linux on the texas instruments extensa 900cdt
by daniel james
My 900CDT has worked well with the default installations of Linux Mandrake 7.2 through to 9.0 - except for power management. The APM implementation on these machines is non-standard, and after a resume you'll get a kernel oops and a locked up laptop. This wouldn't be much of a problem unless you have to close the lid a lot while travelling, as this triggers a suspend if you haven't shut down first. The only cure I'm aware of is compiling a kernel with software suspend enabled. Standby mode works with a default kernel and will save battery (press Fn and the blue hand on the F keys), but if you close the lid during standby it will suspend and cause the kernel oops.
There's a similar sounding but different APM problem in Acer notebooks, the fix for which does not solve the problem on the 900CDT. Acer took over the Extensa range from Texas Instruments, so there is some scope for confusion here.
The only other (minor) problem is the occassional funny message in the console from the CD-ROM drive. It doesn't stop the drive working.
The CD-ROM and floppy are not hot-swapable, but since the CD-ROM drive is bootable this isn't a problem at installation time. Press Fn and F1 to access the BIOS.
Overall it's a good machine, but if you're looking to buy one, consider if APM support is important to you, assuming you don't want to build a customised kernel.
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