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Linux on the HP Compaq NC6000

The following describes my experience configuring Linux (specifically Fedora Core 1) on the HP/Compaq NC6000.

What Works

  • 1024x768 video
  • Ethernet at 10/100 (haven't tried at 1 Gig)
  • ACPI temperature display
  • Convenience Base, including:
    • Hot dock and undock (while the system is running)
    • Audio
    • Video
    • Ethernet
  • USB (including usbnet communications with a Linux-powered iPaq 3765
  • External VGA out connection, for using a projector

What Doesn't Work

  • ACPI battery status
  • APM (at all)
  • Temporary keyboard problems after hot dock, fix described below

Enable ACPI, Disable APM

In /etc/grub.conf, add the following to the end of the kernel line:
acpi=on apm=off
So that it looks like this:
kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.22-1.2115.nptl ro root=LABEL=/ hdc=ide-scsi acpi=on apm=off
This makes /proc/acpi work. Then get and install the acpi tool. Call it with the -V flag for verbosity and the -f flag to show temperatures in Fahrenheit, like so:
> acpi -V -f
     Thermal 1: ok, 87.8 degrees F
     Thermal 2: ok, 107.6 degrees F
     Thermal 3: ok, 71.6 degrees F
  AC Adapter 1: off-line
The one problem with this configuration is that shutting down leaves the power LED on (and the processor running, apparently -- the system stays hot). To force it off, hold the power button down for 5-6 seconds. Alternatively, you can remove AC power and pull out all batteries.

802.11 a/b/g Wireless Networking

The NC6000 is equipped with an Atheros AR5001X+ chip on a MiniPCI card supporting 802.11 a/b/g.

I don't yet have it enabled myself, but there are several sites that claim to be working on support for it:

[8 Feb 2004] Update: I have been able to build and install the madwifi drivers straight from CVS. Don't use the "released" version on SourceForge -- it doesn't work, and locked up my system.

I can see proc/net/wireless, and use iwconfig and iwlist. However, I have yet to successfully connect to a wireless network. I'll post here when I'm ultimately successful. [8 Jun 2004] Update: A Dave Medberry from HP sent me email saying that the madwifi drivers should work as long as the blue LED is on. I haven't tried it again yet.

Hot Docking

Hot Docking is placing the laptop back on its convenience base while it is on and running. This works much better than on older Compaq laptops. However, there is one problem: the keyboard plugged in to the convenience base doesn't work after hot docking.

However, there is a workaround to get the keyboard working. After hot docking, open the portable lid and press Ctrl-Alt-F2. (This takes you to a text-mode console.) Hit enter a few times on the external keyboard, and you should see the response. Now hit Alt-F7, which brings you back to the GUI console. The external keyboard now works once again.

Last modified on 24 Mar 2005 by AO

Copyright © 2020 Andrew Oliver