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Installing Ubuntu Linux on HP TX1499US

Posted: Friday, January 23rd, 2009 at 10:45 pmUpdated: Sunday, February 15th, 2009 at 8:41 am

I previously installed Ubuntu 7.10 on my other laptop (HP DV6305US) and I had to pass kernel argument noapic during boot, otherwise Linux will hang on booting. Now that Ubuntu 8.10 is out and I have new tablet PC style HP TX1499US, I thought I’d install Ubuntu 8.10 on it. As it turns out, I did not have to pass noapic option anymore. Here’s a list of hardware on the new laptop:

  • VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation C51 [Geforce 6150 Go] (rev a2).
  • Audio device: nVidia Corporation MCP51 High Definition Audio (rev a2)
  • Bridge: nVidia Corporation MCP51 Ethernet Controller (rev a3)
  • Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN (rev 02)
  • Touch Screen Device: D-WAV Scientific Co., Ltd eGalax TouchScreen
  • Finger Print Scanner: AuthenTec, Inc. AES1600
  • Webcam: Microdia Pavilion Webcam

So just install Ubuntu as usual. Download the CD from Ubuntu, burn it, pop it in and boot from it. Ubuntu has a very nice, easy to use installer. The only thing that I change was the partition layout. I allocated 4GB for swap area and allocated the rest as root.

Configuring your newly installed Ubuntu system

Most of the hardware in my HP TX1499US has already been detected by Ubuntu. I’m pleasantly surprised that the video camera, sound and even the speaker buttons works out of box. The only ones I need to work on are:

  • Broadcom wireless driver (see this page on how to configure it)
  • nVidia video driver (see this page on how to configure it)
  • AuthenTec fingerprint reader (see next page on how to configure it in detail)
  • eGalax touch screen driver (Coming soon. I’m still trying to figure this out)

For wireless and video drivers, Ubuntu doesn’t install these by default since the drivers are not open source. In addition to the devices above, I also would like to have the buttons on the side of the screen working. At least 2 buttons I want to make sure it works: the one for rotating orientation landscape / portrait and the DVD button.

Driver installation for Broadcom BCM4311 Wireless LAN

Once installation is finished, login to your brand new Ubuntu system. After sometime, Ubuntu will let you know that there are proprietary drivers available for you. The first thing I did was installing the wireless. Use Broadcom STA driver. You don’t need to have network connection needed to install the driver. So don’t bother to hook up LAN cable.

Once the driver is installed, restart your system. Then the next time you login, if everything works well, you should see your wireles LAN available from clicking on the network icon on the top right near the clock. Just login to your wireless network. You should have working internet connection. My experience so far is that this driver is working pretty well.

Updating Ubuntu

Once you got network connectivity, you need to update your Ubuntu before you can instal nVidia video driver. For some reasons, nVidia driver won’t install if you haven’t updated your Ubuntu. Fire up Ubuntu’s Update manager by clicking on System -> Administration -> Update manager. Make sure you click on refresh to get the latest packages. Install all the updates then restart your system.

Driver installation for nVidia Geforce 6150 Go

Once you restarted and logged in to your system, Ubuntu will let you know that there’s a proprietary driver available. Make sure you install NVidia version 177 driver. The installation procedure is very similar to when you installed your Broadcom wireless. Once nVidia driver is installed, restart the system.

Once restarted, your restricted driver should look like below. Note that Broadcom STA driver and nVidia version 177 has green buttons (installed).
screenshot

Bug in nVidia Driver and X.org

Once you install nVidia driver, you’ll see a rather annoying bug on Ubuntu’s Human theme that makes the title bar flickering. I Google it a little bit and found that according to one post I read, it is due to nVidia driver not working nicely with new Xorg. Using Emerald decorator will rid of this problem. Since I’m planning to use it anyway, I didn’t really bother to find out in depth of other possible solutions. Here’s how the bug look like.
screenshot-4

Installing and configuring Emerald

Go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager, then install Emerald. Like screen shot below. Click on Apply button to actually install it.
screenshot1

Now that Emerald is installed, we go to the fun eye candy stuff. At my previous installation, I used Aqua aero 9.0. Now Pyre, the maker of the theme, has came up with Aqua aero 10.0. So I thought I’ll use it. Download it here.

Once you got it downloaded, click on System -> Preferences -> Emerald Theme Manager. Click on Import button, then locate your downloaded file. Once you’re done (and assuming you’re using Aqua aero 10.0), your Emerald Themer should look like below.
screenshot-1
Make sure you the theme is selected, then click on quit. That’s how Emerald enables the theme.

Installing Compiz Config Manager

In order to easily fine tune the eye candy stuff and to easily make Emerald as the default window decorator, I’m installing compizconfig-settings-manager. Fire up Synaptic Package manager then search for it. You should end up with a window similar to the one below.
screenshot-2

Making Emerald as default window decorator

In order for Ubuntu to use Emerald (and in turn use Aqua aero 10.0) as the window decorator, click on System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager. On the filter text box on the top left of the window, type decoration. You should see one icon Windows Decoration. Make sure it is checked. Click on it and change the command line to "/usr/bin/emerald –replace" as shown on the screen shot below.
screenshot-3

Logout and login again. This time, you should see the nicer look on your window. Behold! Your screen now looks much better and the flickering problem is no longer there. Here’s how it looks like now.
screenshot-5

From here, I’m pretty much satisfied with my settings. The next thing I do is to change the background. I like the water drop on a leaf. Having greenish background on Aqua aero theme looks cool to my eye. Here’s the screen shot of my desktop after some tweaks.
screenshot3

Next is the configuration of AES1610 fingerprint reader, system beep and fine tuning Ubuntu installation.

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