Disclaimer : The methods and procedures described on this page worked for me. They may not work for you. You may be left with an unbootable, unusable or broken notebook. You have been warned. I take no responsibility for whatever you do to your equipment.
On the other hand, if you have information concerning the PD1000 which is not listed here, please let me know.
May 5, 2003: Cleaned up the installation section. Received an updated installation report from Philipp Potocki
February, 2003: Back in November 2002 (sigh) I got a note from Alan Cox about XFree4, touchscreen and USB on the stingray
June 15, 2001: Checked and updated most of the links
February 6, 2001: Added another name variation (FOREFRONT) of the PD1000
September 25, 2000 : Added a section and a note about the parallel port. Added some info on VGA display.
August 29, 2000 : Added a note about X11, resolution and color depth. Updated a link or two.
April 22, 2000 : Added the reports I got during the last few months. There is an installtion report of a Suse 6.3 and RedHat 6.1. Updated PD100 vs. Stingray. Updated X11 and Stingray, updated USB and Stingray.
January 18, 2000 : Got quite a few updates over the holidays : USB, Serial port (under cable connections), PCMCIA, Sound, Graphics. Added IR port
November 12, 1999 : Updated APM information
September 23, 1999 : Updated Touchscreen, XFree, APM. Added Floppy. Minor redesign (links etc.)
September 17, 1999 : Alan Cox bought a PD1100, you can find his experiences here . Updated links
September 13, 1999 : Updated XFree
September 5, 1999 : Updated Touchscreen, XFree and USB. Added Topline and Stingray information.
September 1, 1999 : Updated USB information
August 30, 1999 : Touchscreen driver : A lot has been going on with a driver for the touch screen driver. See below.
August 30, 1999 : Updated sound information and added Amherst Information Technology information.
August 30, 1999 : Moved the page from the old location to here.
July 8, 1999 : Added BESTpal and Parallel Port cable information. Updated USB.
June 25, 1999 : Added Card bus and USB information
June 8, 1999 : Added sound information
June 1, 1999 : Started this page
For the search engines and for you surfers out there : Sometimes, the PD1000 is also
sold under the names
IPC lifestyle mininote 166 (Germany)
Topline Mininote PD1000/PD1100 (Netherlands)
or some variation thereof. They are all the same. For more resources see the bottom of this page in the link section.
There is also a more powerful version available, the PD1100 with a faster CPU and a
larger hard drive. The notes given on this page should apply to the
PD1100 as well.
The Seatech Stingray seems to be a (now dropped) copy of the PD1000. Therefore, this page may apply to it as well. Thanks to Christof Buergi for this.
Philipp Potocki reports
"My machine is a Seatech Stingray. Processor speed either 100 or 133 MHz, fixed disk of 1.6 GB. This is the precursor of the 166MHz/2.1GB variety; otherwise, it appears to be much the same as the more recent model.
The Stingray is apparently the same machine as the Palmax. The main difference is the label; the BIOS may or may not be the same. A chap at email@example.com claimed that my BIOS sported options not present on the Palmax. But then, the same chap also said that LINUX would run only on the 166MHz model, not on the 133MHz one."
My model has a 166Mhz CPU, 32MB RAM and a 2.1 GB hard drive.
I didn't get the floppy drive or the CD-ROM drive. Only the
docking station (as default) and a null modem cable. I may
get a PCMCIA Ethernet card one day. (Which I did after everything
was set up and after I've written this ... :-)
It came with Win98 preinstalled.
I, of course, installed Linux on this machine. This page will give you some hints and tips if you want to do so, too. I also give the steps I performed for installing debian and stampede.
When I had a minimal Linux system with Kernel 2.0.36 I tried also the
parallel connection with PLIP to a Linux 2.0.35 box, but didn't succeed either.
I don't know if it is a bad parallel port of the PD1000 or of my desktop.
Both "should" be bidirectional.
According to the palmax FAQ the cable has to be a modified laplink cable. The layout is given in the FAQ. But I haven't tried it myself yet. Thanks to Yann Vernier for this information.
However, I finally tried a Null modem serial connection which worked via
PPP between a minimal Linux system on the PD1000 and a Linux
desktop. I get about 10kb/sec. This is what I used and still use to connect my
PD1000 with my desktop machines.
According to Yann Vernier, "... the serial port appears to be an 8250 (including the max speed of 19200 bps)"
... unless you tell it to be an 16550 with "setserial /dev/ttyS1 uart 16550A"
The fastest is of course Ethernet. After installation, it works under Linux. It "should" also work under Win98.
I got two more instrallation reports. I guess it is useful if you read all of them.
Paul Carnine has sent me an Red Hat 6.1 installtion report - he has a KingMax PCMCIA EN10-T2T card wich works.
Philipp Potocki has sent me an Suse 6.3 installation report on his Seatech Stingray.
Update : he sent me a Suse 8.0 installation report.
The MediaGX is supported since XFree86 version 3.3.3. The driver is in the SVGA server. I had no serious problems setting up X. I used xf86config (XF86Setup crashed ...). I had to use 16bpp as the default color depth since 8bpp screwed the colors (big deal :-)
I post my XF86Config file (I use XFree126.96.36.199) since I got some requests. Note : the standard mouse points to nowhere and the mouse (a serial or PS/2) is selected with XInput devices. See man xsetpointer.
Christof Buergi reports that XFree86 3.3.4 no longer works since the modelines are compiled into the server. :-(
Robert Ernst reports :
"XFree 3.3.5 works, but in 8-Bit mode the colors are wrong, and in 16-Bit mode you have to press Fn+F6 to get the display working."
Ikke reports :
"i have some info i found in a pd1100 faq (i say pd1100 but it works also on the pd1000). it deals about xfree and the mediagx-chipset. if your screen looks screwed up in 16bpp you should set your virtual desktop to 641x480. (read carefully: 641 instead of 640 ) this way you don't notice a virtualdesktop but the graphics look 100% ok. (8bpp still won't work)"
Currently (as of Feb. 2003), I still have XFree3.3.6 with the 641x480 trick in 16 colors only.
Philipp Potocki reports from his Stingray (which is just an early PD1000)
Configuring X: initially, only xf86config works. Once you have a valid XF86config file, XF86SETUP appears to be working also, at least to the extent that it did not crash immediately. I have not actually tried to do a full configuration using this tool. SUSE comes with yet another X configuration tool called 'sax' which can not be used with the PD-1000 due to missing or invisible texts in the panels.
The following are the salient pieces to enter in xf86config:
hsync - 1 (standard VGA monitor)
vsync 1 (50-70 Hz)
video card - 436 (mediaGX)
server - 3 (XF86_SVGA)
video memory - 4 (2MB; I changed the setting in the BIOS)
clock chip setting - none
probe clock - n (must not probe the mediaGX)
modes - specify "640x480" for depths 8 and 16 specify "320x240" for depths 24 and 32
specify virtual screen = y for ALL MODES
notes on virtual screens: does not actually matter for bpp 8 as this mode is still not usable; I have not (yet) tried bpp>16, so I can't say if those work.
xf86config will define virtual screens of 1024x800 which is a bit overdone for my taste. I manually altered the XF86config file after the initial test to virtual 800 600 which seems to suffice even for the taller KDE configuration panels.
For real live usage, you also should define bpp 16 as default mode, of course.
I have found one further problem so far: scrolling in a list box rendered the lines of text unreadable. I have not included the specific circumstances in my notes and I have not been able to reproduce the problem.
Also, after quitting X the text on the console on tty1 is offset to the left by a few bits. If this bothers you, press Fn+F6 or switch to another console."
Stefan Goerg has written
a preliminary driver. It works with some window managers. I'm using this one.
The latest version has mouse button support.
has written a XInput device. Check it out since I haven't tried it yet :-)
Here is a mirror
Several people have reported success with this driver. Last time I checked, it even had button support.
Update Alan Cox has an input module for XFree4
Also, several people have mailed me, they are willing to write a driver including Palmax Germany who are very helpful in getting information and Yann Vernier who also wants to support Linux on the PD1000 commercially.
Robert Ernst has written a patch to gpm. Citing him :
"I have written a patch for gpm-1.17 to support the touchscreen in textmode and with replicator-mode (command line argument -R), under X11 as a SummaSketch Tablet. It needs a patched xf86Summa.so available on http://www.hof-berlin.de/tablet/tablet.html"
Check out the latest GPM version if the patch already made it in.
From Robert Ernst I got the following report :
"APM doesn't work 100%. With linux 2.2.10, I get hardware resets when two power-management events are nested (e.g., switching to suspend-mode with Fn+F5 key and then closing the case - after opening the case and pressing any key, the laptop wakes up, goes into suspend-mode after 1/10 second and then reboots after 10-30 seconds...)"
Also from Robert Ernst :
It appears that everything works fine if you disable APM in the BIOS.
Thomas Buck reported he compiled a 2.0.36 Kernel with SB16 support using the BIOS values and it works in 16 bit stereo but having minor problems with the mixer/volume control.
Marek Rzewuski reports :
"I have also managed to get Xmms to play MP3's without chucking. I achived this by fickling with the setup for Xmms. I also had to play my music at 22kHz and not 44kHz (in the MPEG Layer 1/2/3 Player, libmpg123.so configuration). It looks to me like the PD100 isn't fast enough til process data at 44kHz. But maybe there is some other software which isn't so CPU hungry."
and Volker Wedemeier reports :
"The sound on the pd1000 works with the OSS-SoundBlaster 16 driver in kernel 2.2.5. It didn't work at first, but when I started linux after I had started windows (i.e., after windows initialized the sound-hardware), it worked. I haven't tryed to set up the sound hardware under linux yet, I guess I'll still need to read a pnp-setup-howto and the sound-howto and some such, but I am pretty certain that it can be done. If not entirely under linux, then I will try to initiallize the card under dos before I start linux with loadlin (as I do anyway)."
reports on a PCMCIA Ethenet card :
"It is called Fiber line 10M Ethernet COMBO. It is a PCMCIA type II card and it is NE2000 compatible and it has both a twisted pair and a BNC connection. (I use the BNC). Installation under SuSE Linux (6.1) went smoothly. The standard Modules for PCMCIA and the ethernet card worked right away."
And Marek Rzewuski reports :
"PCMCIA works for me w/o any problems. I have the 3Com 3C589D Combo card."
Christof Buergi reports, he was successfull in using an USB mouse with the 2.3.X-kernel USB driver (Which should be the same as for 2.2.10). He can use it with a major=10 and minor=32 PS/2 device under gpm but not under XFree86. One also should enable the BIOS USB Legacy support and the BISO USB port in order to make it work.
He later reports
"I once tried to use USB on 2.2.10. Works great with mouse and keyboard. 2.2.x can't handle more, but these are by far the most important. I don't like to carry the replicator with me to use a mouse ;=)."
Philipp Potocki reports on his Stingray (an early PD1000)
"The USB implementation appears to be flawed; possibly, the chipset used in my model is not quite up-to-date. In any event, it does not properly switch between fast and slow USB devices. Win98 frequently failed to recognize the USB mouse even when it was working perfectly just before the last shutdown. Worse, it would never recognize the USB mouse (by logitech, btw) without some surgery on the registry after using the USB ZIP drive.
Using a USB hub solved this problem nicely. Ever since I started using a passive dual port hub the PD-1000 worked with all USB peripherals I threw at it.
But beware: I also own a 4-ported USB hub which can be used with or without its own power supply. When I tried to use it without the power supply, the PD-1000 shut itself completely off and refused to power up again. I had to remove the battery from the computer in order to start it up."
Update Alan Cox told me about USB on the Stingray :
"The CS5520 (older chipset) has a known bug where it doesnt handle slow/fast USB switching right. The errata answer is: use a hub"
According to the palmax FAQ (which should be on your model) the cable has to be a modified laplink cable. The layout is given in the FAQ. But I haven't tried it myself yet. Thanks to Yann Vernier for this information.
Garth Rautenbach reports :
"I noticed you were unable to get the Parallel Cable to
work, I had the same problem, the solution is to simply short Pins 25, 24,
and 23 together (both sides of the cable). After I did this, LL3.EXE and
DCC worked 100%
Apparantly Pin 25 on the LPT port on the Palmax is not connected."
With LL3.EXE he means LapLink and with DCC direct cable connection.
Yann Vernier reports :
"The Palmax mininotebooks feature a NSC PC97338VJG controller for serial ports, floppy (external) and parallel communication. I got this working on my PD-1100 by compiling a 2.2.14 kernel with the IRDA patch 2.2.14-irda1, disabling the serial port (setserial /dev/ttyS1 uart unknown), "modprobe nsc_fir dongle_id=9" for the Temic IR, start irmanager and ifconfig irda0 up. Then I could happily connect to the Ericsson phone through /dev/ircommnew0."
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This page (http://dilbert.physast.uga.edu/~andy/pd1000.html) was last updated February 26, 2003.
This page is copyright © 2000,2001,2002,2003 by Andreas Schweitzer.
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