Red Hat Linux on a Compaq Presario 2538cl Notebook
Saturday, May 31, 2003
Modem working now. Downloaded and installed the drivers provided on, installed it and followed the steps of the installation. Then added a new network connection using the new modem, and voila! That was pretty easy.

The drivers I used was the rpm package hsflinmodem-5.03.27lnxtbeta03042700-1.i386.rpm , downloaded from the Linuxant website.


  1. Get the ACPI-patched kernel compiled to have battery status displayed in Gnome.
  2. Get the winmodem to work.
  3. Try to resolve the hang issues whenever firewire comes into the picture in Linux.
  4. Get the one-touch buttons to work, such as the Internet, e-mail etc. shortcut buttons.
  5. Resolve pcmcia issues.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Checked today - the LCD brightness buttons work with the new acpi patched kernel. This is about all I need.


  1. Get the ACPI-patched kernel compiled to have battery status displayed in Gnome.
  2. Get the winmodem to work.
  3. Try to resolve the hang issues whenever firewire comes into the picture in Linux.
  4. Get the one-touch buttons to work, such as the Internet, e-mail etc. shortcut buttons.
  5. Resolve pcmcia issues.

Monday, May 26, 2003
Compiled ACPI Patched kernel today. Basically, the easiest way to do this is to follow the Linux Kernel HOWTO instructions:

  1. Used Red Hat Network to download the newest kernel and kernel sources.
  2. Downloaded the appropriate 2.4.20 ACPI patch from the ACPI4Linux Project page at Sourceforge.
  3. Applied the patch in the kernel source directories gzip -dc ~/acpi-20021212-2.4.20.diff.gz | patch -p1 from wihin /usr/src/linux-2.4. At one point it complained about a diff already being applied, I did not apply this one (hit ENTER twice to accept defaults).
  4. make clean
  5. make mrproper
  6. Copied the last kernel config file from /boot: cp /boot/config- .config
  7. make xconfig. I then enabled ACPI from the General Setup menu and disabled APM. I also noticed that an incorrect CPU was specified, so I corrected that in the CPU Type menu.
  8. make dep
  9. Edited /usr/src/linux-2.4/Makefile and changed the version information to reflect a new version.
  10. make bzImage
  11. make modules
  12. make modules_install gave an error the first time I ran it, complaining about a bat_gericom containing unresolved symbols. Gericom is a brand of laptop, and the module bat_gericom referenced some APM libraries, which were of course not compiled, since I configured the kernel with ACPI only. To fix this, I edited the Makefile in /usr/src/linux-2.4/drivers/char/ and commented out the line referring to Gericom: obj-$(CONFIG_BATTERY_GERICOM) += bat_gericom.o.
  13. Copied the kernel (in and corresponding config file to /boot: cp /usr/src/linux-2.4/arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.20-18.9acpi, cp /usr/src/linux-2.4/.config /boot/config-2.4.20-18.9acpi
  14. mkinitrd initrd-kernel-version.img kernel-version (see the howto) and finally edited GRUB configuration file, /boot/grub/grub.conf to load the new kernel.

I now have battery status reported in the Gnome panel (by adding the gnome applet Battery Status Monitor), and Linux can turn off the laptop when you shut down the system. I've not played around with any of the other buttons yet (power and LCD brightness, volume etc.), but will do this is due time. For now it works fine.
Saturday, May 24, 2003
Okay, after playing around a little with the Quickrestore CD's, I noticed that it uses PowerQuest software to do the image restore. I then attempted to edit the scriptfile that does the factory restore such that it would restore the image onto a 40Gb partition instead of the factory 60Gb. The script file I used is as follows:


Then used the following restore command after booting with the Quickrestore CD's and Ctrl-C to get a DOS prompt. Note Q:\ is the CD-ROM drive and B:\ floppy drive, onto which I saved the above-mentioned script.

Q:\tools\pqimgmb.exe /cmd=b:\qrestore.scr /img=q:\restore\factory.pqi /nrb /esf=q:\tools\%string%

This is the command used in one of the MS-DOS batch files used to invoke the restore.

I thought that everything would go according to plan, and other than a "Lost clusters xxx-xxx" message (!), all seemed well. Upon restart however, though WinXP appeared to work fine, it was still installed on a 60Gb partition!

So... since I'm running out of time, I did a complete quick-restore, this time going through with the standard procedure. The restore went smoothly this time. I then resorted to buying partition resizing software (7tools's Partition Manager, which I believe is basically Paragon Partition Manager at a little cheaper price for $30), resized the WinXP partition and reinstalled Red Hat 9.0 in the remaining free space.

Red Hat Linux install was smooth as well, and so I have a functioning dual-boot notebook now.

Since I have a set-up that can facilitate in getting a thesis written now, I will probably let it be for a while.

My Linux to-do list, in order of importance:

  1. Get the ACPI-patched kernel compiled to have battery status displayed in Gnome.
  2. Get the winmodem to work.
  3. Try to resolve the hang issues whenever firewire comes into the picture in Linux.
  4. Get the extra functionality keyboard buttons to work in Linux - this involves the monitor brightness adjustment (can this be done at all? - please e-mail me!) as well as Internet, e-mail etc. shortcut buttons.
  5. Resolve pcmcia issues.

Thursday, May 22, 2003
I'm planning a complete, cleaner re-install, to enable a dual-boot setup with WinXP. I'd like to use the restore CD's that came with the computer to recover all software into a smaller partition on the hard drive, then use the remaining free space to install Linux.

This approach largely stems from my desire not to purchase partition resizing software that I'll use only ONCE.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
I just came up with an apt hostname, which I thought I'd share: teleo

Definition from Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Teleo". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon":

  1. to bring to a close, to finish, to end

    1. passed, finished

  2. to perform, execute, complete, fulfil, (so that the thing done corresponds to what has been said, the order, command etc.)

    1. with special reference to the subject matter, to carry out the contents of a command
    2. with reference also to the form, to do just as commanded, and generally involving the notion of time, to perform the last act which completes a process, to accomplish, fulfil

  3. to pay

    1. of tribute

"When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit." John 19:30

"And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;" 2 Timothy 4:7

To take care of the pcmcia problem, I've chkconfig'ed pcmcia off for now.
Resolved the X resolution issue.

The laptop has a Radeon IGP 340M chip, with no drivers available for XFree86. Well, to be more accurate, there are some commercial drivers available from Xi Graphics.

Here's my /etc/X11/XF86Config:

# XFree86 4 configuration created by redhat-config-xfree86

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
InputDevice "DevInputMice" "AlwaysCore"

Section "Files"

# RgbPath is the location of the RGB database. Note, this is the name of the
# file minus the extension (like ".txt" or ".db"). There is normally
# no need to change the default.
# Multiple FontPath entries are allowed (they are concatenated together)
# By default, Red Hat 6.0 and later now use a font server independent of
# the X server to render fonts.
RgbPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
FontPath "unix/:7100"

Section "Module"
Load "dbe"
Load "extmod"
Load "fbdevhw"
Load "glx"
Load "record"
Load "freetype"
Load "type1"

Section "InputDevice"

# Specify which keyboard LEDs can be user-controlled (eg, with xset(1))
# Option "Xleds" "1 2 3"
# To disable the XKEYBOARD extension, uncomment XkbDisable.
# Option "XkbDisable"
# To customise the XKB settings to suit your keyboard, modify the
# lines below (which are the defaults). For example, for a non-U.S.
# keyboard, you will probably want to use:
# Option "XkbModel" "pc102"
# If you have a US Microsoft Natural keyboard, you can use:
# Option "XkbModel" "microsoft"
# Then to change the language, change the Layout setting.
# For example, a german layout can be obtained with:
# Option "XkbLayout" "de"
# or:
# Option "XkbLayout" "de"
# Option "XkbVariant" "nodeadkeys"
# If you'd like to switch the positions of your capslock and
# control keys, use:
# Option "XkbOptions" "ctrl:swapcaps"
# Or if you just want both to be control, use:
# Option "XkbOptions" "ctrl:nocaps"
Identifier "Keyboard0"
Driver "keyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xfree86"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Mouse0"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "no"

Section "InputDevice"

# If the normal CorePointer mouse is not a USB mouse then
# this input device can be used in AlwaysCore mode to let you
# also use USB mice at the same time.
Identifier "DevInputMice"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "no"

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName "Generic Laptop Display Panel 1400x1050"
HorizSync 31.5 - 90.0
VertRefresh 59.0 - 75.0
Option "dpms"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "vesa"
VendorName "Videocard vendor"
BoardName "VESA driver (generic)"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "800x600" "640x480"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Section "DRI"
Group 0
Mode 0666

To do:

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
This will be a log of my attempts to install and tweak Red Hat Linux on a Compaq Presario 2538cl notebook. I'm at the verge of writing my PhD thesis, and would very much like to do it in LaTeX, which is why I've chosen to go this route.

Quick bio of the Notebook:

P4 2.6GHz
15" SXGA TFT (1400x1050)
ATI Radeon IGP 340M

I'll need to get more details later on about the above specs, but for now, this will do.

Red Hat 9.0 Installation will not run as automatically, since it hangs at the point where the firewire driver is loaded. Consequently, to start the installation:

  1. At the Linux Boot screen, type 'linux nofirewire'
  2. Installed with everything that made sense - kept the VESA generic driver for the video card and generic monitor.
  3. Boot from CD and specify linux 'rescue nofirewire'
  4. In rescue mode, after the installed image is mounted, typed the following in the shell:
    ln -s /mnt/sysimage/etc/rc.d/* /etc
    ln -s /mnt/sysimage/etc/init.d /etc
    ln -s /mnt/sysimage/etc/rc.d* /etc
    chkconfig kudzu off
  5. Reboot, now I was able to have the machine boot and log in.

Unresolved issues:

  1. The video resolution is 800x600, not good since the native resolution of the monitor is 1400x1050. Have to look into which driver to specify.
  2. When shutting down the computer, it hangs on "Stopping pcmcia: unloading Kernel Card Services."

Powered by Blogger