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Install Ubuntu / Linux on a Packard Bell EasyNote MX37

First publication of this article on 30 August 2008
Last update on of 16 September 2010


I installed the operating system Ubuntu on a Packard-Bell EasyNote MX37 laptop machine. This article is to share the information that I obtained during the process.

While the basic functions are OK, there are problems. As often with laptops, especially very recent machines, a lot of things do not work, or do not work out of the box.

I hope I used only free software but I did not check thoroughly the licences.

This machine has the following hardware and, for each one, I indicate if it worked out of the box, or after manipulations:

  • SiS 191 Gigabit Ethernet network controller. Works out of the box. Tested at 100 Mb/s.
  • SiS 771/671 PCIE graphics card. Works out of the box at low resolution and at full resolution after a lot of tweaking. When upgrading to version "Lucid Lynx" of Ubuntu, it was quite a pain (see later).
  • Atheros AR242x 802.11abg Wireless controller. Not tested. Ubuntu warned it had to load a non-free driver for it.
  • SIS966 "Azalia" Realtek ALC660-VD sound card. Works fine but only after manual configuration.
  • An internal CD/DVD reader/writer. Not tested.
  • Power management system. Not tested.
  • PCMCIA. Not tested yet.
  • USB controller. Works OK.

The X11 resolution problem took a long time. For the X11 server to work at 1280x768, I choosed the "Configure" option when Ubuntu claims it cannot drive at a better resolution. This produces a working xorg.conf.

When upgrading to Ubuntu "Lucid Lynx", the screen was completely unusable, even for the console (recovery mode, terminal), slashed with jagged lines. Booting on an older kernel solved this issue but, unfortunately, it also made the X server freezes immediately. I had to reinstall from scratch (that is why it is a good idea to make backups before an upgrade and/or to have /home on a separate partition) and, after that, the same kernel worked fine. X started but the only available resolution was 800x600.

The solution I used for that is described in "How to install SiS 771/671 Mirage 3 Video Drivers in ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)". I followed them religiously, except that I used ssh to avoid typing commands blindly. Besides these instructions, I also had to edit xorg.conf and change the driver line to Driver "sis671". After that, the machine was again able to run its screen at 1280x800 and the console was OK.

For the sound card to work, I used the Ubuntu documentation in french. Basically, I just had to add this line:

options snd-hda-intel model=lenovo 

at the end of the configuration file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and to reboot. The difficult thing was to find it!

Here are some details about the machine, as seen by Linux. First, the hardware as seen by lspci:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 671MX
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS AGP Port (virtual PCI-to-PCI bridge)
00:02.0 ISA bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS968 [MuTIOL Media IO] (rev 01)
00:02.5 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 5513 [IDE] (rev 01)
00:03.0 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.1 Controller (rev 0f)
00:03.1 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.1 Controller (rev 0f)
00:03.3 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 2.0 Controller
00:04.0 Ethernet controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 191 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (rev 02)
00:05.0 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SATA Controller / IDE mode (rev 03)
00:06.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] PCI-to-PCI bridge
00:07.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] PCI-to-PCI bridge
00:0f.0 Audio device: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] Azalia Audio Controller
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 771/671 PCIE VGA Display Adapter (rev 10)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)

And the CPU information (yes, laptops have dual core, now). Do note that Ubuntu's installed kernel has no problems with SMP:

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 15
model name      : Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual  CPU  T2330  @ 1.60GHz
stepping        : 13
cpu MHz         : 800.000
cache size      : 1024 KB
physical id     : 0
siblings        : 2
core id         : 0
cpu cores       : 2
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 10
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov     pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx lm constant_tsc arc    h_perfmon pebs bts pni monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr lahf_lm
bogomips        : 3201.04
clflush size    : 64


processor       : 1
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 15
model name      : Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual  CPU  T2330  @ 1.60GHz
stepping        : 13
cpu MHz         : 800.000
cache size      : 1024 KB
physical id     : 0
siblings        : 2
core id         : 1
cpu cores       : 2
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 10
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov     pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx lm constant_tsc arc    h_perfmon pebs bts pni monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr lahf_lm
bogomips        : 3199.10
clflush size    : 64

The X11 messages. And finally the boot messages.

Version PDF de cette page (mais vous pouvez aussi imprimer depuis votre navigateur, il y a une feuille de style prévue pour cela)

Source XML de cette page (cette page est distribuée sous les termes de la licence GFDL)