12 Apr

HP G6000 in Linux

My old laptop, an Acer Travelmate 2420 (good machine) started developing vertical lines on its TFT over the last few weeks, so I thought it was time to upgrade, and eventually fix the old lappie up for my son.

I bought an HP G6000. Ken Guest recommended a Lenovo x300 (or something like that) – I was in a bit of a rush, though – I can’t stand being without a functional machine, so I headed into Gillanders in Monaghan and bought the HP.

I spent a few hours on Friday dual-booting Linux onto the machine. FC7 initially, as that’s all I had with me, then upgraded to FC8 as soon as possible.

It wasn’t until I got home until I realised that the WIFI was broken (my office network is mostly wire-networked).

A few hours of study showed there was no simple solution to this. lspci claimed that the card is an AR5006EG from Atheros. the card is actually an AR5007EG. Either way, there is no “official” Linux support for this, and the unoffical support is not perfect either.

After reviewing the available information, I thought the easiest solution was to replace the WIFI car.d. I had an old Sony Vaio upstairs, so I pulled out the WIFI card from that, an Intel 3945abg, and placed that in the machine (if you unscrew the RAM plate at the back, you will see the WIFI card in its Mini-PCI-Express slot – lever the aerials off it and replace the card – simple, innit). unfortunately, that was far from perfect – the Intel 3945abg is not even seen by lspci – some hints I found online suggested that the 3945 doesn’t adhere to the standards.

Long story (asked Trevor in Gillanders for permission to dig through their laptop graveyard for a WIFI replacement – found nothing. tried some machines I had in the office – nothing found) – eventually, I figured out the solution.

Here’s the trick. You will not get the AR5007EG working in 64-bit Linux. Instead, you need to compile a custom kernel using the 386 mode, and download the patched version of MadWifi to compile the kernel module.

After that, everything’s simple. To fix the xorg – download the official NVidia driver module installer and let it compile a kernel module for you. That’s it – done.

Sorry for the length of this – I tried to throw in all the keywords that I searched for while trying to solve this.