Saturday, June 20, 2015

SSD Issues

Midsummer and some EXT4 failures on SSD on my Dell. I just swapped my Samsung 850 PRO to older Intel 530 SSD due latest TRIM related issues when this happened. (EDIT: check link, how promptly Samsung reacted to this SSD related post of Algolia!).

Under pretty heavy development load with virtual machines, I run upgrade to system and after reboot I couldn't connect to Wifi. I thought that there is an issue with signal (like some times before) - but this was not the case. Whole wifi interface was gone. It turned out that system was unable to load firmware to wifi card and it failed due this.

Couple of reboots later, system came up with read only file system and I saw the reason. EXT4 errors on my Intel SSD, reason unknown.

Update: Ended up changing SSD to rotating HD, before checking reasons for this behaviour. I also dis-enabled /etc/cron.weekly trimming from couple of SSD equipped Toughbooks, just to be safe side, if it's about TRIM failures on SSD's. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Toughpad FZ-M1

I've been tuned my Toughpad for a week now and it seems to work nicely with Ubuntu 15.04. I decided to expand a bit of those scrollbars, font sizes and Firefox buttons - just to make it more handy to use with touch.

While this model I have is based on Intel® Celeron™ N2807, it's a bit slow going but runs on battery for few hours easily. I will try to check out exact figures later on. 
To summarize what I've got in this combo so far;
  • FZ-M1 tablet with Intel® Celeron™ N2807 
  • 2 GB RAM and 128 GB of SSD 
  • Ubuntu 15.04 (AMD64)
  • Integrated 3G/LTE modem, Sierra Wireless EM7305 [works]
  • Multi touch screen [works]
  • Audio, also 3.5mm HF audio w/ microphone [works]
  • Screen brightness control [works]
  • iKey ruggerd keyboard 
  • Integrated LAN port (option for FZ-M1) [works]
  • Bluetooth [works]
So I would say that this is hands down best Linux tablet experience so far. My main goal is to introduce this into one project shortly, but until that this serves my mobile computing platform while on move. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Toughpad FZ-M1 with Linux

Today I got Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 for one project and this tablet rocks with Linux. I installed Ubuntu 15.04 (AMD64) for evaluation and almost everything worked out from box.

Basically this is not tablet, it's more like a tablet form computer. Meaning that you find full and easily accessible BIOS setup and it allows you to boot Ubuntu installation. I've played with Toughbooks over last ten years and I hardly never had any issues with them supporting Linux.

Since I installed Ubuntu with integrated hard disk encryption (LUKS), I believe I need to have keyboard present (to give passphrase on boot). That's why there is this wonderful iKey attachable keyboard.

This keyboard has nice backlight and totally waterproof keys. They are not as usable as normal laptop keys, but they withstand elements. So this is a thing.

Backlight issue

FZ-M1 backlight needed some tweaking to work with Ubuntu, but I managed to google solution for this. You need to create file /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf and place this in file:

And add this into file:

Section "Device"
            Identifier  "card0"
            Driver      "intel"
            Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
            BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"


So, if you're after Linux tablet with serious professional touch - I would recommend this Toughpad in fully.

Update on modem

Sierra Wireless EM7305 MBIM vs QMI modes. It seems that Modem Manager has an issues with MBIM mode, so we have to enable QMI mode with this:

echo 1 >  /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-3/bConfigurationValue

After this, modem manager works and you can create your mobile connection just fine. Just remember to insert MicroSIM to your device:


I am working on project where we are looking for small, almost phone sized PC hardware - capable to run Linux as vanilla as it could be. It seems that this FZ-M1 is closest what we have tested. I've checked out Lenovo tablets (Miix), some ATOM based tablets (HP), some Acer's etc. but all them failing either to install or support Linux in this extent. Most miserably is Lenovo MIIX, which has this Intel & Microsoft UEFI32 bit installation quirks.