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Goal: Install Redhat 7.0 on my HP Pavilion N3478

The goal here is simple, install RedHat on my notebook. I wanted to be able to play around with Linux at any time. Since we are using RedHat here on the server, setting the notebook up would give me the ability to test different setups without the risk of killing the server. Add onto the that the coolness of running Linux on a notebook and I was sold. Mission objective: Install RedHat, get X Windows running, get Sound running, setup USB mouse and touchpad support, obtain an IP address from my DHCP server. These won't be done in order.


This notebook is middle to low end. At the time of purchase it was circa $2500 CDN. I took a hit on the CPU juice in order to pick up a better monitor. I have two principles when buying or making a computer, the first get a good monitor!! Face it, you stare at the monitor the whole time you are on the computer so get a decent one. The second is the keyboard and mouse. These two objects are the other things you use constantly when you are on the computer so do not cheap out. I was recieved a Logitech USB Wheel mouse for christmas and have been forever happy with it. Let's get on with the detials to the hardware.



550 mhz AMD K6-2+


VIA Motherboard


64 MB standard


Toshiba 6.0 GB


Trident CyberBlade i7 AGP


14.1" 1024x768 max TFT


8x Max DVD-ROM


ESS Maestro 3


Synaptics Touchpad


1 type I - III slot


Logitech Optical USB Wheel Mouse

Also Added:

128 MB of Kingston RAM

Next step installation!


Step 1) First the install of the RedHat 7.0

I simply jumped to the bios and switched the boot sequence to CDROM then Hard drive then Floppy. Popped in the CD and saved changes and reset.

Once loaded up it proceeded to boot right off the CD, gave me a lovely selection:

o To install or upgrade a system running Red Hat Linux 3.0.3 
  or later in gaphical mode press <ENTER> key.
o To install or upgrade a system running Red Hat Linux 3.0.3
  or later in text mode, type: text <ENTER>.
o To enable expert mode, type: expert <ENTER>. Press <F3> for
  more information about expert mode.
o To enable rescue mode, type: linux rescue <ENTER>. Press <F5>
  for more information about rescue mode.
o If you have a driver disk, type linux dd <ENTER>.
o Use the functions keys listen below for more information.
 [F1 Main] [f2 General] [f3 Expert] [f4 Kernel] [F5 Rescue] 

So i decided to try "Graphical" and what happens a 320x200 window! which means the cursor is the size of a Coke can. (I think that I might have some problems later with X now that I see this....)

So I reboot, and decide to go to through the install in "text" mode.

Here we are a few finished one step, done 1 reboot.... Score is tied 1-1, lets hope the next step doesnt require a reboot!

Step 2) Next are the regular RedHat install steps, I groupped them together.

Select Language, rather easy to figure out...
Keyboard model attached to computer is a "us" one.
Install type: "Custom System"

Step 3) Now the step is Disk setup, since I am not a linux expert by any means I will choose "Disk Druid"

Once selected you are fired into a rather easy to follow partition manger. Here is the current reading that I have

Mount Point             Device     Requested   Actual    Type
                         hda1        4208M     4208M   NTFS/HPFS
Drive Summaries
  Drive      Geom [C/H/S]    Total    Used    Free
hda         [  776/240/63]   5792M    4208M   1521M    [#######   ]
[ Add ]     [ Edit ]   [ Deleted ]    [ Ok ]    [ Back ]

The first partition (hda1) is for Win2k Pro, it is 4208M big (etc 4.2 gigs), now the N3478 comes with a 5.5 gigabyte harddrive so I have apx. 1.5 gigs left to use for linux. For me, it is plenty since I am only going to be testing a few things and not really using it to its full advanatage.

Time to add the partitions!

First I add the swap partition, as it will give me a guide on how much real estate i left to play with. Since I have upgraded my notebook and tossed in another 128 megs or ram I will want to match the total amount (192M). If you still have the limit I would suggest using 128 meg swap file.

I am now left with over 1300M free, and not knowing what will be going on the laptop (hell i might have a huge homepage on there one day, or a bunch of programs the next, I decided to just use a "/" and let it fill the rest of the space. This gives me the ability to easily do whatever I need to do with out worrying about space.

A new look to the drive

Mount Point             Device     Requested   Actual    Type
                         hda1        4208M     4208M   NTFS/HPFS
/                        hda2           1M     1321M   Linux Native
                         hda5         192M      192M   Linux Swap
Drive Summaries
  Drive      Geom [C/H/S]    Total    Used    Free
hda         [  776/240/63]   5792M    5792M      0M    [##########]
[ Add ]     [ Edit ]   [ Deleted ]    [ Ok ]    [ Back ]

We continue on and get the "Save Changes to partition table(s)?", I of course say Yes!!!

The very next windows is should ask you to format the partition, I would say "Yes", and if you want to be extra safe I would check for bad blocks durring format as well.

[*] /dev/hda2   / #
[ ] Check for bad blocks durring format
[ Ok ]		[ Back ]

Step 4) Lilo configuration!

Lilo is going to be the boot loader that I will use to decide whether or not I want to go to Windows, or to Linux. the first screen presents you an option:

[*] Use linear mode (needed for some SCSI drives)
[ Ok ]     [ Skip ]	[ Back ]

I just hit ok, as I dont really think it matters.

the next window presented to you will give you the option of telling where you want the bootloader to be installed.

/dev/hda	 Master Boot Record (MBR)
/dev/hda2	First Sector of boot Partition
	[ Ok ]       [ Back ]

Since I want it to load up on intial boot I set it to the MBR. (If you are using another boot loader, well then i dunno!)

Next Lilo presents me with my bootable partitions, and well something is missing, my Win2K partition, but by now my EGO is well in check and I feel confident that I will be able to edit the Lilo settings after I finish the install. So I just press [ Ok ].

Step 5) More typical questions.

Host name! Since the laptop is called Gwydion, i typed in Gwydion, of course this has to do with other things, for instance if it will be apart of a domain on the net, say then I would call it "laptop". But since if anything it will be called "" so hence gwydion.

Mouse Selection, I wasnt really too sure what to do here since i am using a touchpad, so i decided to go with the "Generic 3 buttom Mouse (PS/2)" since it is what was selected. I left the 3 buttom emulation off.

Time Zone, set mine to Nipigon.
Root password, Enter whatever you want for the pass, do not make it simple though!
User Account Setup, Here is where you add another user. Once added you can simply [ Ok ] out of the next window.
Authentication Configuration, Since I do not have a clue what this is about, I just let it be and pressed [ Ok ].

Packages!!! Here you get to select the packages you wish to choose, there are too many for me to even attempt to list, so you figure it out =)

Step 6) Upon selecting my packages the install process detects my Trident cyberblade (generic). And uses the XF86_SVGA settings. Then starts coping files.... and copying and co....

Step 7) Boot Disk. Just put it in and make one.

Step 8) X Config, Monitor, select custom, and then move on through, set the freq. to the 50-70 setting. No clockchip settings. and set it to 640x480. It should test X for you and give you the wonderful 320x200, dont worry we will fix that later. I do not like it booting to X right from the get go so set that to "no".

Done it prompts me to do a few more things, then to remove media and restart!

After restarting my Lilo only shows my Linux partition, so I must change that to show my Windows 2000 partition. Also the X-Windows is still only 320x200..... Lets fix X first!


Step 9) X-Windows... From the research that I have done, I have come to this conclusion; XF86_SVGA is not the correct X.

Ok to get the correct XF86 setup you will need to have install the XF86_FBDev rpm. So lets get it! Load the RedHat CD1:

[root@gwydion /]# mount the cdrom: mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
[root@gwydion /]# rpm -Uvh /mnt/cdrom/RedHat/RPMS/XFree86-FBDev-3.3.6-33.i386.rpm

Now we need to switch the link for X from the SVGA server to the FBDev one.

[root@gwydion /]# cd /etc/X11
[root@gwydion /]# rm X
[root@gwydion /]# ln -s /usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_FBDev X

I just deleted the old link between X and the SVGA and resetup a new link for X to the FBDev server.

Time to make a new XF86Config!!! (oooooh boy) My file is drastically different then the standard one,,, I cut out all the commented lines.

Here is my lovely XF86Config file:

# File generated by XConfigurator.
Section "Files"
    RgbPath     "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
Section "ServerFlags"
Section "Keyboard"
    Protocol    "Standard"
    AutoRepeat  500 5
    XkbKeymap   "xfree86(us)"
Section "Pointer"
    Protocol    "PS/2"
    Device      "/dev/mouse"
    ZAxisMapping 4 5
Section "Monitor"
    Identifier  "notebookTFT"
    VendorName  "HP"
    ModelName   "notebookTFT"
    HorizSync   31.5 - 90.0
    VertRefresh 55-90
ModeLine "1024x768" 75 1024 1048 1184 1328 768 771 777 806 -hsync -vsync
Section "Device"
    Identifier        "Trident CyberBlade (generic)"
    VendorName        "Unknown"
    BoardName "Unknown"
    VideoRam 8192
Section "Screen"
    Driver      "FBDev"
    Device      "Trident CyberBlade (generic)"
    Monitor     "notebookTFT"
    DefaultColorDepth   16
    Subsection "Display"
        Depth       16
        Modes       "1024x768"
        ViewPort    0 0
        modes      "default"
#end file

Ok, so now we have X setup, and it should be ready to go, but we still need to add the "Framebuffer" to the Lilo.conf. The framebuffer tells the system what resolution to use, and what colours to use. I did that through linuxconf because it was easy....

then we need to add 791 to the VGA Mode line, like so:

Well thats it you should be ready to go into X upon a restart. Give it a shot! If it works great, if it doesn't, sorry, there isn't a troubleshooting section here as I haven't had the time to do one. But feel free to email me your problems

Windows Partition

Step 10) Well whats left? Oh yeah adding the Win2K partition into the lilo config. There are two ways of doing it, one through Linuxconf, the other through Vi or pico (pico rocks!). I chose to do it in linuxconf, what can I say I am spoiled by the need for a GUI'sih menu system.

then select add on the next window (sorry about the use of the text)

Upon pressing "Add"

Now for the label I used "Win2k"
partition to boot is "/dev/hda1"

That should do it!

Step 11) Time to get the ethernet card working so I can surf, telnet, email etc. Luckily for me the install picked up my NIC so all that I had to do is the following:

pump -i eth0

Thats it, picks up my IP and away I went! I cheated later on and entered the 'pump' command to my /etc/rc.d/rc.local file.

Sound Setup

Step 12) Time to setup the sound. I ended up giving up on installing some maestro3 files on the internet and went with the ALSA Project drivers. You can grab them >here<. This step also needs some extra files, you will need to install the Kernel source, and the kernel headers from the RedHat CD.

Mouse Setup

Step 13) Mice and mouse! Since I am using the touchpad and the USB mouse I will have to tinker a bit. First I booted the notebook up with the mouse plugged in. It launches the new hardware wizard and I configured it to the correct settings and continued on my way. Once logged in you will have to do some changes with GPM and to X86Config. First thing I did was create two scripts.

 [root@www laptop]# cat > xtouchpad
 /usr/sbin/gpm -k
 /usr/sbin/gpm -t ps2 -m /dev/psmouse
 cp /etc/X11/XF86Config.touch /etc/X11/XF86Config
ctrl+c (exits)
And now the USB mouse file
 [root@www laptop]# cat > xusb
 /usr/sbin/gpm -k
 /usr/sbin/gpm -t ps2 -m /dev/mouse
 cp /etc/X11/XF86Config.usb /etc/X11/XF86Config
startx ctrl+c (exits)

These two scripts will kill the current GPM and start it up with the GPM commands for the specific pointer you wish to use. They will also copy one of two files over the XF86Config file, one specific for the touchpad, the other for the USB wheel mouse. The both scripts launch X-Windows. Also make sure to make the scripts executable (chmod +x xtouchpad and chmod +x xusb)

Here are the two files XF86Config.usb files, and XF86Config.touch take a look

Thats it!