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oldcpu's meandering thoughts on Computers, GNU/Linux and openSUSE

OpenSUSE-12.3, 13.1, and 13.2 on Toshiba Satellite Z930 Ultrabook

Rating: 9 votes, 5.00 average.
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I successfully installed openSUSE-12.3 on a Toshiba Satellite Z930 Ultrabook (with KDE-4.10 desktop). I have this running now for over 1-month, and I have to say I am very pleased thus far with both the Ultrabook and with openSUSE-12.3 running on it.

More can be read on this Ultrabook running under GNU/Linux in this Linlap Toshiba Z930 thread for the Portege which is almost identical to my Toshiba:

Specification:

The specification of this Ultrabook is as follows:
  • CPU Intel Core i7-3667U
  • Graphics : Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Display resolution: 13.3” 1366×768 Widescreen
  • RAM : 6 GB
  • wireless: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (a/g/n)
  • Mass storage: 256 GB SSD-drive
  • Interfaces:
    • 2 x USB-2.0 and 1 x USB-3.0
    • Ethernet : 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
    • VGA adapter slot
    • HDMI slot
    • SD Card reader
    • Mic/Line in
    • Headphone out

  • Webcam
  • Touchpad
  • Audio hardware codec – Realtek ALC269VC

With the exception of the HDMI output, which I have not tested, the above all works well under openSUSE-12.3.

There is no fingerprint reader on this Toshiba Satellite. Rather the more expensive Toshiba Portege Z930 has the fingerprint reader.

This Ultrabook came with Windows-8 pre-installed in a secure boot and has UEFI firmware and GPT drive partitioning.

Initial Partitioning prior to openSUSE install

I note the following was the default partitioning on this Toshiba (with windows8) :
Code:
Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048          923647   450.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
   2          923648         1456127   260.0 MiB   EF00  Basic data partition
   3         1456128         1718271   128.0 MiB   0C01  Basic data partition
   4         1718272       468746239   222.7 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   5       468746240       487534591   9.0 GiB     2700  Basic data partition
   6       487534592       500117503   6.0 GiB     FFFF  Basic data partition
  • Partition-1 (450.0 MiB) was labelled by the Windows8 partition tool as 'recovery' partitions. For example, partition-1 has directories such as BIN, boot, Recovery, RicaTools, System Volume Information
  • Partition-2 (260.0 MiB) is the FAT formatted EFI partition.
  • Partition-3 (128MB) use is not clear to me, as it has only a System Volume Information directory inside it, but I assume it is associated with some sort of recovery.
  • Partition-4 (222.7 GiB) is the main Windows8 partition, and it is the Partition that I wanted to shrink to make room for openSUSE-12.3.
  • Partition-5 (9.0 GiB) was labelled by the Windows8 partition tool as 'recovery' partitions. I note it has inside a Recovery directory and a System Volume Information directory.
  • Partition-6 (6.0 GiB) is not mountable (I obtain an unknown file system error when I try to mount it). I don't know what partition-6 (6.0 GiB) was for.


Installing openSUSE-12.3

After noting the above (which I obtained from booting the Toshiba Ultrabook from a liveUSB stick with openSUSE-12.3) I installed openSUSE-12.3 in a dual secure boot with Windows8. On this Ultrabook, I noted F2 key will bring one to the BIOS, and F12 key will bring one the UEFI boot menu.

I adopted the following measures as part of this installation preparation and execution:
  • shrank windows8 partitioning by following the shrinking Windows8 guide here with this reported by me in post #74 in this openSUSE thread ) .
    .
    After shrinking Windows8, I ended up with the following:
    Code:
    Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
       1            2048          923647   450.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
       2          923648         1456127   260.0 MiB   EF00  Basic data partition
       3         1456128         1718271   128.0 MiB   0C01  Basic data partition
       4         1718272       134838271   63.5 GiB    0700  Basic data partition
       5       134838272       468744191   159.2 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
       6       468746240       487534591   9.0 GiB     2700  Basic data partition
       7       487534592       500117503   6.0 GiB     FFFF  Basic data partition
    where partition 5 (159.2 GiB) is the empty partition where I planned to place the openSUSE-12.3 partitions.

    .
  • After the above shrinking I used a PartedMagic 2013-6-15 liveCD to create an empty swap, / and /home parttion, with this is the partitioning after these two activies:
    Code:
    Number  Start (sector)  End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
       1            2048        923647   450.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
       2          923648       1456127   260.0 MiB   EF00  Basic data partition 
       3         1456128       1718271   128.0 MiB   0C01  Basic data partition     
       4         1718272     134838271   63.5 GiB    0700  Basic data partition     
       5       134838272     147945471   6.2 GiB     8200                         
       6       468746240     487534591   9.0 GiB     2700  Basic data partition   
       7       487534592     500117503   6.0 GiB     FFFF  Basic data partition    
       8       147945472     200374271   25.0 GiB    0700                          
       9       200374272     468746239   128.0 GiB   0700
    where partitions 5 (6.2 GiB for swap), 8 (25.0 GiB for / (root)) and 9 (128.0 GiB for /home) above are the empty (newly created) partitions populated by me for openSUSE.

    .
  • installed openSUSE-12.3 from a USB-3.0 memory stick plugged in to the Ultrabook's USB-3.0 port. The copying part of the software installation took only about 4.5 minutes which is very fast. To be able to boot to the USB-3.0 memory stick I had to press F12 on the Ultrabook to obtain the USB memory stick boot options. I created the USB-3.0 bootable memory stick using an openSUSE-12.3 install on a different PC with the program ImageWriter (available from support repositories for openSUSE-12.3) following guidance given on an openSUSE wiki.
  • when installing openSUSE-12.3 I was careful to chose the appropriate partitions for the swap, / (root) and /home partitions. I chose to select the already existing EFI partition for openSUSE, being careful to NOT reformat the data on the existing EFI partition. I enabled secure boot in the openSUSE installation gui.
  • when installing openSUSE-12.3 I was careful to choose the grub-efi selection for the boot manager
  • toward the later part of the installation, during the first reboot, the Ultrabook refused to boot to openSUSE-12.3, but instead booted to Windows8. The problem is documented in this openSUSE forum thread starting at post #78 … where in the end, following some excellent help from the openSUSE forums, the solution suggested to me, which I adopted was to copy the /EFI/opensuse directory contents into the /EFI/Boot efi and rename the opensuse shim.efi to bootx64.efi, replacing the previous.efi. I note via an md5sum checksum comparison that the older bootx64.efi was identical to the /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi file. But now after my copying, the new bootx64.efi is identical to the openSUSE shim.efi file.


While trying to sort the above noted reboot problem, I did update the BIOS from v.6.40 to v.6.70 where the BIOS update did not help in solving the reboot problem.

SSD drive & SD-Card

This Ultrabook as a 256 GB SSD-drive which is VERY fast. I was concerned wrt the long term health of the SSD drive (wrt GNU/Linux conducting an excesslive number of writes on the SSD drive, possibly reducing drive life). So I followed the guidance here in this openSUSE wiki.

In addition, to avoid the risk of excessive writes to the /var/log files, I purchased a 16GB SD-card, inserted it in the SD Card reader slot, formatted the card as EXT4 with jouranalling OFF, and mounted that card (with fstab entries) as /var. Hence all /var contents are now written to the SD-card and not to the SSD drive. While the SD-card may fail early as a result, I note SD-cards are very inexpensive to replace (and I have a backup SD-card).

I documented my SD card approach in openSUSE] post#67here in this thread.

The fstab entry I used was for mounting this EXT4 formatted SD-Card:
Code:
/dev/disk/by-id/mmc-SU16G_0xb1d81b23-part1 /var  ext4 noatime,acl,user_xattr,discard 1 2
where as noted in that quoted post, I may in the future change that fstab entry to:
Code:
/dev/mmcblk0p1 /var  ext4  noatime,acl,user_xattr,discard   1 2

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Updated 16-Nov-2014 at 13:50 by oldcpu (updated title to reflect 13.1 and 13.2 installs)

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Comments

  1. oldcpu's Avatar
    I note this Ultrabook , with its SSD-drive, has a 'feel' of being very fast. It has an Intel Core i7-3667U, which is actually slower than my old desktop Intel Core-i7 920. Yet because of the SSD-drive, this Ultra is more responsive than my desktop, and gives 'feel' of a significant speed increase.

    Mostly everything (except one power management issue) 'just works'.

    I did read the openSUSE-12.3 release notes prior to installing.

    I do note with the wireless network, to get it to work the first time I had to work around a known openSUSE-12.3 bug, by sending the command (with root permissions in a terminal/konsole) :

    Code:
    systemctl start network.service
    and after that I could use the Network manager to connect to our home WLAN (and later to many other different wlans). That command was only needed once to be sent.

    I have used this Ultrabook successfully with Skype, I have driven conference room big projection screens using the VGA connector. And I have carried it to may places as it is only 1.1 kg in weight, which is INCREDIBLY light and also very thin. This is one of the lightest Ultrabooks, and that incredible light weight, coupled with a vast array of interfaces, coupled with very nice openSUSE-12.3 GNU/Linux compatibility makes me happy with it.

    It is 'bitten' by one kernel bug where the upstream fix has not yet made it downstream. The Linlap site on the Z930 has various users of many GNU/Linux distributions noting this bug, which occurs when the laptop is recovered from a standby mode using battery power. Closing the lid will suspend the machine once, but then shutdown hangs and one requires a hard power down. In addition both battery management and wireless don't function well when restored from the standby mode using battery power. Using AC power the problem does not exist from what I have experienced.

    Purportedly, the problem has bin fixed in ACPICA, but while upstream it has not yet made it into the openSUSE distribution kernel. EDIT: I wrote openSUSE 830475 bug report to see if I can have this fix adopted earlier in the openSUSE distribution. This is a link to ACPICA patch, for reference:

    https://github.com/acpica/acpica/com...b24947cfe1fb6a

    And finally here is the output of 'inxi -F' which gives a good flavour as to what I have running currently on this Ultrabook:
    Code:
    System:    Host: toshiba.darmstadt Kernel: 3.7.10-1.16-desktop x86_64 (64 bit) 
               Desktop KDE 4.10.5 Distro: openSUSE 12.3 (x86_64) VERSION = 12.3 CODENAME = Dartmouth
    Machine:   System: TOSHIBA (portable) product: Satellite Z930 version: PT23LC-01300D
               Mobo: TOSHIBA model: Satellite Z930 version: Version A0 Bios: TOSHIBA version: Version 6.70 date: 04/04/2013
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i7-3667U CPU (-HT-MCP-) cache: 4096 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) 
               Clock Speeds: 1: 775.00 MHz 2: 775.00 MHz 3: 775.00 MHz 4: 2001.00 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller X.Org: 1.13.2 driver: intel Resolution: 1366x768@60.2hz 
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Ivybridge Mobile GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 9.0.2
    Audio:     Card: Intel 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel
               Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: k3.7.10-1.16-desktop
    Network:   Card-1: Intel 82579V Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e 
               IF: eth0 state: down speed: 4294967295 Mbps duplex: unknown mac: e8:e0:b7:73:c3:68
               Card-2: Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 driver: iwlwifi 
               IF: wlan0 state: up mac: 84:a6:c8:ad:ba:4c
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 256.1GB (24.9% used) 1: /dev/sda TOSHIBA_THNSNF25 256.1GB 
    Partition: ID: / size: 25G used: 7.4G (32%) fs: ext4 ID: /home size: 126G used: 11G (9%) fs: ext4 
               ID: /var size: 15G used: 1.4G (10%) fs: ext4 ID: swap-1 size: 6.71GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap 
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 16.0C mobo: N/A 
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A 
    Info:      Processes: 152 Uptime: 1:14 Memory: 457.7/5874.3MB Client: Shell inxi: 1.7.24
    Updated 23-Jul-2013 at 00:56 by oldcpu (updated to include reference to wireless work around applied)
  2. oldcpu's Avatar
    I've been obtaining support from SuSE-GmbH in addressing the power management issues on this Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook , and it has motivated me to look at this in more detail.

    I went into the BIOS of my Ultrabook and tuned its power management to allow a resumption from suspension via a key press (in addition to resumption from suspension by pressing the power on/off switch). That appears to have made a difference. This is the setting I changed:


    [click on image to obtain larger view]

    With this enabled, using the 64-bit openSUSE-13.1-beta-1 liveDVD (KDE) I was able to resume from 3 suspend attempts in a row (with at least 30 minutes in suspend before each of the successful resumption attempts).

    I then went back and tested openSUSE-12.3 with the 3.7 kernel, and also openSUSE-12.3 with a SuSE-GmbH produced factory 3.11.1 kernel (for openSUSE-12.3) and the suspension resumption problem is still present with both kernel versions. The 12.3 w/factory 3.11 kernel, when resumed, gives me a KDE error (KDE crash handler) when I select 'Manage connection' in the lower right corner of the KDE desktop under Network management).

    However the 13.1-beta-1 (with its 64-bit 3.11.1-1.g1383321-desktop kernel) appears to just work well, and if this functionality is maintained during the 13.1 RC and GM versions, I will be updating to openSUSE-13.1 in November this year.
    .
  3. oldcpu's Avatar
    I installed 13.1 (latest 13.1 opensuse build I was allowed to access) on my Toshiba Z930 ultrabook using the 64-bit installation DVD .iso (copied to a USB stick via imagewriter). Install went smoother than I expected, with only one (also expected) major glitch that was easy to address with the experience I had from the 12.3 install on this same Ultrabook. The previous 12.3 install in fact, likely was a contributing factor in the 13.1 'glitch'.

    In the case of 12.3, in order to get this Ultrabook to boot 12.3 (and not a constant windows8 boot) I had to copy the openSUSE /EFI/opensuse directory contents into the /EFI/Boot directory, and copy the shim.efi on top of the bootx64.efi. Prior to installing openSUSE-13.1 (to replace 12.3) I did not restore the bootx64.efi to its original content, but left it as a renamed 12.3 shim.efi. During the first 13.1 re-boot (part way through the install) the Ultrabook booted to a grub prompt with no other boot manager selection (see image below).

    where the top line reads:
    Code:
                                                                                      GNU GRUB version 2.00
    
    Minimal BASH-like line editing is supported. For the first word, TAB  lists possible command completions.  Anywhere else TAB lists possible  devices or file completions.
    
    grub>_
    I had thought that might happen, and to me it meant the bootx64.efi (which I believe is called by the Ultrabook's firmware) was in fact a 12.3 shim which possibly was not fully compatible with the 13.1 shim/kernel version ? So rather than mess with grub2, I switched OFF the Ultrabook, removed the Installation USB stick, and rebooted to an openSUSE 13.1 KDE liveDVD .iso (copied to a USB stick). I then mounted the /EFI partition on the Ultrabooks SSD drive and looked at it:


    which confirmed that the /EFI/opensuse (dated 17-Nov with different file sizes) was newer than the /EFI/Boot content (dated 6-Nov with different file sizes). So I again copied the openSUSE /EFI/opensuse directory contents into the /EFI/Boot directory, and copy the shim.efi on top of the bootx64.efi. I then shut down the PC. Removed the 13.1 KDE liveDVD USB stick and put the 13.1 64-bit Installation DVD USB stick. I switched on the Ultrabook and it then booted properly and allowed me to continue and complete the Installation.

    The remainder was pretty smooth.

    I tested sound, the SD card reader, the webcam, the USB ports, the power management (a big improvement on 12.3 on this Ultrabook's hardware), wireless, printing to network printer, scanning from network printer ... and all appears well. I still need to copy some files to this Ultrabook in preparation for my trip to Asia in just under 6-days, but I'm pretty happy with this.

    In particular the power management works well. When running on battery, when the Ultrabook recovers from a hibernation the wireless works ok (while on 12.3 the wireless would not work after a recovery from suspend/hibernation).

    Many thanks to those on our forum (mainly nrickert) who taught me some of the new UEFI/GPT aspects, as it made what could have been a difficult install, very quick and easy.
  4. oldcpu's Avatar
    I successfully tested openSUSE-13.1 HDMI using this Toshiba Satellite Z930 Ultrabook earlier today.

    The test consisted of connecting the Ultrabook's HDMI output to our TV's HDMI input using an HDMI cable. We first selected the TV's HDMI input using the TV's remote. Then once the HDMI cable was connected from computer to TV I started a video with smplayer and typed in a konsole 'xrandr' . The smplayer application and video then appeared on the TV without sound from the TV. I then ran the application 'pavucontrol' and selected one of the 'HDMI' options in the 'pavucontrol' configuration tab. I then ensured pavucontrol 'output' and 'playback' tabs were consistent with the HDMI selection. That immediately provided the videos sound to the TV speakers (as per the smplayer application playback).

    One thing that surprised me, was that typing 'xrandr' did not bring up a monitor control GUI but rather only continued with the konsole display. I was eventually able to teach myself how to start/stop the HDMI with the xrandr command arguments. I did not figure out how to bring up a monitor control GUI.

    But both my wife and I were happy to have the HDMI working to our TV. This now opens up the possibility of easily watching home videos on our living room TV using my Toshiba Satellite Z930 Ultrabook computer.
  5. oldcpu's Avatar
    I installed openSUSE-13.2 on this Toshiba Ultrabook, this time using Grub2 and with Secure Boot was enabled. I installed from a USB-3.0 memory stick using the 64-bit DVD install ISO (written to the USB stick using Imagewriter). I used a USB-3.0 port on the Ultrabook, so the installation was incredibly quick.

    It was also very smooth. The only change I did to the install (prior to the writing starting) was to go into the advanced partitioning and change the format of / to use EXT4. I kept my previous EXT4 /home.

    I've now tested wired, wireless, sound, graphics, webcam ... and installed a number of different custom applications. It was very fast and smooth, and thus far for this Toshiba Z930 ultrabook, I think 13.2 is the best openSUSE version for it.

    Here is the "inxi -F" output:
    Code:
    oldcpu@linux-0w6l:~> inxi -F
    System:    Host: linux-0w6l.site Kernel: 3.16.6-2-desktop x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: KDE 4.14.2 
               Distro: openSUSE 13.2 (Harlequin) 
    Machine:   System: TOSHIBA (portable) product: Satellite Z930 v: PT23LC-01300D
               Mobo: TOSHIBA model: Satellite Z930 v: Version A0 Bios: TOSHIBA v: Version 6.80 date: 06/25/2013
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i7-3667U (-HT-MCP-) cache: 4096 KB 
               Clock Speeds: 1: 2375 MHz 2: 819 MHz 3: 800 MHz 4: 802 MHz
    Graphics:  Card: Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller
               Display Server: X.Org 1.16.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1366x768@60.20hz
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Ivybridge Mobile GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.3.0
    Audio:     Card Intel 7 Series/C210 Series Family High Definition Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel 
               Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.16.6-2-desktop
    Network:   Card-1: Intel 82579V Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e
               IF: enp0s25 state: down mac: e8:e0:b7:73:c3:68
               Card-2: Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 driver: iwlwifi
               IF: wlp2s0 state: up mac: 84:a6:c8:ad:ba:4c
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 256.1GB (53.5% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: TOSHIBA_THNSNF25 size: 256.1GB
    Partition: ID-1: / size: 25G used: 6.9G (30%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda8 
               ID-2: /home size: 126G used: 115G (92%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda9 
               ID-3: swap-1 size: 6.71GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5 
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 64.0C mobo: N/A 
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A 
    Info:      Processes: 213 Uptime: 2:23 Memory: 791.2/5872.9MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.1.95-4
    .
  6. oldcpu's Avatar
    The Function key brightness functionality works on this Toshiba Z930 with openSUSE-13.2.

    Adjusting the brightness has never been a function I paid much attention to wrt my Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook, as in the places where I use the Ultrabook the default brightness has been fine. I use a KDE desktop.

    Still a post on our forum (#20) where a user needed to add a configuration file to get the brightness to work properly made me curious.

    So I tried the FN (function) F6 and FN-F7 combination on my Toshiba without the configuration file the user noted, and while I received a screen window feedback that the setting was applied, the brightness actually did not change.

    Screen feedback

    So I added the noted " /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf " file the user noted (file repeated below)
    Code:
    Section "Device"
            Identifier  "card0"
            Driver      "intel"
            Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
            BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"
    EndSection
    and restarted X (via a simple reboot) and now I get both the screen window feedback AND the brightness changes where pressing Fn/F6 combination decreases the brightness and the Fn/F7 combination increases the brightness.
    .
    Updated 26-Apr-2015 at 02:51 by oldcpu