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Installing Gentoo Linux on Znote 4200


This page describes how to install and customize Gentoo Linux [1] so that it will run nicely on a Zepto Znote 4200 [2].

Znote 4200 hardware

The Znote 4200 [2] being a fairly new laptop is off course built on Intel's platform for laptops: Centrino. Apparently the hardware Zepto used for the Znote 4200 [2] is similar or maybe even the same as on the Compal CL56 [5], so this guide might apply to the CL 56 [5] as well.
I've attached the output of cat /proc/cpuinfo and lspci, so that you can check if you have similar hardware.

Getting Gentoo

Download the most recent version of Gentoo Linux from the official Gentoo site [1]; I will be using 2005.1 as base for this guide.
Things probably won't change much if you are using a newer version that 2005.1; it'll probably just make it easier (read: if GCC 3.4 [3] is included as default). The reason GCC 3.4 [3] is important is that the C-FLAG -march=pentium-m isn't available in previous versions, so you'll have to either go with pentium3 or pentium4 support, which off course isn't optimal.

Installing Gentoo

I won't be writing an entire guide to installing Gentoo Linux [1] on a Znote 4200 [2]. I will refer you to the official documentation [4] and just point out if I did some different or extra at the different stages of the install.

Booting the Live CD

Now, let's start installing Gentoo Linux [1].
Put the CD in you CD-drive and boot from it by setting it as the first device in the boot sequence (press F2 just after you power on your Znote 4200 [2]/CL 56 [5] to enter the BIOS).
At the prompt you are faced with when CD loads, type in gentoo to load the default kernel with the default options, this should load all the modules you need to, in order to have a functional laptop during the rest of the install.
At a point in the boot process you will be presented with a screen that reads something like: Preparing Live-CD Environment. At this point you can change the keyboard layout to whatever layout you (if you want to). Press Alt + F9 and type in 11 to change the layout to danish.

Configuring make.conf

Because of GCC 3.3.x you cannot use the pentium-m flag, so you have to use either pentium3 or pentium4 during the bootstrap.
I have attached the make.conf (3.3.x_make.conf) I used during the bootstrap of my system, and it worked fine.

Unmasking GCC 3.4.x

Gentoo Linux [1] 2005.1 ships with GCC 3.3.x so it would be wise unmask GCC 3.4.x [3] before you bootstrap your system. You can also do it after you have done emerge -e system, but it will save you a great deal of time, because you only have to emerge system once. Gentoo-wiki [6] has an excellent tutorial that explains howto unmask GCC [3].

emerge -e system

After the bootstrap has finished (assuming you unmasked GCC 3.4.x [3] before) you can use the pentium-m flag to optimize your applications for the Pentium M processor. I have attached my 'make.conf' which uses the pentium-m flag, you can either overwrite the make.conf for GCC 3.3.x with mine or just modify the existing.
Now continue installing Gentoo Linux [1] as described in the handbook [4].

Choosing a kernel

The handbook uses the gentoo-sources kernel, but since this is a laptop and has the ability to hibernate, why not take advantage of that. The Software Suspend Project [7] has released a set of patches that will enable the kernel to perform hibernate.
You can either patch the gentoo-sources kernel or use the already patched suspend2-sources kernel. Since I like to able to hibernate my laptop I use the suspend2-sources. I have attached my .config for the 2.6.13-r3 version of suspend2-sources. At this time of writing 2.6.13-r3 is marked unstable, so you might have to unmask it in order to emerge sys-kernel/suspend2-sources.
My kernel is configured to be as minimalistic as possible, so there is no support for infrared, firewire and the parallel port. Furthermore it is configured to boot the system in a resolution of 1400x1050 (which is the ZNnote's [2] native) and has support for running an iptables [8] based firewall. The kernel is also prepared for wireless networking.

Finalizing the installation

After you have installed a kernel then just follow the handbook [4] in order to complete the installation.

Installing the wireless driver

Assuming the kernel has support for wireless networking it is pretty easy to install the driver for the Intel 2200BG wireless card.
First we need to enable the wireless card using the software switch. This can be accomplished by using the acerhk package. To install acerhk do the following:

emerge acerhk

When finished you need to modprobe the acerhk module, do the following as root:

 modprobe acerhk usedritek=1 autowlan=1 force_series=290

Now you can enable the card by doing:

echo 1 > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled

I have my laptop configured so that it will do this automatically at boot. If you want to enable the wireless card at boot, do the following as root:

echo "acerhk usedritek=1 autowlan=1 force_series=290" >> /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6
echo "echo 1 > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled" >> /etc/conf.d/local.start

Now that the wireless card is enabled, we need to install the driver itself. To do that, do the following as root:

emerge ieee80211 ipw2200

The emerge of ieee80211 might fail complaining about the existence of ieee80211 in the kernel. That is because recent kernels (>=2.6.13) ships with some sort of support for ieee80211 that conflicts with the ieee80211 package. To resolve this issue, do the following as root:

rm /usr/src/linux/include/net/ieee80211.h

and then try to emerge ieee80211 ipw2200 again.
When the emerge of ipw2200 has finished, you can load the driver by doing the following as root:

modprobe ipw2200

After the module has been loaded it should have provided an eth* interface representing the wireless card.

If you want to load the module at boot, you can do it by adding ipw2200 to /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6:

echo ipw2200 >> /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6

Important: You need to re-emerge acerhk ieee80211 ipw2200 every time you install a new kernel.

You also need wireless-tools so that you can associate your card with an access point. To install wireless-tools, do the following as root:

emerge wireless-tools

This will provide the applications iwconfig and iwlist that can associate and search for wireless networks.

Comments and feedback

If this helped you, please leave a comment (or send me an email) with your feedback and/or suggestions to make this guide better.



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