Debian Linux on ASUS X54C Laptop

First up, I used the ASUS provided tools to create a 7 DVD backup image of the laptop which would be my restore of last chance.  Fortunately I never used it.

Then, with Windows 7 running, I took note of the MAC-ID's of both the wired and wireless ethernet interfaces.  I added both of these MAC-IDs into my router's DHCP table and reserved a unique IP address for each. 

The ASUS disk comes with three partions.  Partion 1 is a "Restoration" system, Partition 2 is windows "C:" drive and everything left is in Partition 3 for a "D:" drive.  I deleted partition3 and defined partitions as:


(Note that when I build out drives I allocate what I want for the moment.  With this machine, I have over 100 Gb unallocated and at a later time could add it to windows, build more linux images or anything else I want).

I hard wired the ASUS to my switch and started up debian net installation 6.05-amd64.  The only glitch that came for me is the classic "could not locate an ethernet driver". 

ASUS X54C has a "Atheros Communications Device 1083", and fortunately the crowd that supplies the atl1c driver had a solution to this:

  1. At the install fail point, back out and "Select a Shell"
  2. # modprobe atl1c
  3. # echo "1969 1083" > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/atl1c/new_id
  4. restart debian install at "network detection".

(Comment: this is called thinking ahead ; it made me look at the atl1c source code to see what new_id was all about).

Since I had configured my router to recognize the MACID, the ASUS debian installer got it's IP via DHCP and we are business about an hour later.

Update: With debian squeeze, I found more troubles with this driver.  To get the interface to start on boot, I had to add the following lines to

allow-hotplug eth0

iface eth0 inet dhcp
        pre-up modprobe atl1c
        pre-up echo "1969 1083" > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/atl1c/new_id
        post-down modprobe -r atl1c


I always choose to install the grub boot loader, and it had no issues identifying and handling the Windows OS it found.

We now have a dual boot windows or debian linux laptop in our hands. 

But the wireless card did not work under Debian.  Well, not yet - the next article addresses that.