Debian Etch on Asus U5F


Asus U5F, with Intel Core 2 Duo T5500


Debian Etch amd64.


Video: works, with 3D and everything.

Audio: works, with a little config change.

Wireless LAN: works, with drivers from non-free.

Bluetooth: works.

Ethernet: works.

SD card reader: works.

DVD reader/burner: works.

ACPI features: various problems.

Suspend: tricky.

Installation and wireless card

To have the wireless card working you need some package from non-free that is not provided with the standard installer.

I installed using the binary 1 CD, then I fetched the following packages from unstable:


Once those packages are installed, wireless just works.


Intel 945GM/GMS/940GML

It just works, with 3D and everything.

To turn on AIGLX and Compiz, just follow the HOWTO in the Debian wiki.


Intel 82801G

To make it work add:

options snd-hda-intel model=laptop-eapd

to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.

Rationale: this link gives the quick solution. Note: no need to reboot:

/etc/init.d/alsa unload
modprobe snd-hda-intel

The list of models available for the driver is in /usr/share/doc/alsa-base/driver/ALSA-Configuration.txt.gz

A hint about the model to use can be found at the beginning of /proc/asound/card0/codec#0.

CPU speed scaling

Just modprobe speedstep-centrino. Then the cpufreq_ondemand module works fine.

I'm a bit disappointed that it doesn't want to go below 996Mhz (60%) and it has only 3 scaling modes: 1.66 GHz, 1.33 GHz, 996 MHz.

It used to display available scaling modes weirdly (it would repeat 1.66Ghz 6 times), then I updated the BIOS to version 304 and now it shows just those 3.

The laptop tends to get warm, this disappoints me. I hope things will improve with newer kernels.


Just works.

SD card reader

Just works.

I put an SD card in and it gets mounted automatically. In the old Asus M2 the card reader was just some unsupported obscure thing.


RTL8111/8168B Gigabit Ethernet. I'm not sure it was working in the installer, but in the installed system it works out of the box.

Very pleasant thing: it can cross the cable if needed.

DVD reader/writer

Just works. I haven't tried burning CDs or DVDs, but k3b sees it and correctly detects the writing speed.


Just works. I connected to the bluetooth GPS just fine.


Still quirky.

Brightness control buttons don't work: before updating the BIOS I would get this reaction on syslog:

Dec 17 23:57:35 viaza kernel: ACPI Error (psparse-0537): Method parse/execution failed [\_SB_.PCI0.SBRG.EC0_._Q0E] (Node ffff81003e98bd90), AE_NOT_FOUND
Dec 17 23:57:35 viaza kernel: ACPI Error (psargs-0355): [\_SB_.PCI0.P0P2.VGA_.LCDD] Namespace lookup failure, AE_NOT_FOUND

After updating the BIOS I get this reaction instead:

Dec 21 21:17:38 viaza kernel: video device notify
Dec 21 21:17:38 viaza kernel: set_level status: 0
Dec 21 21:17:38 viaza kernel: compiz.real[4013]: segfault at 0000000000000060 rip 000000000040b3b0 rsp 00007fff6c47f4e0 error 4

compiz segfaults and I'm back to gdm, with the brightness unchanged.

The LCD on/off button works.

Controlling the LCD via software does not work:

# echo 1 > /proc/acpi/asus/lcd
Dec 21 22:22:45 viaza kernel: Asus ACPI: Error switching LCD
# cat /proc/acpi/asus/lcd
Dec 21 22:22:49 viaza kernel: Asus ACPI: Error reading LCD status

In fact, asus-acpi complains:

Dec 21 17:08:29 viaza kernel: Asus Laptop ACPI Extras version 0.30
Dec 21 17:08:29 viaza kernel:   unsupported model U5F, trying default values
Dec 21 17:08:29 viaza kernel:   send /proc/acpi/dsdt to the developers

Therefore, I sent the dsdt to the developers.

The wireless on/off button turns on and off the wlan and bluetooth leds, and apparently also the wireless hardware. I still don't know how to turn off bluetooth and leave wlan on.

Update: the asus_acpi developers now added support for the U5F. I pulled their code and now I can control the screen brightness writing numbers into /etc/acpi/asus/brn.


Suspend to ram works, but on resume it does not turn on the LCD display. The LCD on/off button has no effect. Other things work fine, so I can blind-type a shutdown command.

I have vbetool installed, but it doesn't seem to help.

So far, suspend is still not usable.

Update: the LCD display was not off, but the laptop wakes up with some weird brightness setting that causes the light not to turn on. Writing to /etc/acpi/asus/brn I can now manage to turn it on again, and I hacked a simple way of saving /etc/acpi/asus/brn on suspend and restoring it on resume.

So now I have suspend.


Not tried.