Toshiba Satellite P500-ST2G02

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This is a tutorial on how to install and configure Arch Linux on a Toshiba Satellite P500 Laptop.

Hardware

Custom configuration, purchased on 11/29/2010 from Toshiba Direct:

  • Intel® Core™ i5-460M processor
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 4GB DDR3 1066MHz memory
  • 500GB HDD (7200rpm)
  • 1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M
  • 18.4" screen

Removing Windows

I was thinking of keeping Windows in its own partition, but I had trouble with repartitioning the hard disk. Since I don't really use Windows, I ended up deleting all Windows and Toshiba Restore partitions. For some reason cfdisk (my tool of choice) didn't work here, so I had to use fdisk to do that.

Arch Installation

Both Arch 32 and Arch 64 install flawlessly on the laptop. For compatibility reasons, I decided to go with Arch 32, given that I had to later recompile the kernel with PAE option turned on, in order to access 4GB of RAM.

Install an AUR package manager

First I installed yaourt:

# vim /etc/pacman.conf

Add the following repository:

[archlinuxfr]
Server = http://repo.archlinux.fr/$arch
# pacman -Syu
# pacman -S yaourt

Install the Realtek wireless card driver

The wireles card does not work out of the box, so I had to install the rtl8192se driver from AUR. Note that my card model is 8172, but it does seem to work fine with the 8192se driver.

$ yaourt -S rtl8192se

Install networkmanager after that. I personally prefer wicd, but apparently it doesn't work well with the Realtek 8192 driver.

# pacman -S networkmanager network-manager-applet

Add networkmanager to your DAEMONS in /etc/rc.conf. See bellow for an example of my rc.conf.

Install NVIDIA driver

# pacman -S nvidia

This also adds the proper xorg configuration. X starts and works fine right out of the box. It works in 1680x945 right away - no issues here.

Install the Synaptic driver

The mouse pad works, but it has issues. You need to install Synaptic:

# pacman -S xf86-input-synaptic

Setup permissions

In order to use everything your user must be added to several groups

# gpasswd -a $USER wheel
# gpasswd -a $USER network
# gpasswd -a $USER video
# gpasswd -a $USER audio
# gpasswd -a $USER optical
# gpasswd -a $USER storage
# gpasswd -a $USER scanner
# gpasswd -a $USER power

GNOME

I use Gnome, so in order to get everything on your computer accessible to you, you need to execute Gnome with ck-launch-session:

~/.xinitrc

exec ck-launch-session gnome-session

Laptop Mode Tools

I installed laptop-mode-tools, but it didn't seem to improve anything so I disabled it. The battery life of this laptop is less than an hour and there is not much you can do. I use the laptop as a replacement for a desktop computer, so it's always plugged in.

Multimedia Buttons

The volume buttons work out of the box. I am, however, slightly annoyed with them, because they are a little too close to the keyboard and can be accidentally pressed when typing. They can be disabled from the Gnome menu System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts

Compiling the kernel with PAE included

If you chose to install Arch 86_64, you can skip this section. This is only for those who installed Arch 32 and would like to access more than 3GB of RAM.

You have two options:

  1. Install kernel26-pae from AUR
  2. Recompile the current Arch kernel to turn on the PAE option

I chose to recompile the kernel, which also gave me the opportunity to remove some modules I won't use.

Install the PAE kernel from AUR

If you chose to install the PAE kernel from AUR:

 # yaourt -S kernel26-pae
 # yaourt -S nvidia-pae

It will take about an hour for the kernel to compile.

Recompile the current kernel

I compiled the kernel from ABS. Besides turning on PAE, I also did the following changes to my kernel:

  1. Removed bluetooth and infrared support (my laptop came w/o any of that)
  2. Removed ATA support
  3. Removed tablet, touch screen and others
  4. Changed the CPU type to Core 2/Newer Xenon

After you log in to the new kernel, you will have to recompile the nvidia package too

My /etc/rc.conf

Here is what my /etc/rc.conf looks like:

LOCALE="en_US.UTF-8"
HARDWARECLOCK="localtime"
TIMEZONE="America/Los_Angeles"
KEYMAP="us"
CONSOLEFONT=
CONSOLEMAP=
USECOLOR="yes"
MODULES=(!btusb !bluetooth !toshiba_bluetooth !joydev)
USELVM="no"
HOSTNAME="satellite"
eth0="dhcp"
INTERFACES=(!eth0 !wlan0)
gateway="default gw 192.168.0.1"
ROUTES=(!gateway)
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng dbus networkmanager hal !network !netfs @openntpd @crond @alsa !laptop-mode)