HOWTO: Ubuntu 7.04 with an HP 6515b [Updated: 11.04]

Update: Somewhere in between 10.04 LTS and 11.04, there was a regression which was preventing both GNOME or Unity from appearing when logging in under 11.04, unless I selected ‘no effects’ options.

This helped me to at least get the Ubuntu Classic option working:
sudo apt-get install fglrx
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

Unfortunately, this is the second new HP laptop which has given me hardware problems in GNU/Linux over the past few months. However, this time the culprit is AMD/ATI and their restricted drivers. Thankfully, they’ve announced plans to open things up, but until that’s been handled, tutorials like this will be necessary to get a system up and running.

I found a tutorial which helped me get the xserver up and running in no time.

Now, the model I had to setup is the AMD sempron as opposed to the AMD Turion. I used the Feisty alternative install CD to wipe Vista clean off of it, and followed these steps upon first boot to the command line to get the xserver up and running.

Update the repository information.
sudo apt-get update

Install the xorg driver
sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx
sudo depmod -a
sudo aticonfig --intitial

Then, restart your xserver and it should be working.
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

The other outstanding issues noted in the tutorial above are the wireless, fingerprint reader, an APIC error and the suspend function.

I tried followed the steps used to configure the wireless, and though the commands seemed to work fine, I couldn’t really tell if the wireless was working (it didn’t seem to be, but I didn’t spent a lot of time). Also, there are issues with that solution and the latest kernel. Quite frankly, if I really need wireless I’d happily purchase a card that has GNU/Linux drivers available.

Regarding the fingerprint reader, for me that’s mainly a “who cares”, but if anyone knows how to set it up in Ubuntu I might be interested in trying it out.

APIC error? *sigh* I don’t even know where to start. The laptop runs fine though, but it does take a very long time to start up (much, much longer than any other Ubuntu laptop I’ve used). I wonder if that’s related to this issue, as the error does appear during startup?

I tested the suspend function on the laptop and it worked first try, no setup required. That’s a bit of a solution to the long startup time, albeit more of a workaround than a solution.

At any rate, getting the xserver up and running was the most important accomplish and the reason I wanted to blog about this. One you’ve got that up and running, you’ve got a functional machine, even if there are a few other things to work out.

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