Saturday, April 01, 2006

Linux on a Philips freevents X51 laptop

I am in the process of installing Mandriva 2006 Linux on a very cute
little laptop. Its a Philips freevents X51. We bought it from Currys
for the princely sum of £799. Actually they had run out, but
a very nice sales man called Simon let us have the display model.
So far it works. The installation from DVD went smoothly enough. It
resized the Windoze partition for me, autodetected most things, and
then failed to reboot! Well there was one little trick, I had to go in
in rescue mode, and edit /etc/lilo.conf to remove the resume=/dev/?????
flag. Obviously I have not yet mastered the resume from disk! To be
honest not yet tried it in Windoze.
The wireless adapter uses the Intel ProWireless 2200 BG chipset. I
downloaded the rpm from mandriva club. Subscription required but well
worth it. If you are tight you can get the files from sourceforge and
figure out where to put them.
So far so good as I am posting over the wireless connection right now.
I will update this post when I have tested everything else.
Here is a brief specification of the X51

Dimensions 32 x 275 x 225

Battery Type LI-ION see below
Processor Type INTEL PENTIUM M 1.73GHz

Optical Drive Double Layer
DVD±RW drive

Screen Size/Type 12.1 TFT XGA 1024x768 24 bit
Graphics Card Type INTEL GMA900 (Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics
Xfree drive works fine
Sound card AC97 16bit
works fine
Modem 56k Fax modem Not tested
Wireless adapter Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG
Network adapter
Needed driver rpm from Mandriva club or can
also get from
Ethernet adapter

Realtek Semiconductor Corp. CPP Div. (Advance Logic)

Not tested

Had a bit of a problem with the power management at first. Basically if you install acpi and reboot the computer freezes. But with the acpi=ht some funny things happen with audio files playing at the wrong rates. Weird. Anyway I think I have fixed this, although not sure exactly why this works. I have the battery monitor working (in klaptop), but not yet tried the hibernate . Here is the relevant section from /etc/lilo.conf

append="splash=silent noapic acpi=noirq nolapci"

See also this posting on a French linux forum

TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs and Mobile Phones


Blogger Dave Cross said...


I just saw a Philips X51 in PC World and was very impressed by how it looks. Of course the PC World sales staff were no help at all when I asked what they knew about Linux compatibility so I said I'd do some investigation on the internet and get back to them.

Searching for "philips x51 linux" in Google turned up your page as the first hit and I was very happy to see how successful you had been.

So it's looking pretty likely that I'll be stopping off in PC World again on my way home to buy it.

Thanks for your post.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Billlion said...

Glad it was helpful. We have jsut come back from India and took this laptop with us. Not yet put any effort in to getting the "hibernate to disk" to work. Also couldnt figure out how to get the screen to go to "bright" when running on batteries. A bit of a problem in bright Indian sunshine.

I did figure out how to record from a mini disk (line out) to the nicrophone jack using Audacity and a cunning adapter I had made in McLeod Gange (will post on this when I have got over my jet lag).

12:53 PM  
Blogger Chris Leyson said...


Thanks for the acpi tip.

For Red Hat Enterprise Linux, edit grub.conf
Vmlinuz-2.6.9-34.0.1.EL ro root=LABEL=/ acpi=off rhgb quiet.

Try Ubuntu. Runs straight out of the box. An install from the live CD detected all of the hardware and installed the correct drivers without a problem.

If anyone has installed ubuntu on the X51,
upgrade to the 686 kernel, it runs a wee bit faster.

8:58 PM  

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