Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM - Portable

This is a discussion on Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM - Portable ; Hi all! I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay, and it's coming with an Exp CD Traveler CD-2020, which I believe (?) is a 20x device, with a PCMCIA interface card. I've got a couple of questions: 1. ...

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Thread: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

  1. Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

    Hi all!

    I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay, and it's coming with an
    Exp CD Traveler CD-2020, which I believe (?) is a 20x device, with a
    PCMCIA interface card. I've got a couple of questions:

    1. What's the largest HDD size supported by the latest 110CT BIOS? The
    version history is uncommunicative. I have a 6, a 12 and some 20s
    lying around at home, I'm hoping I can use 20 without outlandish
    hackery.

    2. Can someone confirm that when I install a new HDD, I simply leave
    the last 64Mb (say 100Mb to be safe) unpartitioned, and the BIOS will
    use that space for hibernation? Nothing else special I have to do?

    3. Has anyone apart from
    attempted to
    install Red Hat 9.0 on a 110CT? I believe the CD-ROM is an ATAPI
    device, so I'm assuming that the PCMCIA-ATA module will support it. So
    I should be able to boot off the install floppy and install off CD,
    n'est-ce pas?

    4. I found some tantalizing references to third-party RAM expansion
    for this machine, that would add 128Mb to the on-board 32Mb. Does such
    an upgrade exist - if so, where?

    Any other hints on this machine and Linux would be appreciated

  2. Re: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

    > I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay

    Won? The seller won.

    > Any other hints on this machine and Linux would be appreciated


    see http://www.silverace.com/libretto/



  3. Re: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM


    "Gritz" wrote in message
    news:vnmgbrmc07d5d7@corp.supernews.com...
    > > I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay

    >
    > Won? The seller won.


    Not really, I paid a reasonable price, and I have wanted a Libretto ever
    since I first saw the 50CT.

    > > Any other hints on this machine and Linux would be appreciated

    >
    > see http://www.silverace.com/libretto/


    Unfortunately, most of the "interesting" links are 404s.




  4. Re: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

    Lewin A.R.W. Edwards wrote:
    > Hi all!
    >
    > I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay, and it's coming with an
    > Exp CD Traveler CD-2020, which I believe (?) is a 20x device, with a
    > PCMCIA interface card. I've got a couple of questions:
    >
    > 1. What's the largest HDD size supported by the latest 110CT BIOS? The
    > version history is uncommunicative. I have a 6, a 12 and some 20s
    > lying around at home, I'm hoping I can use 20 without outlandish
    > hackery.
    >
    > 2. Can someone confirm that when I install a new HDD, I simply leave
    > the last 64Mb (say 100Mb to be safe) unpartitioned, and the BIOS will
    > use that space for hibernation? Nothing else special I have to do?
    >
    > 3. Has anyone apart from
    > attempted to
    > install Red Hat 9.0 on a 110CT? I believe the CD-ROM is an ATAPI
    > device, so I'm assuming that the PCMCIA-ATA module will support it. So
    > I should be able to boot off the install floppy and install off CD,
    > n'est-ce pas?
    >
    > 4. I found some tantalizing references to third-party RAM expansion
    > for this machine, that would add 128Mb to the on-board 32Mb. Does such
    > an upgrade exist - if so, where?
    >
    > Any other hints on this machine and Linux would be appreciated


    Perhaps you can find useful info on my webpage,

    http://home.hccnet.nl/pr.nienhuis/Lib110CT.html

    It's for a 110CT but that's the same as a 100CT save for a faster
    processor and a bigger HD.
    As regards your HD, most info is on the Windows page there (I got
    Windows, OS/2 and ofcourse Linux running on it), especially the
    hibernation stuff (just a bit of a PITA).

    HTH,

    Philip


  5. Re: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

    www.silverace.com/libretto/

    >> I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay, and it's coming with an
    >> Exp CD Traveler CD-2020, which I believe (?) is a 20x device, with a
    >> PCMCIA interface card. I've got a couple of questions:
    >>
    >> 1. What's the largest HDD size supported by the latest 110CT BIOS? The
    >> version history is uncommunicative. I have a 6, a 12 and some 20s
    >> lying around at home, I'm hoping I can use 20 without outlandish
    >> hackery.


    Any 9.5mm HD listed on the site above will work fine. Anything up
    to the latest 80GB Hitachi HDs will work.

    NOTE!!!: Due to the design of the Libretto BIOS, it puts the
    hibernation data (hibernate to disk) at the 8.4GB boundary. Thus, you
    MUST partition around the 8.4GB area or you will lose data when the
    Libretto hibernates to disk. This is a set feature fixed by the BIOS
    and not any OS, and you cannot change this (unless you know how to hack
    the BIOS).

    For example, you will have a primary active bootable partition from
    the beginning of the HD until about the 8.4GB point. the next 200MB or
    so will be left empty and unpartitioned. A second partition (or more)
    can be created after the 8.4GB limit.

    See Libretto Mailing List Archives for quite a few threads on this
    topic and how to discover the exact location on the HD where this
    hiberation data is written.

    (eg. create a small 1-2GB partition on the HD, install an OS. Wipe
    the rest of the HD to 0's with a binary disk editor like WinHex.
    Hibernate to disk, then wake the PC. Search the HD for the areas where
    data has been written - ie. not 0 - around the 8.4GB area. Partition
    around this, leaving 50-100MB on both sides to be safe.)

    ---

    If you use any OS except Linux, Win2k/XP, you will need to install a
    disk manager program such as EZ-Drive (recommended) in order for the OS
    to see and handle the entire drive capacity. Thus, Win98 users will
    need to use EZ-Drive (or any other drive manager) to see any new HDs
    installed in the Libretto that is larger than 8GB in size -- even a 10GB
    HD will need it if you wish to use all 10GB. It is built into the other
    OSs mentioned.

    >> 2. Can someone confirm that when I install a new HDD, I simply leave
    >> the last 64Mb (say 100Mb to be safe) unpartitioned, and the BIOS will
    >> use that space for hibernation? Nothing else special I have to do?


    Only if the HD is <=8GB. Otherwise, see above. Prefer to leave
    >150MB free because you may expand to 128MB later, and it does write a

    bit more than that to disk.

    >> 3. Has anyone apart from
    >> attempted to
    >> install Red Hat 9.0 on a 110CT? I believe the CD-ROM is an ATAPI
    >> device, so I'm assuming that the PCMCIA-ATA module will support it. So
    >> I should be able to boot off the install floppy and install off CD,
    >> n'est-ce pas?


    Believe quite a few Libretto Mailling List users have already tried
    this. Join and ask them - http://libretto.basiclink.com/

    >> 4. I found some tantalizing references to third-party RAM expansion
    >> for this machine, that would add 128Mb to the on-board 32Mb. Does such
    >> an upgrade exist - if so, where?


    If there is any RAM module larger than the largest known (32MB),
    making for a total of 64MB total RAM on the L100/110 models, then it's
    gotta be a Japanese-only product or hack.

    Thus far, no known, confirmed upgrades beyond a total of 64MB (32MB
    motherboard, 32MB ram module) has been discovered.

    >> Any other hints on this machine and Linux would be appreciated


    http://www.silverace.com/libretto/ & Libretto Mailing List & its
    archives


  6. Re: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

    Hello David and Philip

    > >> I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay, and it's coming with an

    >
    > Any 9.5mm HD listed on the site above will work fine. Anything up
    > to the latest 80GB Hitachi HDs will work.


    Okay...

    > NOTE!!!: Due to the design of the Libretto BIOS, it puts the
    > hibernation data (hibernate to disk) at the 8.4GB boundary. Thus, you


    Yeah, I read a lot about this. It was confusing because of BIOS
    translation issues. The drives I really wanted to install (20, 30G)
    always showed up differently on the L100 vs. my install system.
    Because of difficulty/complication in trying to install direct on the
    L100, I installed on a spare SBC I had lying around, and moved the
    hard drive across.

    What I wound up doing was searching my junkpile for a HDD that looked
    the same on both systems. I finally selected a 10Gb drive. This is
    really more space than I need. The machine is being used for email,
    writing on-the-go, and for field diagnostics. Nothing HDD-intensive.

    The HDD was detected as 1222,255,63. I partitioned as follows:
    hda1 (root partition, /) - cyl 0-1014
    hda2 (dummy partition for hibernation, type da "non-FS data") -
    1015-1031
    hda3 (swap) - 1032-1063
    hda4 (documents, /data) - 1064-1222

    > If you use any OS except Linux, Win2k/XP, you will need to install a


    It's OK, I only use Linux.

    > this. Join and ask them - http://libretto.basiclink.com/


    Hmm... nothing much there! No archives, no list activity...

    Anyway, further things I did:

    * overclocked to 233MHz. Stable, and much more frisky than 166. BTW,
    the L100 is the easiest-to-disassemble laptop I have ever owned. Just
    a few screws, no hidden magic catches.
    * tested batteries. Wow. I get nearly four hours runtime out of both
    of them. It was a good buy.
    * replaced 2.5mm headphone jack with 3.5mm jack (this is a bit of a
    hack
    * moved to kernel 2.4.22
    * PCMCIA/CardBus support using yenta module (a little tweaking
    required)
    * audio module does not load automagically, I must manually modprobe
    it in rc.local
    * up and running with SMC2642W 802.11b WLAN (yaay! I can sit in the
    car waiting for my wife at the railroad station and keep up with email

    * stripped down all the crap RH9 loads (!)
    * installed fvwm and configured a minimalist X environment

    Video performance is surprisingly good. I really like this machine, I
    wish the newer Crusoe-based Librettos were (a) available in the US,
    and (b) in the same L100 form factor.

    Thanks for your recommendations.

  7. Re: Libretto 100CT, Linux, PCMCIA CD-ROM

    David Chien wrote:
    > www.silverace.com/libretto/
    >
    >>> I just won a Toshiba Libretto 100CT on eBay, and it's coming with an
    >>> Exp CD Traveler CD-2020, which I believe (?) is a 20x device, with a
    >>> PCMCIA interface card. I've got a couple of questions:
    >>>
    >>> 1. What's the largest HDD size supported by the latest 110CT BIOS? The
    >>> version history is uncommunicative. I have a 6, a 12 and some 20s
    >>> lying around at home, I'm hoping I can use 20 without outlandish
    >>> hackery.


    [snip]

    > NOTE!!!: Due to the design of the Libretto BIOS, it puts the
    > hibernation data (hibernate to disk) at the 8.4GB boundary. Thus, you
    > MUST partition around the 8.4GB area or you will lose data when the
    > Libretto hibernates to disk. This is a set feature fixed by the BIOS
    > and not any OS, and you cannot change this (unless you know how to hack
    > the BIOS).


    True. To some extent a PITA.

    [snip]

    > If you use any OS except Linux, Win2k/XP, you will need to install a
    > disk manager program such as EZ-Drive (recommended) in order for the OS
    > to see and handle the entire drive capacity. Thus, Win98 users will
    > need to use EZ-Drive (or any other drive manager) to see any new HDs
    > installed in the Libretto that is larger than 8GB in size -- even a 10GB
    > HD will need it if you wish to use all 10GB. It is built into the other
    > OSs mentioned.


    Well... I disagree a bit on the disk manager part. Here's why:

    AFAIK, once proper entries have been written in the Master Boot Record
    of any computer's HD, *any* operating system (OS) installed there should
    be able to access all of that hard disk's space, provided of course that
    the OS is by design able to access all of it (FYI, plain DOS can't see
    beyond 8.4 GB).
    A disk manager like EZ does little more than emulating a "properly"
    written MBR - now if an OS can use that emulated MBR, then it should be
    able to run correctly if the real MBR is okay, too; or do I overlook
    something?
    Even Win9x, once installed, never ever again asks the BIOS for hard disk
    size. It just accepts whatever has been written to the MBR, period.

    The problem with the Libretto 100/110 is that its BIOS lies to disk
    partitioning software which asks THE BIOS for the disk size, rather than
    asking it the HARD DISK ITSELF. Notable examples are all OS-es which
    have disk partitioning software running in DOS, i.e. FDISK. As a result,
    on Lib100/110 notebooks FDISK (which itself is not at fault) can never
    write out MBRs entries which reach up beyond the 8.4 GB limit. (BTW,
    this BIOS trickery has to do with the somewhat crippled or maybe even
    kludgey way the hibernation routines have been implemented in the Lib's
    BIOS.)

    The explanation above almost naturally suggests the by far easiest
    solution to have e.g., Win9x access HD space beyond 8 GB:

    => just _avoid_ DOS/Win9x FDISK <=

    and partition your HD simply from an OS which does ask the HD for its
    size, and not the BIOS. Once that OS has written the MBR, you can safely
    install e.g., Win98 provided you do not let it touch the partition
    scheme. Really, it is that simple.
    But suppose you did use DOS/W9x FDISK, then it is even possible (I did
    so successfully) to overwrite the MBR *after* installation of Win9x,
    provided you leave the entries below 8.4 GB intact and only fiddle with
    partition entries > 8.4 GB (of course with partition software which
    avoids the BIOS).

    In other words: no disk manager is needed _at all_ on Librettos 100/110
    to access HD space beyond 8.4 GB for any OS (save for plain DOS, which
    cannot "by design"). All you need to do is to avoid DOS/Win9x FDISK.
    I have done as outlined above several times now on my Lib110; I used
    Linux fdisk and OS/2 Warp FDISK, and Win98 simply took whatever these
    fdisk programs put in the MBR for granted. You can also use Partition
    Magic, Ranish, Wilm Bockey's BIOS cheat reversal trick
    (http://bockey.ipcon.de/MB_DOS/LDS100CT.HTM), ...., whatever.

    Apart from the (deliberately) crippled hard disk size reports, all
    routines needed for disk access > 8.4 GB have been properly implemented
    in the Lib100/110's BIOS. But then again, many OS-es bypass the BIOS for
    disk access once they are booted, and for good reasons.

    >
    >>> 2. Can someone confirm that when I install a new HDD, I simply leave
    >>> the last 64Mb (say 100Mb to be safe) unpartitioned, and the BIOS will
    >>> use that space for hibernation? Nothing else special I have to do?


    You need at least 71 MB: max. 64 MB RAM + 2 MB video mem + some data
    structures, the total rounded up to the nearest cylinder boundary. But
    wasting 30 MB extra on 10+ GB hard disks just to be safe wouldn't hurt
    much, would it :-)
    Hint: what I did is use DOS FDISK (sic) to empty the HD and then make
    one partition as large as possible. Next I rebooted with a Linux (or
    OS/2) installation, took note of the end cylinder put there by DOS FDISK
    (in cylinder # or MBs, whatever), added 80 MB or so and repartitioned
    the entire HD while avoiding the 80 MB space.

    > Only if the HD is <=8GB. Otherwise, see above. Prefer to leave
    > >150MB free because you may expand to 128MB later, and it does write a

    > bit more than that to disk.


    Let's pray for that 128 MB option to happen (I do like my Libby but 64
    MB RAM isn't much, not even running Linux with ReiserFS and IceWM Light,
    especially not with an AthlonXP 1600+ / 512 MB RAM desktop next to it.....)

    >>> 3. Has anyone apart from
    >>> attempted to
    >>> install Red Hat 9.0 on a 110CT? I believe the CD-ROM is an ATAPI
    >>> device, so I'm assuming that the PCMCIA-ATA module will support it. So
    >>> I should be able to boot off the install floppy and install off CD,
    >>> n'est-ce pas?


    Maybe you are lucky and you need only one boot floppy for that. If you
    need two, you can't install this way and you must boot DOS and use
    loadlin.exe to boot an installation kernel & proper initrd image &
    proper options from your hard disk (a FAT or FAT32 partition). Even in
    that case I hope the PCMCIA initrd stuff will properly initialize the
    PCMCIA sockets (at least until recently the Libretto TOPIC97 PC-Card
    controllers haven't quite been "open source", maybe that's why linux
    support has been a tiny bit flakey there sometimes). I use Mandrake, and
    only starting with Mandrake 9.0 this initialization went OK. Before that
    I got always trapped in nasty questions about CD-ROM player type/brand.
    BTW, you might try to fiddle with the PCMCIA BIOS settings.

    > Believe quite a few Libretto Mailling List users have already tried
    > this. Join and ask them - http://libretto.basiclink.com/


    The searchable archives are here: http://www.technoir.nu/libretto/list/

    Good luck,

    Philip


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