Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn with an HP Compaq 6710b

My brother just got a brand new laptop – an HP Compaq 6710b. The chipset is brand new, and unfortunately, even newer than Feisty. Feisty was released in April, and the chipset first hit the market in May I believe. The result? No Xserver. We tried the unstable Gutsy live CD with the same results too.

But fear not, there is a solution! We spent hours scouring forums and such, and it turned out to be a lot simpler than we had originally feared. One user spent four days trying to solve the issue, and eventually compiled his own custom kernel.. but there’s a much simpler solution!

1. Install Ubuntu 7.04 using the alternate CD (text mode)

Download the Ubuntu 7.04 Alternate Install CD image here and burn the image to disk.

NOTE: Make sure you check the box for the alternate CD! You’ll need it for the text-based installer. Notice the box underneath the download button: “Check here if you need the alternate desktop CD. This CD does not include the Live CD, instead it uses a text-based installer.”

Then, (re)boot your machine with the alternate CD in the drive. (NOTE: Make sure the boot priority is set so that it boots from the optical disk before the hard drive.) Follow the instructions for the text based install, and then you’ll be prompted to remove the disk and restart once it’s finished.

This is where the xserver error appears. Queue tears.

2. Upgrade to the latest kernel

Now you’ve got Ubuntu 7.04 installed, but all you get is the command line. The first step is to upgrade to the latest kernel, which is in the Feisty repos and supports the Mobile™ Intel® 965GM Express Chipset. Here’s how to upgrade:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linux-image-2.6.20-16-generic

NOTE: For some reason, apt-get was looking for the packages in the cdrom drive sometimes… I realized that it was included at the top of /etc/apt/sources.list, so I just commented it out.. not sure if you’ll encounter this or not though.

Restart your machine:
sudo shutdown -r 0
When you boot up again (you should still get the Xserver error), you can double-check to make sure you’re running the latest kernel with this command:
uname -r
It should print “2.6.20-16-generic”.

3. Reconfigure xserver-xorg

In order to get your xserver working, you’ll need to reconfigure. I ended up playing around with many different configurations without much luck, but it was selecting the ‘i810’ driver which ultimately led to a success for me.

It would be a good idea to backup your xorg.conf file first, just in case you want to go back to the default configuration (though the wizard should create a backup for you – ‘/etc/X11/xorg.conf.200707012006’ for example):
sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup

To start the text-based wizard, run this command:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
This will guide you through pages and pages of options and update your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file for you. I accepted all of the existing options (just kept pressing enter for the most part), except for the first, which I changed from ‘vesa’ to ‘i810’.

Edit: i810 is deprecated, so it’s best to go with the replacement package ‘intel’ than the unsupported ‘i810’. First, you need to install the intel driver:
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel

Then, when you reconfigure xserver-org, select ‘intel’ instead of ‘i810’, as I’d originally described above.

To restart your xserver, I believe you can just restart your xserver with “sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart”, however, to be safe, I just rebooted the machine as it didn’t take much longer anyways (‘sudo shutdown -r 0’).

Hopefully that works! There are still several other issues though apparently with this laptop right now, which should hopefully be solved over the next few months as drivers for this chipset become more widely available and are included in popular distributions like Ubuntu.

Other issues:

  • marcusherou reported a bug report involving his audio not working – our audio is working fine though
  • some people are having trouble with a blurry screen after getting xserver working – I didn’t find it terribly noticeable myself *shrugs* EDIT: my brother eventually noticed banding issues and managed to figure out a fix – I’ve appended his instructions to the bottom of the post
  • Stay away from any compiz/beryl/openGL 3D acceleration right now, because it seems to crash the system – we can definitely confirm this… =\
  • We can’t seem to get the cdrom drive to mount… The LiveCD didn’t seemed to work in the CD/DVD Drive (we had to run from a USB optical drive to get as far as the xserver error), yet we ran the install from the internal drive with no issues. Now it says “Unable to mount the selected volume… mount: special device /dev/hda does not exist” Haven’t spent any time investigating this yet EDIT: “sudo modprobe piix” fixed this issue – thanks david! Though, he had to add it to /etc/modules in order to get the module to load on boot: “sudo gedit /etc/modules” and add a line at the bottom with the word ‘piix’

Hopefully these issues will be resolved later this year as the drivers make there way into various distributions. For now, we’ve got a workable setup on this laptop and a bit of patience and a desire to learn, so we’re sticking with it. I wouldn’t recommend a machine like this for a non-technical user, but it’s workable for someone willing to get their hands a bit dirty.

A big thanks goes out to marcusherou for giving us some guidance in configuring xserver-xorg!

Banding Fix
(( Jared says:

I followed the instructions href=”http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=494943″>here telling me where to put the file that dealt with the gamma, and I installed the package. Then I backed up my xorg.conf, and replaced it with his xorg.conf there. His xorg.conf messed up my keyboard layout and mouse speed. Before editing with his xorg.conf I tried using my old one with the new drivers, and I also tried copying and pasted the keyboard section and synaptics touch pad section from my own xorg.conf. All of those attempts ended up in X crashing.

Here are the sections from xorg.conf that I edited, if I didn’t put a “<---" and some words beside it, I didn't touch it. Keyboard Section in xorg.conf: Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Keyboard0”
Driver “kbd”
Option “CoreKeyboard”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
Option “XkbLayout” “us” <--- I edited this line, it used to say "it" instead of "us" Option "XkbOptions" "lv3:ralt_switch" EndSection

Mouse Section in xorg.conf:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Touchpad0"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "SHMConfig" "on"
# Option "HorizScrollDelta" "5"
# Option "VertScrollDelta" "5"
# Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "true" <--- This one and the one underneath were already commented out, the rest I commented out myself # Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "true" # Option "LockedDrags" "false" # Option "EdgeMotionUseAlways" "true" # Option "EdgeMotionMinSpeed" "1" # Option "EdgeMotionMaxSpeed" "5" # Option "EmulateMidButtonTime" "100" Option "MinSpeed" "0.1" <--- This I guess is the minimum speed of the mouse, it was set to 0.5 before Option "MaxSpeed" "0.3" <--- This would be the max speed, it was set to 1.0 before Option "AccelFactor" "0.1" EndSection

After that, it worked.


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