I don't pretend to understand all of the power management stuff, but I'm getting closer and closer.
I have learned that no matter what I do, there seems to be a problem with having a 60GB drive in my system as my BIOS doesn't seem to allow for good partitioning. (I get various partition errors and messages using various software ranging from DOS's fdisk, Win2k's disk manager, Partition Magic 4.0 & 5.0 to FC2's fdisk and such.) That said, I am wondering if any of my suspend to disk actions are failing because of this problem..?
When I use suspend to disk under Win2k, it creates its own hibernate.sys file and it works very nicely, but that's Win2k's suspend function and has nothing at all to do with the Dell (type A0) suspend partition currently residing on my drive. So it seems that either there is no actual BIOS supported "Suspend to disk" function here or it is broken because my HD size is not fully compatible with my system's BIOS.
In any case, once I switch modes in the kernel (apm=on acpi=off) the Fn-Suspend hotkeys work in the sense that it will suspend my system powering everything off but appears to do so only in RAM. Performing a "apm -s" does seem to try to do something but after a while comes back saying "I/O error" and resumes normal operation. (What's the I/O error about?)
I would like to get Suspend to Disk to work for me but I would like to see a good explanation of what is going on here and how to make it happen with the tools I have available to me. (My attempts to compile a kernel keep failing and I don't know why either...) In short, I appeal to the expert(s) out there to please teach me (us-- the pleading masses) what this function is, how it's supposed to work and how we make it work under Linux.
I don't care about Suspend to Disk under Windows. Windows needs to be rebooted anyway -- it's good for it to get the boot on regular occasions. Linux, on the other hand, does not and I would prefer to keep it in a running state at any time. Besides that, suspend to disk lets me change batteries if I ever need to.
I hope my problem description is accurate and detailed enough to get the answers I seek. If the answers are clear enough for me to execute a solution, I will be sure to document it here and other places to make sure the knowledge is passed on for others and for the Google-seekers.