Mandrake Linux 9.0 on a Toshiba Portege 2000

Important note

This page is provided as a courtesy to the Linux community. Although I hope that you will find it useful, I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for what will happen to your data, your computer, or for anything else, if you use the information contained below. Enjoy!


The Toshiba Portege 2000 is a relatively new and very cool laptop. I recently had the occasion to set one up for use with Linux for someone. For maximum stability and maintainability, I wanted to put Debian 3.0 on it. That did not quite work, so I settled for Mandrake 9.0, which works very well.

I found that Heidi Sacha Bond's Web page on this topic is very informative and helpful. Here I only record stuff that was different from her experience. She did not use a CD-ROM drive, and used Gentoo instead of Debian or Mandrake. Also, I did not want to blow WinXP away completely. (The packaging of the laptop made it quite clear that they will not give refunds for Windows.)

In addition to the laptop computer, I also had access to a USB floppy drive (about $40 at Amazon), and a Port Noteworthy 24x CD-ROM drive (about $150 at Amazon). This is the same kind of CD-ROM that Toshiba sells with this laptop.

I also got the Debian 3.0 set of six CD-ROMs (although I only ended up using the first one) and the Mandrake 9.0 set of three CD-ROMs from CheapBytes.

Installation steps

First, I booted into Windows XP and determined that the computer seemed to work fine.

On another Linux computer, I downloaded BootIt NG (version 1.32c), and copied the floppy image onto a boot floppy.

Restarting the laptop while holding Esc, then pressing F1, I reordered the boot sequence and booted the laptop off of the floppy drive. (The first floppy I used failed to boot: I discarded that floppy and tried again with a fresh one, which worked well.)

As per the BootIt instructions, I shrank the WinXP partition to 2500 MB. The lowest it offered was 2032, which then did not work for some reason. Instead of investigating it, I tried 2500, which did work. This left 17.5 gigs for Linux. (Later, I booted into Windows XP and it still worked, on the much smaller partition.)

[At this point, I installed Debian 3.0, which did not work as expected. This is described on a separate page, and might be ignored by those who are just trying to follow along the Mandrake installation.]

Again reordering the boot sequence, I booted the computer off of CD 1 in the Mandrake collection. This put me into the Mandrake installer.

Generally, the installation was painless (I gave the obvious answers to any questions that arose: there weren't any hard ones). For example, Mandrake recognized the CD drive and was able to pull in the extra files needed from the second and third CDs. It also figured out the X windows setup without any assistance. There were just two gotchas: (1) I first accepted the installer's offer to configure the network. However, when I first rebooted, it just hung at the network initialization step since the setup was somehow incorrect. I redid the installation, without initializing the network. Then I initialized the network (both wired and wireless) using the Mandrake Control Center: it worked great. (Apparently with Mandrake installations, it is generally a good idea to Start Small and Grow.) (2) The default setup for Xfree86 exhibited the "bouncing keys" problem: under X, keys pressed auto-repeated rather rapidly and unpredicatbly. I was able to fix this by including ' Option "XkbDisable" ' (without the single quotes) in the keyboard section in the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file.

This laptop currently works fine under Linux, both the wired and wireless network connections work fine. Also APM seems to work fine (the only part I tested in detail was that it shuts the computer down properly upon "shutdown -h now"). I have not investigated the modem, the infra-red connection, the USB ports (other than booting off of the USB floppy), or other features this laptop might have.

This page was last edited on 11th February 2003, but pages linked from here might have been edited more recently. HTML 4.01.