The Palmax 1100 is a Cyrix MediaGX based palm/mini-notebook PC. I picked it for a new portable development machine to replace the IBM PC110 for several reasons.
I did a Red Hat install using the Lorax beta snapshot. Red Hat 6.0 also works fine. The install was done via CD.
If you are using Lorax pick a text mode install. The machine is standard IDE with an IDE hard disk and CD. The installer will do almost everything automatically for you.
The touchpad mouse is not supported by Red Hat. Don't worry about this. The solution will be explained later. The X server works with the PS/2 mouse on the expansion unit and it is quite usable in this setup. Only 8bit depth works currently. It isn't clear if this is a bug in the X server, in the Cyrix VSA or both.
To get the touchpad working download the Xserver listed in the links section.
Audio does not work out of the box. You need to patch and recompile a kernel or use Linux kernel version 2.2.13pre6 or higher to fix this. This is a Cyrix MediGX emulation bug. Another Cyrix MediaGX emulation bug prevents recording from working. That one I've yet to find a cure for.
Compatibility is always an issue with Linux on mini-notebook machines. Vendors pull a lot of tricks to get the machines small enough and low powered enough. The Palmax 1100 fares very well.
The Cyrix MediaGX does not have text modes but emulates them at a very low level. On the Palmax 1100 this works fine in Linux.
The BIOS allows to underclock the CPU but this requires a reset so is nothing like as convenient as the speed hotkeys on the PC110. It would be nice to know how to set the CPU speeds in Linux.
The extended battery pack claims a four hour running time. Playing games in X11 and doing general work suggests that the claim is reasonable, although probably not true for building kernels. I run the machine with "noatime" set on the root file system, and a 1.5 minute spindown on the disk. Also its worth remembering to set the screeensaver to power down the display and not do fancy graphics.
setserial /dev/ttyS1 uart unknown modprobe nsc_fir dongle_id=9 irmanager & ifconfig irda0 up
The Palmax 1100 is a nice Linux palmtop. There are rough edges in the Cyrix MediaGX support in the sound and video but they are not fatal. The hardware works well and has no obvious nasty surprises for non-windows users.
The two big downers are the lack of suspend to disk under Linux and the continued inability of Cyrix to provide accurate working emulation in their firmware.
There is a Linux suspend to disk patch so I am working on getting this going nicely on the Palmax 1100. Cyrix however appear to be incurable.
Update: Cyrix have now provided the information to let Mark Lord get UDMA working on their 5530 chipset. They have also provided me with enough info to hopefully work around the audio bugs. With these in place the Palmax is basically totally supported in Linux. The only missing piece is BIOS suspend to disk.
For startup my /etc/rc.d/rc.local contains the following lines.
mount -o remount,rw,noatime / /sbin/hdparm -S 15 /dev/hda /sbin/hdparm -u 1 /dev/hda /usr/local/sbin/set6x86 -p 0xC2 -s 0x08The "noatime" setting turns off the writing back of 'last accessed' times to files. This means reading/opening files does not cause disk wakeups. The hdparm -S 15 command sets the disk to spin down after 1 minute 15 seconds (you can play with the value). The hdparm -u1 turns on IRQ unmasking when doing disk accesses. This is needed to stop audio breakups. The set6x86 command enables the power management on the MediaGX CPU.
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