Toshiba P300-156, a Linux-friendly 17″ laptop

As for the Ricoh camera, I could only find very little information on the Linux compatibility of the new P300 series of Toshiba laptops. One discussion on a forum (sorry I forgot where…) mentioned that the A300 series had good compatibility with Linux and that the P300 was not that compatible. However, I took the risk and I’m very happy to report that the Toshiba P300-156 european model is very Linux (Ubuntu) friendly.

Most of the things work out of the box, without any special intervention. My distribution of choice is Kiwi, a version of Ubuntu 8.04 that was tailored for ease of use and oriented towards Romanian and Hungarian users.

I had some difficulties in understanding how to shrink the Windows Vista partitions and allocate space to the Ubuntu distribution but finally it worked without any problem (by first using Vista to decrease the occupied disk size).

LXDE, Gnome, OpenBox

In addition, I had to install the ATI Radeon HD 3470 driver and, for convenience, Wicd, an excellent manager of network (especially wifi) connections.

To my surprise, the included webcam and microphone worked without any problem (tested with Skype and Kopete). Everything worked like a charm with two exceptions:

1. The integrated Ethernet card is not recognized and I was too lazy to search if any driver is available to make it work. I’m using wifi connnections right now so this is not critical.

2. The disk was parking heads very often and I applied the uggly fix described by ubuntu_demon. It solved the problem.

Conclusion

I’m a very happy Ubuntu user on a great Toshiba laptop 🙂

Updates

June 9, 2008 – first disappointment – the incorporated DVD player did not accept to play a DVD that had light scratches. No problem to read the DVD on another computer…

August 11, 2008 – maybe it was only the lens of the player that was dirty – cleaned it lightly with a piece of cloth and no problems since.

December 2, 2009 – after upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10, the computer fans were continuously working at full speed. Installing the proprietary ATI driver for the graphics card seems to have solved the problem. One annoying problem though: upgrading the kernel will remove the module and it has to be reinstalled…

December, 2012 – the laptop is still working fine with Xubuntu 12.10. I don’t like Unity and Gnome Shell. XFCE is a great desktop environment and Ubuntu remains one of the most friendliest distributions.