The Acer Travelmate 312T is a cute A5 format subnotebook. I bought it because it was smallest 800x600 TFT display machine I could find. It's lightweight, relatively cheap, well built, and has all the ports you might need built in. You can find details on the machine here. The rest of this page is about how I managed to install Linux on it.
A general problem with installation of any release on this machine is that the current (2.0.36) IDE driver cannot mount the PCMCIA CD-ROM drive shipped with the 312T. A fix for this is supplied below, but as it requires you to recompile the kernel, you're in a chicken and egg situation. If you have a second machine on which Linux is already installed then you can compile a kernel with the fix on that, otherwise you're stuck with the tortuous route I describe here.
I have only used Red Hat 5.1 and 5.2; if you have experience with any other releases, please pass on the details.
To install Red Hat 5.1/5.2 with no additional machine:
Now how do I get rid of this darn FAT16 partition?
If you're willing to make use of the space as a separate ext2 partition, then just use fdisk to reformat it. If you want to merge the space back into your already existing ext2 partition, you need to do the following:
The Red Hat 5.2 distribution (at least the boxed set that I used) has PCMCIA card services version 3.0.5. This has a bug in it which causes the machine to lock up completely (only removing the battery will cure it). You will need to download the latest version of card services (the fix is in version 3.0.6 onwards) and compile it. You will find it at the PCMCIA FTP site.
It does, though Red Hat 5.1 doesn't support the NeoMagic chipset at all, and the Red Hat 5.2 installation doesn't seem to work quite right. I ended up using XFCom_NeoMagic, Version 2.0.0, following the instructions given in the README, and it appears to be working OK. The links I've given here are direct to RedHat's ftp site; if this doesn't work for you, check their mirrors list.
Here's a copy of my XF86Config file, in case that helps.
Getting sound to work required two things: first getting the PnP configuration correct, which enables root to use sound OK, and secondly setting permissions on the audio devices in the /dev directory so that non-root users can use them. Getting the PnP settings right is hampered by the fact that Windows reports the soundcard as having different settings to those that actually work correctly. Here's my isapnp.conf file, which works for me.
The audio devices, by default, are only read/write enabled for root. Other users only have either read or write access to each, which causes programs that make use of sound (e.g. xgalaga) to core dump. Setting permissions on the audio devices as follows worked for me:
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 4 May 5 1998 audio
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 20 May 5 1998 audio1
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 3 May 5 1998 dsp
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 19 May 5 1998 dsp1
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 2 May 5 1998 midi00
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 18 May 5 1998 midi01
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 34 May 5 1998 midi02
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 50 May 5 1998 midi03
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 0 May 5 1998 mixer
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 16 May 5 1998 mixer1
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 1 May 5 1998 sequencer
crw-rw-rw- 1 root sys 14, 6 May 5 1998 sndstat
Make the following change to drivers/block/ide.c and recompile the kernel:
#define ENABLE_MY_FIXES 1
int ide_wait_stat (ide_drive_t *drive, byte good, byte bad,
unsigned long timeout)
/* allow status to settle, then read it again */
if (drive->media == ide_cdrom)
udelay(1); /* allow status to settle, then read it again */
if (OK_STAT((stat = GET_STAT()), good, bad))
ide_error(drive, "status error", stat);
N.B. Although this fix allows the CD-ROM drive to be mounted OK, there is still a sequence of "tray open or drive not ready" messages on startup and shutdown. This doesn't seem to cause any permanent problems, however it probably means that there's another delay in there somewhere that's not long enough.
N.B.2. This is an overkill fix in that it isn't specific to this particular CD-ROM drive. Any pointers as to the correct way of allowing this to be incorporated into the standard ide.c without affecting anyone else's CD-ROM drives would be appreciated.
I've just been told that the Linux driver available at http://www.linmodems.org/linux568.zip works fine for the 312T, though I've not had a chance to try it myself yet... Thanks to Davide for this information.
If this page hasn't answered your questions about the Acer Travelmate 312T and Linux, feel free to mail me (though I haven't worked on this in years), or alternatively try one of the following links: