Brand Model Type: Averatec 5400 Series
<<TableOfContents: execution failed [Too many arguments] (see also the log)>>
1. Hardware information
1.1. Standard Features
CPU: AMD Athlon XP-M 2800+
Memory: 512 MB (max 2 GB) in 2 slots of 200-pin DDR SDRAM, PC-333/400 modules
S3 UniChrome Pro IGP graphics processor
15-inch TFT LCD XGA panel, 1024 X 768
1 PCMCIA slot Type II
VT6102 (Rhine II) LAN
802.11g wireless LAN RaLink RT2500
Slimtype DVD-ROM, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW
Hard drive: 40 GB EIDE/PATA
Connectors: RJ-45 LAN, modem, 4 USB, microphone, headphone, 15-pin external monitor 1280 X 1024
Accel buttons: Internet, E-Mail
Glide Pad with two buttons
Battery: LiIon 9-cell
The hard drive is easily accessed by removing two screws holding a small cover. Pulling a plastic tab removes the drive. The original was replaced with a 250 GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue for a clean install.
CentOS was installed from the 6-CD set (kernel-2.6.18-92.el5) using the graphic-based installer. Although more than 512 MB of memory is recommended to use the GUI, it worked fine.
Disk partitioning was left at default.
Network Devices were set for automatic DHCP and for eth0 to be activated at boot-up.
Software selections included Gnome and KDE desktops and the expected basics for laptop use. No development items nor servers except Printing Support and Network servers. Virtualization, Clustering and Cluster Storage were also skipped. Both SELinux and Firewall were set to be active.
During the install the screen resolution was off, the NEXT button was not visible. However, pressing F-12 advanced the process along. Things like date, time and time zone didn't get set properly. But nothing was missed that couldn't be easily fixed later.
Only the first four CDs were required. The fourth one was in the drive just a few seconds before the DONE message appeared.
2.3. Post-installation notes
Rebooting took 1 minute and 35 seconds from Power-ON to the Login screen. On the way up there was a message about "Network manager could not find some resources." That message was ignored and it has never repeated. The assumption is that it was related to the wireless LAN not working initially. First login was as root for doing updates and any other core chores that might be needed. Right away the Update Manager announced that there were 284 package updates available. During the updating about two dozen dependences required updates also. When it was done the kernel had advanced from 2.6.18-92 to 2.6.18-194.11.1. KDiskFree reports using less than 10 percent of the 250 GB hard drive.
- CD/DVD read: worked
- CD/DVD write: worked
- LAN: worked
- Wireless: did not work
- Sound: worked
- Video: worked
- USB: worked
- Firewire: N/A
- Media card reader: N/A
- Touchpad or other pointing device: worked
- Accelerator buttons (internet, E-Mail): worked
- Adaptive CPU speed: N/A
- Sense battery level: worked
- Suspend (manual): worked
- Suspend (close lid): worked
- Fan operation and automatic speed changing: worked
- Optical USB mouse: worked
2.3.1. Wireless LAN Problem
The RT2500 chip was not supported in the current kernel nor in the base rpms. There is support for it from the ELRepo Project. The steps for getting it were to add the repository and install the proper driver from it.
rpm --import http://elrepo.org/RPM-GPG-KEY-elrepo.org
yum --enablerepo=elrepo install rt73usb-firmware
Additionally, Network and Wpa_supplicant services were disabled and Network Manager was enabled through the KDE GUI at Administration > Server Settings > Services. The Network Manager allows connecting to whatever network source is available at the time. It is handy for moving from one network to another, especially wireless.
There were no continuing issues after getting the wireless LAN working. This laptop is not used for gaming nor heavy multimedia. It's main functions are E-Mail, web browsing, saving travel pictures until they can be transfered to a desktop machine and writing.
2.5. Models tested
Although called the 5400 Series, there are no subtypes.
Averatec 5400 Series manual can be found at http://www.trigem.com/us/support/manuals.asp
It is difficult to nail down good resources for RaLink RT2500 material relating to the CentOS kernel. There are good sources such as The RaLink Project at http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. Unfortunately, they focus on later kernels as found in Fedora, etc.