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[Update] How to install Fluxbuntu on Toshiba’s Tecra 8000

8. Februar 2007 von Christian Imhorst

I have installed Ubuntu and Xubuntu several times on my Toshiba Tecra 8000, but mostly it worked really slow, so I tried out a work around: After a server install I have installed and configured the Xserver and the window manager (in my case IceWM) manually. Then I discovered that this work around is done in a new Ubuntu distribution: Fluxbuntu. After some configuration it works very well on this old piece of hardware.

Install Fluxbuntu

First I have got Fluxbuntu nbuild1 rev2 from a mirror. After booting the live CD I logged in with:

User: fluxbuntu
Password: livecd

Unfortunately the resolution was at 640×480. I changed it by opening an editor to configure the xorg.conf.

sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

I added the following lines to Section „Monitor“:

HorizSync       36-52
VertRefresh     36-60

I restarted the Xserver by pressing Ctrl, Alt and Backspace simultaneously and the resolution was on 1024×768. This is really necessary for the graphical installer ubiquity. You won’t be able to handle ubiquity with the wrong resolution. Now you can start the installer in a terminal like Eterm with

sudo ubiquity gtkui

Now the only thing you have to do is to follow the instructions of the installer.


After the reboot and the first boot of Fluxbuntu you will remark that the X resolution stucks at 640×480 again. Till now I have not found the reason, but here is a work around that will fix the problem. Add the following line to the Section „Monitor“ in „/etc/X11/xorg.conf“ [1]

HorizSync       36-52
VertRefresh     36-60
Modeline     "640x480" 25.175 640 664 760 800 480 491 493 525 #60Hz
Modeline     "800x600" 40 800 848 968 1056 600 601 605 628 +hsync +vsync
Modeline     "1024x768" 65 1024 1032 1176 1344 768 771 777 806 -hsync -vsync

and change in Section „Screen“ the default depth to 16 because the Tecra 8000 does not have much graphical memory:

DefaultDepth     16

Make sure that you use the neomagic driver in Section „Device“ and not vesa because the neomagic driver is a little bit faster than vesa.

Now you can restart X by pressing simultaneously Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.

Alternatively you can enable „Screen Stretching“ in the system BIOS. To get access simply hold down the escape button while the initial Toshiba boot screen. Then press F1 when prompted. After changing the entry left BIOS with the „End“ key.

Configure Fluxbox

After the first boot I had to login twice: First with the graphical login manager XDM and secondly in the command line. It seems that in this case XDM is needless. This is one reason why I decided to remove XDM and to put startx into the „.bash_profile“ file in my home directory:

echo "startx" >>$HOME/.bash_profile

X, in this case Fluxbox, now starts automatically after login. The other reason is that I can save resources by removing XDM.

After the first start you will see, that the icon of your home directory is absent because the link refers to „/home/fluxbuntu“ what is the home directory of the livecd. You can change this mistake by right clicking on the icon. Choose Edit Item in the menu and replace „fluxbuntu“ with the name of your home directory.

If you don’t like the background of Fluxbuntu you can replace it with your own wallpaper. You can find some wallpapers in „/usr/share/backgrounds“. You change the background by right clicking on any icon. In the menu choose Backdrop… and drag your picture into the Backdrop window. Now you have a new background but note that this is the background of the pinboard option of ROX-Filer. In Fluxbuntu the pinboard option of ROX-Filer is choosed by default to manage your desktop background. With this option you can have icons on you desktop what is else not provided in Fluxbox.

A lightweight system monitor

For a little action on my desktop I have installed conky.

sudo apt-get install conky

After installation you have to configure it. First you have to entry

Load    "dbe"

in the Section „Module“ in „/etc/X11/xorg.conf“. Then you have to put these lines into your .conkyrc:

own_window yes
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated skip_taskbar skip_pager

If you want that conky starts together with Fluxbox you have to create a new file
named .xsession in your home directory:

conky &
exec fluxbox

If you don’t have a filed named ~/.conkyrc you can use the following. It is an example of my configuration file:

# set to yes if you want Conky to be forked in the background
background no

# Use XFT-Fonts
use_xft yes
xftfont Bitstream Vera Sans Mono-7
xftalpha 1

update_interval 1.0
total_run_times 0

# Draw own window?
own_window yes
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated skip_taskbar skip_pager

double_buffer yes
minimum_size 280 5
draw_shades yes
draw_outline no
draw_borders no
stippled_borders 8
border_margin 4
border_width 1

# Default colors and also border colors
default_color white
default_shade_color black
default_outline_color white

# Text alignment. Possible 
# values are commented
#alignment top_left
alignment top_right
#alignment bottom_left
#alignment bottom_right

# Tune the disposition of the window:
# Gap between borders of screen and text
# same thing as passing -x at command line
gap_x 12
gap_y 12

# Subtract file system buffers from used memory?
no_buffers yes

# Whole text uppercase?
uppercase no

# set to 1 to disable averaging
cpu_avg_samples 2

# set to 1 to disable averaging
net_avg_samples 2

# Force UTF8? 
# Note that UTF8 support required XFT
override_utf8_locale no

# Add spaces to keep things from moving about?
use_spacer yes

# stuff after 'TEXT' will be formatted on screen

${offset 240}${color slate grey}This is: ${color }$nodename
${offset 240}${color slate grey}System:  ${color }$sysname
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Kernel:  ${color }$kernel
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Machine: ${color }$machine
${offset 240}${color slate grey}UpTime:  ${color }$uptime
${offset 240}${color slate grey}CPU:     ${color }${freq_dyn}Mhz ${cpu}%
${offset 240}${cpugraph 20,130 000000 ffffff}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Load:      ${color }$loadavg
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Processes: ${color }$processes  
${offset 240}${color slate grey}Running:   ${color }$running_processes

${offset 240}${color slate grey}Highest CPU:
${offset 240}${color #ddaa00} ${top name 1} ${top cpu 1}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top name 2} ${top cpu 2}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top name 3} ${top cpu 3}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top name 4} ${top cpu 4}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}Highest MEM:
${offset 240}${color #ddaa00} ${top_mem name 1} ${top_mem mem 1}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top_mem name 2} ${top_mem mem 2}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top_mem name 3} ${top_mem mem 3}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey} ${top_mem name 4} ${top_mem mem 4}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}MEM:  ${color } $memperc% $mem/$memmax
${offset 240}${membar 3,100}
${offset 240}${color slate grey}SWAP: ${color }$swapperc% $swap/$swapmax
${offset 240}${swapbar 3,100}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}HOME:  ${color }${fs_free /home}/${fs_size /home}
${offset 240}${fs_bar 3,100 /home}

${offset 240}${color slate grey}NET: 
${offset 240}${color}Up: ${color }${upspeed eth0} k/s
${offset 240}${upspeedgraph eth0 20,130 000000 ffffff}
${offset 240}${color}Down: ${color }${downspeed eth0}k/s${color}
${offset 240}${downspeedgraph eth0 20,130 000000 ffffff}
${offset 240}${color lightgrey}eth0: $color${addr eth0}

The problem with the transparent background in this example is, that conky uses the background of Fluxbox and not the one of ROX-Filer we have choosed further up. If you start conky without fixing that problem you will see a grey and undefined background instead of your wallpaper. You can solve this problem by choosing the same background in Fluxbox. For this purpose open the file „~/.fluxbuntu/startup“ and uncomment and edit the line that says

 fbsetbg -f /usr/share/backgrounds/fluxbuntu_wallpaper.png

Replace the „/usr/share/backgrounds/fluxbuntu_wallpaper.png“ with the path of the background you want to have. In this file, by the way, I have removed the lines with „fbpager“ which sets the workspace switcher because I don’t need multiple desktops.

If you don’t like conky use gkrellm instead:

sudo apt-get install gkrellm

The main theme of gkrellm is really ugly so I have downloaded the CoplandOS theme from and I have to write the gkrellm command into my .xsession in my home directory:

gkrellm --geometry +1200+0 &
exec fluxbox

Now gkrellm starts together with Fluxbox.

Fix the sound problem with the OSS driver…

The Tecra 8000 laptop works really fine with Gnu/Linux, but sound and video needs to be fixed. With the following tweaks I have solved the problem. First you have to get root with „sudo su“ or something like that, then write:

modprobe opl3sa2 io=0x220 mss_io=0x530 mpu_io=0x330
irq=5 dma=1 dma2=0
modprobe mpu401
modprobe sound
modprobe ad1848

For permanent sound write in „/etc/modules“:

# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.

opl3sa2 io=0x220 mss_io=0x530 mpu_io=0x330 irq=5 dma=1

Maybe it is possible to add simply a line with opl3sa2 in „/etc/modules“. This will force the loading of the OSS driver at boot time. Parameters for the card are auto-detected. I have not figured out how to set the volume. Unfortunately it is pretty low by default.

… or configure ALSA manually

Create a file named „/etc/modprobe.d/sound“ and copy the following into it:

alias snd-card-0 snd-opl3sa2

options snd-opl3sa2 dma1=1 dma2=0 fm_port=0x388 irq=5 midi_port=0x330 
     sb_port=0x220 wss_port=0x530 isapnp=0 ## -> This should be one long row

# some stuff for the OSS drivers
alias char-major-14 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0

# aliases for sound card #1
alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss

Now add a line with snd-card-0 in „/etc/modules“ to force the loading of the driver at startup and reboot.

I have written the script snd2tecra8000 that will help you to fix the problem automatically. Download it and change the permissions:

chmod 755 snd2tecra8000

Become root or as super user do

sudo ./snd2tecra8000 --alsa

if you want to configure the sound for ALSA. For OSS use the –oss argument instead. After that do a

sudo /etc/init.d/alsa-utils restart

and you will have sound. If you need help run

./snd2tecra8000 --help


It is very easy to install the IrDA device. Just do the following commands:

sudo apt-get install irda-utils
modprobe irda
sudo irattach irda0 -s

You can test it with:

sudo irdadump

S-Video output

First I have to say that the video output on my TV screen does not work really well. The output on my TV is monochrome and shows only a part of the laptop screen.

For the installation of the video output I have loaded the vesafb module:

sudo modprobe vesafb

If you want to load the vesafb module everytime you boot Fluxbuntu put it into „/etc/modules“. Then I have put the following line into the kernel command line of the „/boot/grub/menu.lst“:

append="video=vesafb:ywrap,mtrr" vga=791

Now the relevant section of the file looks like this:

## ## End Default Options ##

title		Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.15-26-386
root		(hd0,0)
kernel		/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.15-26-386 root=/dev/hda1 append="video
                =vesafb:ywrap,mtrr" vga=791 ro #-> This has to be one line
initrd		/boot/initrd.img-2.6.15-26-386

After a reboot I can switch to the TV screen by pressing [FN] + [F5] three times. I hope I am able to improve this in the near future to get a color output on my TV.

Finally some tips to increase the speed

If you want to increase the speed of the laptop then remove powernowd. Powernowd is supposed to slow down the CPU when it is not being used heavily in order to extend the life of the battery. On older machines like the Tecra 8000 this means only a few minutes so this tool is not really necessary.

sudo apt-get remove powernowd

It is a really good choice to use Swiftfox instead of the Firefox browser. Swiftfox is an optimized build of Mozilla Firefox and it has builds for both AMD and Intel processors. The Tecra 8000 has a Pentium II processor so I have downloaded the suitable installer.


If are not sure which processor do you have check it with

cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep 'model name'

On the homepage of Swiftfox you can choose another one. When the installer is downloaded open a terminal window an run the installer by typing the following command:


After that you can start it by typing swiftfox in the terminal window. Otherwise you can put an icon for Swiftfox on the desktop. The link to Swiftfox is „/usr/bin/swiftfox“ and you can drag it onto your desktop. With a right click on the icon you get a menu. Click here on File ’swiftfox‘ and Set icon. Now choose the browser icon with ROX-Filer from the directory „usr/share/pixmaps“ and drag it into the Icon window.

Control your Tecra

Toshset is a command line tool to control the hardware of your Tecra 8000. With toshset you can turn the fan on and off, view the power mode and other things.
For an overview about your settings type

sudo toshset -q

If you want to see the usage of toshset type this without any option. Now you can disable the system beep for example

sudo toshset -b off

or you can enable power-off when the laptop lid is getting closed

sudo toshset -ppower on

and disable the lid-closed alarm:

sudo toshset -palarm off

[1] I got this help from dbot67’s post „Installing Ubuntu Linux on a Toshiba Tecra 8000 Laptop“ on

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