Using Debian GNU/Linux on the Lenovo IdeaPad S9e netbook

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Lenovo Ideapad S9e netbook

I recently got my hands on a Lenovo IdeaPad S9e netbook for a short amount of time (I don't own it), so I did a few tests with Debian unstable (more or less Lenny right now) and a Linux 2.6.28 kernel on it, see results below.

The machine type is 4187-42G, and it features an Intel Atom N270 CPU (with HyperThreading) at 1.6 GHz, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, an 80 GB SATA drive, an 8.9" WSVGA 1024x600 (glossy) screen, VGA port, LAN, wifi, bluetooth, 2xUSB, SD card slot, PCI ExpressCard slot, built-in microphone, and a webcam.

BIOS

You can enter the BIOS by pressing F2, the boot menu by pressing F12 during boot. Booting from USB works fine on this netbook. There's a Splashtop installation on the netbook (called "Lenovo Quickstart" here) which you can disable in the BIOS.

Installation

There's no CD-ROM drive, so the simplest way is to use a USB thumb drive for installation. Here's how you can prepare one containing a Lenny installer (assuming your USB thumb drive is /dev/sda):

  $ wget http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/5.0.1/i386/iso-cd/debian-501-i386-netinst.iso
  $ wget http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/main/installer-i386/current/images/hd-media/boot.img.gz
  $ gunzip boot.img.gz
  $ dd if=boot.img of=/dev/sda1
  $ mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt
  $ cp debian-500-i386-netinst.iso /mnt
  $ umount /mnt

If the above USB thumb drive doesn't boot correctly (which it did not in my case: GRUB error 17) it's probably because of a messed-up MBR. This is how you can fix it:

  $ apt-get install mbr
  $ install-mbr /dev/sda

 Lenovo Ideapad S9e Debian installation

Then insert the USB thumb drive in the Lenovo IdeaPad S9e, choose USB boot in the BIOS, and start the installer. Most of the process works as usual, the only small difference is that you might want to load the "parted" installer module in order to resize the Windows-partition on the disk (if you want to keep it) to make space for Linux. The second (fat32) partition seems to keep a restore image and/or the Splashtop stuff, not sure.

Audio

Works out of the box using the snd_hda_intel driver. The hardware is onboard audio in the southbridge (82801G / ICH7) and uses the Realtek ALC269 codec. If some programs don't have working audio, try modprobe snd-pcm-oss.

Built-in microphone

Untested so far.

Bluetooth

Works out of the box using the bluetooth and btusb driver. The laptop's Bluetooth device is USB-attached internally and shows up in lsusb as:

  $ lsusb
  Bus 003 Device 002: ID 0a5c:2150 Broadcom Corp.
  $ dmesg
  usb 3-2: Product: BCM2046 Bluetooth Device

After modprobe btusb you can use hcitool / hciconfig etc. as usual, and/or enable more related stuff with /etc/init.d/bluetooth start.

Sensors

The lm-sensors script detects the lm75, eeprom, i2c-dev, and i2c_i801 modules. The following is the 'sensors' output:

  $ sensors
  acpitz-virtual-0
  Adapter: Virtual device
  temp1:       +36.0 °C  (crit = +95.0 °C)    

The hard drive temperature can be viewed with:

  $ hddtemp /dev/sda
  /dev/sda: FUJITSU MHZ2080BH G1: 44 °C

HPET

The Intel ICH7 southbridge in this laptop supports High Performance Event Timers (HPET) which allows for more power savings and thus improved battery life.

  $ dmesg | grep -i hpet
  ACPI: HPET 3F6E1E41, 0038 (r1 INTEL  CALISTGA  6040000 LOHR       5A)
  ACPI: HPET id: 0x8086a201 base: 0xfed00000
  hpet clockevent registered
  HPET: 3 timers in total, 0 timers will be used for per-cpu timer
  hpet0: at MMIO 0xfed00000, IRQs 2, 8, 0
  hpet0: 3 comparators, 64-bit 14.318180 MHz counter

You can check the wakeups-per-second with powertop.

SD card slot

Works out of the box. It seems to be attached via USB internally (usb-storage driver).

  $ lsusb
  Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:0158 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. Mass Stroage Device

PCI ExpressCard slot

Untested so far.

ACPI

Works fine, see comments for "acpitool" output.

Network card

Works out of the box using the tg3 driver.

  $ modprobe tg3
  tg3.c:v3.94 (August 14, 2008)
  tg3 0000:02:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 16
  tg3 0000:02:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
  eth0: Tigon3 [partno(BCM95906) rev c002 PHY(5906)] (PCI Express) 10/100Base-TX Ethernet 00:11:22:33:44:55
  eth0: RXcsums[1] LinkChgREG[0] MIirq[0] ASF[0] WireSpeed[0] TSOcap[0]
  eth0: dma_rwctrl[76180000] dma_mask[64-bit]

Touchpad

Works out of the box, both in X as well as in the console using gpm.

  $ dmesg
  Synaptics Touchpad, model: 1, fw: 7.2, id: 0x1c0b1, caps: 0xd04731/0xa40000

Suspend-to-disk and suspend-to-RAM

I'm using the hibernate Debian package. You can explicitly force the usage of either method in /etc/hibernate/hibernate.conf by uncommenting the respective lines.

  TryMethod disk.conf
  # TryMethod ram.conf

Suspend does not yet work out of the box, however, as the machine is unknown:

  $ s2ram -n
  Machine unknown
  This machine can be identified by:
      sys_vendor   = "LENOVO                          "
      sys_product  = "418742G         "
      sys_version  = "Lenovo                  "
      bios_version = "14CN51WW  "
  See http://suspend.sf.net/s2ram-support.html for details.

After a few test I found that s2ram -f -a 3 works fine (tested from console only so far). Now this needs to be integrated upstream and in the Debian package (I'll file a bug report). Update: Submitted bug #520848, and an email to the upstream mailing list.

Wireless

There doesn't seem to be a mainline driver for the Broadcom BCM4312 wifi card in the laptop, yet:

  $ lspci -nn
  05:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g [14e4:4315] (rev 01)

Neither the b43 nor the b43legacy drivers work as of 2.6.28. For now, one of two possible options is to build a (partly non-free) driver provided by Broadcom from source (option 2 would be to use ndiswrapper, I guess, but that's untested):

  $ wget http://people.debian.org/~adamm/kernel/linux-kbuild-2.6.28_2.6.28-0.1_i386.deb
  $ dpkg -i linux-kbuild-2.6.28_2.6.28-0.1_i386.deb (currently needed in unstable due to bug #518115)
  $ apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-2.6.28-1-686
  $ mkdir temp; cd temp
  $ wget http://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_79_10.tar.gz
  $ tar xfvz hybrid-portsrc-x86_32-v5_10_79_10.tar.gz
  $ make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=`pwd` clean
  $ make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=`pwd` modules

If that worked, you can load the driver via:

  $ rmmod bcm43xx; rmmod b43; rmmod b43legacy (you could also permanently blacklist these modules)
  $ modprobe ieee80211_crypt_tkip
  $ insmod ./wl.ko
  $ dmesg
  wl: module license '' taints kernel.
  wl 0000:05:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 18 (level, low) -> IRQ 18
  wl 0000:05:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
  eth1: Broadcom BCM4315 802.11 Wireless Controller 5.10.79.10

You can now run iwconfig, iwlist, etc. from the command line, or use some GUIs such as kwifimanager.

In order to disable wireless, run:

  $ rmmod wl

So far, I only tested WEP (but not WPA).

CPU frequency scaling

Works out of the box using the acpi_cpufreq driver. Use cpufreq-set -c 0 -g performance if you need full CPU power, cpufreq-set -c 0 -g powersave otherwise. Use -c 1 to do the same with the other CPU/core.

PC speaker

Works fine out of the box using the pcspkr module, tested with beep.

Graphics card

Works out of the box using the intel X.org driver.

  $ xrandr
  Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1024 x 600, maximum 1024 x 1024
  VGA disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
  LVDS connected 1024x600+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 195mm x 113mm
     1024x600      60.0*+
     800x600        60.3  
     640x480        59.9  
  TV disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

DRI works out of the box with the (mainline, open-source) driver:

  $ glxinfo | grep direct
  direct rendering: Yes

If you attach an external monitor or projector, you can enable it using xrandr as usual:

  $ xrandr --output VGA --auto

You can also use a dual-head setup by adding this to your "Screen" section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

  SubSection "Display"
    Virtual 2048 2048
  EndSubSection

After restarting the X server, you can play with xrandr and move the external screen (VGA) "below" the laptop's LCD screen (LVDS) for a simple dual-head setup. The GUI tools arandr or grandr are probably a bit simpler to use than plain command line xrandr.

USB

Works fine, of course. The only small problem is that there are only two USB ports, more would have been better.

Disk drive

Works fine, it's an 80 GB SATA drive.

Webcam

Works out of the box using the uvcvideo driver.

  $ lsusb
  Bus 001 Device 005: ID 5986:0141 Acer, Inc
  $ modprobe uvcvideo
  uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device Lenovo EasyCamera (5986:0141)
  input: Lenovo EasyCamera as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.7/usb1/1-3/1-3:1.0/input/input9
  usb 1-3: New USB device found, idVendor=5986, idProduct=0141
  usb 1-3: New USB device strings: Mfr=3, Product=1, SerialNumber=0
  usb 1-3: Product: Lenovo EasyCamera
  usb 1-3: Manufacturer: BISON Corporation

You can use luvcvideo for webcam viewing.

Battery

Lasts for ca. 3.5 hours, probably less if the system is under high load.

Special keys

Fn+CursorUp / Fn+CursorDown (brightness), Fn+ESC (enable/disable webcam), Fn+F1 (sleep mode), Fn+F2 (enable/disable TFT backlight), Fn+F6 (enable/disable thouchpad), Fn+F7 (Num lock), Fn+F8 (scroll lock), and Fn+F11 (F12 key) all work fine.

Fn+F3, Fn+F5, Fn+F9, Fn+F10, and all other special keys are untested.

LEDs

The power, disk activity, CAPS lock, Num lock, and battery charging LEDs all work fine out of the box.

lspci -tvnn

  -[0000:00]-+-00.0  Intel Corporation Mobile 945GME Express Memory Controller Hub [8086:27ac]
           +-02.0  Intel Corporation Mobile 945GME Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27ae]
           +-02.1  Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27a6]
           +-1b.0  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller [8086:27d8]
           +-1c.0-[0000:02]----00.0  Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM5906M Fast Ethernet PCI Express [14e4:1713]
           +-1c.1-[0000:03-04]--
           +-1c.2-[0000:05]----00.0  Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g [14e4:4315]
           +-1d.0  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 [8086:27c8]
           +-1d.1  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 [8086:27c9]
           +-1d.2  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 [8086:27ca]
           +-1d.3  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 [8086:27cb]
           +-1d.7  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller [8086:27cc]
           +-1e.0-[0000:06]--
           +-1f.0  Intel Corporation 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC Interface Bridge [8086:27b9]
           +-1f.1  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) IDE Controller [8086:27df]
           +-1f.2  Intel Corporation 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7 Family) SATA IDE Controller [8086:27c4]
           \-1f.3  Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller [8086:27da]

cat /proc/cpuinfo

See comments.

Resources

All in all it's a really nice hardware, and it works (more or less) flawlessly without much hassle with recent distros/kernels.

Update 2009-03-22: Updated various sections, added more info. Added resources section.

Comments

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I wonder why there is no

I wonder why there is no CD-ROM drive. Of course I would use an usb-stick, but I still prefer CDs.

Update on the URL's for building USB boot disk

I discovered via HTTP browsing that the URL for downloads of the .iso are changed:
http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/5.0.1/i386/iso-cd/debian-501-i386-netinst.iso
Thank you for your useful, accurate and exciting work!

URL

Fixed, thanks.

cpu scaling governors

Matthew Garrett says that using the 'powersave' CPU governor results in poorer power savings, since the CPU has to run longer. The 'performance' governor also has its shortcomings, so 'ondemand' is the one to use.

See http://mjg59.livejournal.com/102317.html or, directly, http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/power/good_practices.html.

More system info

Here's some more detailed system info:

CPU info

  $ cat /proc/cpuinfo
  processor       : 0
  vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
  cpu family      : 6
  model           : 28
  model name      : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270   @ 1.60GHz
  stepping        : 2
  cpu MHz         : 800.000
  cache size      : 512 KB
  physical id     : 0
  siblings        : 2
  core id         : 0
  cpu cores       : 1
  apicid          : 0
  initial apicid  : 0
  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 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe 
  nx constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm
  bogomips        : 3192.33
  clflush size    : 64
  power management:
  
  processor       : 1
  vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
  cpu family      : 6
  model           : 28
  model name      : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270   @ 1.60GHz
  stepping        : 2
  cpu MHz         : 800.000
  cache size      : 512 KB
  physical id     : 0
  siblings        : 2
  core id         : 0
  cpu cores       : 1
  apicid          : 1
  initial apicid  : 1
  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 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe 
  nx constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm
  bogomips        : 3191.92
  clflush size    : 64
  power management:

CPU frequency scaling

  $ cpufreq-info
  analyzing CPU 0:
    driver: acpi-cpufreq
    CPUs which need to switch frequency at the same time: 0
    hardware limits: 600 MHz - 1.50 GHz
    available frequency steps: 1.50 GHz, 1.40 GHz, 1.20 GHz, 1000 MHz, 800 MHz, 600 MHz
    available cpufreq governors: userspace, powersave, ondemand, conservative, performance
    current policy: frequency should be within 800 MHz and 1.50 GHz.
                   The governor "powersave" may decide which speed to use within this range.
    current CPU frequency is 800 MHz (asserted by call to hardware).
    cpufreq stats: 1.50 GHz:69.76%, 1.40 GHz:0.11%, 1.20 GHz:0.13%, 1000 MHz:0.16%, 800 MHz:29.83%, 600 MHz:0.00%  (4010)
  analyzing CPU 1:
    driver: acpi-cpufreq
    CPUs which need to switch frequency at the same time: 1
    hardware limits: 600 MHz - 1.50 GHz
    available frequency steps: 1.50 GHz, 1.40 GHz, 1.20 GHz, 1000 MHz, 800 MHz, 600 MHz
    available cpufreq governors: userspace, powersave, ondemand, conservative, performance
    current policy: frequency should be within 800 MHz and 1.50 GHz.
                   The governor "powersave" may decide which speed to use within this range.
    current CPU frequency is 800 MHz (asserted by call to hardware).
    cpufreq stats: 1.50 GHz:69.76%, 1.40 GHz:0.11%, 1.20 GHz:0.13%, 1000 MHz:0.16%, 800 MHz:29.83%, 600 MHz:0.00%  (4010)

ACPI info

  $ acpitool -e
  Kernel version : 2.6.28-1-686   -    ACPI version : 20080926
  -----------------------------------------------------------
  Battery #1     : slot empty

  AC adapter     : on-line
  Fan            : 

  CPU type               : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270   @ 1.60GHz
  Min/Max frequency      : 800/1600 MHz
  Current frequency      : 1333 MHz
  Frequency governor     : ondemand
  Freq. scaling driver   : acpi-cpufreq
  Cache size             : 512 KB
  Bogomips               : 3192.33
  Bogomips               : 3191.92

  # of CPU's found       : 2

  Processor ID           : 0
  Bus mastering control  : yes
  Power management       : yes
  Throttling control     : yes
  Limit interface        : yes
  Active C-state         : C0
  C-states (incl. C0)    : 4
  Usage of state C1      : 580 (0.1 %)
  Usage of state C2      : 33149 (3.8 %)
  Usage of state C3      : 827669 (96.1 %)
  T-state count          : 8
  Active T-state         : T0

  Processor ID           : 1
  Bus mastering control  : yes
  Power management       : yes
  Throttling control     : yes
  Limit interface        : yes
  Active C-state         : C0
  C-states (incl. C0)    : 4
  Usage of state C1      : 353 (0.0 %)
  Usage of state C2      : 26312 (1.6 %)
  Usage of state C3      : 836991 (49.5 %)
  T-state count          : 8
  Active T-state         : T0

  Thermal zone 1 : ok, 39 C
  Trip points :
  -------------
  critical (S5):           95 C
  passive:                 90 C: tc1=2 tc2=3 tsp=100 devices=CPU0 CPU1

   Device       S-state   Status   Sysfs node
  ---------------------------------------
  1. HDEF         S4     disabled  pci:0000:00:1b.0
  2. PXS1         S4     disabled  pci:0000:02:00.0
  3. PXS2         S4     disabled
  4. PXS3         S4     disabled  pci:0000:05:00.0
  5. USB1         S4     disabled  pci:0000:00:1d.0
  6. USB2         S4     disabled  pci:0000:00:1d.1
  7. USB3         S4     disabled  pci:0000:00:1d.2
  8. USB4         S4     disabled  pci:0000:00:1d.3
  9. USB7         S4     disabled  pci:0000:00:1d.7

Put this on the wiki

If you haven't already, please make a page on the wiki:

http://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn

besides mbr there is another useful tool: ms-sys

But unfortunately ms-sys package disappeared from Debian Lenny because it not compatible with current Debian policies.
ms-sys is significantly feature-rich than mbr