Running GNU/Linux on an Airis GEA 719 laptop      2004.08.28 @ 4:18:48 AM

While looking for a new laptop online, I bumped into the Airis GEA 719. These people assemble their laptops in Spain and offer a 2 year warranty for their products. Their website is www.airis-computer.com

The first thing that caught my eye was the price which was about a 20% lower than the average for this configuration, so I decided to give them a call. My second surprise was when I asked them about Linux, as they usually (still and soon to change) treat you like "Oh you are one of those!". Instead, the person on the phone told me that not only does it run linux great but they also offer the machine without Windows which saves me almost $100. I am in!
Airis GEA 719


Sure enough the computer arrived on time, without the stinky windows sticker and ready to boot my favorite OS installation disk. It features a Pentium 4 processor at 3Ghz, 512 Mb of RAM, a 40Gb HD, a sharp 15" screen, DVD-CDRW combo and 5 (five) USB 2.0 ports plus all bells and whistles, with the exception of a serial and PCMCIA ports (who cares about them nowadays)

The good thing when installing a new computer is that you get to try the latest linux releases : ) . In my case I decided to give the shiny Knoppix 3.4 a try. I simply popped in the CD in and booted up into KDE 3.2.2 with the precompiled 2.6.6 kernel. The guy on the phone was right as everything worked right out of the box. The only exeption was the sound card which even though worked fine, to my opinion the mp3 sounded a bit weird (low pitch effect caused by a misconfiguration). But you can't really expect more from an OS that boots and configures your system without even touching a button. Some people still think windoze is easier to install : D : D : D 

Then I installed Knoppix on my hard drive with the included hard drive installation script and presto!. But it was way too easy, so I needed to kick it up another notch and get my own kernel in place. So I went ahead and downloaded 2.6.7 and spent the time selecting all my drivers (and only my drivers) which I compiled built into the kernel to avoid having to deal with modules. Why not ?. After a few minutes I rebooted into my own kernel which worked like a charm, even solving the pitch problem with the sound card. I didn't dare to try the CPU scaling for the Pentium 4, but I will surely do that next.

Here is my lspci output:
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82845G/GL[Brookdale-G]/GE/PE DRAM Controller/Host-Hub Interface (rev 03)
0000:00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corp. 82845G/GL[Brookdale-G]/GE Chipset Integrated Graphics Device (rev 03)
0000:00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) USB UHCI #1 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) USB UHCI #2 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) USB UHCI #3 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82801BA/CA/DB/EB/ER Hub interface to PCI Bridge (rev 82)
0000:00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) LPC Bridge (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) Ultra ATA 100 Storage Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBM (ICH4) SMBus Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.6 Modem: Intel Corp. 82801DB (ICH4) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 02)
0000:01:0c.0 Ethernet controller: National Semiconductor Corporation DP83815 (MacPhyter) Ethernet Controller


And a screenshot playing with Flash on my XFCE4 Desktop, while downloading stuff with aMule, while listening music with XMMS and running Ximian Evolution:
XFCE4 Desktop

Bottom line, the Airis GEA 719 is a great linux laptop.

Update: My battery died after about a month of use. Now I have to ship the laptop to Guadalajara and wait for them to fix it and ship it back : ( . Switched to a Toshiba Satellite for now

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