Samsung N140

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This article provides information about installing and setting up Arch Linux on the Samsung N140. It is also relevant for the Samsung N130 which is identical except for the omission of Bluetooth and stereo speakers (and possibly a different battery capacity). There are versions of the N130 which include a 3G cellular modem, available from Vodafone and China Mobile. The Samsung NC10 is similar but not identical to the N140, so you may or may not find useful information on that page.

BIOS issues

No backlight setting via ACPI

A workaround is to use setpci as shown below.

Alternatively there is a kernel patch (unrelated to the SATA freeze problem) available which changes the backlight brightness using SMI instead of poking PCI config space. It provides a kernel module called "samsung-laptop". Interestingly we see from a version of this patch which is included in OpenSUSE 11.1 that a special (as yet unreleased?) BIOS for the N130 can be informed that the OS is Linux. The effect of this hasn't been published. Suggestion: run the samsung-laptop module with its debug parameter set to 1 to check whether it does anything at all.

No key releases for some Fn keys

Some of the Fn keys give key press events but no key releases. This problem was also seen on the NC10 and NC20. A workaround is given below. For kernels 2.6.32 and later this can be done from userspace.


Do the standard Arch installation procedure from the ARCH CD ISO using an external USB CDROM drive. Alternatively boot the Arch installer from a USB flash drive. The standard Arch kernel is recommended.

A number of users have used a custom kernel for the following reasons:

  • to boot with a minimal kernel containing just the required modules and without an initial ramdisk

Custom kernel without initrd

An AUR package linux-n130AUR is available. In this kernel most drivers are compiled in and there is no initial ramdisk. The drivers for cpu frequency scaling (acpi-cpufreq), wifi (ath9k, rtl8192e) and webcam (uvcvideo) are compiled as modules (i.e. not compiled in) so they can be inserted or removed from the kernel to enable or disable those features. Modules files in /etc/modules.d can be used to enable or disable loading at boot.

Prepare the directory

$ mkdir ~/builds
$ mkdir ~/builds/linux-n130
$ cd ~/builds/linux-n130

Get the AUR package and untar it

$ wget
$ tar zxvf linux-n130.tar.gz
$ cd linux-n130

At this point you can edit the PKGBUILD file if you need to change the name or version number, change options or add additional patches.

Check the PKGBUILD. Don't experiment with the CK patchset at this point:


Compile it (this will take some time...):

$ makepkg -s

Install the kernel from the new .pkg.tar.xz file.

Then insert a new item in your boot loader configuration file to boot the new kernel "linux-N130". Note that no initrd line is necessary for this kernel.

For GRUB edit /boot/grub/grub.cfg. The syntax looks like this (sda1 = your root partition; sda2 = your swap partition):

menuentry "Arch Linux N130" {
 set root=(hd0,1)
 linux /boot/vmlinuz-N130 root=/dev/sda1 resume=/dev/sda2 ro quiet 

For GRUB Legacy edit /boot/grub/menu.lst. The syntax looks like this:

# (3) Arch Linux N130
title  Arch Linux Custom N130 Kernel
root   (hd0,YOURROOT-1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-N130 root=/dev/sdaYOURROOT resume=/dev/sdaYOURSWAP ro quiet

Reboot. If you have problems the standard Arch kernel is still installed and selectable from the GRUB menu.

Note: The linux-n130 has the i915 module compiled in with KMS enabled by default. There is no need to set up KMS as described below unless you wish to disable it.

Configure your installation


RTL8101e/8102e fast ethernet. Works out of the box.


The supplied wifi device is either an Atheros AR9285 (PCI ID = 168c:002b) (European markets) or a Realtek RTL8192E (US and UK markets).

Atheros AR9285

02:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) [168c:002b] (rev 01)

The kernel module for this device is "ath9k". Kernels 2.6.32 release candidates and later seem to work fine.

Realtek RTL8192E

Open source driver

The native Linux driver for this wireless device is still in preparation, but it is available as a kernel module "rtl8192e" in "staging" -- i.e. in preparation for inclusion in the kernel and available to try out, but likely to still have some problems. It has been reported as working [1]. linux-firmware package is required. See

On rebooting, the kernel messages (visible with "dmesg") should now indicate that rtl819xE finds the firmware for loading into the device.

Note: wicd may cause excessive dropped connections with this driver, while NetworkManager appears to work better.


It has been reported as working with ndiswrapper which makes use of the closed source Windows driver under Linux.

Cellular 3G Modem

Specifications required

Graphics Adapter

The video controller is an Intel chipset that works with the xf86-video-intel driver.

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GME Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27ae] (rev 03)
00:02.1 Display controller [0380]: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27a6] (rev 03)

Kernel Mode Setting

See also Intel#KMS_.28Kernel_Mode_Setting.29.

KMS works providing real consoles at the native LCD resolution, 1024x600. There is a known problem with 2.6.32 kernels (later release candidates up to at least release, which results in screen flickering and blackouts about 5 minutes after resuming from suspend-to-RAM or suspend-to-disk.

  • If you encounter screen flickering or blackouts with KMS enabled, try setting i915.powersave=0 as a kernel boot option
  • Since version 2.10.0 of xf86-video-intel, support for UMS has been removed from the intel driver. This means that KMS is a requirement now
Method A

If you are using a kernel with no inital ramdisk and you can simply add the required options to the GRUB kernel line:

# (3) Arch Linux N130
title  Arch Linux Custom N130 Kernel
root   (hd0,YOURROOT-1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz26-N130 root=/dev/sdaYOURROOT resume=/dev/sdaYOURSWAP ro quiet i915.powersave=0 i915.modeset=1
Method B

If you are using an initial ramdisk (either the standard kernel or the custom kernel method B above) then do the following:

Edit /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf:

options i915 powersave=0 
options i915 modeset=1

Edit /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:

MODULES="intel_agp i915"

Put keymap early in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf HOOKS. Regenerate the init ramdisk for the kernel(s) you are running:

$ mkinitcpio -p linux


$ mkinitcpio -p linux-n140

Remove any vga= or video= from grub /boot/grub/menu.lst kernel line, and reboot.

Backlight Brightness

xbacklight does not work currently. However the brightness can be set with the following command

setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B=hh

where hh is the level of brightness, in the range 00 to FF. Don't set it to zero because your backlight will turn off!

Note this does not require the samsung-laptop patch mentioned above.

Use the following script to increase and decrease the brightness. Put it in /sbin/backlight for example. Use xbindkeys to bind commands to the backlight Fn keys. Obtain sudo permission for user to use those commands with visudo.

# increase/decrease/set/get the backlight brightness (range 0-255) by 16
#get current brightness in hex and convert to decimal
var1=$(setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B)
case "$1" in
              #calculate new brightness
              var2=$(echo "ibase=10; obase=16; a=($var1d+16);if (a<255) print a else print 255" | bc)
              echo "$0: increasing brightness from 0x$var1 to 0x$var2"
              setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B=$var2
              #calculate new brightness
              var2=$(echo "ibase=10; obase=16; a=($var1d-16);if (a>15) print a else print 15" | bc)
              echo "$0: decreasing brightness from 0x$var1 to 0x$var2"
              setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B=$var2
              #n.b. this does allow "set 0" i.e. backlight off
              echo "$0: setting brightness to 0x$2"
              setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B=$2
              echo "$0: current brightness is 0x$var1"
              if [ $var1d -eq 0 ] ; then
                      echo "toggling up"
                      setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B=FF
                      echo "toggling down"
                      setpci -s 00:02.1 F4.B=0
              echo "usage: $0 {up|down|set <val>|get|toggle}"
exit 0

External VGA

External VGA works out of the box with xrandr / krandrtray. Tested at 1920x1080 resolution.


The audio device is an Intel HD.

00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller [8086:27d8] (rev 02)

Suspend and hibernate

Suspend to RAM with pm-suspend works.

It is most useful to trigger suspends using acpid.

To catch the "sleep" function key, edit /etc/acpi/ so that the button/sleep) event calls /usr/sbin/pm-suspend (instead of "echo mem > /sys/power/state" which may leave wifi down after resume):

 case "$2" in
  SLPB) logger "Sleep button pressed, suspending to RAM"
  *)    logger "ACPI action undefined: $2"

When catching the lid closure, the button/lid event will be seen twice -- once on suspend and again on resume. So use the lid state to distinguish between these so that pm-suspend is not triggered twice.

Enter the following lines in /etc/acpi/

  if [ $(/bin/awk '{print $2}' /proc/acpi/button/lid/LID0/state) = closed ]; then

Hibernate works correctly. See pm-utils.

If you are a KDE4 user you can take advantage of powerdevil (included in kdemod-core/kdemod-kdebase-workspace since release 4.2) to manipulate the screen brightness, cpu scaling and hibernate. Suspend from KDE works too, but if you are using to suspend on the button/lid and button/sleep acpi events, then KDE only needs to lock the screen. Note that cpu scaling requires acpi-cpufreq module to be loaded at boot.

Fn keys

Firstly edit /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/30-keymap-misc.fdi and insert N140 into the list where you see NC10 already.

Now in a real console


will show presses for the function keys, but no releases for some of them.

This is a BIOS issue which was also found on the Samsung NC10. A workaround quirk was put in the kernel in atkbd.c for the NC10. Patching this routine to apply the same quirk also works for the N140. There is a much simpler solution because this quirk can now be applied from user space. Simply create a systemd tmpfile with the following line:

 w /sys/devices/platform/i8042/serio0/force_release - - - - 130,131,132,134,136,137,179,247,249

After this is run, doing showkey in a real console will show key presses and releases.

Binding Fn keys with xbindkeys

The following has been tested with KDE, but should also work for other DEs.

To bind the Fn keys to action, read Extra Keyboard Keys.

The suspend key Fn+ESC and disable touchpad Fn+F10 keys, numlock, scroll lock, volume controls and mute work out of the box.

Note, that suspend key is handled in /etc/acpi/ (see "button/sleep" case entry) as shown above.

  1. Install xbindkeys
  2. Check the key values with xbindkeys -mk
  3. Edit .xbindkeysrc
    "sudo /sbin/backlight up"
        m:0x0 + c:233
    "sudo /sbin/backlight down"
        m:0x0 + c:232
        m:0x0 + c:244
    "sudo /sbin/backlight toggle"
        m:0x0 + c:156
        m:0x0 + c:157
        m:0x0 + c:210
        m:0x0 + c:246
  4. Run xbindkeys, and try it out

For KDE4 put a link to /usr/bin/xbindkeys in ~/.kde4/Autostart:

 ln -s /usr/bin/xbindkeys ~/.kde4/Autostart/

The Fn+F3 ("Euro") key: here Samsung implemented what has been called an entertaingly hilarious hack. Fortunately some eurozone models have a real Euro key as well.

Binding Fn keys in Openbox

In Openbox one can use the internal keybind setup instead of xbindkeys. Here is an excerpt from rc.xml:

   <keybind key="XF86Battery">
     <action name="Execute">
   <keybind key="XF86Display">
     <action name="Execute">
   <keybind key="XF86Launch1">
     <action name="Execute">
   <keybind key="XF86Launch2">
     <action name="Execute">
       <command>nice python ~/.config/openbox/scripts/ --update</command>
   <keybind key="XF86Launch3">
     <action name="Execute">
   <keybind key="XF86AudioMute">
     <action name="Execute">
       <command>~/.PersonalBin/volume mute</command>
   <keybind key="XF86WLAN">
     <action name="Execute">
   <keybind key="XF86AudioLowerVolume">
     <action name="Execute">
       <command>~/.PersonalBin/volume -</command>
   <keybind key="XF86AudioRaiseVolume">
     <action name="Execute">
       <command>~/.PersonalBin/volume +</command>
   <keybind key="XF86MonBrightnessDown">
     <action name="PreviousWindow">
         <action name="Focus"/>
         <action name="Raise"/>
   <keybind key="XF86MonBrightnessUp">
     <action name="NextWindow">
         <action name="Focus"/>
         <action name="Raise"/>

Saving Power

Read Laptop#Power_Management.

Note: Caution is advised here with hdparm settings because the issue with SATA freezing is related to power management and spindowns. Before you tune the Samsung N130/N140 to minimize power consumption it is strongly recommended that you resolve the SATA freezing issue as discussed above.

The Samsung N130/N140 contains a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom ULV (ultra low voltage) N270 processor, designed for low power consumption. The power consumption of the netbook (not just the processor) can be as low as 6W on idle with HDD spun down, although a typical figure under normal usage would be considerably higher.

Obviously the battery life depends on battery capacity as well as power consumption. The supplied battery varies in different markets. This list is a guideline only. Do not rely on this information before purchase -- check with YOUR vendor and update this wiki if it is incorrect:

Voltage 11.1V
N130             = 4000mAh [44Wh] (most markets), 5200mAh [57Wh] (Sweden)
N130 (Vodafone)  = ? [?] (Spain)
N130 (CMCC)      = ? [?] (China)
N140             = 5200mAh [57Wh] (US, Germany, France, Sweden), 5900mAh [65Wh] (UK)
Extended battery = 7800mAh [86Wh]

Install powertop which is a very useful tool for measuring and tuning power consumption.

Enable CPU frequency scaling (P-states) by loading the driver module acpi-cpufreq. This is most conveniently done dropping a namesake file in /etc/modules-load.d:


Select the CPU frequency governor by adding the following lines to a systemd tmpfile:

 w /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor - - - - ondemand
 w /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor - - - - ondemand
Note: Contrary to the advice in many places hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda does NOT necessarily turn off advanced power management. What happens depends on the disk model. With the Samsung HM160HI disk 255 results in very frequent spindowns