Debian Linux on Travelmate 220

This document reflects the state from august 2004. Now I use Debian Etch, and many things have become easier. There will be a more detailed report soon (hopefully; today: 3. april 2008)

This document describes the installation of Linux on an acer TravelMate 225XC. I use Debian Woody, but certainly most information is useful for other distributions as well. I am thankful for any response, hints and further help. You can contact me under
LSto at gmx dot de


My system is an acer TravelMate 225XC. As the letters XC stand only for the type of CD drive, this document is certainly valid for other Travelmates of the 220 series, too.

Things that work

Things not yet tested

Installation hints


Booting from CD-ROM was no problem. But when the kernel was loaded, the videocard was swithed to another videomode and the screen ended up in a flicker. Solution: append "video=vga16:off" at the boot prompt.


The CD drive is a little bit slow in detecting a new CD, so give him a few (about 5) seconds, before you confirm the new CD.


I made two partitions: a large / and 131 MB swap. (Whatever there was on the HD before, delete it! And peel off all stickers on the notebook :-)

Status Quo

Here I describe the setup of different hardware components. This part should be very distribution independent.


The Harddisk is /dev/hda. I had no problems.


The TravelMate 225XC has a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. It is an ATAPI device at /dev/hdc. To address it as CD writer, read the CD-Writing-HOWTO (/usr/share/doc/HOWTO/en-txt/CD-Writing-HOWTO.gz). I compiled the Kernel drivers as modules and the CD drive works fine. Also writing CD and reading DVD works fine.

Playing audio CD works fine with cdcd and xmms, which both use libcdaudio0. I had problems with dcd and groovycd.


I found two ways to use the touchpad. 1. Start gpm with the ps2 protocol. Here is my /etc/gpm.conf. Under X you can acess it via the /dev/gpmdata device also using the PS/2 protocol. Unfortunately the scrollbuttons don't work with this solution. Therefore I use 2., the Synaptics driver. You can download it at Now the scrollbuttons work, but it seems not to cooperate with gpm. However, here is my /etc/X11/XF86Config-4, the touchpad is configured either as "Configured Mouse" (1) or "Feldmaus" (2).


The sound is made by an Intel chip, lspci says: "Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. AC'97 Audio Controller". In the 2.4.x Kernel the appropriate driver is CONFIG_SOUND_ICH.


The integrated software Modem works fine with slmodem-2.9.6. See Linmodems and the SmartLink FTP site.


This is a "Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-813". The driver is CONFIG_8139.


The chip is an Intel 830M, I think it belongs to the i810 family. The SVGA-Server of XFree 3 runs in very poor resolution. XFree 4.1 doesn't work at all. But versions 4.2 and 4.3 do work. Version 4.3 works better; it restores the console correctly if you leave X with Ctrl-Alt-Fn, i.e the font settings become not disturbed. This is my /etc/X11/XF86Config-4.

Debian specific: Woody comes with XFree86 4.1. So there are two ways to run X:

First: I found and tested the following which I found somewhere in the internet (sorry, I forgot the URL)

XFree: Only XFree 4.2 supports the Intel 830-M graphic adapter, but this isn't a problem even on Debian woody that hasn't such a recent version. You can download xserver-xfree86 from "unstable" and install with "dpkg --force-all". Dpkg will complain but install it. With a little tricks is possible to avoid dpkg and apt warning about unsatisfied depencies. Just edit /var/lib/dpkg/status, serach the package xserver-xfre886 and decrease the libc version in the depencies filed.

Second: Get the backport of the xserver version 4.3.0 from for woody. I only got the package xserver-xfree86_4.3.0-0ds2.0.0woody2_i386.deb, installed it, and it worked.

External Moitor

The BIOS has two ways to handle the external moitor (Bios Startup): Use both, internal and external display or autodetect.

If I use both, the built in display shows the content unscaled and centered in the middle. So unless the resolution is 1024x768, there is a black border, even in text mode. The behaviour of the external monitor depends on the actual device. A CRT-monitor shows the same image as the laptop, but with a low repetition rate (certainly 60 Hz). My TFT-display behaves silly: In text mode there is black border, but the text is left justified. At 1024x678 and 800x600 it shows the same as the built in display, but cuts the lower third of the picture. At 640x480 it shows the same as the built in display.

If I use auto, the external monitor works fine. I wonder if it is possible to use the external moitor as as second X device... Does anyone know what works under Window$?


Apmd seems to work fine. With apm or xapm I can see the state of the battery, and whether the AC adaptor is plugged in. The fan is most of the time off. I can't bring the computer to suspend mode, but I haven'd tryed very hard.

With acpi I can also see the battey and AC Adapter state. Additionally the power off on halt works.

Fn Keys

Without acpi: Most of those keys don't work. They even don't send a keycode. In detail they do the following:

With acpi:Working keys:

Not working Keys:


Above the Keyboard there are four Hotkeys. They are named Internet (a nice symbol), Mail (a nice letter), P1, and P2. I can use them with the acerhk driver from Olaf Tauber. Unfortunately, this driver seems not to compile under a 2.4.24 kernel.


I have used the kernel 2.4.18, kernel 2.4.21 with swsuspend patch and kernel 2.4.24. This are the corresponding config files: [config-2.4.18] [config-2.4.21] [config-2.4.24]