Know Your Hardware
Hard disk
ATI Radeon X1250 Video Card
...get information
Philips 150S LCD Monitor
Wacom graphic tablet
Mustek ScanExpress 6000P
Wireless devices
Sound issues
This page concerns hardware configuration of Debian or Ubuntu.
If a feature is known to work only on Debian, I use an orange box.
If a feature is known to work only on Ubuntu, I use a blue box.

Know your hardware

Before you struggle opening the box or finding the adequate screwdriver, you can try out the following:

  • Product model:
    $ inxi -M
    Machine:   System: xxx product: xxx v: 01
               Mobo: xxx v: x Bios: xx v: xx date: xx/xx/xxxx
    sudo dmidecode -t baseboard | grep -i 'Product'
  • Have a look in the BIOS
  • list RAM:
    sudo dmidecode -t memory
  • Memorize information displayed at boot time
  • dmesg
  • view /var/log/messages
  • list PCI devices: lspci. For example, get the video card:
    $ lspci -vnn | grep VGA -A 12
  • list USB devices: lsusb
  • list hardware: lshw. To select a given type (network): lshw -C network
  • list block devices: lsblk
  • list SCSI devices (useful for SATA disks): cat /proc/scsi/scsi or lsscsi
To list disks for instance:
sudo lshw -class disk

Hard disk

$ sudo hdparm -i /dev/sda

ATI Radeon X1250 Video card

This concerns configuration of an ATI Radeon X1250 (X1200 Series).
  • aticonfig (aticonfig -initial -f)
  • log file in /usr/share/ati


  • Download the driver from ATI's website.
  • Run the script: /usr/share/ati
  • Initial configuration: /usr/X11R6/bin/aticonfig –initial (try just aticonfig first)
  • To get the ATI Catalyst Control Center to work:
    • install libstdc++5
    • run amdcccle

The installation should automatically update /etc/X11/xorg.conf. In particular,

Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier     "Default Layout"
        Screen      0  "aticonfig-Screen[0]" 0 0
        InputDevice    "Generic Keyboard"
        InputDevice    "Configured Mouse"

        InputDevice    "stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
        InputDevice    "eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
        InputDevice    "cursor" "SendCoreEvents"

        InputDevice    "pad"
        Option         "BlankTime"      "10"
        Option         "StandbyTime"    "20"
        Option         "SuspendTime"    "30"

        Option         "OffTime"        "40"

Section "Device"
        Identifier  "aticonfig-Device[0]"
        Driver      "fglrx"

        Option      "UseInternalAGPGART" "no"
Section "Screen"
        Identifier "aticonfig-Screen[0]"
        Device     "aticonfig-Device[0]"

        Monitor    "LCD"
        DefaultDepth     24
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     24
                Modes     "1024x768_60.00"

Get information

# fglrxinfo
display: :0.0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: ATI Technologies Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon X1200 Series
OpenGL version string: 1.2 (2.0.6958 Release)


Run fglrx-uninstall.sh


  • To set the appropriate keyboard in the console: dpkg-reconfigure console-data
  • To set the appropriate keyboard in X: dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86. Asks for the keymap. Possible to set latin9 and euro.

Philips 150S LCD Monitor

The best refresh rate for this monitor is definetely 60Mhz (though it supports 75Mhz).

In /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

Section "Monitor"

        Identifier   "LCD"
        Option       "VendorName" "PHILIPS"
        Option       "ModelName" "150S"
        HorizSync    30 - 61
        VertRefresh  60
        Option      "DPMS"


Wacom graphic tablet

I am the happy owner of a Wacom Graphire input tablet. It turned out to be very simple to get it to work on Debian etch, because the default tablet already provides the necessary kernel module (name: wacom).

I had to modify /etc/X11/xorg.conf as follows:

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "stylus"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY
Option "Type" "stylus"

Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "eraser"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY
Option "Type" "eraser"

Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "cursor"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY
Option "Type" "cursor"

Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY
# This section is for Intuos3, Cintiq 21UX, Graphire4, or Bamboo
Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "pad"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom" # USB ONLY
Option "Type" "pad"

Option "USB" "on" # USB ONLY
Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen "Default Screen"
InputDevice "Generic Keyboard"

InputDevice "Configured Mouse"
InputDevice "stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
InputDevice "eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
InputDevice "cursor" "SendCoreEvents"

InputDevice "pad"

In GIMP, it must be configured too: Preferences -> Input Devices -> Configure Extended Input Devices and put all pad, stylus, eraser to "screen" (this is so that the tablet maps the entire screen, which is the way I want to behave).

Mustek ScanExpress 6000P

I have an old Mustek scanner, on the parallel port. I managed to install it on my Debian without too much trouble, except my scanner is probably broken (hardware!) but that's another issue.

To install it, you need Mustek backend.

Then, it /etc/sane.d/dll.conf: leave net and mustek_pp. You can erase everything else… In /etc/sane.d/mustek_pp.conf : put the following configuration:

scanner mustek-6000P * ccd300
        option top 56
        option wait-lamp 15
        option niceload

The options are recommended options I have found on the web, I am not so sure they are really necessary. The top option will ignore a few lines at the top of the page, the wait-lamp is some kind of pre-heating for the scanner, and the niceload option actually makes the scan slower.

You should now be able to scan, using xscanimage or xsane. At least as root. If the scanner is on parallel port, you need libieee1284 to use it as a normal user. Then set adequate permissions to /dev/parport0 (chgrp users /dev/parport0)

Finally, to debug, try out those settings:

or even SANE_DEBUG_MUSTEK_PP=128 scanimage -L


To install Epson printers: Epson drivers To list jobs:
$ lpstat

USB keys

To mount a USB key, insert it in its slot, and then have a look at dmesg to see the associated device. If it is /dev/sdb1 for instance, then do:
mount -t /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usbkey
To restore partitions on a USB key, first delete the old partitions:
fdisk -l  --> get USB driver letter
fdisk /dev/sdX
Type d to proceed to delete a partition.
Type 1 to select the 1st partition and press enter.
Type d to proceed to delete another partition (fdisk should automatically select the second partition)
Next, create new partitions:
Type n to make a new partition
Type p to make this partition primary and press enter
Type 1 to make this the first partition and then press enter
Press enter to accept the default first cylinder
Press enter again to accept the default last cylinder
Type w to write the new partition information to the USB key
Type umount /dev/sdx (replacing x with your drive letter)
Then create the FAT filesystem:
mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdx1

Wireless devices

To scan for SSIDs:
sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
To list the current activated SSIDs:
$ /sbin/iwconfig
lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

wlan0     IEEE 802.11abg  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=15 dBm   
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
To use a given SSID:
sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid "bestcoffee"

Sound issues

If you are loosing the sound in the browser or in another application, :
  • see what that application is doing: strace aplay
  • see what device it opens (/dev/snd/controlC0)
  • see who's using that device: lsoft /dev/snd/controlC0
  • if there are multiple process, kill them and try again
  • should work