My AJP Laptop (aka Kapok 8500C)

Steve Parker

I've been running an AJP-branded Kapok 8500C for over 7 years now (as at Sep 2006).
It was my main PC, I did all my work on it, and my play, too, until I got a new laptop in 2003. The 6GB disk drive is pretty limiting, these days, and while 128Mb RAM was quite nice until around 2005, the 433MHz Celeron CPU is a limiting factor for speed, and the RAM is a limiting factor just to get a modern (2006) graphical distro installed. Many modern distros assume that X will work just to get through the install (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS requires 128Mb RAM, for example, so if you have 64Mb you're only half way there).

It's pretty easy to configure under most Linux distros these days.

Some hints I've found:

  • XFree86: 4.0.2, as at 2002, was the best version of 4 to use; otherwise stick to 3.3.6. (July 2004: I no longer use X on this PC, but it seems safe to assume that current versions will be fine.)
  • USB: The USB output is more powerful than my Jetway desktop's mobo. Not sure if that's significant, but it works great with BT OpenWorld's Alcatel ADSL modem.
  • Firewire: I've never tried it. Don't ask me

Here's my XF86Config, though these differ easily.. This works for me with XFree86 4.0.2.
The LCD cannot go over 1024x768, but it's an ATI Mach64 LB controller.

I got mine in the UK from ajp.co.uk - they're pretty lame, but they do acknowledge Linux as an OS, which they claim to support (though they don't seem to know much about). Looks like they've updated their site, and offer BIOS downloads. The Drivers link (as at 30 Mar 2002) offers no links for the 8500C, but there you go ... I don't know what I'd expect; Linux supports everything in the laptop already.

I'm not sure what the story is with video in/out... under Windows, the ATI software can grab video to a weirdly formatted AVI file, but I've not tried anything else with regard to this feature of the laptop.

I find that the 128Mb Celeron 433MHz configuration of the laptop doesn't suit huge desktops like KDE and GNOME all that well; I use Linux from Scratch (Used RedHat 7.2 as a donor distribution) and IceWM as a Window Manager, which offers everything KDE offers, as far as I'm concerned. You are welcome to view my icewm config files.

Update July 2004: For the past few years, this monster has (with 64Mb RAM) been acting excellently as a firewall, with a 3COM 3c59x PCMCIA card connected to my internal 10Mbps LAN. It uses my SpeedTouchConf driver to configure the crappy Alcatel modem under any Linux distribution I can get to run on it (though recent distro's, like SuSE 9.1, Mandrake 10, etc, simply won't install on a 64Mb machine (it donated the other 64Mb to a twin, which is now unused).

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