Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Riverside CA USA
Distribution: SuSE 11
SuSE 9.1 / HP Pavilion zd7000 laptop
I thought I would post some info, since I have spent a lot of time getting linux working the way I would like it. I have repartitioned the hard disk and have windows xp professional co-existing with suse linux 9.1. Per my "re", I'm talking about an HP Pavilion zd7000 install.
(1) make a partition to share files. WindowsXP is NTFS, which SuSE linux can read, but not write. So, if you make a FAT32 partition, you can pass files back and forth between linux and windows. You're going to have to use a re-partitioner (such as partition magic) to create a partition for Linux anyway, so just make an extra one while you are at it. You will probably also need another small one for a linux "swap" partition.
(2) broadcom wireless -- get the linuxant "driverloader". After it is installed, I have found that I have to do the following to get it browsing the internet. "ifdown eth0; ifdown wlan0; ifup wlan0". (Three commands, one at a time.) Otherwise, I don't get DNS service. This can probably be cured by changing the order of the startup scripts but I don't know what to do to make it right. It's possible to put the three commands into a script file and automate the process, though. BTW, I could not get the driverloader working in the .104 kernel; but it works in the .108 version (zd700 uses smp kernel).
(3) Synaptics touchpad -- not recognized. Go to SAX2 configuration tool, add new mouse (select synaptics ->touchpad). Select Port device>input>mouse (I think. Same port as the autodetect mouse.) If you look for "synaptics" in YAST2 under hardware>mouse, you won't find it. I do not understand the division of tools here between YAST2 and SAX2, but in any event you can add a synaptics mouse, even though it is not in the YAST2 list of mice.
(4) WGA 17" (widescreen). Not detected properly. Run YAST2 "update" -> installed & installable patches -> nvidia drivers to get current nvidia drivers. Then run SAX2 installer and do the following ->select monitor properties. On "expert" tab, put in rough approximation of screen size, eg. 500 x 312 or 400 x 250. Then change color and resolution under "colors & resolution" 1.6 million colors and 1440 x 900 resolution. (You have to do these in the right order or they won't "stick". Be sure to run the video "test" to make certain you are going to be able to see the whole screen when you re-login. You should see corner markers in each corner and the logo in the lower right. For instance, if you set the monitor to a 1400x1024 monitor, part of your desktop is going to be off the screen at the bottom, including the taskbar. NOTE: not knowing anything about monitors, I can't say that this procedure is entirely safe for the monitor, but I will say that my own monitor is working fine with resolution roughly the same as I have in my windows XP boot-up.
Anyway, if you don't do this, you end up with the desktop sort of "stretched" to fill the screen, but you get really big type and anything that is supposed to be a circle is something of an oval.
Other random notes: I also tried Mandrake 10. I have a good deal of experience with Mandrake from a prior computer. However, once I went to wireless cards I could never get a stable install. The best I can figure out is that the "harddrake" tool messes up the startup scripts when it probes for new hardware. Mostly, this results in having to run the login utility to fix the login options, but in one version, probably 8.2, I managed to get the startup scripts so scrambled I could only boot the x-server manually. In any event, in Mandrake 10.0 (along with the login options problem) I could not get the screen to stretch to fill the wide screen. I could get a fairly fine resolution, but it left wasted screen on left & right. In the enterprise bootup, the touchpad was recognized and worked correctly, but not in the "linux" boot -- Mandrake gave me two or three choices in the LILO startup screen, different kernel configurations.
I also tried Fedora. This was a first time for me with Fedora. Retrieving and burning the CDs was pretty easy and the install went smoothly. However, I was surprised that the configuration tools and RPM loaders weren't very user friendly. It seemed like it was going to be too much trouble to get everything running, so I gave up and went back to a SuSE install.
SuSE is annoying to load from the ftp servers -- you have to reverse DNS the ftp server, because the loader CD requires an actual IP. I could not get either the current version or the immediate prior version to load correctly -- I have done it before, but this time the packages were not being recognized correctly and the install would not go forward. So, I loaded the "personal" edition, which is now available in ISO. SuSE update and configuration tools work pretty well. (I also like the Mandrake update system, though.)
SuSE has made RPMs available for the KDE 3.3 update. SuSE 9.1 actually installs with KDE 3.2. However, I haven't tried the new RPMS yet and I'll offer this warning -- back in December I tried to upgrade a KDE version in SuSE using SuSE RPMS and I crashed out my whole linux system. Smarter linux types probably could have rescued it, but I lost the graphical interface and login, so I was completely lost.
The reason I am writing this is that it has taken me since last December to get around to finding solutions for the screen / touchpad / wireless issues. I had SuSE linux running on a prior HP laptop, but when the screen burned out I upgraded to a wide screen model with a broadcom wireless card. Since XP was working out of the box and linux presented a lot of hurdles for me, I took a lot of time to get the linux partition to a useful configuration.
Okay, that is about everything I know about linux. I hope these notes will be useful to someone else & save you some time.