Sunday, 1 February 2009

Samsung X360 [Linux Laptop Wiki]

The X360 is a business notebook with high battery runtime and almost completly designed with Intel components.

This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.
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For full specifications see the Samsung X360 specifications page.
Name Samsung X360
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo ULV SU9300 1.2 GHz
Screen 13.3” (1280×800)
RAM 4096 MB
HDD 120 GB
Graphics Intel GMA X4500
Network 100/1000 MBit Ethernet,Intel WiFi Link 5100 - 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR
Linux Compatibility
Device Compatibility Comments
Processor Yes
Screen Partial No acpi interface to change the backlight. But xrandr can. Please read the notes.
Graphics Yes At least xf86-video-intel-2.5.1 needed
Sound Yes
Ethernet Yes
Wireless Yes Please read the notes
Bluetooth Yes
Card Reader No I've tested it, but didn't get it to work. Hints?
ExpressCard Slot Not Tested
Camera Yes
Fingerprint Reader Yes Is supported by:

I had troubles to boot a 64 bit system on this laptop, so i stick to a 32 bit system. Will try a 64 bit kernel an report back.

The keys for switching wlan on/off, brightness control, volume control, etc. send just partially unknown keycodes that have to be bound with setkeycode. If you wanna use them as hotkeys for those actions, you've got to tell your window manager to do it (since this are mostly things just root is allowed to do sudo is your friend).

Wlan: Works with a newer kernel (i use 2.6.28-rc6 right now), but you have to set in the bios settings “Wireless always on” or there'll be a problem with rfkill, which wont let you activate the card. (This is a known bug, I'll report back when its fixed)
But then you can switch the card on and off by setting the state of rfkill.

HDMI output: Not yet tested, no device for testing here.

Sleep modes: Suspend to Ram works fine, Suspend to disk not tested due to missing swap partition (Who needs a swap partition with 4 GB of Ram?)

There is a bug in the agp drivers that causes crashes of Xorg, if you use CONFIG_HIGHMEM64G.
There's a bugreport about it that contains two patches that fix this issue:
This issue is fixed in kernel 2.6.28.

Battery runtime: Around 7 hours, idle, without wlan on.
Backlight Control

In kernel versions >= 2.6.27 the acpi interface to control the backlight has been removed, but it is still possible to change the backlight.

First set the backlight control to legacy mode:

xrandr -output LVDS --set BACKLIGHT_CONTROL legacy

After this you can set the backlight with:

xrandr -output LVDS --set BACKLIGHT $VALUE

Allowed VALUEs are between 0 (off) and 255 (burns your retina).

(Thanks, Martin, for the comment and link)
Improving Battery Runtime

1. Remove the bluetooth support, if you dont need bluetooth always. You can add hci_usb to the blacklist file of modprobe so the driver doesn't get loaded in the boot process.
2. Because of the glossy display its not possible to work with the laptop at daylight in on of the lower brightness states without getting reflections from everywhere. The limit how much power to save and how many reflections to accept is a personal choice. Maybe its best to work with a very bright ui style.
3. Try powertop to find out what keeps the kernel from sleeping.

Because most of the parts inside are made by Intel the linux support is pretty good.

(And if i had known those little things like the 64 bit or the rfkill problem, it wouldn't have taken me so long to get this far)
Open Bugs

Missing Backlight control:
rfkill behaviour:
wlan status led:

Have you installed Linux on this laptop? If so how about leaving a comment about your success in the discussion section below.

If you are looking to purchase a laptop with Linux pre-installed you can visit Dell UK's Ubuntu website.

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