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Toshiba L650D-15G Tip of the Day

Problem

You’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04, it comes with a kernel newer than 2.6.32; and now booting doesn’t work. Grub runs OK, initrd starts up, kernel boots all right, but early at boot you get a blank screen – or if you enable text boot, the last thing you see is somewhere around the “pci_root PNP0A08:00: host bridge window” lines.

If you examine the kern.log, there’s nothing too obvious, except perhaps this:

pci0000:00: Requesting ACPI _OSC control (0x1d)
Unable to assume _OSC PCIe control. Disabling ASPM

Perhaps you’ll also see a “hda_intel: spurious response 0×0:0×0, last cmd=0x0f0000″ repeated hundreds of times. This causes also a quite audible pop from the DAC when the system gets here – you’ll hear a big “snap!” from the speakers.

Solution

Use the “pcie_aspm=off” kernel parameter when booting.

This turns off PCIe ASPM support.

Become root, edit /etc/default/grub. Append the parameter to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT. Then run update-grub2.

After this, ASPM will be always off, but boot is OK, suspend works, audio works, overall the system works just fine like in 2.6.32 kernels. The downsides? Haven’t seen any so far, then again, the laptop is “always” AC powered. Powertop reports about 260 wakeups-from-idle per second as I’m writing this, I’ve not tweaked it. The estimate with battery power hovers around 3h which is well in spec for this laptop.

CPU speed settings are OnDemand for all cores.

PS. The ATI Catalyst driver (fglrx) was used, but I don’t think it makes a difference. I had some problem with Compiz with Radeon (too old Mesa libs probably) so I went for fglrx instead.

PS2. Another route might be to upgrade the BIOS. However, Toshiba (or Insyde or both) currently provides a Windows-only upgrade .exe which can’t run in DOS mode, so no FreeDOS USB/.iso boot tricks work. The .exe won’t really run under Wine, and even if it did, upgrading the BIOS under Wine is somewhat too extreme sports (for me anyway).

A message to Toshiba: please always, always, always provide a BIOS update which can run under DOS, or better yet, Linux. I don’t give a shit if “Toshiba does not support Linux”, you don’t need to support Linux, you just need to stop actively preventing people from supporting Linux themselves. Oh, and thanks for the great laptop, I love it.

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