If you do the latter, use
a partitioning tool, for example
FIPS, to split
the original single 8GB
c: drive partition.
A 50/50 split gives plenty of breathing room for most purposes.
There is no separate partition for power-management; this machine
does suspend-to-RAM, not suspend-to-disk.
Booting and installing from your distribution's CD set would be the easiest; just configure the A800's BIOS to boot from CD, pop the right disk in the drive, boot and go. The machine uses pretty generic hardware, and generic notebook basic hardware support in Linux is quite good "out of the box" these days.
Instead, I downloaded the pre-release Debian 2.2 "frozen" PCI-IDE boot floppy images, made up another floppy with the appropriate wireless LAN drivers and tools, and did a dselect-apt network install over a 128-bit RC4 encrypted Wavelan link. But that is only because I like doing things the hard way.
Whatever X configuration tool your distribution uses at install time should easily handle all this with a little input from you, but if you have to edit your XF86Config file by hand, the monitor, graphics, and screen sections that I am using are available here.
The LCD display on the Sharp is beautiful, one of its main selling points. There are many options you can play with in configuring the NeoMagic driver, but it does such a good job with the defaults that you shouldn't have to.
nm256 sound driver correctly detects and works
with this controller. This driver has been available as one of the
"OSS sound modules" in
the Linux kernel distribution since 2.2.13 and should be compiled
as a module. (It was written
by an anonymous psychic
to whom the community owes a debt of gratitude.)
A note about the audio hardware on the A800: This machine does the best job imaginable of recreating perfect retro 1959 tinny transistor radio sound from its little mono speaker. Use headphones if you want stereo.
pcmcia-cs 3.1.16PCMCIA card services modules and a 2.2.16 kernel and everything seems to work very well. But I haven't tried it with every conceivable PCMCIA card.
CONFIG_PM=y CONFIG_APM=y # CONFIG_APM_IGNORE_USER_SUSPEND is not set # CONFIG_APM_DO_ENABLE is not set CONFIG_APM_CPU_IDLE=y # CONFIG_APM_DISPLAY_BLANK is not set # CONFIG_APM_ALLOW_INTS is not set # CONFIG_APM_REAL_MODE_POWER_OFF is not set
With these settings APM support and power management will work with this machine's Phoenix BIOS 4.0 release 6.0, at least as far as battery alarms and "system suspend" is concerned. However the various apmd(8) flags that are supposed to permit changing APM settings from the Linux side don't seem to have any effect; the BIOS defaults of low battery alarm at 15% and critical battery alarm at 10% are what you get. (Interestingly, Win98 appears to have problems recovering from a suspend under some condiditions. Works fine under Linux though.)
Because you will be running out of power a lot, sometimes when you're not able to go through a full normal shutdown, it is advantageous to have a journalled filesystem to prevent disk corruption. I've had very good results with the ext3 filesystem under 2.4.18.
Read the PCMCIA HowTo for tips about how to deal with PCMCIA cards that cannot be suspended and resumed in the usual way.
/dev/hdc, if you have it installed in the modular bay at boot. The PC-A800 manual says the CDROM and floppy drive are not hot-swappable.
/dev/fd0, if you have it installed in its bay at boot. The PC-A800 manual says the CDROM and floppy drive are not hot-swappable.
You can try mailing me with questions or comments.