A Few Notes on the Toshiba A100/Y03


TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs and Mobile Phones

OS : Debian Linux
Kernel : 2.6.20
Sold:  Australasia

This low cost  Laptop works well on Linux.
The battery life is around 2.5 hours , and it runs quietly.
The screen is very good. The ergonomics are good, although
accidental touches on the glide pad while typing are a nuisance
at first.

1/ Installation: The notes on




All the peripherals work satisfactorily.
The .config for kernel 2.6.20 was Kernel Configuration File
The .config for kernel 2.6.21 was Kernel Configuration File for SATA

NB SATA involves changing device names - see notes on hard disk below!

Things to bear in mind are

2/ Wifi  - a bit tricky to install , but works well

Older Kernels:

The inbuilt Intel Pro  wifi  nic  requires a binary only runtime daemon.
It also requires a separate kernel module.
I installed source module ipw3945-1.2.0.tgz  and compiled it against kernel 2.6.20 .
It will compile satisfactorily against this kernel version's inbuilt
ieee80211 stack (which you must enable during kernel configuration).
It will not compile against 2.6.18 or earlier. Make sure your kpkg etc. versions etc
 are up to date or kernel 2.6.20 will not make under Debian.
The suspicious looking binary "regulatory daemon" must be installed and started.
I used ipw3945d-1.7.22 i386 . This daemon is available on the net from Intel.
The daemon runs reliably as long as the parameter associate=1 is given
as an option on loading the module
and as long as you do not turn off the wifi switch on the front right of the PC
The latter can be done easily accidentally ; in this case the kernel hangs!
You must remove the daemon before turning off the switch.
This caused me much frustration until I realized what was happening!
The following script will start it. You can use ifup & dhcp if you want.
It's a good card, most Centrino laptops use it - pity it needs tainted code.

/sbin/ifconfig eth2 down                 # deconfigure if already up
/sbin/ifconfig eth0 down                 # deconfigure wired ethernet lan
killall -9 ipw3945d                           # kill any running daemon
rm -vf /var/run/ipw3945d.pid          # needs this too!
/sbin/rmmod ipw3945                      # start regulatory daemon
/sbin/modprobe -i ipw3945 associate=1    # associate=1 stops dma firmware bug!
sleep 3                                              # the pauses were needed to let the daemon start
/sbin/ipw3945d                                 # rouse the daemon
sleep 3                                               # give it time to wake
/sbin/ifconfig eth2 netmask
/sbin/iwconfig eth2 essid mynet
/sbin/iwconfig eth2 mode managed key 123456789abcdef01234567890 # substitute your key
/sbin/route add default gw mygateway                                                       # substitute your gateway

Later note : Kernels 2.6.21,2.6.22 and 2.6.23 do not work reliably.
The problem(s?) relates to interrupt resolution during boot time and caused
unpredictable hangs .
Kernel 2.6.24 seems to work reliably. The .config file for this kernel was Kernel Configuration File

The ipw3945 module no longer compiles against this kernel version,but the
iwl3945module included in the kernel works with a few tweaks. The iwl3945
module does not need the daemon. The required firmware is available in the
Debian "firmware-iwlwifi" package.

The /etc/network/interfaces entry was :

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
pre-up iwconfig wlan0 mode managed key 123456789abcdef01234567890;sleep 1
pre-up iwconfig wlan0 essid mynet;sleep 1
pre-up ip link set wlan0 up
pre-up iwconfig wlan0 mode managed key 123456789abcdef01234567890
pre-up iwconfig wlan0 essid mynet;sleep 1
## wireless-essid mynet
## wireless-mode managed
## wireless-key 123456789abcdef01234567890
# mtu 600 # some hotspots need this

The "iproute" package was installed to provide the "ip link" command which
is needed to allow the interface to associate with the wifi domain.
The odd configuration, including the pauses seemed necessary to get
round bugs in the iwl3945 module. It seems to work reliably with
the cludges above!

3/ Power management.

ACPI works well. Use the Centrino option for frequency control in the
kernel configuration. If you have enabled this and installed cpufreq-set

>> cpufreq-set -g performance

seems to kill any glide-pad/mouse lag. The PC/cpu runs cool.

>> cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/info

Will give full information on battery status. If you want a "low battery"
warning then you must find a utility do do this. I have not tested
The AC adapter is rated at 15 volt 4 amp. Acpi reports a consumption of about 1.5
amp. The adapter runs fairly warm.

4/ Glide Pad.
Takes a bit of getting used to. tpconfig seems to work.

5/ Wired Ethernet Nic.
This an intel nic and uses the e100 driver.
For some reason or other there are a continues series of issues with wake up on LAN magic packets and
this driver.
I have used a few other PC's that use this nic, and patched the e100 driver in the kernel.
This is very tiresome and risky. If you enable WOL using ethtool and shutdown the nic before the
Debian powerdown scripts are executed , then WOL using magic packets will work.
I'm not sure whether the right fix is in e100.c or in the shutdown scripts. I'm now taking the latter
approach. Hopefully someone will resolve this .

6/ CD-RW
Works fine, but very slow. Good to have when needed to export data on rare occasions.
DVD/CD read works well. The internal CD writer hangs the kernel with kernel
An external usb writer works satisfactorily with this kernel!

7/ Sound
Alsa works well. The sound quality  of the inbuilt speakers is quite good.

8/ SD Card Reader.
Works using TIFM module. Inserting a card can sometimes hang the CPU. This is instantaneous
on insertion, and probably a result of inadequate supply inrush suppression.Doesn't happen often, but be wary!

9/ Blue Tooth.
This model has none. A plug in USB adapter works.

10/ LCD Screen.
The screen works well and is crisp. My X configuration is /etc/X11/xorg.conf

11/ Hard Disk
This is an SATA type. If you do not enable SATA (piix etc) in the kernel the hard drive will
appear as hda1,hda2 etc. and is similar to ide disks. Unfortunately it is not possible to
enable DMA in this mode, and the mouse and cpu and sometimes keyboard will get blocked
by disk accesses.
To avoid this annoyance /etc/fstab must be changed to use sda1,sda2 etc in place of hda1,hda2
and the SATA,PIIX and SCSII functions must be enabled in the kernel (I did'nt waste time trying to
use modules). Since this is a process where both changes must happen at the same time, be careful,
or better , have a Knoppix or other recue cd or partition in case you make a mistake.
It looks as if all hard disks are changing over to SCSII, so we'll all have to go through this nasty renaming
process. Of course all the USB devices also change as result of sda etc. being occupied by SATA.

The following kernelboot parameters proved necessary to get the correct
sata driver selection with later kernels.

append="root=/dev/sda1 libata.atapi_enabled=1 combined_mode=libata pci=routeirq ide0=noprobe"