is manufactured by ECS, but the store or reseller chooses the processor, amount of memory, and hard drive to place in the laptop. In my case, these were a mobile Pentium 4 processor at 2.6 GHz, 256 MB of DDR RAM, and a 20 GB hard drive.
The hardware in the ECS 732 is very standard, and as such is for the most part very well detected by the Red Hat Linux setup program. However, the kernels that Red Hat ships with Red Hat 9 do not contain support for ACPI and therefore a custom kernel must be used. The easiest way to do this is to use the custom kernel provided by Diego Santa Cruz at http://ltswww.epfl.ch/~dsanta/resources/dell-i8500-linux. The first set of kernels listed (kernel-2.4.20-19.9.acpi.5) is well suited to the ECS 732 laptop.
RedHat 9 Installation
The laptop usually comes with no Operating System installed, however some resellers will preinstall one (usually Windows XP). I installed Red Hat from the CD ISOs (mirrored here). I choose a custom install just to get things exactly the way I like them. For X11 configuration, the graphics card is detected fine as an ATI Mobile Radeon 9000. The display however, was not autodetected, however choosing a Generic Laptop Display at 1400x1050 works perfectly fine. The install, with my options, took about 45 minutes, but that was with most of the packages installed, your time will vary according to which options you choose. I did not try a network install, but the Ethernet card is recognized by the standard Red Hat 9 kernel, so it should proceed successfully.
When setting up power management, it is important to note that this laptop does not support the older APM standard; but, instead uses ACPI. To set up ACPI, I followed the directions on Diego Santa Cruz's RedHat Linux 9 on the Dell Inspiron 8500. His page includes the RPMs required to get proper power management in the kernel, as well as a battery monitoring applet into GNOME. It is important to note that the ECS 732 does not have the BIOS problems and required patches of the Dell Inspiron 8500. I have not tried most of the advanced power management features of ACPI; but, if I do I will report on their success or failure here.
I have tested the external monitor port and found it to have been properly set up and completely functional (without any additional settings on my behalf, with the Function key combination working properly for switching between external/flatpanel and flatpanel only).
The Ethernet card installed in the laptop is recognised and installed properly by Red Hat 9 setup.
The audio card installed in the laptop is recognised and installed properly by Red Hat 9 setup. The internal speakers in the laptop function properly.
Additional Keyboard Keys
Once the ACPI kernel is installed, the power button present on the laptop is capable of properly shutting down Linux. I have not attempted to program the other additional keys on the keyboard to do anything.
I have not yet tested the internal modem, as I connect to the Internet through a LAN most of the time.
The USB controller appears to be detected and setup properly by Red Hat 9 setup. I have tested it using an EZonics EZCam Web Camera and found it to be working perfectly fine. Also, the camera is properly set up automatically (despite most sites not listing it as being Linux-Compatible).
PC Card (PCMCIA)
The PCMCIA controller appears to be recognised properly by the Red Hat setup program, and the modules load properly, however I have not tested it using a PCMCIA card.
IrDA (Infrared port)
The IrDA port does not appear to be setup automatically by Red Hat setup. Apparently to use it
you require the
irda-utils-0.9.14-9 package, however I have not tried to set this up.
The firewire controller appears to be properly recognised and setup by the Red Hat program, however I have not tested it using a firewire device.
To ease the setup of multimedia programs, make
/dev/dvd a symlink to
/dev/cdrom, since many programs which play DVDs look for DVDs in
To do this, run:
ln -s /dev/cdrom /dev/dvd as root.
I have received requests for information about the proper drivers to use with the ECS Green 732 because some distributions do not have autodetection of hardware which works as well as that of Red Hat 9. Here is the output of /sbin/lsmod
Module Size Used by Not tainted i810_audio 27624 2 (autoclean) ac97_codec 14568 0 (autoclean) [i810_audio] soundcore 6404 2 (autoclean) [i810_audio] radeon 116132 1 agpgart 48128 3 binfmt_misc 7432 1 parport_pc 19076 1 (autoclean) lp 8996 0 (autoclean) parport 37056 1 (autoclean) [parport_pc lp] autofs 13268 0 (autoclean) (unused) ds 8680 1 yenta_socket 13504 1 pcmcia_core 57216 0 [ds yenta_socket] sis900 16844 1 sg 36524 0 (autoclean) sr_mod 18136 0 (autoclean) ide-scsi 12208 0 scsi_mod 107544 3 [sg sr_mod ide-scsi] ide-cd 35712 0 cdrom 33728 0 [sr_mod ide-cd] ohci1394 20168 0 (unused) ieee1394 48780 0 [ohci1394] keybdev 2976 0 (unused) mousedev 5556 1 hid 22244 0 (unused) input 5856 0 [keybdev mousedev hid] ehci-hcd 20072 0 (unused) usb-ohci 21704 0 (unused) usbcore 79040 1 [hid ehci-hcd usb-ohci] ext3 70784 2 jbd 51924 2 [ext3]
Occasionally when switching between virtual terminals (ie Ctrl+F#) the screen will display as though it were out of the range of the monitor's settings. However, switching back through the terminals again corrects this.
If you use the ACPI kernel provided above, battery status and the machine powering off automatically after shutdown work, but the screen turning off when the laptop is closed does not. If you use the standard RedHat kernel, battery status and the machine powering off automatically do not work, but the screen turning off when the laptop is closed does. This probably means that the kernel must be compiled with both APM and ACPI support, but I haven't tried to correct this.
I have been told that booting from a USB floppy drive sometimes fails, but do not have one myself.
- Get the
mpg321RPMs from freshrpms.net in order to allow XMMS to play MP3 files.
- Get the
ogleRPMs, and their dependencies, from freshrpms.net.
If you require VMWare, you will also require the Red Hat development packages in order to be able to compile custom modules as VMWare does not currently come packaged with modules that are compatible with Red Hat Linux 9.
- Diego Santa Cruz's RedHat Linux 9 on the Dell Inspiron 8500 (the foundation from which this was written, and the source of all ACPI configuration information)
- Linux on the ECS A900 HowTo
- ECS Green 732 Specifications
- Linux on Laptops