Uniwill 223ii0

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This computer discussed here is a 12.1" widescreen laptop. It used to be sold in the US by Alienware and is still offered by the good, always helpful folks at LinuxCertified, probably among others. Advantages of this computer:

  • truly excellent screen
  • simple, compact design
  • small weight
  • excellent Linux compatibility (e.g. modem)


  • not-so-great battery life (~2h)

A review can be found here. Note: the problems reported by the reviewer have been solved in the meantime, more details below.

Arch Linux on Uniwill 223ii0

This laptop works very well under Arch. Almost everything works out of the box. Here are a few specific steps to take to enable all functionalities:

  • important - as of kernel 2.6.20, you'll get a kernel panic (i.e., aborted boot) unless your append the following argument to the kernel command line:

For instance, with Arch installed on the first partitition of the first drive and grub as a bootloader, modify the file /boot/grub/menu.lst as follows:

 -- /boot/grub/menu.lst :: cut --
 # (0) Arch Linux
 title  Arch Linux  [/boot/vmlinuz-linux]
 root   (hd0,0) # change this as necessary
 kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/hda1 ro vga=864 earlymodules=piix
 initrd /boot/initramfs-linux.img
 -- /boot/grub/menu.lst :: cut --

  • modem - you need to use the slmodem driver from Smartlink:
pacman -S slmodem

and add slmodem-alsa in the daemons section of /etc/rc.conf. In my experience, slmodem-alsa is more reliable, but depending on the kernel version you may have to use the slmodem instead.

You may experience a few oddities every now and then when using the modem (slow connection, being disconnected unexpectedly), but it works overall.

  • suspend to ram - Used to work without complicated workarounds with Arch stock kernel 2.16.9-1. A mere (as root)
echo -n "mem" > /sys/power/state

suspended the machine. With kernel, suspend to disk still works, but strange things happen when the computer wakes up (no mouse cursor, etc.). Hibernate (suspend to disk) still doesn't work. You may have more success with other Arch kernels.

  • touchpad - best when used with synaptics:
pacman -S synaptics

Don't forget to modify your xorg.conf file accordingly, following the post-install instructions.

A useful graphical tool to fine-tune the reactivity of the touchpad is gsynaptics, which can be found in the 'community' repository.

 pacman -S gsynaptics

  • resolution in console - append

to the kernel line of your grub configuration file (see above) to get a better resolution in console mode. Startup is cleaner, and work in console much more pleasant.

For example:

Note: make sure to change paths as appropriate!

-- /boot/grub/menu.lst :: cut --

# (0) Arch Linux
title  Arch Linux  [/boot/vmlinuz-linux]
root   (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/hda1 ro vga=864 earlymodules=piix
initrd /boot/initramfs-linux.img

 -- /boot/grub/menu.lst :: cut --

  • Xorg - good compatibility using the i810 driver, full resolution can be achieved, and decent results (500-600fps) with glxgears, considering we're using an integrated graphic card. The xorg.conf file produced by xorgconfig works well, but make sure to modify the resolution:
-- xorg.conf file :: cut --

Subsection "Display"
       Depth       24
       Modes       "1280x800"
       ViewPort    0 0

-- xorg.conf file :: cut --

One further note

If you find the computer to be too noisy because of continuous fan activity, a solution (probably among others) is to tweak the BIOS. By disabling the "Maximum Efficiency" features you will have a quieter computer.

External Links