Ubuntu Linux on HP omnibook xe4500

Ubuntu Linux on HP omnibook xe4500

Installation of Ubuntu Breezy Badger 5.10 on HP omnibook xe4500 laptop. The laptop has D-link DWL-650+ PC-Card IEEE 802.11b WLAN card.

First tested with Ubuntu 5.10 Live CD, which does not install anything. After that, installed with Ubuntu 5.10 Install CD. Existing Windows XP configuration was resized to create a dual boot system.

© 2005 Tero Karvinen www.iki.fi/karvinen

What Works?

Most things worked Out of the Box (OOB) after installation, without any configuration apart from answering questions of the installation program.

Works Perfectly

  • Keyboard (integrated) and mouse (external three button ps2) – OOB
  • Display – OOB (1024×768 (x32bit?), maximum resolution for display)
    • Brightness (Fn-F1, Fn-F2) OOB
  • WLAN, DWL-650+ PC-card – OOB (set Service Set Identifier (SID, network name) on installer)
  • Sound – OOB
  • Touchpad – OOB
    • Disable touchpad button – OOB (This button is great, but shows how flawed the “touchpad under keyboard” concept is)
  • Extra keys – OOB
    • volume (left side of device)
    • mail, www (on top of keyboard)
    • Fn-blueicon keys. Tested to work: brightness, numlock, volume. (external display button acts weirdly)

Works Partially

  • connecting external display after computer has booted, so that picture is shown on both screens.

External display worked right away when plugged in, so that picture was shown in both screens. It had a funny side effect of locking the screen, but after logging back to running session it worked. After pressing Fn-f5 (with the blue picture of screen on it), external display started to blink – 2 s black, 1 s picture. atitvout program is suggested in one article but it did not work for me.

Currently, all parts and functionalities I have tested seem to work. Many parts are still untested.

Not Tested Yet

  • USB mouse connect disconnect after computer has booted, wheel (most likely works)
  • Firewire
  • ACPI Suspend-to-RAM S3, automatically on lid close
  • CPU speed scaling
  • Heavy load results (100% CPU load for more than 30 min)
  • IrDA
  • Scroll buttons on touchpad – Thomas Perls fix, described below.

Mechanically Broken

  • Test device had broken battery or battery loader, it dies immidiately after disconnecting 230 V power.
  • Keyboard seems quite insensitive, probably it has been designed like that.
  • Fan is noisy.


Normal installation from Ubuntu 5.10 original install CD worked. Resizing Helia Mama Ghost Windows XP (NTFS) worked with Ubuntus installation program, in normal (not “expert”) mode by choosing “Resize …”. Ubuntu Installer asked for WLAN (ES)SID, so Helias WLAN network worked from the beginning.

Ubuntu 5.10 does not configure a firewall by default, which sucks. Because firewall is not installed automatically when installing Ubuntu, I’d like to at least be able to “apt-get install sensible-firewall” and forget about it. If you know a firewall for Ubuntu that is available in the repositories and configures itself to sensible defaults on install, drop me a line.

Touchpad Scroll

Thomas Perl sent a solution to touchpad mouse scroll wheel issue (long quote below):

I’ve got the touchpad working completely with scroll area and such, you probably only have to install the package called “xfree86-driver-synaptics” and add the following line to your xorg.conf in the “Module” section:

Load “synaptics”

Then, edit the “InputDevice” section of your touchpad/mouse config, here’s my section:

Section "InputDevice"
 Identifier "Touchpad"
 Driver "synaptics"
 Option "SendCoreEvents"
 Option "Device" "/dev/input/event1"
 Option "Protocol" "event"
 # Next line required only if you want to disable the mousepad while typing:
 Option "SHMConfig" "on"
 # The rest of the options are NOT required, just a default similar to the Windows drivers with non of the extra features.
 Option "LeftEdge" "1900"
 Option "RightEdge" "5400"
 Option "TopEdge" "1400"
 Option "BottomEdge" "4500"
 Option "FingerLow" "25"
 Option "FingerHigh" "30"
 Option "MaxTapTime" "180"
 Option "MaxTapMove" "220"
 Option "VertScrollDelta" "100"
 Option "MinSpeed" "0.02"
 Option "MaxSpeed" "0.18"
 Option "AccelFactor" "0.0010"
 Option "CircularScrolling" "1"
 Option "CircScrollTrigger" "1"

See Also

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