Linux Mandrake 9.0 and XFree86 4.2.1 on my Toshiba Satellite 1905-S303
Posted by rbTech Staff on 05 January 2012 12:19 PM
Linux Mandrake 9.0 and XFree86 4.2.1 on my Toshiba Satellite 1905-S303
Copyright© 2002 by Rubin Bennett, All Rights Reserved.
Written by Rubin Bennett ([email protected]). Comments to me, flames to /dev/null!
First, the disclaimer...
I hereby assume absolutely no reponsibility for any damage resulting to your system by your use of the information contained in this website. Any info here is for reference purposes ONLY. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't, don't come crying to me about how you toasted your video card or LCD. Or spilled coffee on your system while you were laughing at one of my (dry but) witty comments. Or lost your dry cleaning receipts. Or anything else. To summarize, if any harm comes to you from your use of the material that I've presented here, don't come crying to me.

The Specs:
Toshiba Satellite 1905-S303, P4 2.4GHz, 512Mb DDR SDRAM, 15" SXGA TFT Display, 10/100 Nic, Wireless Antenna, Sound, Modem, DVD/CDRW Combo drive

  • -LCD display 1280x1024 (15" SXGA TFT)
  • -ATI Mobility Radeon LY (M6P) Video Card, 16Mb DDR VRAM
  • -40Gb Hard Drive
  • -TouchPad (mouse) -install as a standard PS/2 mouse
  • -Winmodem Intel AC`97 AMR modem. Not supported yet (but work is being done). Check out for AMR specific details. Also see
  • -Intel Pro/100 Network card Automagically detected as an eepro100
  • -Intel i810 Audio Chipset Automagically detected as an AC97
  • -IBM Mini-PCI Wireless NIC (WLAN) Uses the orinoco_pci module, automagically detected


The Specifics:

Actually, there's not much to tell about the configuration and installation process; this system pretty much works out of the box! I don't think there are many laptops out there that can make this claim, especially P4 laptops with the spec list that this one has. As an aside, I think that Toshiba has put together a damn near unbeatable package of specs for the price in this system. Go Toshiba, and thanks for making a fine piece of equipment. My only (small) gripe is the license agreement on the outside of the bag that the laptop was wrapped in, explaining that by opening the bag that I must agree to the terms and conditions presented in the various EULA's in the box with the system. Since when do you have to accept a EULA on a piece of hardware - which is what I purchased?! I'm not interested in any of the software that this system came with; the first thing I did when I powered the system on was install Mandrake. I could care less what bundled software (including Operating System) came with it, and I resent that I had to agree to the EULA of a bunch of crap software that I don't want and will never use just by the act of opening the bag the system came in. It'd be interesting to see if EULA's of this sort will hold up in a court of law.

The only thing I had to experiment with at all was the video config (big surprise!), but by setting it to 1280x1024 on the actual display type as well as the display resolution. It is also happier at 24bit color than at 16bit.

Items on my TODO list...
Get fscking ACPI working properly. I travel with this system a lot between client sites, and it's just a huge pain in the ass to have to shut it down and reboot from scratch every time I go somewhere else. I'd REALLY REALLY REALLY like to be able to simply hit the button and have the thing go to sleep. Unfortunately, with the latest version of KDE and XFree86, I can't even log out properly - the system hard locks every time I try to log out (I have googled a bit on this and found this link as well as a suggestion to use gdm instead of kdm, which I have not tried yet). So for now, I end up having to open a terminal and "shutdown -h now" instead. Aggravating. If anyone out there has had any luck at all with acpi support (the best I've been able to get so far was to be able to read /proc/acpi/battery and do the math on the charge remaining) and sleep/ suspend, I'll be forever grateful.

Updates on this system
March 23, 2003
I seem to have uncovered an issue with this system: Using a fully updated (Mandrake Cooker) Operating system, Kernel 2.4.20-2mdk, the machine consistently locks up hard when the ethernet port is plugged into a 10-Base T hub. Sometimes it will run for an hour, sometimes for mere moments after a successful log in. If I plug into a switch, all is fine. This behaviour occurs whether or not ACPI support is enabled or not. Be forewarned if you are planning on using this system on a network (and who isn't?!). I'll keep updating this page as developments occur (like Mandrake 9.1 being released and installed!).

August 13, 2003
Actually, this update is way late, but what the heck. First of all, the system has been re-loaded from scratch with Mandrake 9.1 (about a week ago). Next, thelockup issue was caused by the famous "Sleep Mode Enabled" issue with the Intel 8255x chipsets. I downloaded, compiled, and ran Donald Becker's eepro100-diag, set sleep mode to be disabled in the firmware, and haven't experienced an ethernet card related lockup since.
An additional annoyance- every so often, and usually when I'm pushing a lot of data over the WIFI card and the connection quality sucks, the WIFI driver will go into a loop and consume 100% of the CPU until I rmmod the orinoco_pci module and restart the card (running top shows that KSoft_irqd is the spinning process). Most annoying, but has been happening less since I re-situated my WAP-11 access point a little farther from my 2.4GHz phone. I noticed that when the access point and the phone were too near one another, my connection speed would drop and drop until I was lucky to get 50kbps over the wifi link. THe only fix was to power cycle the Access point, then things were happy (for a little while, anyway). Now that I've put the access point in a different location, and moved the phone to another room (actually, just around the corner, but what the heck...) my connection speeds are fine, and I haven't had an instance of the WIFI card spinning out of control (about 3 weeks now). Hrm; a good argument for keeping 2.4GHz cordless phones and WIFI gear away from one another... 

Additional resources that you may find interesting...
This is a fantastic page with an index on what type of laptops people have successfully (usually) loaded Linux on...
Note: This link has moved to
The following link has (I believe) been deprecated:

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