I recently took a Saturday, and installed SUSE Linux 10.0 to my new notebook computer. The installation was to the hard disk this time, versus the Knoppix boot I had done previously. Installing to the hard disk went smoothly and I was smiling happy by the end of the day.

General Hardware Specifications of HP ze2315us:

  • Processor: 1.8 GHz Mobile AMD Sempron™ processor 3000+ with AMD PowerNow!™ Technology. / No Issues
  • Video Display: 15.0? XGA TFT Brightview Display (1024 x 768) / No Issues
  • Video Processor: ATI RADEON® XPRESS 200M IGP / No Issues
  • Memory:512MB 333MHz DDR System Memory (2 Dimm) / No Issues
  • Hard Disk: 60GB (4200RPM) Hard Drive / No Issues
  • Floppy: None / Integrated Network: Integrated 10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector) / Untested
  • Internal Modem: High speed 56k modem / Untested
  • CD/DVD: DVD±R/RW and CD-RW Combo Drive with Double Layer Support / CD and DVD read operations tested fine. Writing operations untested
  • Wireless: 54g™ 802.11b/g WLAN with 125HSM / SpeedBooster support / No Issues, requires additional work to install
  • Sound: Altec Lansing / No Issues

Basic Installation:

I will assume the user is familiar with Linux and how it installs. I will also assume the user is aware of the dangers and implications when re-sizing or doing any other “partition” work on a hard disk. I will also assume the user is familiar with SUSE already, and knows how a typical installation will go.

  • Do all Windows installation work you need to, then clean up Windows and defrag (this will prepare the Hard Disk for re-sizing)
  • Re-Boot Computer to the SUSE Linux 10.0 DVD 1
  • Proceed through normal Installation, no special parameters at the boot prompt.
  • Partitioning, re-size the Windows partition, create a swap and Linux partition (the installer will make recommendations, you can either keep or modify)
  • Select desktop style (KDE or Gnome)
  • Install
  • Special Note: The system will require a reboot at some point during the install. This is normal. However, I found this notebook will not reboot when exiting from SUSE. Once the system has “shut down” is to the “restart” point , the screen is left on in a blue color with vertical lines, and goes nowhere. The power key will need to be held for between five and 10 seconds to shut down the computer. Re-start the computer and proceed to the SUSE installation. The install will then finish and you will be left with a working SUSE Linux install.
  • At this point, you may or may not have a physical connection to the Internet. If you do, it’s a good time to retrieve updates and apply them. If not, you can proceed to installing the Wireless functionality.
  • Setting up additional features, Wireless:

    To get wireless working, I initially referred to this posting from the Linux on Laptops
    website. This gave me a good idea of what I needed to do. You will need to download
    the latest drivers for the Wireless chipset from the HP web site while you are in Windows and hooked to the network. Place these in a location on your Windows partition that you can easily get to later. You will need these drivers to install the wireless functionality.

    • Open YAST, go to Software Management, you will need to install the NDIS packages
    • Search for “ndis”
    • Select the ndis-wrapper package and accept. Allow the package to finish installing.
    • Find the location where you placed the BCMWL5.sys and .inf files.
    • Open a shell prompt, such as konsole and enter the following commands, note my comments appear between “/*” and “*/”:
    • bash# su – /* you will need to be root to do this install */
    • bash# ndiswrapper -i /path-to-bcmwl5.inf-file/bcmwl5.inf
    • bash# ndiswrapper -l /* verify driver and hardware present */
    • bash# ndiswrapper -m /* adds a wlan0 alias */
    • bash# modprobe wlan0 /* install the newly created wlan0 module via ndiswrapper */
  • At this point, you should see the blue light on the silver wireless button above the keyboard
  • Open YAST, go to Network Devices > Network Cards
    • Add
    • Device Type = Wireless
    • Configuration Name = 0
    • Configure the remaining network settings according to your network topology.
  • Wireless networking should now be working.
  • Items that appear to work:

    • Video resolution is 1024×768
    • Keyboard and mouse sensitivity are good from the initial install and required no tweaking.
    • Power messaging (i.e. battery level) works
    • USB thumb-drives work. (tested with Sandisk Cruzer Mini 256M)
    • Sound works
    • Ctrl+Alt+Fx works, in order to switch to other consoles.
    • Wired ethernet works

    Unresolved Items:

    • CD and DVD burning were not tested
    • The modem has not been tested, and might not be very soon.
    • Video out the external jack was not tested
    • Pressing the Wireless key (silver) will not disable the wireless card (in Linux)
    • The system will not “restart” cleanly from Linux, I found it best to select “turn off” the computer when exiting Linux

    Re-Booting to Windows XP:

    • Select Windows from the GRUB menu
    • The first time after installing Linux, the Windows installation will need to perform a checkdisk.
    • Afterward, Windows appeared to operate just fine, to include wireless networking, etc.

    Final impressions:

    Well, it seemed to work pretty well. I do think resizing the Windows partition might have messed up a couple programs, like Norton Anti-Virus, which keeps trying to “repair” itself on boot. (edit:  this turned out to be an issue with Norton, as I had moved the Start menu program folder from Norton to another one labeled Security tools.  Norton checks for the proper location of the program group, and if not, errors out.)  I’ll probably just un-install and re-install it. (edit:  Moved the program group back to the root level of the Start Menu and it works fine now.)  It seems Windows always has some kind of problem anyway, which is why I installed Linux in the first place. I have a few issues with SUSE 10, but I’ll cover those in another posting. For now, Linux works great, and I have all the functionality I need on this notebook computer. Once again, this purchase has proved to be a an inexpensive good deal.

    Asa Jay

    Linux On Laptops

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    Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton