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New Laptop – HP dv6799ep – (Near) Perfect Linux Compability

I’ve a new laptop, an HP dv6799ep (dv6700 series special edition). The reason I choose this exact version was the 4GB of RAM and the Intel 9300 (dual core, 2.5GHz, FSB 800MHz and 6MB cache) which is a great combination to develop on the road and use virtualization .

My main concern with a new laptop was that I never been able to get a fully Linux compatible laptop. I’ve had 2 Toshiba and 1 Acer and none of them fully supported Linux, usually the problem was suspension and hibernation. Sure, I’ve been able to work around this problem with Suspend2 (now called TuxOnIce) but that implied custom kernel builds until they provided a nice Fedora repository with those kernels.

The weak point with this laptop is the graphics card, a NVidia 8400GS which is not really powerful but works fine for my needs. Of course I needed to install the proprietary NVidia drivers which is painless if you simply use Livna. On a side note about Livna, its FAQ provided some information on how to install Flash for 64 bits versions of Fedora but lacks a small note telling people to use the Adobe Yum repository. After adding the Adobe repository just follow the instructions normally.

After all the basic setup I started to see what works and what doesn’t:

  • Suspend and Hibernate work flawlessly after you install the NVidia drivers and without the 3D desktop effects (Compiz Fusion) enabled – something I wish to track down and fix because those 3D effects are very cool
  • Audio, Mouse, Webcam and Bluetooth seem to be fully working without any special configurations
  • Wireless works out-the-box
  • Some hot keys didn’t  work out-the-box because they weren’t assigned in the gnome shortcuts, something you should always configure because of the mute and volume controls

I then also managed to boot my pre-installed Vista from within VMWare. To make it work I had to create a new Virtual Machine under VMWare Server and then to edit its vmx and vmdx files to replace all “scsi” to “ide” and also the scsi mode from lsci to ide. After than, booting Vista went smooth. When Vista is booted and starts detecting new hardware simply cancel all hardware installations and install the VMWare Tools. Needless to say that you should be very carefull not to boot your host OS from the grub selector, neither try to suspend Vista inside the VM and boot it without VMWare… the usual “think a bit before you try” stuff. I’m currently looking for a floppy disk image that will enable my VMWare to skip grub directly to Vista.

All in all, I’m very very happy by this laptop, its really fast and pretty. Feels good not to have too many hacks to fix issues this time :)

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5 Responses to “New Laptop – HP dv6799ep – (Near) Perfect Linux Compability”

  1. thats a great mashine, i have one too!

  2. Tyrone says:

    this laptop is far better than
    what i am using right now

  3. LT says:

    What distribution did you install?

    (:

  4. alexmipego says:

    Fedora and Ubuntu usually.

  5. Russell says:

    Though nowhere near as technically
    savvy as you – perhaps not even on the same planet (lol!) – I find Suse11 works totally on my 3yo Gateway laptop (previously a XP machine). However, as the laptop is 17″ wide-screen, I’m looking at
    the latest sub notebooks (Linux of course!) ….

    All the very best from the UK. Good luck with your new laptop.

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