Ubuntu 6.06 on the LG T1 Express Dual

After 8 years of dragging around a brick disguised as a laptop, I decided that I deserved an upgrade. I’m now the proud owner of an LG T1 Express Dual. Naturally, my first task was to fire it up, insert an Ubuntu CD and destroy all traces of Windows XP. If you’re in the market for one of these machines and interested in Linux compatibility, here are some short notes.

I’m not big on aesthetics when it comes to computers, but my first comment is that this is one pretty laptop. 1.9 kg, 21 mm thick (yes thick, not thin), a bright 1200×800 widescreen LCD and all the ports and functionality that you could ask for. For the price, its features are pretty impressive. The HDD is a little small (60 GB) and a little slow (4200 RPM), but I figure that massive storage and super-fast disk access are not priorities for a laptop.

Ubuntu 6.06 installation
I downloaded ubuntu-6.06-desktop-i386.iso. This boots the machine as a live CD, then offers you the option of installing to the HDD. Installation was pretty smooth, apart from disk partitioning. I found the new graphical interface to parted rather confusing and would have preferred the old text-based system. The latter is available with ubuntu-6.06-alternate-i386.iso.

After installation, the machine rebooted without problems. Quick check for hardware recognition revealed the following:

  • Sound: no problems at all, ALSA configured and working correctly
  • Wireless: no problems at all, wireless card configured as eth0
  • DVD: no problems
  • X server: configured for 1280×800 but max. resolution only 1024×768
  • LAN: not recognised
  • CPU: 386 kernel installed, no dual core

Not a bad start then, but a couple of problems to solve.

LAN
It’s pretty rare that Linux can’t configure a network card these days, but the T1 manages it! This is discussed in depth at the Ubuntu forums, where you’ll find a lot of confusion regarding patches and so on. The driver that you need is the et131x for Agere network cards.
All you need to do is head over to this website and grab this file. Unpack it and go to the source code. Your machine will need the packages (1) build-essentials (from the install CD), (2) linux-headers-386 (from the Ubuntu packages site, via a machine with working ethernet) and a linux-source package won’t do any harm either. Make sure you get the right version number for your install (2.6.15-2* for 6.06). If “sudo dpkg -i <package-name>” complains about dependencies, just keep downloading what it asks for on your other machine and transferring via USB stick until it shuts up.
Once you have the required headers and source, it’s just “make” then “sudo make install”, “sudo depmod” and reboot. Your LAN should now come up as eth1.

CPU
By default, Ubuntu installs the “safe” 386 kernel. For dual core to work you need SMP support, which means a 686 kernel. Something like “sudo apt-get install linux-686-smp” should do the trick. This will install the correct kernel and auto-configure grub. These kernel image packages are fantastic – I can’t believe the hours I used to spend compiling kernels from source. Reboot, run “cat /proc/cpuinfo” and you should see your 2 CPUs.

X server
Graphics on the T1 uses the Intel GMA 950 chipset. The X.org /etc/X11/xorg.conf file was configured with the correct driver (i810) and maximum resolution (1200×800). The initial lack of widescreen is well documented for this chipset and is easily solved by “sudo apt-get install 915resolution”. Once this package is installed you can run “915resolution -l” to see available resolutions. You’ll probably want to add a few to xorg.conf for use with external monitors and so on.

Summary
All in all, I was pretty pleased with the setup, although lack of LAN makes life difficult initially. I’ve read that the GMA 950 performance is not great but it’s fine for me – it handles an intensive program such as Celestia pretty well. Similarly, other people have had sound problems but mine is just fine and for a laptop, I’d say it’s pretty good sound. I was especially pleased with the seamless wireless setup. Connecting to my wireless router was a simple case of “iwlist eth0 scanning” to find the ESSID, then “iwconfig eth0 essid ESSID” and “dhclient eth0”.
Performance is good, it looks good and it’s truly portable. Recommended.

44 thoughts on “Ubuntu 6.06 on the LG T1 Express Dual

  1. Manuel Palacio

    I also bought a T1, installed Dapper and I am rather pleased. The laptop is very nice and light. The only problem is the video card (and the LAN, but I don’t use it) as you point out. My only complaint now is that the 3d capabilities of the card (whatever they are) are not enabled and because of that programs like google earth are not pleasant to use. I have also noticed some shaky video CD playback and the microphone does not seem to work.

  2. nsaunders Post author

    I don’t think we can expect too much from the integrated GMA 950. I have DRI (via the 915 driver) and GLX working. I have to admit that I don’t fully “get” the 915resolution thing. I’m led to believe the T1 can manage 1440×900. Sometimes 915resolution -l suggests that it can. Sometimes it even suggests 1600×1200. However, I just spent a frustrating few hours trying to get 1440×900 and eventually settled for 1200×800. Basically, I think the i810 driver needs some work and isn’t dealing with all modes in the video bios very well.
    Not sure about microphone – I have a device named “capture”, but sound recorder didn’t record anything. Not a priority for me.
    I also spoke a little too soon regarding the et131x. It seems eth1 is getting a different MAC address each reboot – not ideal when campus IT need your MAC address for DHCP…there’s a patch, we’ll see how that goes.

    update – et131x fixed, after much messing around. I discovered an et131x SVN repository. You need the code from there and this patch. Put the patch in the same directory as the SVN files, run “patch -p0 < fix-get_mac_address_from_EEPROM.diff”, “make, make modules_install, depmod”, reboot and you should be right.

  3. Simon Voggeneder

    Oh my! Finally found someone with experiences with Ubuntu on the T1. Sounds nice! But do all the special keys werk as well (LCD brightness, audio control, monitor switch) ?

    In case this works I will certainly buy it.

  4. Neil

    But do all the special keys werk as well

    I haven’t tried them all yet – in fact I haven’t worked out what they all do. LCD brightness certainly works, as does monitor switch. That’s all the special key functionality that I need :)

  5. Simon Voggeneder

    Hey, thanks for the prompt reply :) Sounds good so far, even my old notebook which did not like linux at all was able to be tweaked for working volume control, so it will work here for sure ;)

    Any comments ’bout hibernation and/or suspend to ram? Would be a good thing to know them working. Anyway, I ordered my T1 yesterday ^^

  6. nsaunders Post author

    I haven’t tested hibernate, but suspend seems fine. All the options are present in System->Preferences->Power Management and rely, so far as I know, on ACPI which seems just fine, so I’m confident. The system may be pretty slow to come back up due to the slowish HDD, especially for hibernate.
    I’m sure you’ll enjoy the new purchase.

  7. Simon Voggeneder

    I’ll see – you will hear from me when it’s here and I tested it.

    Hopefully Kubuntu runs just as good.

  8. Mercedes

    Um.. sorry to interrupt this linux thread, but I’ve been googling for sites or stores where I can buy this lovely LG T1 Express Dual, without any luck. I also read somewhere that you can get a 100GB hard drive, dunno the RPM, tho.. This is kinda important for me (storage, RAM, screen) cause I work with graphics and I don’t like MACs.. but unfortunately, I can’t find the PC version of the 13 inches MacBook :/

  9. Conrad Seaman

    Hi,
    I am trying to install ubuntu on my T1-7 and up to the LAN/WLAN it’s gone fine.

    The network card gets detected but any attempts to connect to my router and enter a WEP password just result in non-working internet. Essentially the eth0 interface never comes up properly and won’t obtain an ip address unless I assign it one. When I do that it still won’t hit an address even inside my network. It sees itself and nothing else.

    Now I”m lost. The directions you have above are confusing (I’m not a strong linux user and it seems this requires a kernel rebuild). I donwloaded the package you suggest but then you say “go to the source code”. To do what exactly? I’m hoping you could be more specific about the steps involved? Where to go specifically? What to download and run?

    This is assuming that I’m in the same pickle you were with the network card.

    I greatly appreciate all the help you’ve provided all ready.

  10. nsaunders Post author

    Conrad – are you talking about the wireless internet card or the LAN card? On my T1, eth0 is the wireless card. In the discussion about source code and packages, we are talking about eth1, which is the 10/100/1000 LAN card.

    If your network card is being detected, then you don’t have to worry about compiling a new driver from source. Your problem is getting eth0 to see your wireless network. First, check the file “/etc/network/interfaces”. There should be a line that says “auto eth0” followed by “iface eth0 inet dhcp”. This will bring up card eth0 when you start the machine and have it look for an IP address using DHCP (“ifconfig” will show your card). You will then need to know the ESSID of your wireless router. You can find this using “iwlist eth0 scanning”. You configure the card to use that ESSID with “iwconfig eth0 essid your_essid”. Then “dhclient eth0” should allow the card to get an IP from the router by DHCP. Most routers are then set up through a web interface where you can configure additional security and so on.

  11. Conrad Seaman

    I got the eth1 and eth0 to come up an my wired internet works. However, my wireless internet (eth0) doesn’t want to get an IP from my router. The router works as I use 3 other windows machines on it wirlelessly plus a print/music server with no problem. Any thoughts as to why ubuntu can’t get an IP?

    As for buying the laptop? Are you in the US or Canada. In Canada I got mine at Canada Computers http://www.canadacomputers.com

  12. Simon Voggeneder

    Hi there. I got mine now as well :D

    But the ordinary Ubuntu CD crashes upon loading due to a xserver-error :( It’s the original Ubuntu disc ordered from launchpad so I will have to download myself a copy of the alternate installation disc.

    First impression is fabolous.. Win XP sucks really hard, but I am very satisfied haven 1440×900 not 1280×800 like I imagined ^^

    greets

    Simon

  13. nsaunders Post author

    Any thoughts as to why ubuntu can’t get an IP?

    Not if you tried the commands that I mentioned in my last comment. If eth0 is up and configured for DHCP, then it’s a router config issue, not an Ubuntu issue. Maybe there’s a security setting in the router that you need to change? Sometimes you have to add the MAC address of the network card or something like that.

  14. nsaunders Post author

    But the ordinary Ubuntu CD crashes upon loading due to a xserver-error

    That certainly should not happen – grab yourself the latest ISO from an Ubuntu mirror. And let me know if you get 1440×900 working under Ubuntu, as I can only get 1200×800 with the 915resolution hack.

  15. Simon Voggeneder

    Question is:

    You got a model with 1280×800? Or one with 1440×900?
    Hope it will work at all :(

  16. nsaunders Post author

    There’s actually some confusion about LG T1 specs and models. When I run “915resolution -l” it lists 1440×900 as a possible resolution, but I haven’t figured out how/if I can get it. Maybe I need to assign more video RAM. I’m not too concerned as I imagine things would be tiny at that res on a 14″ screen, 1200×800 is plenty for me and easier on the tired old eyes.

  17. Roberto

    Hello everyone,
    My T1 dual express will arrive next monday…
    Now,I’m interested in installing SUSE linux enterprise desktop 10 in this laptop.There is someone who has experience with this distro???Please help….
    :)

  18. nsaunders Post author

    Let the distro wars begin :)

    Never used SUSE myself. I like Ubuntu because normally, “it just works”, although you’ll see from the above discussion that the T1 has some unusual hardware with which even Ubuntu has a few problems. I don’t have a feel for SUSE’s ability to recognise and configure hardware. These days most distros work on most machines – it just depends how much time you want to spend configuring the few problem devices.

  19. Roberto

    Thanks for reply!!!
    :)
    I’ve only used red hat fedora and suse,and between them I think that Suse is the best because It is easiest to configure hardware devices.Now I also have the kunbuntu 6.06 because I have the hobby of collecting the major distros.
    Uhmm…I don’t know..I must decide..but in this moment I’m more a suse man!!!

  20. Simon Voggeneder

    Go for Kubuntu. It’s my favourite and it’s IMHO better than SuSE. SLES does also cost money. Do you really go for it?

    Well.. I cannot boot at the moment – so I will have to use the alternate-CD, hm?

    1280×800,hm? Under Windows, if I select 1200×800, the fonts are all blurred :(

  21. Simon Voggeneder

    Hy there!

    Ubuntu 6.06 up and running =)

    1440×900 works like a charm. I seem to be very lucky right now.

  22. nsaunders Post author

    1440×900 works like a charm

    Well that’s great – but I don’t think that luck comes into it. Did it “just work” or did you have to install the 915resolution package? If not the latter, perhaps the xorg drivers have updated since I tried. Or maybe I just don’t have a 1440×900 capable model…I’m still unsure.

    If you can think of something that you had to install or configure to make this work, do let us know.

  23. Simon Voggeneder

    Hy there. I did install the 915resolution-package and then did a dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg. 1440×900 was available to be used. But 60hz is not normal, isn’t it?

    it’s tiring my eyes using 60hz :(
    as well some problem: when plugging earphones in, speakers are still working. Under windows this does not occur. Seems as if i have to fix sth under Linux.

    Neither hibernation nor suspend seem to work as well.

    ~Simon

  24. nsaunders Post author

    Hmm, tried a dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg myself and just made a mess. Would you be able to post a couple of things (either here or a link to elsewhere)? It’d be great to see your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and the output of “915resolution -l”, and perhaps /etc/default/915resolution too. My “915resolution -l” is currently giving me this:

    Mode 30 : 640×480, 8 bits/pixel
    Mode 32 : 800×600, 8 bits/pixel
    Mode 34 : 1024×768, 8 bits/pixel
    Mode 38 : 1280×1024, 8 bits/pixel
    Mode 3a : 1600×1200, 8 bits/pixel
    Mode 3c : 1280×800, 8 bits/pixel
    Mode 41 : 640×480, 16 bits/pixel
    Mode 43 : 800×600, 16 bits/pixel
    Mode 45 : 1024×768, 16 bits/pixel
    Mode 49 : 1280×1024, 16 bits/pixel
    Mode 4b : 1600×1200, 16 bits/pixel
    Mode 4d : 1280×800, 16 bits/pixel
    Mode 50 : 640×480, 32 bits/pixel
    Mode 52 : 800×600, 32 bits/pixel
    Mode 54 : 1024×768, 32 bits/pixel
    Mode 58 : 1280×1024, 32 bits/pixel
    Mode 5a : 1600×1200, 32 bits/pixel
    Mode 5c : 1280×800, 32 bits/pixel

    which sort of suggests that the 1440×900 has been stolen away. I only get 1280×800 and 1024×768 options from the Gnome desktop.

  25. Conrad

    Thanks for the help with wireless.
    My card is being detected just fine. The problem is that DHCP does not appear to be working under ubuntu. If I do “sudo dhclient” it says:
    DHCPDISCOVER on eth0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 10
    No DHCPOFFERS received.
    No working leases in persistent database – sleeping.

    If I plug in my LAN card it detects and gets a DHCP address automatically.

    Conrad

  26. Conrad

    I got the wireless working. No problem.

    However, I am still having a problem with my bluetooth mouse. It is a logitech mx1000. During pairing it needs a pin, that I believe it generates, to be entered so that the connection is secured. One can’t turn off the security as it’s default in the mouse. What I need to get is the pin from the mouse so I can enter it during the pairing process. Any thoughts?

    Conrad

  27. nsaunders Post author

    What I need to get is the pin from the mouse
    New one on me! Never used bluetooth devices under Linux. Sounds very much like a problem that others will have addressed though – some hints here perhaps?.

    So your eth0 wireless is now fine? Again, the DHCP log that you posted suggested that the card and DHCP setup were fine and the problem was getting a lease from the router.

  28. Conrad Seaman

    My problem with the DHCP was a user issue. AKA I’m an idiot. I’ll see what I can dig up further on the bluetooth, I think the fact is that I need a more compliant bluetooth device. The logitech stuff is rather proprietary.

    Thanks for all the help. Linux nerds unite!!! I’ll be the only one in my law school running linux!!!

    Conrad

  29. Simon Voggeneder

    so am I in my school :(

    Well.. I got the annoying problem that neither hibernation nor suspend seem to work.

    Additionally, if I plug in earphones (did I mention it already?), speakers would not stop giving me an output. Seems as if it was a problem with alsa…

  30. LMS

    For the users seeking 1440×900, did you actually buy the model with that screen resolution?

    All LCD/TFT screens should be set at their native resolution. There are no other options if you want a reasonable quality display.

    Therefore if you want 1440×900 buy the T1 with that screen, if you prefer 1280×800 then buy that model.

    Suggest you look at your box and find out whether you bought WXGA or WXGA+?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WSXGA_Wide_XGA+

  31. Thomas

    I’m also thinking about buying a T1, it surely looks nice and has a nice set of features for its price.
    I’m still curious about the extra keys, though, e.g. disabling WLAN (to enhance battery lifetime) or the fan control. Could some of the lucky guys already having a T1 check this out, please? If the keys seem to do nothing, are there key events emitted when running xev (from console) or does the key appear in the kernel log (just type dmesg in a console after pressing the keys)?

  32. nsaunders Post author

    Most of the special keys do work. I just tried fan control – works. I’m using the wlan now so I’d rather not disable it :) but as I recall, the special key removes the eth0 device.

    As for screen resolution – it’s actually harder than you think to find out the capabilities if (1) you didn’t pay much attention to the model number when purchasing, (2) you’ve never run Windows on the machine and (3) the i810 driver doesn’t communicate with the BIOS properly. ‘915resolution -l’ lists a range of options including 1600×1200. ‘lspci -v’ lists 2 video devices. The Australian website for the model that I own lists only 1200×800. I assume the latter is most likely the max. resolution.

  33. Thomas

    Thanks for the infos, the working keys are another pro for this notebook.
    As far as the resolution is concerned, LG Germany only lists it with 1440×900 resolution. But we don’t have many different models here, anyway. There are only two different models on the German market, but it’s normal that we don’t have as much of a choice as the people in the US, for instance. Well, this time it is to my advantage, it would be worse if there would only be a 1280×800 and no 1440×900 instead of the other way round :-)

  34. kenneth

    Trouble installing 6.06. I’ve just got my t1 and of course I want linux om my new toy:) But I’m not able to install ubuntu (or any other linux distro) on it.

    First I tried the standard live cd. It faild loading, I got a blue screen (windows flash back!) saying something like: “could not load your X driver (your graphic device)….. “. Then I tried the latest Edgy beta, same problem. Last attempt was with the 6.06 Alternate cd. I used the text based install and everything went smooth until it was allmost done. Then everything just hang with a black screen, except for to small white squares.

    Any suggestions for what the problem can be? Is there any hope for me? Please help me anyone!

  35. kenneth

    I solved the problem. I gave the blacksreen some more time, and suddenly my lovely computer rebooted, with linux! :) I still got the bluescreen though, but I was able to manually configure the etc/X11/xorg.conf with the help of a friend with the same graphics card. Then when I rebooted, every thing went smooth. 24 bit colors and 1440 x 900 resolution. Sweeeeeth!

  36. Paul

    I got one of these with the 1440×900 screen. I want to run debian on int, anyone had any luck with that? I get stuck without network card and a screen resolution at 1024×768. Maybe someone (kenneth, no 36?) can post his/her xorg.conf?

  37. Paul

    ok, got it running under debian. compiled the network driver according to instructions above. trouble with screen disappeared after an apt-get update (running debian testing).

  38. DiN

    So far my T1 works fine, with AIGLX xor Xinerama.
    Current problem is the soundcard, which if I plug in a earphone jack into, the sound still comes out from the two of it’s speakers.

  39. Daveed

    The T1 is made in two different resolutions … 1440×900 or 1280×800. Obviously if you bought the 1280×800, then you cannot create the 1440×900 resolution.

    In any case, LCD/TFT screens on any equipment should ALWAYS be used at their native resolution. Unless you like blurry displays.

  40. Daveed

    Regarding the earphone jack problem and sound still coming out of the speakers ….. I would give up on that one … some notebooks/PCs have a hardware switch while others have an electronic switch to turn off the speakers. Unfortunately the T1 has the latter.

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