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Thread: Gateway M275 with Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04.1)

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Gateway M275 Tablet laptop with Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04.1)

    I was recently given a Gateway M275 Tablet PC laptop in a non-functioning state. This laptop ships with Windows XP Tablet, but a clean format and the Recovery CD failed to bring it back to a working state. I thought "If I'm going to have to fight with laptop drivers, I might as well fight with Linux drivers".

    (I may summarize my Windows results later, but that is basically outside the scope of this forum apart from what it may tell me about my hardware specifically)

    So, this is a report on the things I've learned, and perhaps more importantly, the issues I am still trying to resolve.

    If you read this and find it helpful, please drop a comment saying so.
    Or, if you read this and it doesn't address some problem (either something else that you have solved, or something that hasn't even yet been solved) a response would be helpful there too.

    Any pointers and or help about outstanding issues would be greatly appreciated.

    As a disclaimer: I am certainly not a Linux expert, but I like to think I am a quick leaner. If I've made mistakes, please help me make corrections for the entire community's benefit.

    bonus tags: Gateway, M275, tablet, linux, ubuntu, hardy, 8.04, gnome, wacom, drivers, graphics
    Last edited by ScottHW; November 21st, 2008 at 06:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Checking for errors, Installing Ubuntu; Issues remain

    I thought it might be possible that this laptop had graphics hardware issues. During the Windows XP reinstall, the Safe Mode always hangs while/after loading "AGPCPQ.SYS". A number of other forums across the interweb report similar problems. Even after a fresh format and new install, the problem persisted. The computer was able to take an Install from a different Windows XP Pro install CD, and make it all the way to the desktop, graphics and all, so I had some hope.

    I started with a new LiveCD, to see if any of the laptop's functions would work. To my satisfacton, the LiveCD booted, and I was able to cruise around GNOME successfully.

    So, let's check the HDD to see if there are any problems there (bad sectors, etc)

    Hard drive info:
    Hitachi Travelstar
    MODEL: HTS548060M9AT00
    60GB 5400 RPM

    >badblocks -n -v -s -c 10240
    Testing with random pattern: done
    Pass completed. 0 bad blocks found.
    Described in more detail here:
    Checking disks for errors using the badblocks command
    credit: specialj

    Well, the HDD appears to be alright. How about the memory? I used MEMTEST86 v3.4. All test Passed, everything was just fine. Again, very encouraging.

    Alright, let's get our Linux on. Using the Install/LiveCD, I went right ahead. Partitions were created as follows (shown as "Code" simply for clarity)
    /dev/sda1   /       ext3     4096 MB
    /dev/sda2  swap              2048 MB
    /dev/sda3  /home    ext3    16348 MB
    Now things are on the right track. Wireless works no problem, FF runs and browses, once I installed the plugins I could watch YouTube vids easily. Sound works fine. Things are looking good.

    But, several symptoms showed up, related to graphics:

    1. Switching screen modes i.e. virtual terminals leads to hangs/crashes
    2. None of the LCD bezel buttons work, so no screen rotation, and no On-Screen Keyboard
    3. Manual screen rotation (System>Preferences>Screen Resolution) fails/hangs/crashes
    4. Displaying a simple .wmv video clip with Totem causes hangs/crashes
    5. ON-Screen Display (OSD) for laptop "Brightness", "Sound", "Status" etc. are garbled or no-show (minor importance, but indicative of problems)
    Last edited by ScottHW; November 17th, 2008 at 07:25 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Hardware, RAM Upgrade

    The Gateway M275 Tablet has some nice specs:

    Hardware specs

    Low cost Tablet PC convertible with big screen
    (by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

    Here's a good description of the tablet

    The factory RAM that was in the laptop was marked as follows:
    hynix china 53
    PC2700S-25330 0507
    256MB DDR 333MHz CL2.5
    HYMD232M646D6-J AA

    (200 Pin SoDIMM)

    BUT, I figured with only 2x256MB RAM stock, and a max of 2GB, I could do a little upgrading.
    I found a good deal, and got down in it twice

    Crucial 1GB PC2700 333Mhz 200-pin DDR SODIMM Laptop Memory $5 AR + s/h

    Seems to be running great, and Ubuntu recognizes the memory no problem. I've only got one of them installed so far, made much simpler with the instructions linked from the link above
    (credit: Bryan A)
    Last edited by ScottHW; November 18th, 2008 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Added Review link; Added RAM details

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Dual-booting with WinXP

    In an attempt to further diagnose the laptop, I figured it might not be a bad idea to see how it responds to WinXP Pro. If there genuinely are hardware issues, then WinXP would show problems as well, and I would know it's not just Linux driver issues.

    Along the way, I made several mistakes. First, I tried to just boot from WinXP Install CD. But when I got into the Setup, and tried to Partition/Format for installation, I received the following:
    Setup cannot create a new partition in the space you selected because
    the maximum number of partitions already exists on the disk.
    Alright; a very fast internet search will remind everyone that a HDD can only accept 4 partitions. With 3 reserved for root, swap, and /home, that only leaves one left. But WinXP only needs one. Hmmm....

    I assumed perhaps the Gateway Recovery Partition as still hiding somewhere, even though sudo fdisk -l in hadn't shown anything else, and neither did gparted.

    My solution; I used sudo gparted to create a new partition in the remaining 36GB of space, formatted as FAT32 (since Linux doesn't yet natively support NTFS writing). At this point, I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a back-up copy of the MBR, just in case.
    dd if=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1
    source: sidebar of
    CLI Magic: Salvage lost partitions with gpart
    By Mayank Sharma on October 23, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

    I have used gpart in the past, and has success with it. I tried to read the partitions on the drive, and it appeared to have gone correctly, so I wrote the new partition table. That was a mistake; now the laptop wouldn't boot

    Great, I totally fscked that up. Alright, I went back to the Ubuntu LiveCD, and it still worked fine. One thing I noticed; now fdisk -l gives the warning similar to "partition does not start at end of cylinder". OK, so gpart didn't quite work in this case. Good thing I had the backup MBR; just turn around the above diskdump (dd) command to restore from

    Things still weren't quite right, warnings about "no media" during booting. So I just went ahead and burned a new copy of the Super Grub Disc v0.9766.
    The default options set me back on the right track.

    When I ran the WinXP Install CD again, at the Partition screen, I was given the choice to Delete/Reformat the 36GB partition. Windows XP Pro went in just fine. Possibly the Gateway Recovery CD containing WinXP Tablet has errors, or there may truly be something wrong with the graphics hardware.

    I made a quick modification to /etc/boot/grub/menu.lst to add the WindowsXP boot option, sticking this bit after the Ubuntu-installed MEMTEST86+
    title		Windows XP
    root		(hd0,3)
    chainloader	+1
    The HDD now has 4 partitions. I'd have liked to have a FAT32 that I could have used as a "shared" partition that both WinXP and Linux could write, but that's a different issue.
    Last edited by ScottHW; November 17th, 2008 at 07:25 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Graphics Driver for Intel integrated 855GM

    From the symptoms listed above, I've thought that I may have graphics driver and/or hardware problems.

    A good Specifications page about the M275 will list:
    Video: Integrated Intel® Extreme Graphics 2

    And more specifically:
    Intel integrated Graphics 855GM

    This can be confirmed using the command to list PCI hardware connections (use switches for more details)
    lspci -vvnn
    I've attached the results of both from my machine for reference.

    Alternatively, a lot can be learned using the package gnome-device-manager, currently v0.2.1
    credit: davidmaxwaterman

    Also, the package sysinfo (0.7-0ubuntu3) can tell quite a few things about your hardware.

    Either of these will report something similar to
    82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device
    Integrated graphics are fine, but it doesn't leave many options if the hardware itself is actually damaged.

    "Intel", they've been around a while, maybe you've heard of them. So, drivers should be pretty well developed and easy to come by. Well, sort of.

    Recently, 915resolution would have been a necessity for rotating a tablet
    915Resolution: Intel Video BIOS Hack
    Steve Tomljenovic [stomljen at yahoo dot com]
    Last modified April 26, 2007

    Here's the homepage for Intel Linux graphics

    laptop hangs when switching video mode

    [855GM] system hang during suspend/resume

    System freeze after pressing ctrl-alt-bs.

    xserver crashes when rotating display and compiz enabled
    I tried the Option "ForceEnablePipeA" "true"

    Bugs with screen mode change (startup/shutdown, hibernate, suspend, screensaver, power save, or tty switch)

    Installed xresprobe, in order to provide ddcprobe output

    Thread asking for specific help

    Some other forums about the M275 refer to upgrading the BIOS. I currently have the most recent version 48.04.01
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by ScottHW; November 21st, 2008 at 11:41 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Screen and Wacom Tablet rotation

    Don't be misled, some sites/forums incorrectly report that the M275 uses a FinePoint digitizer. That's incorrect; some tablets do, but the M275 is NOT one of them. The M285 does use FinePoint, find more info here

    If you happen to be unable to get a Gateway Recovery CD, the Wacom drivers (for Windows) are inconvienently NOT on the Gateway site. Find them here

    A very useful thread:
    Wacom tablets in Ubuntu guide/howto - Loïc2
    Last edited by ScottHW; November 18th, 2008 at 03:01 AM.

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