Mepis Linux on Averatec AV3250HX-01
The original source for this page is at http://plg.uwaterloo.ca/~gvcormac/averatec.html
The Averatec 3250HX-01
This model is compact, with Athlon 2200, 512KB, 80MB, DVD+/-R, 802-11g.
I have dual-boot Windows XP Home and Mepis Linux (2004.4) running on it.
Note: I've also installed SimplyMepis 3.1.1 on an identical machine. Notes on that installation are inserted
I no longer recommend MEPIS. Try Kanotix instead.
This is a work in progress but gives information that it took me many hours
over several days to work out.
Mepis is a Debian-based "Live boot and installation and
wonderful desktop" all in one CD. If you've never heard of it, I seriously
suggest you check it out. I have it running as well on my Toshiba 5200 and another laptop and desktop system as well.
Just slap in the disk and boot from it. Try it out for a while, and then
click the "Install Icon". You'll have to resize your Windows installation,
which is done with a few clicks. Then the easiest thing to do is to let
Mepis install itself on the remainder of the disk. (I chose to leave 40GB
unallocated and to force a 1GB swap partition to be created.)
Note: for some reason SimplyMepis 3.1.1 displayed a black screen.
The problem is a bad /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file. Problem can be
solved by hitting control-alt-f1 to get a console, and installing
a working version.)
Lots and lots of stuff "just works" immediately on installation. Here's
a list of things that didn't quite: the wireless, sound, suspend, hibernate,
wmv files, encrypted CDs.
Since this is a Debian installation, apt-get can be used to download new
stuff. The first thing I suggest you apt-get is "synaptic" - a nice gui
front-end to apt-get. To do this:
apt-get install synaptic
Once that's done you can use start->system->synaptic to launch the
package manager which has nice things like "search". Some of the
paths to repositories need to be fixed but you can safely say "ok" to
the error messages for now.
The machine has a Ralink 2500 802-11g card that Mepis can't cope with.
But 3.1.1 is much closer, as it includes the rt200 driver mentioned
(Note that some other "Averatec 3200" machines have Broadcom wireless, so these
notes won't apply.) There are two approaches: use the Windows driver with
a Linux wrapper called "ndiswrapper" or use Ralink's native driver "rt2500"
which you can download and build. Both work but neither is 100% satisfactory.
I'm working on scripts and wrappers to try to overcome the deficiencies.
I think the native "rt2500" solution is better and more stable, but requires
more setup and doesn't work and play as well with the standard Mepis
Wireless - dhcpcd
Mepis 2004 comes with the DHCP client "pump" that hangs when it tries to grab an
IP address for the rt2500. So go to your package manager and install dhcpcd, which will uninstall pump as a side-effect.
Mepis 3.1.1 comes with nt2500 driver. To use it you must:
- configure the ra0 interface NOT to use DHCP
- add a line "rt2500" to /etc/modules
- the network will come up automatically with your static IP address
- I recommend donwloading and installing RaConfig2500 from ralink
- if you need DHCP, as root type "pump -i ra0" ... this will replace
the static IP address by a DHCP one
Wireless - ndiswrapper
To use ndiswrapper, consult the package manager to make sure it is installed
(use the Search button). I believe the version you find there will work, but
in my stabbing-in-the-dark I ended up building the newest version from source.
(If your link dies every few megabytes, get the new ndiswrapper.)
To use ndiswrapper, you'll have to boot your Windows system and download and install the Ralink Windows drivers for the RT2500. Then go back to Linux, and click /mnt/hda1 (or whichever is your Windows partition) and navigate to "Program Files" and find the Win2k version
of the ra2500 ".inf" file. To install it:
ndiswrapper -i <driverfile.inf>
To start the interface:
Turn on the wireless antenna, or you'll crash your system!
iwconfig check to make sure you have a connection
Later, to take it down:
modprobe -r ndiswrapper better safe than sorry
You've now come across the great failure of this driver. If the antenna
is off when you install ndiswrapper, it screws up so that you get kernel
panic when you try to dhcpcd the device (as is done by ifup in the default
If you have multiple wlans or have to supply WEP info, you want to use
a wireless management tool (iwconfig etc.) after you do the modprobe
and before the ifup. Make sure that the card sees a network before ifupping!
wireless - rt2500
Ralink has source for a Linux driver at the same place as the windows driver. It is source so you have to
compile it against the Kernel source, which Mepis doesn't come with. I didn't
figure out how to get an exact copy of the 2.6.7 kernel source, so I ended up building my own kernel. (If you apt-get the source you get something slightly
different that may or may not work for the purpose of compiling the driver.)
Note that, as of December 10, 2004, you do not need to patch either the
kernel or the driver to make it work. Other sources that suggest patching are,
I presume, based on previous versions.
Once the driver is compiled, copy ra2500.ko to /lib/modules/linux-2.6.7 and
install the driver using
Also you should edit /etc/network/interfaces and add a section for "ra0" which
is a clone of the section for "eth0".
When you want to use the wireless:
make sure the wireless is turned on (won't work but won't crash kernel!)
ifconfig ra0 up 184.108.40.206 dummy static IP address
iwconfig make sure you see an ESSID connected
ifup ra0 replace static IP addr with DHCP addr
To take down the wireless (or if you forgot and did it without the antenna
modprobe -r rt2500 be safe!
The examples above suggest "iwconfig" which is a command-line configuration
tool. Mepis comes with "kwifimanager" which provides a graphical interface. It looks decent, but I haven't really
tried it. The Ralink rt2500 driver comes with a nice graphical configuration utility
(Rtconfig2500) which you can use if you are using the rt2500 driver.
There's a "KLaptop" icon (battery/plugin) on the bottom panel. Right-click
it and enable ACPI and the helper application.
Suspend works great but I
have no idea how to unsuspend the machine - the power button causes a hard
Hibernate works but you must:
I'm working on some scripts to do stop/restart the wireless but they're
not ready for prime time. The basic idea is to automate these steps:
- add "resume=/dev/hdaX" to the line in "/boot/grub/menu.list" that boots your
2.6.7 kernel. /dev/hdaX is the name of the swap partition.
- stop your wireless and unload the module before you hibernate
chvt 1 switch to root console window
ifconfig <wireless_device> down
modprobe -r <wireless_module>
echo 4 > /proc/acpi/sleep start hibernate
now we're back
enable wireless - see above
wait for X11 to be reestablished
chvt 7 switch back to desktop
Sound drivers get installed properly but all you hear is silence. That's
because a number of inputs/output are disabled by default. To enable them,
Use this primitive tool to enable various inputs/output. In particular,
"external amplifier" and "pcm input" and "cd input".
Several of the applications (xine, xmms, ...?) give really bad sound -
dropouts, distortion, noise. This can be corrected by configuring their
audio settings to use the alsa driver.
divx, wmv, etc.
Find "essential-20041107.tar.bz2" (or a later version) and install them.
I had trouble figuring out exactly where to put them but I think that copying
them all to /usr/lib/win32 was what did the trick.
Find libdvdcss and install it. I did so from source, but I think one of the
package sources that doesn't work properly is meant to have it. In any event,
my system's synaptic package manager shows "libdvdcss2" as being available.
This lets members of the as-yet-free-world play commercial DVDs.
Crossover Office runs IE, Office XP, Acrobat, Photoshop, Legacy, and other
apps. straight out of the box.
A very useful Windows app,
DVDShrink requires some fiddling but is well
worth it. It allows you to re-author DVDs so as to fit them (by deleting, cropping, and compressing) onto a DVD+/-R.
You can install it just fine using Crossover Office (or the regular Wine) but
when you run it you'll find that the file finder hangs up and therefore you
can't open a file with DVD VOB files in it. So you try to open a DVD and
it says "no aspi device found."
A partial is to add this to the Wine config file (~/.cxoffice/dotwine/config):
[AppDefaults\\DVD Shrink 3.2.exe\\Version]
"Windows" = "winxp"
If you first click "CD" on the Mepis desktop, and then launch DVDShrink,
you'll be able to open the DVD drive. When you're done, you'll want to
save the ISO image someplace. Don't try to use the finder to navigate -
just type the pathname for the ISO file in the text box. Then you can
burn the DVD with start->multimedia->k3b.
Finally, if you must use DVDShrink on a directory rather than the DVD device,
you can supply the (windows) pathname for the directory on the command-line:
wine DVD\ Shrink\ 2.3.exe z:\\tmp\\foo
This would open a DVD file structure at /tmp/foo.
If you want to edit DVD or other mpeg video, you must get
It is the only editor I know of that lets you quickly edit
(cut, copy, paste) from multiple mpeg sources and build a combined result.
No need to transcode, either on input or output. You can scan an entire
video as fast as you can drag the cursor, cut/copy/paste with single-frame
precision, and do single-frame still capture.
For example, if you capture a TV show, you can find and edit out the
commercial breaks in a couple of minuts, and then it takes only several
minutes more to write the result as an mpeg. MPEG-VCR is a Windows
application but it runs flawlessly on Wine.
I'm not aware of any native Linux software (or any free Windows software)
that matches this functionality. Kino is a good video editor, but it works
only with DV format. So you'd have to transcode before and after editing.
This might not be *too* lossy but it would take hours for a full-length
Other media stuff
I wasn't very pleased with the mplayer plugins for Mozilla, so I installed
kaffeine. On first use it will happily install itself as the default media
player for almost everything.
Out of the box, Mepis uses a standard mouse interface for the touchpad, which
means you can't configure it or use stuff like edge scrolling. I installed
the xfree86 touchpad driver but had a great deal of trouble convincing X11
that there was valid touchpad device
(even though /proc/bus/input/devices shows it is there).
- edit /boot/grub/menu.list and delete "psmouse.proto=imps" from the 2.6.7 boot section
- install xfree-86-driver-synaptics using the package manager
- edit /etc/X11/XF86Config-4. Here's mine.
- in Mozilla
- go to about:config
- right click on mousewheel.horizscroll.withnokey.action and change the value from 2 to 0
Touchpad and Mouse Together
To be able to use your touchpad and mouse at the same time, make the touchpad work with the touchpad
driver, then add this line to the "ServerLayout" section:
InputDevice "USB Mouse" "SendCoreEvents"
- Automate wireless conection
- at startup
- on request
- before and after suspend
- Resume from sleep
Mitch appears to have been doing
much the same thing as me using Fedora Core 2 and also Debian.
I welcome feedback on this page. Please email me at
Note that I refuse to obfuscate my email address. To do so is to let
the spammers control me. Instead I explore the limits of