Last updated : 4/29/03


This page is all about HP pavilion ze5155 laptop and the troubles and tips one might encounter and/or need while installing and using Linux operating system on one. You might wanna check out Eric Lee Green's page about Linux on HP Pavilion ze5185. ze5185 is the enhanced version ze5155 with sharper display, larger hard drive, and a bit more powerful CPU. Also, Eric's installed Mandrake, and I stick to RedHat.

ze5155 is a pretty powerful beast with

Right now I use it as a dual boot to Windows XP Home (came along), and RedHat Linux 7.3, using lilo boot loader. lilo.conf if you're interested. I didn't use any partition magic, the Linux was installed first, and then XP went on whatever I left off the disk.


The trickiest part, as it appears to be, is to start the RedHat installation. The most common problem is that embedded keyboard and or mouse just won't work at all. That's more common for RedHat 8.0, though. There are some things you should try if it this is the case for you. Note, that no problems were reported running Linux, this only happend at installation time.

I'm running RedHat 7.3, with customly configured 2.4.20 kernel, downloaded from, not from RPM. The kernel has ACPI patches applied, you can get them here. The only drawback when you're not using RPM, is that the RHN updater will warn you you're doing so, which is totally fine by me. You can get my kernel config file right here. To apply, copy this to /usr/src/linux directory, and run gmake dep && gmake clean before doing anything else.


This section lists all detailed device description, and some info on the drivers, or device usage.

AGP ALi M1671 Northbridge.

Pretty well understood by kernel. In kernel configuration, switch /dev/agpart and ALI chipset to Yes.

Video ATI Radeon M6 LY.

X detects it automatically. Important! when setting up X, pick 1024x768x<depth you like more>, and set the Horizontal rate to 16.6 Khz and Verical rate to 60Hz using XConfigurator. It's also important you run configurator even if you set up those rates during insallation, they tend to change after first run. Failure to do so may result in a black screen once X is started, and swithching to text consoles won't help. You can still reboot by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F1 followed by Ctrl-Alt-Del.

Though this sync rates got to work for your ze5155, I had a few questions regarding other HP ze models, that don't really appreciate the same rates. So, visit this page, it may help getting at least the right horizontal refresh rate for your model.

I also strongly recommend to compile in frame buffer driver. Framebuffer will help switching to the full screen mode right after booting up the kernel so you won't have the "box" effect, though it might be a little slower than text console, it also helps X to start up more stable, since the right mode is already engaged. Also, don't use DRI. I told to do so before, but now I don't. Apparently, DRI driver doesn't live well with this hardware, hanging the system if you're switching to virtual consoles and back to X. It also prevents swsuspend from resuming to X mode. Check your /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file to see that Load "dri" line in Modules section is commented out.

Sound card No MIDI support, onboard ALi sound M5451

For the right driver, pick Trident 4DWave DX/NX, SiS 7018 or ALi 5451 PCI audio core. If compiling as driver, the module name is trident.o. I recommend compiling this into the kernel, the default speaker volume is awfully loud and console beeps along with PCMCIA status beeps will wake up your neighborhood, unless a sound driver initializes and brings volumes to bearable values.


It's Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI), which is probably good. Never failed me.

FireWire Texas Instruments, TSB43AB21 IEEE-1394a-2000

It's also OHCI. The interface is type B, which is probably more rare to get cables for, and I never tried it, but it all looks good driverwise. TI is a good synonym to "sane", or at least that's what I think :)

Built-in ethernet NSC MacPhyter

Ha, the only device m$2000 couldn't find drivers for :P. To compile the driver, choose National Semiconductor DP8381x series PCI Ethernet support in the EISA, VLB, PCI and on board controllers section which is in Ethernet(10 or 100Mbit) section.

Modem ALi M5457 controller to HSF connexant PCI chipset

Well, I'm way past my modem times, all I knew is that is a so-called "WinModem", i.e. a modem that is not connected or exports an UART port, i.e. a m$ only modem. Eric sent me a link to a driver page. Apparently, Conexant decided to make a step forward and port WinModem drivers to Linux. The following text describes step by step on how do you get the modem driver on your system. Eric claims he didn't need to do more than half of this, but the PCI ids for ze5185 may differ. Note, the modem driver will taint your kernel.

Keybord, Touchpad and buttons PS/2 and ACPI

Keyboard and touchpad are export PS/2 interface. This wide button above the touchpad turns it on/off. When the blus light is on, the touchpad is active. And this works for me. The scroller is also perfectly well works in X. I don't use touchpad for gpm, so I don't know wether scroller can be any good in console. For X, I use dual mouse configuration, since I have an external USB mouse as well. Here is the touch pad configuration section for X:

Section "ServerLayout"
    InputDevice    "Mouse1" "SendCoreEvents"


Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier      "Mouse1"
    Driver          "mouse"
    Option          "Device"                "/dev/psmouse"
    Option          "Protocol"              "IMPS/2"
    Option          "Emulate3Buttons"       "no"
    Option          "ZAxisMapping"          "4 5"

The scroller scrolls xterm, Mozilla, and Opera, as well as some other modern applications, that recognize corresponding X events.

There are a bunch of special buttons, like those that are between the speakers, two volume buttons, mute button and power button. The power button is recognizable by acpid. The envelope and Globe buttons send keystrokes, 236 and 178 respectively. I mapped one to F17 and then bound that to clear-saved-lines() in VT100.Translations, very handy (I just can't miss Sun keyboards enough). The volume buttons generate keystrokes coded 176 and 174 for Volume Up and Volume Down correspondingly. I tried mapping them to XF86AudioRaiseVolume and XF86AudioLowerVolume keysyms, but Gnome mixer is lame enough to not listen to them. It shouldn't be that hard for a mixer to listen to those root key symbols, and raise/lower volume along. Note, that neighter of those special keys generate release keycodes. The rest of the buttons, including mute, do not send anything to the keyboard driver, so I guess the only way to listen to them is to have ACPI drivers to generate events, so then acpid can intercept them, and have an action bound to them.

The Rest

Here is just a small list of notes regarding the laptop that I though were worth writing down:

So, if you haven't found your answer above, well, send me an e-mail, and I'll try to help.

This quote expresses the incentive for creating pages like this:
thanks, you open source guru's are a godsend to those of us who hate monopolies. Jim Costello

(C) Pawel S. Veselov, 2002, 2003.

This page was accessed times.

Traffic load:

[Back] Return to my homepage

[Or press "BACK" button on your cool browser ;)]