On Wednesday I collected by brand new laptop – the latest Samsung Series 9 (model NP900X3B). I’m a Linux user so this post is about getting Fedora 16 running on it.
Updated: 27 Jun 2012 added new post for running Fedora 17 on this laptop
Updated: 28 Mar 2012 added mouse details and backlight adjustment
Updated: 26 Mar 2012 with more details
Booting from USB
First step of getting Linux installed is to boot from a USB stick. This took me ages to get working – in particular you must disable “Fast BIOS Mode” in the BIOS setup (it’s on the “Advanced” tab). Then you can alter the boot priority to USB first. Thanks for this thread on Notebook Review for pointing that out.
My Fedora 16 x86_64 live USB stick booted fine and everything seemed to work ok. So next step was to install it to disk.
In order to make space for Linux I shrunk the main partition (originally 90GB in size) down to 50GB using the Windows Disk Management tool. This left 43GB of unallocated space to install Linux on. I also had to delete the 5GB hibernation partition using gparted. This has had no effect on how Windows runs.
The biggest problem I found in Fedora was that trackpad has didn’t work properly. It worked fine in the original 3.1.0 kernel – but when I updated to 3.2.10 and 3.3.0 it started behaving erratically and the cursor not moving when I moved my finger. Add the following to your xorg config (thanks to Guy Lunardi for this):
Option "FingerLow" "1" #sensitivity detection low
Option "FingerHigh" "1" #sensitivity detection high
Option "RTCornerButton" "3" #right-click to bottom right
#Option "MinSpeed" "0.7"
#Option "MaxSpeed" "1.7"
Option "TapAndDragGesture" "1" #tap&release then tap&drag
Option "PalmDetect" "1" #avoid bad track behavior
Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1" #two-finger vertical scroll
Option "VertEdgeScroll" "0" #right edge vertical scroll
Option "TapButton1" "1" #one-finger tap = left-click
Option "TapButton2" "3" #two-finger tap = right-click1
There are still some problems – you can’t tap the touchpad to click and right click is broken. But two finger multitouch works to scroll up and down pages.
The keyboard backlight keys (f9 and f10) don’t work as default. However, there is a fix for first series 9 laptop (details here) that works on this laptop.
- Download https://github.com/iksaif/samsung-laptop-dkms
- Compile the code (you need to have kernel-devel, kernel-headers and gcc installed)
- Load the module with
- Change the brightness (N=0 for off, N=8 for max)
echo N > /sys/devices/platform/samsung/leds/samsung\:\:kbd_backlight/brightness
There is more work to automatically load this module and map the keys.
I initially thought that the laptop would not resume from suspend/sleep. But on further investigation it is just a screen brightness problem. When it resumes the brightness is so low the screen looks like it is off. But you can enter your password, hit enter and then sometimes the brightness comes back – or if not hit Fn+F3 and it works again. I will get a bug raised for this.
The laptop has two external monitor ports – MicroHDMI and VGA (via a dongle. Since I don’t have the VGA dongle I could only test microHDMI and it works fine under Linux. I was able to drive 2048×1152 monitor as a second screen and drag windows between that and the laptop screen.
Wireless worked out the box, connecting to my WPA2 home network. I’ve had no problems with connectivity.
The sound works out the box (and the speakers sounds great for such a small laptop). The headphone jack works too but I haven’t tested it with a microphone (it’s a dual headphone/microphone port).
Again out the box graphics works perfectly. Works in 3D acceleration perfectly – I’m running Gnome 3 shell. glxgears (yes it’s basic) runs but there is some tearing when in fullscreen mode.
I haven’t done any tests on battery life, nor have I changed any settings. From a full charge, Linux is estimating about 3 hours of time remaining (windows reports about 5). This is my next item of things to check out – trying out powertop, Jupiter and tuned.
Ethernet is via a breakout dongle (code AA-AE2N12B and supplied in the original box). This worked perfectly in Linux: plugin dongle, attach ethernet cable and good to go. The only annoying thing is having to remember to carry around the dongle.
Tried this out using Cheese and Skype and both the camera and internal microphone and work fine.
Overall Linux is working very well on this laptop. There is some more work to do be done, but I am surprised how much worked on the default Linux installation.
If there is anything else anyone would like to me test out let me know in the comments.
I am also updating the LinLap entry for this laptop.