This page describes by experiences using Debian GNU/Linux on an Acer TravelMate 6003 Series laptop. Much of this may be applicable on other laptops in the 6000 and 8000 series, as they have similar hardware.
Please check the date at the bottom on the page, as this will give you an indication of how out of date this page is.
In brief, this is what I have discovered so far:
I have not yet tested:
I installed Linux using Debian 3.0r1 Woody Disk 1. The install process ran through fine, although in the initial pass I was unable to configure X and networking.
Unfortunately the ATI Radeon Mobility 9700 graphics card does not have open source drivers. ATI provide binary only drivers for their cards, but it seems that they do not yet support this card. The drivers can be installed (using alien), but fail to detect the card.
After some experimentation, I did get X11 running with the vesa driver. This did not work with Xfree86 4.1 shipped with the Debian stable distribution, but it does work with 4.3 which is currently in the unstable distribution. I have not tested 4.2.
The vesa driver supports the internal LCD in 1024x768, 800x600 and 640x480 screenmodes, but NOT 1400x1050. The vesa driver is obviously much slower than an accelerated driver would be, but performance is acceptable for normal desktop use, and I can play movies.
I have not tried output to a monitor or to a television, I suspect these will not work with the vesa driver.
Hopefully this situation will improve in the near future when ATI update their drivers
I had some problems configuring networking, although it does now appear to work perfectly. The network card uses the tg3 driver. This is not present in kernel 2.2 which is installed by default. It is present in 2.4.26 (and probably below) and works after doing an modprobe tg3. The relevant kernel configuration item is Network Device Support -> Ethernet (1000Mbit) -> Broadcom Tigon3 support.
The driver is also present in kernel 2.6.7 (and probably below) which I upgraded to in order to enable some power management features (see below). However, the version of this kernel currently in Debian unstable has had the firmware removed for licensing reasons. I could not work out how to load the firmware seperately (not where to obtain the necessary files). However, the firmware is still in the main kernel, so I simply downloaded the kernel from kernel.org, and again the driver worked perfectly after the relevant module was compiled and loaded. The relevant kernel configuration item is Device Drivers -> Networking Support -> Ethernet (1000Mbit) -> Broadcom Tigon3 Support.
Note, I haven't actually tested the card in gigabit ethernet mode, as I don't have access to such a network. However, the card is recognised at GigaBit ethernet, and I can tranfser around 10MiB/s accross a 100Mbit network.<\p>
Under OSS (kernel 2.2/2.4/2.6), the sound card works perfectly using the i810_audio module. I have not yet got the card running under ALSA (kernel 2.6 or patched 2.4), but nor have I tried very hard.
Can read CDs. Not yet tried playing/reading DVDs, or burning CDs/DVDs. However, the device is a standard ATAPI drive, so I suspect this will work.
Aside from the graphics card, this is the most problematic area. The laptop does NOT support APM, but does support the newer ACPI. However, ACPI support under Linux is very weak in kernel 2.4, and weak under 2.6.
Under kernel 2.4, power management does pretty much nothing useful. The software suspend patch crashes when trying to resume.
Under kernel 2.6, CPU throtting works. A daemon like powernowd can dynamically adjust the CPU frequency to save power. Software Suspend (NOT suspend to disk) work, but you will need to write a script to bring down the network, and unload the tg3 module before suspending (and do the reverse afterwards).
I can at least get battery life and CPU temperature reports under 2.6. Battery life looks like it will be about 4 hours. Probably more if I can get some other power saving features working.
The synaptics compatible touchpad works The debian package xfree86-driver-synaptics provides a driver which provides some additional configuration items. (Sensitivity, whether clicking can be done with the pad or button etc.)
The laptop has various special buttons, which I have not yet got working. It may be possible to get some/all of them to do something, though.