Compaq/HP nc8000 and Debian GNU/Linux

Please note: this is probably out-of-date!

The version of Debian I used back then is no longer current - please have a look at, with luck they link to more up-to-date information.


I've got said notebook from one of my employers. Here's some of the story on what I did to get (most of) it working with Debian. Note that about the first thing I did was install kernel-image-2.4.24 and move to testing/unstable, so some of the below may not apply if you insist on using a strictly sta(b)le system.

Important administrivia

Please bear in mind that I gave this notebook back after a few weeks (not because it was bad per se, but simply because 1024x768 is definitely not enough for me). So if you have further questions than are answered on this page, I won't be able to help you, sorry. Documenting everything I did do with it is as much as you'll get from me.

And, for the sake of a sane inbox: I installed Debian. D. e. b. i. a. n. Not RedHat, SuSE or whatnot. D. e. b. i. a. n. Asking me stuff along the lines of "can you send me the notes about your labs testing with the <foo> distribution" is pointless, and only makes me angry. This note especially applies to HP employees.

Basic installation

At the time of writing this, Debian stable was Woody, aka 3.0r1. Boot with bf24! The onboard Gbit (1000baseTX) NIC is supported by the tg3 module.
tg3.c:v2.3 (November 5, 2003)
eth0: Tigon3 [partno(BMC5705mA3) rev 3003 PHY(5705)] (PCI:33MHz:32-bit) 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet 00:08:00:c0:ff:ee

Getting XFree86 up

Install as usual (x-window-system et al), edit XF86Config-4 to use the vesa driver. The ati one won't work with the too-new graphics card.
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Graphics Card"
        Driver          "vesa"
        BusID           "PCI:1:0:0"
        Option          "UseFBDev"              "true"
Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Configured Mouse"
        Driver          "mouse"
        Option          "CorePointer"
        Option          "Device"                "/dev/psaux"
        Option          "Protocol"              "auto"
        Option          "Emulate3Buttons"       "true"
        Option          "ZAxisMapping"          "4 5"
Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Generic Keyboard"
        Driver          "keyboard"
        Option          "CoreKeyboard"
        Option          "XkbLayout" "de"
        Option          "AutoRepeat" "250 30"
        Option          "Protocol" "Standard"
        Option          "XkbVariant" "nodeadkeys"
Note that the vesa driver isn't exactly perfect, but hey, at least it's not proprietary, and fully sufficient for everyday use.
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc: Unknown device 4e50


This one cost me the most grief, as the Atheros chipset isn't exactly well supported outside Redmond-land. Get madwifi, install as per the instructions (there's a mini-HowTo for Debian in the "Wiki"). So far, so good. But for now I can only get it to cooperate in master mode, neither ad-hoc nor managed will talk to the Cisco Aironet 450 in my other notebook (which also runs Debian, and works perfectly with every other wlan-gear I've come across).
wlan: BETA
ath_pci: BETA
ath0: mac 5.6 phy 4.1 5ghz radio 1.7 2ghz radio 2.3
ath0: 11a rates: 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
ath0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps
ath0: 11g rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
ath0: turbo rates: 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
ath0: 802.11 address: 00:0b:de:ad:be:ef
ath0: Atheros 5212: mem=0x90080000, irq=11
Oh, and iwpriv ath0 mode 3 actually makes it do 802.11b, unlike the docs suggest...
WEP encryption doesn't work, either, so do yourself a favour and run IPsec.


Install (or roll your own) the proper kernel-pcmcia-modules package, edit /etc/default/pcmcia and change the PCIC line to PCIC=yenta_socket. At least the Cisco Aironet 450 works w/o hassle then.


Set CONFIG_SOUND_ICH=y (or m).


No, thanks.


You can always mail them. I'll integrate them if I can find the time.

Like the link to a possible suspend-to-ram problem Michael Neuweiler sent me, which I can't verify (since I don't have the lapdog any more), but well.
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