Gentoo on the Fujitsu P1620

Recently I picked up a Fujitsu P1620 on eBay.  I’ve grown to really appreciate all the hardware in it, and consider it grade ‘A’ hardware, except for a few gotchas in Linux.  This serves as a document for those who are seeking to gain full hardware functionality of a P1620 in Linux.

Kernel

Support is in the mainline kernel except for:

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Touchscreen
  • Panel buttons

A recent kernel config can be found here.

Wireless

It’s an Atheros 5008 card, supported fully by the ath5k driver.  Early driver versions in old kernels such as 2.6.30 have very shaky hardware support, therefore unless you’re running the latest available code, I would recommend swapping it out.  I’ve removed the integrated wireless card in favour of an Intel 5350AGN, which has been working well in the laptop. It draws a bit more power, but gives me WiMax support(another big kernel/userland headache), and dual band 802.11n.

Touchscreen

Although support for the is available for the touchscreen, it is only available through an out-of-kernel module available here.  This module works well enough, although requires some hacking, such as blacklisting the usbhid module.

Rotation

Xrandr rotation works with the screen.  Additionally, the fjbndrv package allows binding(and defaults one button to) rotating the screen.  A userspace daemon watches for key presses and alters coordination of touchscreen presses with rotation.

Fingerprint reader

The fingerprint reader is supported through a non-mainline kernel module.  It can be downloaded here.  Additionally, there’s a userspace and PAM package available here that allows use of the reader to authenticate with GDM and TTY logins.  I haven’t had much luck with actually USING my reader to log in though, so I’m not sure how useful it is.  Results from my left thumb were inconsistent at best.

Battery Life

Battery life ranges from 4 to 6.5 hours depending on usage.  I recently replaced the internal hard drive with a RunCore Pro IV SSD.  This added rougly 20 minutes to battery life, and improved speed greatly.

Dock accommodations

The dock is rather sparse with it’s port array.  The laptop is placed onto the dock vertically, and is unplugged using a sprung hinge mechanism on the side of the dock.  Ports available include 2 USB, VGA, and Ethernet.  Audio would be a nice addition to the dock, and there are enough pins on the dock mechanism that it’s probably in there somewhere.  That’s another article though.

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