Thursday, November 16, 2006

Docking Station Support in openSUSE 10.2

With openSUSE 10.2 we have for the first time in our products some automatic docking station support. It's not yet working out of the box on my IBM Thinkpad X40 since my docking station contains a CD-ROM and the hot-plugging of the CD-ROM only works with the new libata IDE driver.

So, first I needed to install openSUSE 10.2 and configure to use the new libata drivers. This is not done automatically for old IDE (PATA) system, so I had to add "hwprobe=modules.pata" at the linuxrc prompt to tell our installer to use libata. This also means that instead of /dev/hda my disk is now shown as /dev/sda - which is especially a challenge for updates (I had to manually change my fstab and grub conf to get this working). Since a working update from previous releases is important for us, we're not using the driver by default in 10.2. We plan to do the migration of all config files for updates for 10.3.

Since my installation is finished, I now can press "Fn+F9" to unplug the laptop from the docking station, remove it - and it does not freeze anymore like it did with 10.1. Once I put the laptop again on the docking station, the screen blanks for a second and I can access again my CD-ROM - and all the rest of the docking station. Now I'm really happy with my laptop running openSUSE 10.2.

Note: This docking station support only works on limited set of hardware, currently best supported are the Thinkpads from IBM and Lenovo.

Holger, who's the author of this, calls it "Yet another collection of workarounds" - and therefore he needs further enhancements, for details check the new openSUSE wiki page:


Matt said...

Neat. I think it would be good to mount root filesystems by UUID or label. It makes things much easier when device names move around. As more IDE chipsets are supported by libata, this will become more of a problem for almost all IDE machines in the future.

Combined with a scheme like Ubuntu's universal initramfs (built by the initramfs-tools package), boot time can be very robust to device changes - even allowing you to remove a laptop harddrive and connect it via a USB chasis and still boot successfully. said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Thanks, here I got a good piece of information on Docking Station Support.
Thanks a lot.