I am a long time Linux user, but I have friend I have just introduced Linux to and he has actually wiped Windows in favor of installing OpenSuse 11.2. I have installed it for him on an older Packard Bell laptop (Celeron M, 1GB ram, VIA/S3 graphics.) The install went fine and he is excited about getting started. However, I have run into a snag and I was hoping someone here could help.
As mentioned, the install went fine and the system seems to run fine and most things are recognized fine (except graphics is using the vesa driver and I will need to find something better for him.) After the install, he tried a USB stick and found that NONE of the USB ports work. They have power, but are not recognized by the system/ Typing lsusb with nothing plugged in gets:
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
So, it would appear that nothing is wrong. However, plugging the USB stick and typing lsusb hangs the terminal (cursor just stops with blinking, no output.) Since this is old kit, I added “acpi=off” to the kernel line and, lo and behold, the USB ports work as expected. But the wireless stops being recognized (Atheros 5001x+). Without acpi=off, the wireless works fine, but no USB ports.
Anyone know of a workaround for this. I can find nothing even similar to this problem in my searches.
Well, I may be on to what might be the cause from dmesg, but don’t have a clue how to correct it:
2.104075] ACPI: PCI Interrupt Link [ALKA] disabled and referenced, BIOS bug
2.096244] hub 3-0:1.0: USB hub found
2.096255] hub 3-0:1.0: 2 ports detected
2.096432] ACPI Error (uteval-0313): Return object type is incorrect \_SB_.PCI0.ALKD._CRS] (Node f6c4e9f0)
2.096445] ACPI Error: Type returned from _CRS was incorrect: Integer, expected Btypes: 4 20090521 uteval-3
2.096455] ACPI Exception: AE_TYPE, Evaluating _CRS 20090521 pci_link-280
2.096462] ACPI: Unable to set IRQ for PCI Interrupt Link [ALKD]. Try pci=noacpi or acpi=off
Looks like the culprit. Anyone lknow what to do about this? BIOS update maybe if one is even available?
I don’t think this old hardware is going to play nice. However, it might be worth trying a couple of LiveCD distros to see whether any offer better boot options etc.
Although it has been some tine since I have used it, KNOPPIX - Live Linux Filesystem On CD is a distro that has for me always offered very good hardware detection and workarounds. You may be able to get a good indication of a fix by using some of the many boot options available, I think they were called “Knoppix cheat codes”.
Thank you very much for your replies, and particularly for the suggestions and link. The BIOS in this old laptop is extemely simple. Almost no options for setting changes except date, memory sharing, and boot order. So, no help there. There are no BIOS updates on the site. This is what I believe we used to call in Windows an IRQ conflict. With ACPI running, it tries to share USB with some of the PCI devices, and the wireless PCI wins out. With ACPI off, the PCI controlling the wireless is shut down.
It may be that after all these years putting linux on old hardwarre, I may have found one that will not successfully run it (at least any newer versions.) I will try the above and see if it yeilds anythings.