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HP-Omnibook 800 and Linux

Note: This article was written in 2002 and were just recently transfered here for reference. There may be many differences with newer kernels.


I bought a bigger harddrive than the original with 800 MB. It's an IBM Travelstar with 6GB. For using a bigger harddrive than 2GB you may need to update the bios. I'm using the latest version and experienced no problems…

I configured the Omnibook as a dualboot machine with the following partitions:

/dev/hda1  3GB   Win95 FAT2
/dev/hda2  2,9GB Linux
/dev/hda3  100MB Linux swap

The Swap-partition may be somehow to big. I'm considering to unmount it permanently to avoid unessessary harddrive-access (and faster batterydrain)

For automatic spindown of the disc i use the noflushd-demon. Simply install it and change the timeout in /etc/default/noflushd to the desired value (I use 2 Minutes).

I've not tested possible speed enhancements through using the hdparm utility, yet.


The PCMCIA Controler is identified as followed by the pci-subsystem:

00:04.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1130 (rev 04)
00:04.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1130 (rev 04)

Nowadays there is PCMCIA-Support included in the kernelsource. Unfortunatly these drivers don't work very good for me. (Hotplugging does not work) So I compiled the drivers and the needed utils myself.

How to do it

Make sure you don't have the debian package of the pcmcia tools installed (we don't want to mess around with old files):

#> dpkg --purge pcmcia-cs

Now get the latest Kernelsources and build a kernel without PCMCIA-support

Download the latest PCMCIA package from and extract the sources to /usr/src. After cd'ing into the new directory build everything with

$> make config
$> make all
#> make install

4. Create the needed symlinks to /etc/init.d/pcmcia with

#> update-rc.d pcmcia defaults 11 89

5. Reboot the new kernel. The PCMCIA-services should start up like followed:

Starting PCMCIA services: modulesLinux PCMCIA Card Services 3.1.26
   kernel build: 2.4.5 #2 Fri Jun 15 22:11:54 CEST 2001
   options:  [pci] [cardbus] [apm] [pnp]
PnP: PNP BIOS installation structure at 0xc00ff000
PnP: PNP BIOS version 1.0, entry at e8000:33e1, dseg at e8000
Intel PCIC probe: <6>PCI: Found IRQ 9 for device 00:04.0
PCI: Found IRQ 11 for device 00:04.1

   TI 1130 rev 04 PCI-to-CardBus at slot 00:04, mem 0x10000000
     host opts [0]: [clkrun irq 10] [serial pci & irq] [pci irq 9] [lat 64/32] [bus 2/5]
     host opts [1]: [clkrun irq 10] [serial pci & irq] [pci irq 11] [lat 64/32] [bus 6/9]
     PCI irq 9 test failed
     ISA irqs (scanned) = 3,15 polling interval = 1000 ms

Insert a PCMCIA card. You should hear two high beeps when the card is initialised. A low beep means something went wrong. → check your syslogs then.


The graphics adapter is a Neomagic card. I'm running a vesa-framebuffer driver on it, for getting a higher resolution in textmode. To enable the Frambuffer simply pass 'vga=771' to the kernel in /boot/grub/menu.lst. There is also a neomagic X-server available but I use the framebuffer-server (fbdev) because it was easier to install :-)


For getting the sound work, I had to do some tweaks. I applied the patches mentioned at

In /usr/src/linux/drivers/sound/sound_config.h find the following line (its line number 37 in kernel 2.4.4)

#define DSP_BUFFSIZE            (64*1024)

and change it to

#define DSP_BUFFSIZE            (32*1024)

In /usr/src/linux/drivers/sound/sb_mixer.c find an array of initial values called sb_default_levels (line 140 in kernel 2.4.4). Change the value on the line marked /\* Mic \*/ from 0x1010 to 0x0000 to avoid feedbacknoises.

With compiling the PCMCIA drivers as modules it works also as a module. I inserted the following line to /etc/modules to load the sounddrivers automatically.

sb io=0x220 irq=5 dma=1 dma16=5 esstype=0

Infrared Port

The VLSI driver is now in the 2.4 kernelseries and works fine.


The omnibook has a cool “snap out” mouse which speaks the ps/2 protocol (/dev/psaux). Unfortunatly the newest versions of the gpm (General purpose mousemanager) does not work with it anymore (I don't know why). I simply installed an older package of it and set the packagestate to hold in dselect for getting it work.

Xfree 4 works fine with the mouse configured as a ps/2 mouse on /dev/gpmdata.

More Infos

See these Sites also:

omnibook.txt · Last modified: 2006/11/13 14:32 by andi