Some days ago I got my new notebook that replaced my previous HP Compaq 8240: An HP EliteBook 8530w. Of course the first thing I did was to shrink the Windows Vista partition to make room for a fresh Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope installation (32  Bit).

Out of the box hardware support is pretty good - I just had some minor problems that I have sorted out in the meantime.

Device Status Comments
Graphics Works Had to install Nvidia drivers manually due to missing proxy settings during installation.
Audio Works out of the box

LAN Works out of the box

WLAN Works Had to install new firmware and replace knetworkmanager by wicd
Suspend to Disk
Works out of the box
Suspend to RAM
Works out of the box
fn Functionkeys
Not working
Can't adjust brightness of screen (but this works with the KDE power management settings)
Specials Keys
Works out of the box Volume slider works like two buttons
Memory Card Reader
Works out of the box Only SD cards tested
Smart card reader Not tested


Here is the output of lspci:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset PCI Express Graphics Port (rev 07)
00:03.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset MEI Controller (rev 07)
00:03.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset PT IDER Controller (rev 07)
00:03.3 Serial controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset AMT SOL Redirection (rev 07)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 03)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #6 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 03)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 5 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M-E LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E SATA AHCI Controller (rev 03)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Quadro FX 770M (rev a1)
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wireless WiFi Link 5300
86:09.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (rev 06)
86:09.1 SD Host controller: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Host Adapter (rev 25)
86:09.2 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C843 MMC Host Controller (rev 14)
86:09.3 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C592 Memory Stick Bus Host Adapter (rev 14)
86:09.4 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd xD-Picture Card Controller (rev bb)
86:09.5 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev ff)

As said above I had just some minor problems.

Graphics Setup

The first problem was the installation of the nvidia driver which was not installed by Kubuntu and I was not asked whether I want to enable it as usually. However the reason was that I've been on a corporate network, but haven't configured a proxy server, so the installer was not able to download updates from the repository and fetch the latest nvidia drivers. After I've setup a proxy and run apt-get update I was able to install the nvidia driver:

apt-get install nvidia-glx-180 nvidia-180-modaliases

After inserting the following driver section into my /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
EndSection

I was presented with the full screen resolution of 1680x1050 after the next reboot.

However the 180 driver had two problems on this notebook. One is that I was unable to switch to a console, when the X-Server was started (CTRL+ALT+F1). The other one was that after the notebook woke up from suspend, the brightness of the display was way too low for comfortable work and as said above, it's not possible to use the function keys to adjust the brightness later on. So I tried the latest beta drivers.

Michael Marley provides a repository containing the latest beta drivers:

  1. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and add the line
    deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/thefirstm/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
  2. Import the repository key
    deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/thefirstm/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
  3. Run apt-get update
  4. Install the new drivers
    apt-get install nvidia-190-modaliases nvidia-glx-190
  5. Reboot
Now the problems above were gone. But another problem appeared. After resuming from suspend mode, a white border was drawn around tooltips and menus where a drop shadow should have appeared. Well, I can live with that since it occurs only after resuming and I am pretty sure this will be fixed in a future version. As workaround, simply disable and re-enable compositing by pressing SHIFT+ALT+F12 in KDE twice.

Since I was blessed for years with an ATI graphics card I was astonished how much better the NVidia card works under Linux. No more artifacts when running Google Earth while compositing is enabled. No more problems with videos using xv. No manual recompilation of the graphic drivers - just use apt-get. Not a single Xserver crash yet after recovering from suspend to RAM or hibernate. So in case you are going to buy a notebook and want to run Linux on it do not buy a notebook with an ATI chipset.

Wireless LAN

Initially I was unable to make KNetworkmanager to connect to my home WLAN router. After some googling I ended on some Ubuntu forum topics that recommended various things to do like installing a newer kernel or installing compat-wireless. None of these helped. But today I found the solution.

The first problem was an outdated firmware that is shipped with Ubuntu. I run the command iwlist scan and then dmesg | grep -e wlan -e iwl:

[   11.046296] iwlagn: Intel(R) Wireless WiFi Link AGN driver for Linux, 1.3.27ks
[   11.046298] iwlagn: Copyright(c) 2003-2009 Intel Corporation
[   11.046355] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 17 (level, low) -> IRQ 17
[   11.046381] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
[   11.046430] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: Detected Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5300AGN REV=0x24
[   11.082637] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: Tunable channels: 13 802.11bg, 24 802.11a channels
[   11.082701] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: irq 2296 for MSI/MSI-X
[   11.144448] phy0: Selected rate control algorithm 'iwl-agn-rs'
[   20.536388] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: firmware: requesting iwlwifi-5000-2.ucode
[   20.587394] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: iwlwifi-5000-2.ucode firmware file req failed: -2
[   20.587396] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: firmware: requesting iwlwifi-5000-1.ucode
[   20.658512] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: Loaded firmware iwlwifi-5000-1.ucode, which is deprecated. Please use API v2 instead.
[   20.658515] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: Firmware has old API version. Expected v2, got v1. New firmware can be obtained from http://www.intellinuxwireless.org.
[   20.658517] iwlagn 0000:03:00.0: loaded firmware version 5.4.1.16
[   20.857408] Registered led device: iwl-phy0::radio
[   20.857420] Registered led device: iwl-phy0::assoc
[   20.857431] Registered led device: iwl-phy0::RX
[   20.857442] Registered led device: iwl-phy0::TX
[   20.871115] ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan0: link is not ready

As you can see from the output the firmware for the Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5300 that ships with Ubuntu is outdated. So I downloaded the new firmware from intellinuxwireless.org and put it into /lib/firmware. Then the error above was gone. However Knetworkmanager still refused to connect to my WLAN until today I finally found out that it was not the fault of the hardware but the fault of Knetworkmanager. Using Wicd the problem is gone and I am writing this article via WLAN right now.

You might also be interested in a little script that will handle the proxy configuration depending on the current network automatically for all your applications.

Conclusion

The few problems above were not the fault of the notebook and right now it's running perfectly. The notebook looks great, is not too heavy and is an ideal mobile workstation for developers. The display resolution is just right. Previously I had a resolution of 1920x1200 on the same screen size, but I must admit that it's much more comfortable to work with 1680x1050 and it's still more than sufficient. I really can recommend the notebook. The only thing I miss is the ability to adjust the brightness on the fly.


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Comments


    #1 Fernando Kvistgaard on 12/17/09 at 03:05 PM
    *Hi, I hope you can help med med min WLAN. I have also an EliteBook 8730W and my WLAN led is yellow and can not shift til blue, so it becoms enabled when I touch the picture with the antene. I guess there is another method to do it, but I don't remember.

    It has worked before.

    Will you help me
    #1.1 Carsten Schlipf on 12/19/09 at 11:34 AM
    *Hi Fernando,

    have you already tried using wicd? On several laptops I noticed that KNetworkmanager is not working, but wicd does.
    #2 ches on 11/16/10 at 12:10 AM
    *Thanks, i need this information.

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