My laptop is a Samsung Q45 which I am very pleased with on the whole.

My operating system of choice is Debian GNU/Linux. Here are my notes about the problems I encountered with trying to run Debian on the Samsung Q45. I will continue to update this page as bugs are fixed, so watch this space...

Freeze during boot

A bug in the Linux kernel prior to version 2.6.27 causes the system to lock up when the video kernel module is loaded, as happens during system boot. The workaround is to boot the installer using the noacpi kernel parameter, then once the system has been installed, create /etc/modprobe.d/novideo containing blacklist video. This is 475319, filed upstream at

According to another user, Samsung's new firmware version 17ST fixes this problem, but I have not confirmed this for myself. Samsung's driver/support website is perpetually broken, but downloads for each category can be found by searching for q45 on their search form:


Suspend/resume works correctly with Linux 2.6.25 and pm-utils 1.1.1 or later.

Earlier versions rely on the use of certain quirks which were added to hal-info on 2008-04-15 (but with a typo that was corrected on 2008-05-23). So if you are using Linux 2.6.24 or earlier, you will need a hal-info package from after that date.

Special keys

Keymap info was added to hal-info on 2008-04-15.

The 'brightness up/down' keys behave strangely before Linux 2.6.30 ( bug). This can result in gnome-power-manager grabbing the keyboard and never letting go (GNOME bug).


Backlight control is done via the X11 RANDR extension, from a program such as gnome-power-manager 2.24 or the xbacklight command. There is a BIOS option to dim the screen when running off battery power; however it dims it too much to be usable in my opinion (it appears to be hardcoded to dim the screen to 33% of its full brightness which is too dim to be usable in the daytime, or indoors unless all your lights are off).


There was a curious video problem with the default Intel driver in lenny: no text or icons were rendered, although the system was otherwise usable. This is 451791; adding the following two Option lines to xorg.conf fixed it:

An alternative is to add Option "EXANoComposite" "true" instead, but that causes graphical corruption in Mozilla-based web browsers (491871).

This is fixed in a newer version of the intel driver; presently I am using version 2:2.5.1-1 from experimental without the above problems.

After the system has been up for a couple of weeks (via many suspend/resume cycles), running programs that use 3d acceleration causes the laptop to lock up. This is tracked at 481345. Unfortunately it is not easy to reproduce.


In Linux 2.6.28 and 2.6.29, audio works fine except that the laptop's internal speakers become un-muted if their mute status is toggled while headphones are connected. Disconnecting and reconnecting the headphones fixes this (until the speakers are muted again). This is 517241 and can be worked around in Linux 2.6.30 by using the model=auto option for the snd-hda-intel kernel module.

Prior to Linux 2.6.26, audio would not come back after a suspend/resume cycle.

There are a few bugs in gnome-volume-control and GStreamer that make it awkward to adjust the volume of some of the laptop's audio controls. The problem is that several controls have a common name ('Input Source' and 'Capture'). This is tracked by the following bugs:


Works correctly with version 2.6.26 of the Linux kernel. With previous versions, the uvcvideo kernel module can be used (the Debian package is linux-uvc-source).

Wireless networking

Wireless networking works fine since Linux 2.6.28.

In prior versions, it did not work, and the following kernel messages were logged:

Work on this was tracked at A workaround was to create the file /etc/modprobe.d/fixwireless containing the following:

followed by rebooting (or reloading the iwl3945 kernel module).


I purchased an extended warranty, giving me three years of cover. Unfortunately Samsung customer support is terrible; I tried to register the warranty by telephone, only to be told that they do not offer extended warranties at all! Eventually I was escalated to a nice Scottish man who appeared to have a clue, and who took down my details and said that I would receive confirmation by snail mail within four weeks. That was back in April 2008, and I have not received anything yet...

Windows refund

Unfortunately there was no option to buy the laptop without an included copy of Windows Vista.

I wrote to Samsung on 2008-04-27 to enquire about the refund process. I received no reply. I wrote again on 2008-05-23 and have still not received a reply.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent: samsung-vista-refund.odt

Hardware details

lspci -nn output:

lsusb output:

Kernel messages

The contents of /var/log/dmesg after booting with Debian's linux-image-2.6.26-1-amd64 kernel, version 2.6.26-8:


dmidecode output biosdecode output SamsungQ45 (last edited 2009-06-19 11:01:28 by sam)

© Sam Morris <>.
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