Mepis Linux on Averatec AV3250HX-01

Gordon Cormack

The original source for this page is at

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 Linux

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.

Package Manager

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 update
   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 below. (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 configuration tools.

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:

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!
   modprobe ndiswrapper
   iwconfig     check to make sure you have a connection
   ifup wlan0
Later, to take it down:
   ifdown wlan0
   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 configuration).

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

   depmod -a
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!)
   modprobe rt2500
   ifconfig ra0 up     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 turned on).
   ifdown ra0
   modprobe -r rt2500          be safe! 

Wireless Managers

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 reboot.

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:
   chvt 1     switch to root console window
   ifdown <wireless_device>
   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, run
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.

Windows Apps

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 Womble MPEG-VCR. 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 movie.

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.

Synaptics Touchpad

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).

The solution:

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"

Outstanding Issues

Second Opinion

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 Spam filtering technology.