Install Fedora Core 4 on Fujitsu-Siemes Lifebook E8020 Supreme

Four weeks ago my company decided to organize some new hardware. The deal includes 5 Lifebook E8020 including one for me.

This document tries to cover out howto install and configure fedora core 4 linux on the mentioned hardware, but most of this will work on every distro.


Why Lifebook E8020

I did a long research which model to buy, and i ended up at this one, because of the performance and the real large number of external connectivity. First requirement was a real serial port and and a real video card (not this ugly shared memory thing) after all wireless LAN, Bluetooth and firewire was an advantage. After researching different vendors machine i found that the Lifebook provides the best connectivity of all. Also Fujitsu Siemens provide 3 year on-site support for less than 50 Euro which makes the decision easier.

Notes on the hardware

The Lifebook E8020 is so called Sonoma platform, this describes that the device contains Intel 915GM chipset with Pentium M Dothan CPU and Intel WLAN 811.2b/g. Also there are a number of things interesting on this platform. As there is:

The following things should be mentioned:


The installation works smoothly, the hardware was completly detected by the installer.

I used the following disk layout for :
/dev/sda3 1GB for /
/dev/sda1 100MB for /boot
/dev/sda7 64GB for /home
/dev/sda5 8GB for /usr
/dev/sda6 1,5GB for /var

The installation went smoothly. After upgrading to kernel 2.6.14 i got a ressource conflict on the second PCI Express port, but all hardware works well, so i ignore this at the moment. This ressource conflict does not occur with kernel 2.6.11.

Here you can find the lspci output as a complete overview of the builtin hardware.

All other hardware was detected correctly including the Intel WLAN.


The BroadCom ethernet card uses the tg3 module. The Intel WLAN can be used in conjunction with ipw2200 module, firmware can be downloaded at sourceforge and has to be copied to /lib/fimrware. Both cards are initialized well, performance of wireless will be tested next week. The Ethernet card works correctly.

X11 graphical userinterface

Fedora uses xorg 6.8.2 for the graphical interface.
I tried the driver from ATI Inc., but it seems to be a little bit unstable, also the screen flickers when moving windows, or when screensaver starts. So i decided to use the xorg "radeon" module, which fits my needs, because i am not a gamer.
The display is configured for different modes, but i use always 1400x1050 which is the native resolution of the display.

The touchpad has a special driver called synaptics, which provides a detailled interface to the behaviour of the touchpad. The trackpoint has its own device. The touchpad can be disabled while typing with the tool called syndaemon (part of the rpm package syndaemon-0.14.2) by running syndaemon from my rc.local, with the following entry:

/usr/bin/syndaemon -d -i 180

Therfore it is required, to have the parameter

Option "SHMConfig" "on"

in your xorg.conf in the section InputDevice there in the subsection "Identifier Synaptics" for the touchpad. This can be a security issue, please check the documentation.

This disables the touchpad while typing with a delay of 180 seconds after the last keystroke has entered, that's enough for my use, because i prefere the trackpoint.

To disable the touchpad completly you can use the tool "synclient". Here the commandline:

synclient TouchPadOff=1

This does not work in my case, every time i run the synclient command the touchpad gets disabled, but 3 seconds later the touchpad will be usable again. So i use the syndaemon with the -i parameter.

There are also 3 (or 4) mouse buttons, where the left and the right one behave normal as mousebuttons do, the other 2 (in the middle of mouse button left and right) works as scroll button. I'm testing in the moment to make them the normal middle mouse button to get rid of the "Emulate3Button" in my xorg.conf and to get the X11 "paste function" back.

I use xfce4 as desktop, because of the clear userinterface, the simple structure and the performance. rpm packages are available here as one big tarball for Fedora and RedHat 9.

Here my xorg.conf.

Here is my Xorg.0.log file.


Sound works well with the i810 alsa driver. I added:

echo 'VOLUME "Headphone" 0' > /proc/asound/card0/oss_mixer

to my rc.local to set the correct device for volume changes from mixer.

The sound of the internal speakers is very poor, with nearly no bass. They are extremly annoying me, according to my Thinkpad A30P speakers.


The DVD/RW device is a NEC DVD+/-RW ND-6650A. The DVD is connected to the primary master IDE port, so it is named /dev/hda. DMA is enabled as default. DVD burning works well with growisofs, playing cd audio also. I installed libdvdcss from livna yum respository, so watching commercial DVD's also works fine.

Next i will try if hotswapping the DVD will work on linux, i'll keep you informed when i'll have success.


The E8020 has a SATA harddisk drive. It will be detected as SCSI device, because of 2.6.14 kernel libata. The device is so called /dev/sda. The drive is a 80gb FUJITSU MHT2080B. It works as expected.


USB is detected correctly, controller one as ehci, controlle no. two as uhci, all ports work.

Firewire works with ohci1394 module and is a Texas Instruments TSB43AB21 IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller.

TV Out connector

The TV Out connector can be used in conjunction with the ATI driver. I haven't tried it yet, because i have no cable available, and there was no cable delievered with the notebook.

4-1 CardReader

The card reader is detected, but because of lack of memory cards i am unable to use it.

Powermanagment and ACPI

The ATI video adapter misses ATI Powerplay features. To get some minimization of power consumption i use rovclock -c 120 -m 100. This will take down GPU to 120MHz and RAM to 100MHz. rovclock -i will show the current settings, which looks like this

Found ATI card on 01:00, device id: 0x3150
I/O base address: 0x3000
Video BIOS shadow found @ 0xc0000
Reference clock from BIOS: 27.0 MHz
Memory size: 65536 kB
Memory channels: 1, CD,CH only: 0
tRcdRD: 5
tRcdWR: 3
tRP: 5
tRAS: 10
tRRD: 4
tR2W-CL: 2
tWR: 3
tW2R: 2
tW2Rsb: 1
tR2R: 2
tRFC: 17
tWL(0.5): 2
tCAS: 4
tCMD: 0
tSTR: 1
XTAL: 27.0 MHz, RefDiv: 6

Core: 121.50 MHz, Mem: 101.25 MHz

The BIOS supports ACPI events for battery, lid status and power button. I will setup some scripts and provide them here when i will find some time. At the moment the battery works for 3:35h. This is nearly 20 minutes more than without the usage of rovclock. It could be a little more :) FSC states 4:30h for the battery.

The processor supports various power states depending on system load from 800 to 2000MHz, this can be changed with the utility cpufreq-set. So i have some one line scripts for performance (contains cpufreq-set -d 2000000) and one for battery life (contains cpufreq-set -d 800000) to change the minimum cpufrequency as required.

Application Panel

The Lifebook E8020 provides 5 special buttons in top of the keyboard. They can be used as a security panel, what meens that you have to insert a PIN at every boot. This is called Application and Security Panel. The buttons by itself looks a little bit cheap and they are uneven assembled.

The 5 special keys can be used with the tool apanel on several Lifebooks, you can find this at SourceForge.Net..

For kernel >= 2.6.14 a patch is required, because the i2c interface has changed. The patch can be found here.

The package contains a kernel module and the utilities fjkeyd, a daemon which checks for activity on the buttons, and the tool apanelc. For fjkeyd scripts are provided which will be executed in case a button has been pressed. Apanelc can be used to control a LED of the mini lcd panel, to get button information and to control the LCD (does not work on E8020).

Software optimization

Fedora delivers only base packages for i686 platform (glibc, kernel, openssl), all others are compiled for i386 or i686 Pentium Pro architecture. So i rebuild several packages especially multimedia packages like. transcode, mplayer, xmms. This provides some better performance, for example transcode will do nearly 15% more frames per second with the rebuild package against the original one.

To get optimization for my platform i created the file /etc/rpmrc with the following content:

optflags: i686 %{__global_cflags} -m32 -march=i686 -mtune=pentium-m -fasynchronous-unwind-tables

Software repositories

I use yum for installing and updating software. I added the livna repository. The config file can be found here. At the moment i am waiting that Dag Wieers will update his repository to Fedora Core 4.


As a summary i can say that the LifeBook E8020 is really well Linux supported. All hardware works well and performs very good. The case is very robust. Some things are awkward, especially the keyboard design, the lack of ATI's powerplay for minizing power consumption of the video adapter, cpu throttling which is missing and the cheap sounding internal speakers.

So there seems to be some room for Fujitsu-Siemens to work on better support for Linux, because FSC itself does not provide any kind of information regarding Linux. Especially the missing CPU throttling is annoying me little bit.

In comparison to my Thinkpad A30P i can say, the Lifebook E8020 has not been build on the same quality level as the IBM hardware. When Fujitsu Siemens will fix the mentioned things, the E8020 can be a real beat machine. Also the extensibility of the E8020 is impressive with the wide range of different connectors.

Config Files and Links

My xorg.conf can be found here

A complete lspci -v -v output is lspci output

The Xorg.0.log of my Xserver can be found here.

Additional yum repository configuration: livna.repo from the package livna-release-4-0.lvn.7.4.rpm.

Two of the best Linux laptop ressources:


Linux Laptop Net

Some ACPI references:

Main source is ACPI at sourceforge.

Here a very good description about ACPI.

Intel's ACPI donwload page

The Radeon Overclocking tool rovclock, which also does its job as downclocking tool.

last updated: Feb 22 2006 11:42 pm