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Linux on the 'Aldi' Medion MD8800

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Linux

The Aldi Medion MD8800 is a multimedia PC containing

  • A Pentium D 830 64bit dualcore processor
  • 1 Gig RAM
  • wireless mouse and keyboard
  • a wireless LAN card
  • a NVidia Geforce 6700 XL card
  • a 250 Gig SATA disk
  • a Philips SAA7134 TV card
  • Windows XP (32 bit) preinstalled...

Most of the config setup can be found at Martins site.

The machine is completely geared and configured towards Windows XP, but which new machine isn't nowadays ? I noticed the XP install contains MPlayer and a program called Power Cinema Linux, which has nothing to do with Linux itself, so I'm wondering if there's some copyright or trademark violated here. It was the first time I used Windows XP for a day or two, looks nice, but it seemed continuously like I was driving a Ferrarri in first gear. How sweet the system would be running a complete 64bit OS on it. Time to fetch the Linux install CDROMs...

I chose to install a Debian 64 bit version on it. For AMD64 and Pentium EMT64 (x86-64) processors, you need the Debian amd64 port (ia64 is the port intended for Itanium). I used the Debian Sarge amd64 netinst iso, but that refused to detect the SATA disk. Using the updated netinst iso from Lennart Sorensen, with an updated 2.6.12 kernel, fixed the problem eventually, though the installer detected the disks only after loading the ata-piix module.

There's a price running a 64 bit system, and that is that you can't run 32bit applications, and unfortunately, Openoffice is some of them... for the rest, all the software I use, is available in 64bit version.

Update : I run Ubuntu 32bit now.

Kernel
I tried to build myself a stock 2.6.14 kernel, using the /boot/config file, but that one paniced while trying to mount the root fs, and I didn't have any time to investigate this problem any further. There's a 2.6.14-smp image for p4 based systems in the Debian archive, which I use now. The dualcore is nicely detected as a two-processor system.

Sound
The onboard soundcard doens't reveal itself with a 'lspci -v', so this took me a little time; the soundcard is a Trident 3D Wave, so use the trident driver. The /dev/dsp device gets activated through the snd-pcm-oss module.

Keyboard
Works without problem as a USB mouse and keyboard. While powering up the machine, the mouse refused to work, but that's because you need to charge the batteries first with the USB cable. I installed the hotkeys package in order to use the multimedia keys from the Medion keyboard. Works great with a little fiddling (you need to remap some of the application startup keys).

CD- and DVD Writer
Works without problem. The DVD drives are detected as hda and hdb.

NVIdia
I use the 'nv' xorg driver. I tried to build the Debian nvidia driver from source, but that gives unresolved symbols while loading the module. Seems a global problem in Debian, though...
Using the experimental nvidia-7676 drivers, everything compiled nicely, and the module loaded without any problem. If X.org refuses to start, spewing out a message about not being able to find the module, that's because you need the nvidia-glx package.

TV Card
See Gentoo documentation for the SAA7134 driver.
update : use these options while loading the module
modprobe saa7134 i2c_scan=1 card=55 oss=1
Linux-2.6.19 will provide a better driver for this card...

Remote control
You should use the ati_remote kernel module, or use the lirc ati_usb module. You'll need to define a .Xmodmap file to remap most of the keys, though.

WLAN card
yet untested, though the driver detects the Ralink card. Probably supported with the rt2400 module.

Firewire
untested

Functional display
Works, but not out of the box. You need lcdproc-0.5.1 or higher, since that version contains the MD8800 support.

Cardreader
Only USB ports work, Compact Flash and SD card slots do not work out of the box.

I will try to update this post whenever I get additional info how to tweak some settings...