The BSD Journal - NetBSD on the Toshiba Libretto L1

NOTE: This information is out of date (from mid 2003) but I am leaving it up for historical purposes.

I have been searching for a light laptop that has a screen with a nice resolution. My search led me to the Toshiba Libretto and finally to the Libretto L series. I ordered a Libretto L1 and received it on June 13, 2003. This page chronicles the install process along with what works and what does not work. An unfortunate issue with the L1 is that it uses ACPI for just about everything. That is the biggest challenge. Of course ACPI would not be an issue if I were happy with the stock operating system. However, I am determined to run NetBSD on my Libretto.

The Libretto L1 has the following specifications with my upgrades in parentheses:

CPU: Crusoe TM5600 @ 600 MHz
RAM: 128 MB (upgraded to 256 MB)
HD: 10 GB (upgraded to 40 GB)
Screen: 10 inch TFT active matrix at 1280x600 resolution
Video Card: S3 Savage IX with 8 MB video RAM
Modem: Built-in modem
Weight: 2.4 lb

You can find out more about the Toshiba Libretto L1 from a CNET hardware review.

When the Libretto L1 first arrived, the first thing I did was boot up Windows XP which came on the hard drive. It worked great. The screen was just beautiful! I immediately shut down the computer and started taking it apart. First of all, I replaced the 20 GB IBM hard drive with a 40 GB Toshiba 5400 RPM hard drive. I purchased the hard drive from I also replaced the stock Japanese keyboard with a US Keyboard I purchased from Dynamism.
Because of the need for ACPI, I decided to start with the NetBSD 20030305-1.6P snapshot. Just for fun, while it was downloading, I installed FreeBSD 5.1. It seemed to run pretty well after I discovered I had to set an option at boot. Oh well, enough distractions. I decided to start a floppy install of NetBSD while I was waiting for the ISO image to download. I downloaded the bootlap1.fs and bootlap2.fs floppy disk images. I copied the images to two floppy disks using the following commands from NetBSD/i386 1.6.1.
dd if=bootlap1.fs bs=18k of=/dev/rfd0a

dd if=bootlap2.fs bs=18k of=/dev/rfd0a
After copying the images to the floppy disks, I used the Toshiba USB floppy drive that came with my Libretto L1 to boot from the disks. When you turn the Libretto on, you must hold down the F key for the computer to boot from the floppy drive. After the Libretto started booting from the first disk, it asked me to insert the second. After these steps, I received a prompt to install NetBSD. I selected "Install NetBSD to Hard Disk." I then selected an option to use the whole disk. Next, I was asked to select what type of install I wanted. I selected "Standard with X." I then had the opportunity to change the partitions as I saw fit. I created the 'a' partition to be 1024 MB and be mounted on /. I then created a swap partition of 961 MB. I also added a 1024 MB 'e' partition mounted at /home. Finally, I created an approximately 35 GB 'f' parition to be mounted on /usr.
I was then given the option of where I wanted to install the binary sets from. I chose ftp. Then I was prompted to configure my Cisco Aironet wireless PC card. The card was recognized as an0. After configuring the card through DHCP, I selected all of the standard binary sets along with the laptop kernel. I then allowed the install to proceed. (You can find more complete instructions for the install process from the NetBSD FTP site.)

Configuring NetBSD
I asked about the Libretto L1 on the NetBSD port-i386 list. My initial message to the group can be found here. Subsequent messages on the subject can be found in the May and June 2003 archives. The first reply to my message (found here) contains a shell archive with a kernel config and XF86Config file. (Note: The shell archive expands to /usr/src/sys/arch/i386/conf/SHINY for the kernel config file and /etc/X11/XF86Config for the XFree86 config file. The XFree86 config file will REPLACE whatever is already at /etc/X11/XF86Config. I found this out.)
Kernel Configuration
I created my own kernel configuration based on the kernel configurations that others are using. You can download it as LIBRETTO. Notice that many of the devices are configured using ACPI. I am currently running NetBSD 1.6U from 06/27/2003 sources. I will have the snapshot I am using online soon. You can find out some important readings like battery and temperature using the command:
envstat -r
The 1.6U snapshot seems to be working very well for me. I will keep the current snapshot that I am using available for download at this web site once I finish the snapshot CD.
XFree86 Configuration
I am currently using a snapshot of XFree86 4.3.0 compiled from the 06/27/2003 xsrc. You can download my configuration file for XFree86 as XF86Config.
To be continued...

These are some links that I have found to be a valuable reference.
Toys Wiki: Toshiba Libretto
Libretto L1 files for FreeBSD 5.0
Libretto L1 information and links
Linux on the Libretto L1
RedHat 7.3 and the Toshiba Libretto L1
Yahoo! Groups : Libretto-L1
Debian files for the Toshiba Libretto L2
Linux and Windows on the Toshiba Libretto L2
Toshiba Libretto L2 Review
Toshiba Libretto Information and Model Comparison

Copyright © 2003-2011 Bryan Vyhmeister