Jan Rychter

Linux on a Sharp Mebius

November 2001, updated August 2003

Note: this page is rather old (last updated in 2003), and I'm keeping it around only because some of these machines might still be available used.

Linux works very well on the Sharp Mebius PC-MT1-H1 (also the PC-MT1-H5 and PC-MT2-H1 that I upgraded to later). Everything is supported, except for:

  • modem -- the built-in modem is a Lucent AMR Softmodem, which means it will probably never be supported under Linux,
  • ACPI -- Linux support for ACPI is very preliminary at this stage. Basic power management works, the system is able to turn off the screen, turn on the fan, etc -- but no suspend-to-ram or suspend-to-disk for now.
    Update 13.04.2002:ACPI support has gotten much better, and preliminary suspend-to-disk (swsusp) code seems to work sometimes.
    Update 16.09.2002:It seems the swsusp code has gotten a lot more stable. The 2.4.18 patch along with an ACPI patch produce a really usable system which can be regularly suspended to disk and restored. Congratulations to the developers!
    Update 18.08.2003:Linux-2.4.22-rc2 with swsusp-1.1-pre3 finally works. The machine is stable for weeks and I can suspend and resume without problems. The good part is that it works. The sad part is that it took aboutone and a half yearsbefore it became stable. This testifies to the overall sad state of Linux on laptops, unfortunately.

Other than that, everything works: PCMCIA, built-in Ethernet, USB, sound, X11R6.lspcisays:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82440MX Host Bridge (rev 01) 00:00.1 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. 82440MX AC'97 Audio Controller 00:00.2 Modem: Intel Corp. 82440MX AC'97 Modem Controller 00:07.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp. 82440MX ISA Bridge (rev 01) 00:07.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82440MX EIDE Controller 00:07.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82440MX USB Universal Host Controller 00:07.3 Bridge: Intel Corp. 82440MX Power Management Controller 00:09.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage Mobility P/M (rev 64) 00:0a.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1450 (rev 03) 00:0a.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1450 (rev 03) 00:0b.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10) 

This a beautiful machine from Sharp, which used to only be available in Japan. More recent versions can now be bought worldwide, possibly branded as Actius UM32W or Actius UM30W. I really recommend it! Especially the build quality is impressive, it seems that machines produced for the Japanese market are of better quality than those sold in other parts of the world.

The newer models have a built-in 802.11b Wi-Fi card.

Also, I should probably mention that folks at Dynamism were very nice and helpful, and the only reason I did not buy a machine from them was because they did not support Linux. They promised they would have Linux support soon and I hope to do some business with them in the future.

Having used a Sharp Actius A290 before, I'm very happy with Sharp laptops and I can only recommend them. If only Sharp could support Linux on their machines! (ask them for it when you buy the machine, let them know!)

Created: Mon Nov 12 15:18:13 CET 2001, Last modified: Mon Aug 18 14:02:39 PDT 2003