Warning: Information out of date! This document assumes you're using Kernel 2.2.X, XFree98 3.X!

This Page describes how to configure a Linux System on the Acer Extensa 355 (formerly known as TI Extensa 355). These instructions are Debian specific but most of them will work with other distributions.

The technical specifications of the Extensa 355.


I installed my Debian system over a PCMCIA-Ethernet card via FTP. Other possible methods include installation via NFS (with a PCMCIA card, PLIP (parallel port/Laplink cable), SLIP (serial port/null-modem)), floppy disks. Please refer to the documentation of your distribution for further information about the installation.

The Kernel

To use all the features (sound and APM) of your notebook you'll have to compile a new kernel. I suggest to use the newest 2.2.x kernel.


I'm using the ALSA opl3sa2 driver. Since the newer versions of the ALSA driver come with native Plug'n'Play support, you no longer have to mess around with the isapnp tools.

./configure --with-isapnp=yes --with-cards=opl3sa2
make install

alias char-major-116 snd
alias snd-card-0 snd-card-opl3sa2
alias char-major-14 soundcore
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm1-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm1-oss
options snd -k snd_major=116 snd_cards_limit=1 \
 snd_device_mode=0660 snd_device_gid=29 snd_device_uid=0
options snd-card-opl3sa2 -k snd_isapnp=1 snd_index=0 \
 snd_id=CARD_1 snd_port=0x370 snd_wss_port=0x530 \
 snd_midi_port=0x300 snd_fm_port=0x388 snd_irq=10 \
 snd_dma1=1 snd_dma1_size=64 snd_dma2=0 snd_dma2_size=64


The APM (advanced power management) works fine with the 2.0.x and 2.2.x kernels. Suspend and "power off on shutdown" works out of the box, just compile APM support in the kernel. I finally got the Hibernation mode (Suspend to disk) working (Many thanks to Arthur Darquandier):

Create a hibernation file on a DOS-FAT (Yes, that's sad) partition with the sleepmgr, which can be found on Acer's support pages. Boot DOS and call sleepmgr before starting Linux. (You have only to do this once.) Call hdparm -m16 /dev/hda. (To do this automatically at boot time, you'll have to create a init script in /etc/init.d/ and create the symlinks in /etc/rcX.d/.) The hibernation mode should work now. Just set up the BIOS correctly.


To use the text console at a resolution of 800x600 you can compile framebuffer support into the kernel. Just activate the following options in the "Console drivers" section of make menuconfig:

 [*] VGA text console
 [*] Video mode selection support
 [*] Support for frame buffer devices
 [*] VESA VGA graphics console


The CT65550 chipset is supported by the SVGA server of XFree. Because I don't like 256 colors, I tried 800x600 with 16 bit depth. It worked, but I had some strange effects on the bottom of the screen, so I reduced the resolution to 800x590 with the option "no_stretch" enabled. I think, some acceleration functions are disabled because of the memory (922 kB are used with 800x590x16bit). But at least for me, lots of colors are more important than high performance.

Relevant portions of /etc/XF86Config:

Section "Monitor"
   Identifier  "DSTN"
   VendorName  "Unknown"
   ModelName   "Unknown"
   HorizSync   25-65
   VertRefresh 40-70
   ModeLine "800x590"     28.322 800  808  848  936   590  600  604  628

Section "Device"
   Identifier  "Chips & Technologies CT65550"
   VendorName  "Unknown"
   BoardName   "Unknown"
   Option "no_stretch"

Section "Screen"
   Driver      "svga"
   Device      "Chips & Technologies CT65550"
   Monitor     "DSTN"
   DefaultColorDepth 16
   Subsection "Display"
       Depth       8
       Modes       "800x590"
       ViewPort    0 0
   Subsection "Display"
       Depth       16
       Modes       "800x590"
       ViewPort    0 0

The Keyboard

At least on the swiss german keyboard, for the "AltGr" key you have to press "Fn" and "Alt" simultaneously and there is only one "Ctrl" key on the left. So I remaped the "AltGr" key on the "Windows" key and the "Ctrl" key on the "Start" key. In XFree, I had to disable XKB to do that. I'm sure, it could be done with XKB, too but I didn't find any docs. Basically you have to change two entries in /etc/default.keytab:

keycode 126 = AltGr
keycode 127 = Control

And in ~/.Xmodmap

from:                                to:
! Windows key, left and right        
keycode 115 = Super_L                keycode 115 = Multi_key
keycode 116 = Super_R                keycode 116 = Mode_switch

! Start key, right
keycode 117 = Hyper_R                keycode 117 = Control_R

                                     add Mod3 = Mode_switch
add Mod4 = Super_L Super_R           add Mod4 = Super_L Super_R
add Mod5 = Hyper_R                   add Mod5 = Hyper_R

I know, this is an ugly hack, but at least it works.