Kubuntu Linux on Toshiba A75-S231
This document describes how I got Kubuntu Linux up and running on my new Toshiba A75-S231 laptop. Hopefully other people will find it helpful as they discover some tricks involved in setting it up.
Overall, it wasn't too difficult, but there are a few quirks for setting up things like wireless networking with WEP and such.
These are usually found at the end of a document, but I found these invaluable along the way, so I'm putting them here as other sources of information you might find useful.
As mentioned, I installed Kubuntu Linux. I used version 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog).
- I have a fair amount of experience with GNU/Linux (which I've been using at home, work, and school for the last few years). Nevertheless, I wanted an easy-to-maintain, "pretty" distribution for my home machine. I found Kubuntu excellent for this, from installation through use. Linux has come a long way. After just installing Kubuntu I can, for example, plug in my digital camera and see it on my desktop seconds later through no effort of my own.
- Despite the great user-friendliness (relatively speaking, anyway), Kubuntu isn't perfect. It doesn't install much software by default. I had to manually install most of my favorites, including Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, CVS, LaTeX, KDEToys, etc. Still, using Debian's package management system makes it a breeze.
- Kubuntu doesn't give you access to a root user by default. But the default user it creates can use
sudo to do anything. If you really want a shell, you can do
sudo bash or
sudo su -. If you want to make it easier, you can of course use
Basic Setup Procedure
- Created a SystemRescueCD to use qtparted to shrink the Windows partition to 15GB (probably bigger than I need). That left 75GB for the rest, which I use almost exclusively.
- Burned a CD image of the latest Kubuntu GNU/Linux. I had to do this several times (both the downloading and the burning) before I got a faithful copy of the original. The installation aborted partway through when it failed (saying it couldn't find certain necessary packages). Eventually, I got a reliable copy.
- Installed Kubuntu. The installer takes care of most defaults for you, including repartitioning the drive. Make sure you don't lose the Windows partition if you might want anything on it! I kept it in case I wanted to use any of the Toshiba tools or documentation.
- Setup everything else (wireless, sound, etc.)
Important: Using the Touchpad
The touchpad doesn't work by default! You must go into the BIOS at startup (by pressing F2) and disable Legacy USB support in order for it to work.
You need the madwifi drivers. I don't recall exactly what steps I used to install them, but I know I didn't get the source from CVS. You might try using this Debian package, but I can't guarantee that it will work. You could also google for some combination of [K]ubuntu or Debian and madwifi.
The rest of the instructions at the first resource (listed above, Linux on Toshiba A75) work well, except for the special case of WEP.
Connecting to a wireless network using WEP
The MadWifi drivers have a quirk with regard to WEP. You can generally use their detailed instructions. However, as they point out, you must also do something special when using a shared key. More details are available, but the gist is that to use a restricted (shared) key, not only do you have to use
iwconfig ath0 key restricted KEY, but you must also run
iwpriv ath0 authmode 2
- Make sure all users you want to be able to play sound are in the
audio group. You can do this for an individual user with
adduser USERNAME audio (with sudo or as root, of course)
- Since ALSA is used in the Linux Kernel 2.6+, remember to unmute all the channels (which you can do with KMix). (Alsa mutes all sound channels by default).
About this document
Written by Dave Pacheco (dp dot spambait AT gmail.com)