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 '''TROUBLESHOOTING (Missing operating system):''' Once Debian is installed it asks you to remove the installation CD and reboot without it. You might then get the error message "Missing operating system". I guess, this means the MacBook tries to boot directly into the new Debian system instead of into rEFIt first, as one would expect. To solve this, insert the Mac Os X installation DVD and boot from it (keep the c-key pressed). Choose your language. Click on 'Utilities' -> 'Startup Disk...'. Select Mac OS X as the system to start. Click on 'Restart...' and confirm 'Restart...'. This should bring you into the rEFIt menu.  '''TROUBLESHOOTING (Missing operating system):''' Once Debian is installed it asks you to remove the installation CD and reboot without it. You might then get the error message "Missing operating system". I guess, this means the MacBook tries to boot directly into the new Debian system instead of into rEFIt first, as one would expect. To solve this, insert the Mac OS X installation DVD and boot from it (keep the c-key pressed). Choose your language. Click on 'Utilities' -> 'Startup Disk...'. Select Mac OS X as the system to start. Click on 'Restart...' and confirm 'Restart...'. This should bring you into the rEFIt menu.

Languages [http://wiki.Debian.org/MacBook/es spanish],


Thread available [http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2006/07/msg00008.html here]

Debian Etch on a MacBook HOWTO (triple-boot) at:

Triple boot (inc. Debian Etch) at:

Boot process described is rEFIt to LILO to Linux (as discussed in above-linked thread.)

Relevant information elsewhere on this wiki: MacMiniIntel and MacBookPro.


Single boot - Debian only

WARNING: You will loose Mac OS X, and all other data on the MacBook if you follow this method.

Methodology: use the bios compatibility method to boot Debian, by erasing the GPT partition table from the disk.

Make sure you've received the latest apple updates in OS X. This is needed, because the latest updates include a BIOS compatibility layer, we are going to use to boot Debian.

Boot from the CD, you might have to hold C while booting. Before setting up partitions in the installer, press ALT+F2. At the prompt, you are going to wipe the whole disk:

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda

This clears the whole disk (remember: all data is lost) and, most importantly, it deletes the GPT partition table. This command may take a while (or forever?). However, it seems to be sufficient to let it run for some time, so that the beginning of the disk is cleared. Then you can interrupt it with Ctrl-c. It is probably not wise to let it run and continue with the installation on the first console simultaneously.

(You can reinstall Mac OS X after having cleared the disk. Boot with the Mac OS X installation DVD. Partition the disk with 'Utilities' -> 'Disk Utility'. Quit the Disk Utility. Select a partition and continue the installation process.)

Switch back to the installer with pressing ALT+F1 and continue installation as normal. Remember to install the boot loader to the MBR (/dev/sda), and not to the partition boot record (like when installing with rEFIt)!

Double boot - Mac OS X & Debian

Partitioning (via OS X)

Before you're able to install Debian, you need to repartition the disk; supposing you want to reserve 20GB for your OS X partition, run the following command from a terminal (Applications -> Utility -> Terminal):

Mac OS X $ sudo diskutil resizevolume disk0s2 20G
Started resizing on disk disk0s2 Macintosh HD
Resizing Volume
Adjusting Partitions
Finished resizing on disk disk0s2 Macintosh HD
WARNING: You must now reboot!

Support for the resizevolume verb was added in Mac OS X 10.4.6. If you have an earlier version, you'll need to upgrade.

Note that wasn't actually partitioning, just shrinking the OS X partition. diskutil can add other partitions too, see than man page. Also note that you only get one chance as it doesn't provide a way to remove partitions...

Preparing to dual boot (via OS X): rEFIt

First install the latest rEFIt from [http://refit.sourceforge.net/ rEFIt homepage]. For the manual way (which is not needed) read the [http://refit.sourceforge.net/doc/c1s1_install.html rEFIt install documentation]. If you don't have your MacBook connected to the internet, you can download the rEFIt Mac disk image onto a USB memory stick and install rEFIt from there by double clicking on rEFIt-0.10.dmg (or whatever version you have) and then on rEFIt.mpkg.

NOTE: The combination of pre-0.9 rEFIt and GNU parted is known to cause problems: see http://refit.sourceforge.net/doc/c4s5_parted.html. If you install an old version of rEFIt and then install Debian + Lilo, you might not be able to install Grub afterwards. Reinstalling rEFIt 0.9 or greater will fix this problem.

It's now possible to proceed with installing Debian.

Note refit doesn't support making linux the default boot choice in tripple-boot environments, so you might want to look into other options. rEFIt does support making GNU/Linux the default choice when dual-booting. From OS X, edit the /efi/rEFIt/refit.conf file and uncomment/add the line


Install Debian

Get (burn yourself) a Debian installation CD from [http://www.us.debian.org/distrib/].

  • HINT: You might want an AMD64 edition for the Core 2 Duo ?MacBooks, but it is also possible to install the i386 (32-bit) version and use just 64-bit kernel on them.

Boot from the Debian installation CD (hold down the c-key while booting) and proceed with the installation.

  • TROUBLESHOOTING (double keypresses): If you have strange keyboard problems (double keypresses) or other problems while booting from the install CD, use the following command line on the boot prompt:

    install noapic irqpoll acpi=force

    TROUBLESHOOTING (dead keyboard): If you cannot type anything in the CD/DVD boot prompt (I found this problem on a MacBook Core 2 Duo), you can fix by using USB-attached keyboard. Alternatively, if Mac OS X is installed, you can proceed as follows http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=955231&tstart=0 2007-08-27, Apple Discussions: boot into Mac OS X, insert the Linux installation disc, go to 'System Preferences' -> 'Startup Disk', click on the Linux CD icon (this tells the computer to start from CD withouth the need to press the C key at boot time), click on the 'Restart' button, confirm 'Restart', wait. To get back to Mac OS X you might have to restart the computer and keep the eject button pressed to eject the CD, otherwise you keep booting from CD (possibly with the same keyboard problem as before, the behavior is a bit erratic).

    This problem seems to be related to refit, since disabling it and booting while holding the C button pressed (boots directly from CD) fixes this (sometimes). (It seems that booting after the real power-off seems to have less problem than reboot with "shutdown -r now". Also it seems to help situation a bit better by not pressing keyboard except when needed.)

When you reach the "Install the GRUB boot loader on a hard disk" step, switch to the second virtual console by pressing ctrl-alt-F2, press return to start the shell, and then enter

 chroot /target aptitude install refit
 /target/sbin/gptsync /dev/sda

and enter 'y' at the prompt. This syncs the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_Boot_Record MBR] from the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table GPT], which were made out of sync by parted.

  • TROUBELSHOOTING (no refit available): If aptitude tells you that refit is not available, the reason might be that you have no internet connection and there is refit package on the Debian installation CD. One solution is to connect the MacBook to the internet during installation.

    On amd64 there is generally no refit package available yet ([http://bugs.debian.org/383802 bug 383802] which is waiting for [http://bugs.debian.org/383801 bug 383801]). One solution is to start the installation, partition your hard disk, reboot and do the gptsync with the refit shell and then install

Switch back to the first virtual console by pressing ctrl-alt-F1 and select <Go back> in response to the "Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record". Choose "Install the LILO boot loader on a hard disk" from the main menu and choose /dev/sda3 (or whatever your new Debian partition is) for the LILO installation target. Do not install LILO to the MBR! When the installer asks if you want to make this partition active, choose "No."

  • TROUBELSHOOTING (LILO installation fails): If you get an error while trying to install LILO : -reboot, start the refit shell and type gptsync /dev/sda, and answer y -boot from the debian CD and follow the steps until the partitioning step, type ctrl-option-F2, press return to start the shell and then enter -mount /dev/sda3 to /mnt/sda3, mount /proc to /mnt/sda3/proc, chroot into /mnt/sda3 and run lilo :

    mkdir /mnt/sda3
    mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/sda3
    mount /proc/ /mnt/sda3/proc
    chroot /mnt/sda3
    lilo -b /dev/sda3

    TROUBLESHOOTING (Missing operating system): Once Debian is installed it asks you to remove the installation CD and reboot without it. You might then get the error message "Missing operating system". I guess, this means the MacBook tries to boot directly into the new Debian system instead of into rEFIt first, as one would expect. To solve this, insert the Mac OS X installation DVD and boot from it (keep the c-key pressed). Choose your language. Click on 'Utilities' -> 'Startup Disk...'. Select Mac OS X as the system to start. Click on 'Restart...' and confirm 'Restart...'. This should bring you into the rEFIt menu.

The GRUB included with Debian 4.0 Etch (GRUB 0.97-10 or greater) is compatible with MacBook if you configure proper MBR/GPT hybrid. Although it was possible to install GRUB during the initial d-i install with many manual fiddling processes of MBR/GPT synching, I recommend you to install LILO initially as above and install GRUB to /dev/sda3 and/or /dev/sda4 later for the ease of process and ease of updating kernel. "rEFIt " on OS X does not like anything other than MSDOS or HFS+ for file system description in GPT table when executing gptsync to create matching MBR record. So I makeked Linux partitions as MSDOS before executing gptsync. I used both disked for GPT and fdisk for MBR. Once youmark MBR with the proper file system type(eg. 83), GRUB is happy to boot Debian by looking into FS and finding files.) Here is an example of /boot/grub/menu.lst for dual booting 486 and amd64 systems:

  • timeout 10
    default 0
    fallback 1
    # For booting GNU/Linux (For frozen keyboard)
    title  GNU/Linux64-safe
    root (hd0,2)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-4-amd64 root=/dev/sda3
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-4-amd64
    # For booting GNU/Linux
    title  GNU/Linux64
    root (hd0,2)
    kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/sda3
    initrd /initrd.img
    # For booting GNU/Linux
    title  GNU/Linux64.old
    root (hd0,2)
    kernel /vmlinuz.old root=/dev/sda3
    initrd /initrd.img.old
    # For booting GNU/Linux
    title  GNU/Linux32
    root (hd0,3)
    kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/sda4
    initrd /initrd.img
    # Change the colors.
    title Change the colors
    color light-green/brown blink-red/blue

(Linux kernel is GPT-aware thus swap partition maybe located places such as /dev/sda7)

Cross mount file systems

To make a double boot system really useful it is desirable to cross mount file systems, i.e. to make Mac OS X-filesystems readable (and writable) under Linux and vice versa. Mac OS X uses a file system called HFS+ while Linux uses ext3.

Mount Mac OS X filesystems under Linux

If you want to mount a Mac OS X-filesystem under Linux in read-write mode (not read-only) then you have to turn of journaling first under Mac OS X. If you leave journaling on, you can only mount in read-only mode and will not be able to write or modify files in the Mac OS X-filesystem. This is a trade-off, of course, because journaling gives you security that your Mac system lacks if you turn it off. It might thus be advisable to have one partition for the Mac operating system with journaling (which is the default) mounted from Linux read-only (if at all) and one partition with user data without journaling mounted from Linux read-write.

Step 1 (if mounting read-write) - turn off journaling under Mac OS X: If you want to mount the Mac OS X-filesystem in read-write mode (not read-only) then you have to turn off journaling.

(i) Boot into Mac OS X.

(ii) Start a terminal.

(iii) As root (e.g. with sudo) use diskutil to turn off journaling ([http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107248 Disabling journaling via diskutil]):

mac:user> sudo /usr/sbin/diskutil disableJournal /data

This assumes your partition is mounted to the directory /data. If you want to turn off journaling for your Mac operating system partition, use / instead.

(iv) Reboot into Linux.

Step 2 - mount the Mac OS X-filesystem under Linux: If /dev/sda2 contains the HFS+-filesystem of the Mac OS X you want to mount, then run under Linux the following as root http://www.intuitive.com/blog/ubuntu_linux_yellowdog_linux_and_mac_os_x_all_on_one_powerbook.html Dave Taylor, 2005-05-14.

root# mkdir /media/macdata
root# mount -t hfsplus /dev/sda2 /media/macdata

This mounts /dev/sda2 on the directory /media/macdata (only read-only if the HFS+ partition is using journaling, which is the default when Mac OS X creates a HFS+ partition). Of course, you can also create and mount on a different directory.

  • Verify: To check whether your mount was successfull, as root go into the directory /media/macdata and list the files, create a file, and remove it again. To check whether users have access, as root create a directory for that user in /media/macdata, change ownership to that user, change into that directory, su to that user and perform the same test actions as before (list, create and delete a file).

Step 3 (optional) - edit fstab to auto-mount at boot time: If you want to mount the partition automatically at boot time, you have to add an entry like the following in the file /etc/fstab.

/dev/sda2   /media/macdata   hfsplus   defaults   0   2
  • Verify: To check whether automount should work, unmount the partition (if it is still mounted from Step 2), and remount it with the -a option.

    root# umount /media/macdata
    root# mount -a
    Then perform the same checks as in Step 2.

Switching to Grub

To switch to grub you first need to change the partition type to linux. You can do this by using sfdisk to dump the partition information to a text file. Editing it to change the partition type, and then using sfdisk to save that to the partition table.

sfdisk -d /dev/sda > sda.out

edit sda.out and change the id to 83 (linux) as in the below

# partition table of /dev/sda
unit: sectors

/dev/sda1 : start=        1, size=   409639, Id=ee
/dev/sda2 : start=   409640, size= 83886080, Id=af
/dev/sda3 : start= 84295720, size= 68953126, Id=83, bootable
/dev/sda4 : start=153248846, size=  3052609, Id=82

Now mount a usb drive if possible in case you made a mistake somewhere so that you can save recovery data.

Warning!!: this next line can wipe out your partition table if you made a mistake. It might be a good time to look at the sfdisk manual if you aren't sure what this does. It may be possible to undue unspeakable damage with the hdd-partition-sectors.save file so long as you can access it, which you might not be able to do if you saved it to the disk you are editing rather than the recommended usb disk.

sfdisk /dev/sda -O /media/usbdisk/hdd-partition-sectors.save < sda.out

In case sfdisk does not work for you (complains about not being able to make the kernel reread the partition table because a partition is mounted, or mismatching start/end partition boundaries) you can alternatively use fdisk to change the partition type. Use "p" to list partitions, "t" to change partition type, and "w" to write the table back to disk.

Then you can install grub "aptitude install grub"

Once grub is installed you need to edit /etc/kernel-img.conf so that when you install a kernel image it doesn't also replace grub with lilo.

As per (zless /usr/share/doc/grub/README.Debian.gz) set to the following.

postinst_hook = /sbin/update-grub
postrm_hook = /sbin/update-grub
do_bootloader = no



The following features work

  • Ethernet (as of kernel 2.6.16) (works out-of-the-box) (sky2)
  • Video (requires installation of 915resolution)
  • Sound (as of kernel 2.6.18) (works out-of-the-box) (snd_hda_intel)
  • CD-R (works out-of-the-box)
  • backlight (works out-of-the-box)
  • bluetooth (works out-of-the-box)

(See below for more)

Devices to be confirmed

  • suspend (works, unload module sky2 before suspending; tested with kernel 2.6.20)

s2ram -f -p -m works (for some values of "work") with original macbook (sys_product = "?MacBook1,1" sys_version = "1.0" bios_version = "MB11.88Z.0061.B03.0610121324") kernel and mactel patches rev 126. Resumes with backlight off but can turn back on with pommed (usually...).

Backlight + Volume + CD Eject button

Backlight keys (Fn+F1 and Fn+F2) work using [http://www.technologeek.org Julien Blache's] [http://packages.debian.org/pommed pommed] (there is a new project homepage at [http://alioth.debian.org/projects/pommed/ alioth]); you can even turn off the backlight using the keyboard; pommed also enables the CD Eject button's functionality, Fn behaviour and remote control. Besides, you can also install [http://packages.debian.org/gpomme gpomme]: a GTK+ client suitable for all environments(you should start it when your session starts) and [http://packages.debian.org/wmpomme wmpomme](a ?WindowMaker dockapp)

To install pommed you need to update your /etc/apt/sources.list file with the correct repository, check where pomme is currently available and add it. Then run apt-get update, and then apt-get install pommed. If you use the latest version 1.3, you might get a warning that you might cause harm to your machine, if you get that, use the previous version instead to see if you get the same warning.

By default on Debian testing, the F1, F2 ... FX keys are disabled and act like Fn+F1, Fn+F2 ... To enable the keys and make use of Fn+FX, modify /etc/pommed.conf by changing fnmode = 1 to fnmode = 2 and restart pommed with /etc/init.d/pommed restart.

To enable the sound keys (Fn+F3, Fn+F4 and Fn+F5), you have to modify /etc/pommed.conf : change init = -1 to init = 80 and (at least on Macbook 2) change volume = "PCM" to volume = "Front" and after that restart pommed with /etc/init.d/pommed restart.


After installation of Debian, there will be only very few screen resolutions available, e.g. only 1024x768, 800x600, and 640x480 (1024x768 is the biggest normal size that fits the screen). The resolution of the screen of a MacBook (Intel 915, video chipset 945GM) is 1280x800 and rescaling the 1024x768 display to 1280x800 results in a fuzzy and distorted picture.

To get support for the 1280x800 resolution you have to install the [http://packages.debian.org/915resolution 915resolution] package.

Step 1 - install 915resolution: As root run

root# aptitude install 915resolution

915resolution should automatically set the correct video mode for 1280x800 (if not, select it by hand) and configure X properly.

Step 2 - restart X: Press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to restart X. If that does not work, reboot the computer.

Step 3: For highres video playback something like the following is needed in the Device section:

        Option          "LinearAlloc" "6144"
        Option          "CacheLines" "1080"

See also an [http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?thread_id=20229481&forum_id=47881 xorg.conf file] which enables use of an external monitor.

Note when using an external display: unless the display resolution is in the small builtin supported list (it won't be if it's widescreen or highres) then you'll need to use 915resolution to set a mode for the external display too.

Note when using multiple displays: the order for ?MonitorLayout is "pipe a, pipe b" but this corresponds to "screen 1, screen 0", not "screen 0, screen 1" as you might expect (and isn't documented in the man page...)

Dual Screen (for sid user)

Can not use Dual screen with xorg of sid(2007/07/20) and old xorg.conf on Macbook. If you use dual screen on xorg 7.2 , xorg doesn't start.

(II) intel(0): Kernel reported 104960 total, 1 used
(II) intel(0): I830CheckAvailableMemory: 419836 kB available
(==) intel(0): VideoRam: 262144 KB
(II) intel(0): Attempting memory allocation with tiled buffers and
               large DRI memory manager reservation:
(WW) intel(0): xf86AllocateGARTMemory: allocation of 10 pages failed
        (Cannot allocate memory)
(II) intel(1): Allocating 0 scanlines for pixmap cache

0: X(xf86SigHandler+0x81) [0x80c8591]
1: [0xb7faa420]
2: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//i810_drv.so [0xb7bf8ec0]
3: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//i810_drv.so [0xb7bf9e6e]
4: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//i810_drv.so(i830_allocate_2d_memory+0x131) [0xb7bfa161]
5: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//i810_drv.so [0xb7bf5f2e]
6: X(AddScreen+0x1ee) [0x80764be]
7: X(InitOutput+0x21e) [0x80a7b6e]
8: X(main+0x27b) [0x8076c6b]
9: /lib/i686/cmov/libc.so.6(__libc_start_main+0xdc) [0xb7dc3ebc]
10: X(FontFileCompleteXLFD+0x1e5) [0x80761a1]

Fatal server error:
Caught signal 11.  Server aborting

I write new xorg.conf and how to setting method below.

New xorg.conf

Section "Files"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/:unscaled"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/:unscaled"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"
        FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi"
        FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
        # path to defoma fonts
        FontPath        "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType"

Section "Module"
        Load    "i2c"
        Load    "bitmap"
        Load    "ddc"
        Load    "dri"
        Load    "extmod"
        Load    "freetype"
        Load    "glx"
        Load    "int10"
        Load    "type1"
#       Load    "vbe"

Section "Extensions"
#       Option "Composite" 
        Option "Composite" "Enable"
#       Option "RENDER" "Enable"

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Generic Keyboard"
        Driver          "kbd"
        Option          "CoreKeyboard"
        Option          "XkbRules"      "xorg"
        Option          "XkbModel" "pc106"
        Option          "XkbLayout" "us"
        Option          "XkbOptions"    "ctrl:nocaps"

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Configured Mouse"
        Driver          "mouse"
        Option          "CorePointer"
        Option          "Device"                "/dev/input/mice"
        Option          "Protocol"              "ExplorerPS/2"
        Option          "Emulate3Buttons"       "true"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier      "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver          "synaptics"
Option          "SendCoreEvents"        "true"
Option          "Device"                "/dev/psaux"
Option          "Protocol"              "auto-dev"
Option          "SHMConfig"             "true"
Option          "LeftEdge"              "100"
Option          "RightEdge"             "1120"
Option          "TopEdge"               "50"
Option          "BottomEdge"            "310"
Option          "FingerLow"             "25"
Option          "FingerHigh"            "30"
Option          "VertScrollDelta"       "20"
Option          "HorizScrollDelta"      "50"
Option          "MinSpeed"              "0.79"
Option          "MaxSpeed"              "0.88"
Option          "AccelFactor"           "0.0015"
#    Option          "HorizScrollDelta"      "0"

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller"
        Driver          "i810"
        BusID           "PCI:0:2:0"
        Option          "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Generic Monitor"
        Option          "DPMS"

Section "Screen"
        Identifier      "screen0"
        Device          "Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller"
        Monitor         "Generic Monitor"
        DefaultDepth    24
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth           16
                Virtual         2560 1600
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth           24
                Virtual         2560 1600

Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier      "Default Layout"
        Screen          "screen0"
        InputDevice     "Generic Keyboard"
        InputDevice     "Synaptics Touchpad"
        InputDevice     "Configured Mouse"
        Option          "AIGLX" "true"
#       Option          "Xinerama" "on"

Enable dual screen

xrandr --output VGA --mode 1024x768
xrandr --output VGA --right-of LVDS

Disable dual screen

xrandr --output VGA --off


ALSA driver snd_hda_intel works for playback as of 2.6.18-rc1.

MacBook with Debian 4.0 Etch has no problem with sound. Although, you may need to run alsaconf as root.

If you hear any distortions even when all of the mixer settings are at least 20% below their maximum, it might help to load snd-hda-intel with the 'position_fix=1' option. In the file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base, change the line

install snd-hda-intel /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install snd-hda-intel $CMDLINE_OPTS && /lib/alsa/modprobe-post-install snd-hda-intel


install snd-hda-intel position_fix=1 /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install snd-hda-intel $CMDLINE_OPTS && /lib/alsa/modprobe-post-install snd-hda-intel

Note the microphone requires mactel patches and the following to activate:

amixer sset 'Input Source' Line; amixer sset 'Input Source' Mic; amixer sset Mux 20.00dB

The microphone did not worked worked on debian testing with kernel 2.6.21. However I made it work by compiling alsa from subversion (as of 12/08/07) on kernel 2.6.21 without mactel patches.


Add 'non-free' to your main Debian repository then update your packages list with

aptitude update

Install the madwifi kernel module source and the ability to compile it

aptitude install madwifi-source madwifi-tools module-assistant

Compile it

m-a prepare
m-a a-i madwifi
depmod -a
modprobe ath_pci

See [http://madwifi.org/wiki/UserDocs/Distro/Debian/MadWifi] for more details.

Install wireless support

aptitude install wireless-tools

See [http://www.linuxcommand.org/man_pages/iwconfig8.html] for more details on iwconfig

To start wireless up on boot, add the following to /etc/network/interfaces (unless you intend to use network Manager, in which case you don't need this)

# Starts the Atheros / madwifi wireless on boot
auto ath0
iface ath0 inet dhcp

Restart networking.

/etc/init.d/networking restart
  • Caveat: The airport card in the newest MacBook (PCI-ID 168c:0024) is working with a svn version from madwifi (with WPA support). This was added in branch madwifi-hal- which was then merged back into the trunk, as noted in http://madwifi.org/ticket/1001#comment:194

The quick and ugly way until or later is available as .deb package:

svn checkout http://svn.madwifi.org/trunk madwifi-hal- 
cd madwifi-hal-
make install


apt-get install wget
wget http://snapshots.madwifi.org/madwifi-hal-
tar zxfv madwifi-hal-
cd madwifi-hal-
make install

The version seems buggy on macbook core 2 duo 2 Ghz (the driver stops working after a while). Unfortunately, even the subversion version is buggy (as of 12/08/2007) :

$ dmesg | grep wifi | uniq -c | tail -n 1
    576 wifi0: rx FIFO overrun; resetting


After the standard installation of Debian Linux, what you type on the keyboard might not be what you see on the screen, and some characters, such as curly brackets, might not be available at all. This is due to an incorrect keyboard mapping. In particular you might want to add/change/configure the following:

Swapped keys: Even if you have chosen the correct general keyboard layout, e.g. German for a German keyboard, there may still be keys swapped, e.g. you press the '<' key and get a '^' and vice versa. This can be corrected with a global option.

Alt-Gr: Alt-Gr stands for 'alternate graphic' and is a modifier key, much like Shift or Ctrl, used to type special characters, typically the 'third symbol' on the lower right of a key. The Mac keyboard does not have such a key, so we want to configure the right Apple key as an Alt-Gr key.

Function keys: You may also want to configure the function keys.

The keyboard mappings are configured separately for the X11 (X Window) system and for the consoles.

X11 (X Window)

The recommended place to configure the keyboard mapping for X11 is the configuration file /etc/X11/xorg.conf, which has the advantage of effecting all users. Each user can also configure his/her keyboard individually in the (Gnome) Desktop Preferences.


To set options for the keyboard you can use the XkbOptions field in the keyboard section of file /etc/X11/xorg.conf. To activate the right Apple key as an Alt-Gr key add "lv3:rwin_switch". To correct the swapped keys add "apple:badmap". To do both combine them with a separating comma, as shown below.

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Generic Keyboard"
        Driver          "kbd"
        Option          "CoreKeyboard"
        Option          "XkbRules"      "xorg"
        Option          "XkbModel"      "pc105"
        Option          "XkbLayout"     "it"
        Option          "XkbOptions"    "lv3:rwin_switch,apple:badmap"

Desktop Preferences:

It is probably best to change the keyboard mappings discussed here centrally in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. However, it is also possible to change them in the Desktop Preferences. For Gnome click 'Desktop' -> 'Preferences' -> 'Keyboard'.

For the basic keyboard definition go to 'Layouts'. As 'keyboard model' choose '?MacBook/MacBook Pro (Intl)' (although 'Generic 105-key (Intl) PC' seems to work fine as well). As 'selected layout' add and make default 'Germany' -> 'Macintosh' or 'Macintosh, eliminate dead keys' (although 'Germany Eliminate dead keys' seems to work fine as well).

For the configurations under discussion here go to 'Layout Options'. To configure the right Apple key as an Alt-Gr key select 'Third level choosers' -> 'Press Right Win-key to choose 3rd level.'. To correct the swapped keys select 'Miscellaneous compatibility options' -> 'Swap keycodes of two keys when Mac keyboards are misdetected by kernel.'.

When I did this I actually got obscure error messages. So this seems to be buggy and I would not recommend it also for this reason.


To configure the right Apple key as an Alt-Gr key for the consoles (the black and white screen you get with Ctrl-Alt-F1 etc.) add the following line to /etc/console-tools/remap.

s/keycode 126 =/keycode 126 = AltGr/;

Correcting swapped keys should also be possible, but I have not figured out how to do that yet.

Fn-key behaviour

If you want to change the bahaviour of the Fn-keys look at /etc/pommed.conf after you've installed pommed. (Or look at the parameters of the hid kernel module.)

Has anyone made the fn key work? --> Yes, even on the newer MacBook(osamu). Apply the mactel-linux patch to the kernel and recompile it! The use of [http://packages.debian.org/pommed pommed] program as written above makes it work better. (I recompiled the current Debian version of 2.6.18 source with the mactel-linux patch [is that the Etch version of 2.6.18?]. This patch solves issues for fn-arrows and fn-Fn keys for the newer ?MacBooks while addressing few other issues.)

Other issues


Alternatively you can work around this with xmodmap and xkbset. xkbset is useful for emulating mouse buttons with the keyboard.

xmodmap -e "keycode 115 = Alt_L"           # left-apple
xmodmap -e "keycode 116 = Zenkaku_Hankaku" # right-apple
xmodmap -e "keycode 108 = Pointer_Button3" # KP-ENTER
xmodmap -e "keycode 204 = Pointer_Button2" # eject
xkbset m

[http://bugs.debian.org/379789 #379789] has been filed to track down a problem with keymap

To work around issues of missing/unresponsive keys on the MacBook Japanese models, see MacBookJp for helpful scripts (Japanese page but scripts are in English. The real fix needs to happen in the kernel source drivers/usb/input.).

Synaptics Touchpad

If you want to use the Synaptics touchpad add these lines to /etc/modprobe.d/

install usbhid /sbin/modprobe appletouch; /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install usbhid $CMDLINE_OPTS

Then add  appletouch  to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules and then run  update-initramfs 

This is just a tip for configuring the synaptics touchpad. You have to install the synaptics driver for Xorg for enabling the touchpad. On my configuration, I set one finger tap on the pad = right mouse click and two finger tap = middle mouse click, I have disabled the two finger scrolling and let the vertical right edge scrolling. Here is the mouse section of my xorg.conf :

Section "InputDevice"
  Identifier      "Synaptics Touchpad"
  Driver          "synaptics"
  Option          "SendCoreEvents"        "true"
  Option          "Device"                "/dev/psaux"
  Option          "Protocol"              "auto-dev"
  Option          "SHMConfig"             "true"
  Option          "New AccelFactor"       "0.03"
  Option          "LeftEdge"              "100"
  Option          "RightEdge"             "1120"
  Option          "TopEdge"               "50"
  Option          "BottomEdge"            "310"
  Option          "FingerHigh"            "30"
  Option          "MinSpeed"              "0.94"
  Option          "MaxSpeed"              "1"
  Option          "AccelFactor"           "0.0015"
  Option          "FingerLow"             "20"
  Option          "HorizScrollDelta"      "0"
  Option          "MaxTapTime"            "150"
  Option          "TapButton1"            "3"
  Option          "TapButton3"            "0"
  Option          "VertEdgeScroll"        "1"
  Option          "HorizEdgeScroll"       "1"
  Option          "VertScrollDelta"       "5"
  Option          "VertTwoFingerScroll"   "0"
  Option          "HorizTwoFingerScroll"  "0"

Another possible setup here...

  • Left click with only the button, no tapping (as in OS X). Reduces accidental cursor jumping + clicking which can drive one nuts.
  • Tapping upper left corner = Middle click
  • Tapping upper right corner = Right click
  • Sliding across right edge of the touchpad = Scroll up and down

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Synaptics Touchpad"
        Driver          "synaptics"
        Option          "AlwaysCore"
       #Option          "Device"                "/dev/input/by-id/usb-Apple_Computer_Apple_Internal_Keyboard_._Trackpad-mouse"
        Option          "Device"                "/dev/input/mice"       
        Option          "Protocol"              "auto-dev"
        Option          "HorizScrollDelta"      "0"
        Option          "SHMConfig"             "true"

        Option          "TouchpaddOff"          "0"

        # How fast the two-finger scrolling scrolls. The lower, the faster.
        Option          "VertScrollDelta"       "25"
        Option          "HorizScrollDelta"      "25"

        # Location of the touchpad edges, somewhat sane values
        # that I found by testing. Xmin=0, Xmax=1216, Ymin=0,Ymax=387
        Option          "LeftEdge"              "100"
        Option          "RightEdge"             "1116"
        Option          "TopEdge"               "50"
        Option          "BottomEdge"            "337"
        # Touch and "untouch" thresholds
        Option          "FingerLow"             "25"
        Option          "FingerHigh"            "50"
        # We DO NOT want palm triggering middle/right mouse
        # button events, so a tap has to be quite fast
        Option          "MaxTapTime"            "100"
        Option          "MaxTapMove"            "100"
        Option          "MaxDoubleTapTime"      "200"

        # Enable vertical (right) edge scrolling with one finger
        Option          "VertEdgeScroll"        "1"
        # Enable horizontal (bottom) edge scrolling with one finger
        Option          "HorizEdgeScroll"       "0"

        # Disable two finger scrolling, as we have the edge scrolling enabled already
        Option          "VertTwoFingerScroll"   "0"
        Option          "HorizTwoFingerScroll"  "0"

        # Left top corner of the touchpad shall be the middle mouse button
        # Bottom buttons tend to get triggered accidentally.
        Option          "LTCornerButton"        "2"

        # Right top corner of the touchpad shall be the right mouse button
        Option          "RTCornerButton"        "3"

        # Disable bottom corners
        Option          "LBCornerButton"        "0"
        Option          "RBCornerButton"        "0"

        # Fast taps
        Option          "FastTaps"              "0"

        # Disable tapping of the touchpad (excluding the corners, of course)
        Option          "TapButton1"            "0"
        Option          "TapButton2"            "0"
        Option          "TapButton3"            "0"

        # Movement speed settings
        Option          "MinSpeed"              "0.2"
        Option          "MaxSpeed"              "0.6"
        Option          "AccelFactor"           "0.35"

        # Palm detection. Does not seem to work on Macbook
        Option          "PalmDetect"            "1"
        Option          "PalmMinWidth"          "10"    #1-15
        Option          "PalmMinZ"              "200"   #1-255

        # Various other variables
        Option          "UpDownScrolling"       "0"
        Option          "LeftRightScrolling"    "0"

To find out about the synaptics options, type man synaptics in a terminal.


CPU frequency scaling

CPU frequency scaling is governed by SPEEDSTEP_CENTRINO kernel module.

echo speedstep_centrino >> /etc/modules

If that does not work, you can also use the acpi_cpufreq module:

echo acpi_cpufreq >> /etc/modules

CPU frequency scaling in kernel

To avoid unnecessary overhead you can let kernel scale the CPU frequency automatically. Just load module cpufreq_ondemand or cpufreq_conservative. The ondemand-module is perhaps better choice if you want the system to be as responsive as possible.

Next add this to /etc/rc.local or to another startup script:

  • # Switch on "ondemand" CPUfreq governor # This is more reliable and faster than using userspace governor and # a userspace program to control CPU frequency. # You have to do this for each CPU.

    echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor # The "ondemand" governor in kernels prior to 2.6.22 something tend to # have a bit high sampling rate, so we will modify it according to

    # http://www.linuxpowertop.org/known.php # This is not _required_, but reduces the amount of wake-up calls the # processor makes each second

    cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/ondemand/sampling_rate_max > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/ondemand/sampling_rate cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/ondemand/sampling_rate_max > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/ondemand/sampling_rate

CPU frequency scaling in userspace

In case you want more complex CPU frequency scaling schemes, you can just load the module cpufreq_userspace, set it as default (see above) install [http://packages.debian.org/powernowd powernowd] or [http://packages.debian.org/cpufreqd cpufreqd] package for CPU frequency scaling. There are several other daemons available, but those two work quite well.

You can use gkfreq to monitor the CPU frequency in gkrellm (currently it only supports one processor but can be easily modified to support 2 cores - I have send a small patch to the maintainer) : http://www.peakunix.net/gkfreq/

CPU throttling

CPU throttling means forcing the processor(s) to idle for a certain amount of their time. When processor is not heavily loaded this saves battery but also slows the processor down. With 1st generation Macbook switching both cores to 50% throttling so that they are idle 50% of the time can give maybe 30-40 minutes of extra battery life. The Macbook is perfectly usable even both processors are running at 1Ghz (scaled down) and throttled to 50%. So in most cases, it's a good idea to use CPU throttling when using battery.

There are various ways to enable CPU throttling. It is probably easiest to use laptop-mode, and make sure that throttling is enabled in /etc/laptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf:

# Should laptop mode tools control the CPU throttling? This is only useful
# on processors that don't have frequency scaling.
# (Only works when you have /proc/acpi/processor/CPU*/throttling.)

# Legal values are "maximum" for the maximum (slowest) throttling level,
# "minimum" for minimum (fastest) throttling level, "medium" for a value
# somewhere in the middle (this is usually 50% for P4s), or any value listed
# in /proc/acpi/processor/CPU*/throttling. Be careful when using "maximum":
# this may be _very_ slow (in fact, with P4s it slows down the processor
# by a factor 8).


If you are serious about saving power, take a look at [http://www.linuxpowertop.org/powertop.php Powertop] program. It is a very good interactive program that gives suggestions on how to minimize CPU wakeups. I was able to drop wakeups from around 1500 to roughly 400 with the aid of this program.

infrared receiver

Use the usual HID device; kernel patch available as of 2006-07-17.

If the  appleir  driver is also compiled as a module, change the line described in the keyboard section of this page to the following, so  appletouch  and  appleir  get loaded before usbhid:

install usbhid /sbin/modprobe appletouch; /sbin/modprobe appleir; /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install usbhid $CMDLINE_OPTS

Also add  appleir  to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules and re-run  update-initramfs .

On debian testing with kernel 2.6.21 I couldn't make hiddev work. However, I have succeeded to make the remote work like this :

1)I have downloaded this patch http://www.madingley.org/macmini/kernel/ir.patch and copied each piece of it into my kernel sources (most of it goes into appleir.c)

2)After that I have added "CONFIG_USB_APPLEIR=m" at the section "USB HID Boot Protocol drivers" in the .config file from the kernel source.

3)I have recompiled and installed the modules.

4)I have loaded the appleir module with "modprobe appleir" and added "appleir" to /etc/modules to have it loaded at boot.

5)I have installed lirc and lirc-x with apt-get

6)I have created /etc/lirc/lircd.conf with some infos found on the web :

# this config file was automatically generated
# using lirc-0.8.0(userspace) on Fri Oct 20 01:12:42 2006
# contributed by Michael Olson
# brand:                       APPLE_REMOTE
# model no. of remote control:
# devices being controlled by this remote: 1

  begin remote

    name  APPLE_REMOTE
    bits            8
    eps            30
    aeps          100

    one             0     0
    zero            0     0
    gap          135863
    pre_data_bits   24
    pre_data       0x800100
    toggle_bit      0

    begin codes
     KEY_MENU 0x8B
     KEY_PP 0xA4
     KEY_N 0xA3
     KEY_P 0xA5
     KEY_VU 0x73
     KEY_VD 0x72
    end codes

 end remote

7)I have changed the following lines in /etc/lirc/hardware.conf :

# Run "lircd --driver=help" for a list of supported drivers.
# If DEVICE is set to /dev/lirc and devfs is in use /dev/lirc/0 will
# be
# automatically used instead
# Default configuration files for your hardware if any

The tricky part is that /dev/input/event1 is not correct, so we have to generate the correct input event at each reboot. I have installed "lsinput" and modified the startup script /etc/init.d/lirc, by adding the following lines just before ". /etc/lirc/hardware.conf" :

mac_input=$(lsinput 2>&1 | grep -B 5 "Mac mini" | head -n 1)
sed -i "s;DEVICE=\".*\";DEVICE=\"$mac_input\";" /etc/lirc/hardware.conf

Now everything should be fine.

8)To test if it works, write into ~/.lircrc :

    flags = startup_mode
    mode = irexec

  begin irexec

     prog = irexec
     remote = APPLE_REMOTE
     button = KEY_N
     config = xmms
     repeat = 0

  end irexec

and start irexec with "irexec -d". 9) Now if you press the "next" key on the remote it should open xmms (if you have it installed).


On old Macbooks iSight might work with the linux-uvc driver with patches. It is installable with

# aptitude install linux-uvc-source linux-uvc-tools 

Once the source and tools are installed, then:

# m-a prepare
# m-a a-i linux-uvc
# mount -t hfsplus /dev/sda2 /mnt/mac/
# macbook-isight-firmware-loader /mnt/mac/System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleUSBVideoSupport
# modprobe uvcvideo

Test it with Ekiga.

# aptitude install ekiga libpt-plugins-v4l2
$ ekiga

If you are using a semi-recent Macbook, the linux-uvc drivers from the Debian repositories won't probably work - at least not with Debian Etch. Drivers from Testing or Unstable does also not work (backported linux-uvc-0.1.0.svn54 from SID). Luckily there are at least two patched versions of the linux-uvc drivers especially for the iSight. Finding them is not trivial unless you know where to look (svn rev.100 bundle: http://i-nz.net/projects/linux-kernel/). Probably the best way to find them is to go to [http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?forum_name=mactel-linux-users Mactel-linux-users mailinglist archive] and search for "iSight". By following the threads you'll find the various patched linux-uvc drivers. Don't bother downloading any patches, as they are meant to be applied against specific old (svn) revisions of linux-uvc drivers and probably many chunks will be rejected. Go for the s.c. "bundles" which contain whole patched linux-uvc code.

The patched drivers are relatively easy to build and install: just do a "make && make install" and you're set. In case build fails, just do a

aptitude install apt-file
apt-file update
apt-file search name_of_the_missing_header_file

After this install the something-dev package that apt-file gave you, and try again, until the build and install ends without errors. Then do

modprobe -r uvcvideo
modprobe uvcvideo

Now you can test the driver with Ekiga, as shown above. Alternatively you can use mplayer to test the driver. First edit $HOME/.mplayer/config and add this line to it:

# Write your default config options here!
# $HOME/.mplayer/config
# Built-in iSight
# This works at least for a 9/2006 Core Duo Macbook 

Then launch mplayer for console:

mplayer tv://

If you see your face, iSight is probably working :). Attention! I only see a green video, nevertheless it works with ekiga!

NOTE: When you get your iSight working, copy the iSight firmware somewhere safe. Mac OS X updates might contain new iSight firmware which could break the Linux iSight support. In this case you can revert back to the old, working firmware.

Kernel patch and hardware tool resource

[http://www.mactel-linux.org/ Mactel-Linux] has mactel specific kernel patch and hardware tool resource. Its subversion archive can be seen at http://svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/mactel-linux by the browser or retrieved by:

 $ svn co https://mactel-linux.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/mactel-linux mactel-linux


CONFIG_FB_IMAC support is for booting from ELILO (EFI). You are most probably using lilo/rEFIt to boot, using IMAC driver will make your screen appear scrambled. Use CONFIG_FB_I810 driver instead.

Helpful guide on compiling a mactel kernel: http://gentoo-wiki.com/HARDWARE_Apple_MacBook

Hardware Sensors

  • - cpu temperature found through CPU MSR feature

tool available from: http://mactel-linux.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/mactel-linux/trunk/tools/temperature/

You need to load the msr module before using the coretemp tool : modprobe msr, or put msr in /etc/modules to make the module load on every boot.

Download Makefile and coretemp.c.

$ make
$ sudo ./coretemp
CPU 0: 69 C
CPU 1: 69 C
  • - hddtemp package provides support for hdd temperature monitoring

$ sudo hddtemp /dev/sda
/dev/sda: ST98823AS: 38°C
  • - I2C sensor is detected but not sure if it's functional

Note: no sensors are detected below, just EEPROMs.

MacBook contains the 82801G (ICH7 Family) and [http://www.lm-sensors.org/wiki/SupportedDevices ICH7 is supported by lm_sensors since sensors 2.9.0] by the [http://www.lm-sensors.org/browser/lm-sensors/trunk/doc/busses/i2c-i801 i2c-i801 kernel driver] which has been in the kernel since 2.6.11.

# sensors-detect revision 1.413 (2006/01/19 20:28:00)

Probing for PCI bus adapters...
Use driver `i2c-i801' for device 00:1f.3: Intel ICH7
Probe succesfully concluded.

We will now try to load each adapter module in turn.
Module `i2c-i801' already loaded.
If you have undetectable or unsupported adapters, you can have them
scanned by manually loading the modules before running this script.

 To continue, we need module `i2c-dev' to be loaded.
 If it is built-in into your kernel, you can safely skip this.
 i2c-dev is not loaded. Do you want to load it now? (YES/no): yes
 Module loaded succesfully.

 We are now going to do the adapter probings. Some adapters may hang halfway
 through; we can't really help that. Also, some chips will be double detected;
 we choose the one with the highest confidence value in that case.
 If you found that the adapter hung after probing a certain address, you can
 specify that address to remain unprobed. That often
 includes address 0x69 (clock chip).

Next adapter: SMBus I801 adapter at efa0
Do you want to scan it? (YES/no/selectively):
Client found at address 0x08
Client found at address 0x38
Probing for `Philips Semiconductors SAA1064'... Failed!
Client found at address 0x3a
Probing for `Philips Semiconductors SAA1064'... Failed!
Client found at address 0x44
Probing for `Maxim MAX6633/MAX6634/MAX6635'... Failed!
Client found at address 0x50
Probing for `SPD EEPROM'... Success!
    (confidence 8, driver `eeprom')
Probing for `DDC monitor'... Failed!
Probing for `Maxim MAX6900'... Failed!
Client found at address 0x52
Probing for `SPD EEPROM'... Success!
    (confidence 8, driver `eeprom')
Client found at address 0x69


Driver `eeprom' (should be inserted):
  Detects correctly:
  * Bus `SMBus I801 adapter at efa0'
    Busdriver `i2c-i801', I2C address 0x50
    Chip `SPD EEPROM' (confidence: 8)
  * Bus `SMBus I801 adapter at efa0'
    Busdriver `i2c-i801', I2C address 0x52
    Chip `SPD EEPROM' (confidence: 8)

I will now generate the commands needed to load the I2C modules.

To make the sensors modules behave correctly, add these lines to

#----cut here----
# I2C adapter drivers
# I2C chip drivers
#----cut here----

# uname -a
Linux coreduo 2.6.18-rc1dancer #2 SMP Sun Jul 9 09:57:01 JST 2006 i686 GNU/Linux

Old hardware issues


usual EHCI, UHCI stuff

Gigabit Ethernet

Your kernel must have support for the Yukon Gigabit Ethernet driver known as sky2; this is available in Debian 4.0 Etch (or kernel 2.6.16 and above).

See [http://bugs.debian.org/378521 #378521]


915resolution now works automatically; the below (old) instructions show how to do it manually, but this is no longer necessary:

aptitude install 915resolution
915resolution -c 945 54 1280 800

then edit /etc/default/915resolution

# 915resolution default
# find free modes by  /usr/sbin/915resolution -l
# and set it to MODE
# e.g. use MODE=54 
# and set resolutions for the mode.
# e.g. use XRESO=1024 and YRESO=768
# We can also set the pixel mode.
# e.g. use BIT=32
# Please note that this is optional,
# you can also leave this value blank.

Adjust the Monitor section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Color LCD"
        Option          "DPMS"
        HorizSync       28-64
        VertRefresh     43-60
        Modeline "1280x800@60" 83.91 1280 1312 1624 1656 800 816 824 841

and make sure the Screen sections uses "1280x800" as default resolution in the Modes lines and finally

/etc/init.d/915resolution start