Web www.freebsdmadeeasy.com
Main Menu

Toshiba Satellite L25 S1216

I picked one of these little laptops up cheap and couldn't resist putting FreeBSD on it when I noticed it had an Atheros wireless card in it, which FreeBSD has good support for. I had some real trouble getting it going at first, so I am writing this for anyone else who may be trying to install FreeBSD 6.x on one also.

Dual Booting

I decided to dual boot mine, using Partition Magic 8 to shrink the NTFS partition by 8G to make room for FreeBSD. I find 8G to be plenty for FreeBSD, even with X.org installed. If you are planning to install OpenOffice or KDE and a whole suite of other large applications you may want to think about allocating more. After installing everything I needed here is how it came out

# df -h
Filesystem     Size    Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/ad0s2a    248M     49M    179M    22%    /
devfs          1.0K    1.0K      0B   100%    /dev
/dev/ad0s2d    248M     24K    228M     0%    /tmp
/dev/ad0s2f    6.4G    2.2G    3.6G    38%    /usr
/dev/ad0s2e    248M     33M    194M    15%    /var

If you run out of space while installing applications afterwards don't worry, its only the work files filling up your drive. Just run

# portsclean -C
# cd /usr/ports/distfiles && rm -r *

This will clean everything, and you can begin the make install again. Note that portsclean is part of the portupgrade port.

Installing FreeBSD 6.x

Installing FreeBSD on a Toshiba L25 is the same as for any workstation, so use this guide to get it installed. The easiest way is just to get the ISO for CD1 for the install and use that.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you choose something with Kernel Developer during the install so you get the source and are able to recompile the kernel. Otherwise you will have no network support and will have to burn the source to a cd from another computer to copy it on to /usr/src

Booting up for the first time

The first time you boot this laptop up with FreeBSD its going to have several problems. (This is using FreeBSD 6.0-RELEASE, Its possible they are fixed in a later version). The first thing you will notice is this problem

kernel: ACPI-0438: *** Error: Looking up [Z00D] in namespace,
kernel: SearchNode 0xc140c0a0 StartNode 0xc140c0a0
	ReturnNode 0
kernel: ACPI-1304: *** Error: Method execution failed 
	[\_SB_.BAT1._BST] (Node 0xc140bdc0), AE_NOT_FOUND

The sweet sound of FreeBSD's ACPI choking on your battery. This means no support for checking how much charge your battery has, for now unfortunately.

You will also get other fun messages such as

kernel: rl0: watchdog timeout
kernel: rl0: watchdog timeout
kernel: rl0: watchdog timeout
kernel: rl0: watchdog timeout

This is most likely do to an IRQ conflict since there is no setting in the BIOS to turn off Plug and Play. You will also notice if you do an ifconfig that the wireless card is not showing up either.

What you have at the moment

Currently you have a laptop with ACPI going crazy, no wireless cards founds, and the built in network card flooding the screen with watchdog errors and no way to get it on the net to update the source. But don't give up, we will get it working!

Turning off ACPI

To disable ACPI and APIC add the following lines to your /boot/device.hints file


Getting it on the network

To get the network going the kernel needs to be recompiled with extra things taken out to stop conflicts with rl0 and support for the Atheros 5212 wireless card added. I removed support for USB, Firewire, and PCMCIA since I have no plans to use them, and added the Atheros devices. Download my config and change it to your needs, or edit your own and add this for the wireless card. Note: FreeBSD 6.2 has these in the default kernel already.

device ath
device ath_hal
device ath_rate_sample

device wlan_wep
device wlan_ccmp
device wlan_tkip

If you use my config copy it to /usr/src/sys/i386/conf/TOSHIBA and follow the instructions for recompiling the kernel. Otherwise copy the GENERIC one and work with it.


You will also need to add the following to your /boot/loader.conf file to enable wireless


The loader_logo is optional, but since this is on a laptop you will probably be shutting it down and starting it up a lot, so its nice to have Beastie back on the boot menu. Go here to find out more about putting Beastie back on the FreeBSD boot menu.


Once you have made these changes reboot the machine and things should be working now (except battery support). ifconfig should now show the ath0 wireless card, and the network card rl0 should connect to the network if you set it up during the install.

Testing the Atheros 5212 wireless card

Enable the wireless card by pressing the little gray button on the front of the laptop. If the orange light is on then the radio transmitter is on. To scan for networks use the following command

# ifconfig ath0 up scan

Assuming everything was set up properly it will give you a list of all the SSIDs it picks up.

Setting up X.Org

Download my xorg.conf file for help setting up X.Org on this Toshiba Laptop.