Linux on the Sharp 3040
I've upgraded from Slackware 3.0 (circa Oct. '96) to Redhat-6.0 (8/13/99).
I'm extremely pleased with the transition. I've installed 4
RH-6 systems in the last month or so and am very impressed with the
I bootstrapped the install procedure using the bootnet.img floppy
and did an NFS install using my Etherlink-III (3C563B) network/modem
card on my home thinnet LAN. The NFS server was my new K6-II/450 system
also running RH-6. The install went very smoothly.
- Sharp PC-3040 w/ 56MB of RAM, 1GB hd
- 12.1 inch svga dual scan screen
- 2 free memory slots, user accessible, for up to 72MB (8+32+32).
- external ps/2, serial, parallel, video, and IR ports.
- docking port (probably unnecessary).
- 2 type II PCMCIA slots (or 1 type III).
- very usable keyboard.
- glidepoint touchpad pointing device (I HATE those nipple things).
- built in 16bit soundblaster pro compatible audio with ports.
- floppy drive can be swapped with a second battery.
- intelligent suspend and powersaving modes.
- fantastic chassis design (in my humble opinion).
Successes with Linux on the 3040
- I'm using the 3Com Etherlink III ethernet/modem combo
card. It works very well.
- My New Media Bus Toaster SCSI (2nd generation) card works
fine under Linux now, but is only properly recognized in the top
slot. A newer version of the pcmcia package might fix this. I
haven't tried to get it working with RH-6 yet.
- Netatalk 1.4b2 also runs very well under Linux 2.0.27 (just
make sure the appletalk module is loaded!). I had problems
compiling netatalk under RH-6.
- In general, I love it. This machine would be perfect if the
audio was working so I didn't have to deal with the idiots at
Sharp and 15bpp was supported. But if you know what you're
about, this is a wonderful machine if you don't require blazing
speed. the maximum RAM size is comfortable and the Hard disk
(1GB) is generous.
Problems installing Linux on the 3040
- When I first got the machine in Oct. '96 The RedHat-4.0
distribution had skrewed up boot floppies which refused to properly
detect my PCMCIA hardware, so I used Slackware instead. As mentioned
above, RedHat-6.0 installed like a dream (8/13/99)
- XFree86 distributions prior to 3.3.4 do NOT support the
Neomagic graphics controllers natively. When I first insalled
linux on this system I had to purchase the Xinside commercial
Xserver. RedHat released a non open-source Xserver binary for
the neomagic chips a while ago and I'm now using that
XFCom_Neomagic Xserver (check the RH FTP site) that I used under
my old Slackware setup. It works fine under RH-6. I'll move to
XFree86-3.3.4 as soon as I can cart an distribution home
- Be careful when installing Linux on your laptop - you may not
want your distribution's installation program to try to detect
your graphics hardware automatically during the install as you
may damage your LCD. You have been warned.
- Make sure you compile advanced power management into your
kernel or you'll get really weird math errors when coming out of
suspend modes that will force you to reboot. RH-6 has this built
into the default kernel.
- I tried recreating the suspend-to-disk partition that I blew
away the first time I installed linux by creating a 60MB partition
with ID "a0" at the end of the disk. Despite the fact that this
seems to work with other Phonenix BIOS's on other (and similar)
machines, my NoteBIOS still doesn't detect the partion.
Cons of the 3040
- Sharp tech support SUCKS LIKE YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE.
only know about Win95 and can't tell you squat about the machine
itself. I can't emphasize this enough. My floppy drive died. So
I called good ol' 1-800-BESHARP and their automated phone system
is now WORSE!! Obviously these idiots are not at all interested
in dealing with their customers. I finally sent the machine in
for service under warranty. They replaced the floppy drive and
sent back a status sheet saying that all the hardware tested out
fine. They did NOT fix the sound hardware which is reported
broken by the BIOS. My battery, which had worked fine
until the service, started acting flakey.
Believe it or not,
Sharp contacted me regarding this comment. Apparently they're
trying to improve, and I was impressed that they mailed me at
all. Since my frustrations with them a year ago they've set up a
support web site from which you can actually download drivers,
repair disks, etc. We'll ignore the fact that they don't have
the software available for my particular model....
- Really annoying Phoenix BIOS that doesn't let you do
ANY advanced setup
- My audio module died a week after I got it and I haven't got
it fixed yet. It MIGHT be that the damn BIOS deconfigured it.
It's now almost 3 years later and I still can't make it work.
- The weinerheads who designed the first Neomagic graphics
chip didn't put enough memory on it to support 16 or 15 bit
color at 800x600. The stupid chip is something like 15k
short. Who designs a graphics controller with 896k of VRAM??
- There is no CD-ROM module for the floppy bay
I would be happy to answer any questions I can about Linux on this machine.
Just mail etgold at thaumaturgy dot net
Note that I do not have Windows on this machine and don't use any Microsoft
software at all, so I probably can't help you with those questions.