Debian GNU/Linux on the HP nc4010 laptop


This page is only intended to supplement the existing pages on HP nc4000/nc4010/nc8000/etc. These pages are listed on the wonderful pages, both under the HP and Compaq

So, this is basically a summary of the information I had to gather in order to set the system up. I try to use and document "the Debian way" to do things, sometimes that means filing bugs and patches against Debian packages in order for them to work "the Debian way". If my notes here don't explain things well enough, see the other pages for more info. All these web pages should really just be a wiki...


The system is an HP nc4010. Here is "lspci -v" and "hwinfo" Many people report that their nc4010's come with a networking mini-PCI card that uses the atheros wireless chipset and thus requires doing extra work to setup the madwifi drivers. I either got a later model or selected a different wireless option because mine came with a mini-PCI card that uses the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g wireless (ipw2200), the Broadcom BCM5705M gigabit controller (tg3), and a ALi Corporation M5457 AC'97 Modem.


I'm using Debian unstable. I used debian-installer (a nightly build IIRC) to do the install. I didn't order any external media drives (on purpose), so I used PXE to net install, docs on how to do that here.


ACPI and APM suck. What I want is "suspend to RAM", this currently doesn't work in ACPI (I tested with latest firmware (f.2f) and 2.6.11). It does work in APM, but you can't use the power button to put it to sleep, because if you don't have the button setup with ACPI the BIOS just tells the machine to shut off. So you have to put the machine to sleep with "apm -S". ACPI has some nice features, like the stuff in /sys and button/fan/temp/etc. it would be nice if we had a complete ACPI solution. There are more details on Martin's page

There are some patches at the ACPI upstream site maybe those would help? If you try them let me know what happens and I will post details here.


Using xserver-xfree86 in unstable works ok, just use the radeon driver. The X Video stuff works but hardware accelerated OpenGL does not work yet (you can check these things with xvinfo and glxinfo). ATI provides a propriatary driver, fglrx, but that comes with all the pain of using a propriatary driver outside of Debian, etc. Someone maintains a fglrx installer for Debian if you have to get 3D working and are willing to go that route.

The external connector is a separate display device from the built-in LCD, so you can set it up to be dual head, or just mirror the built-in. I haven't played with this yet, but Scott has.

On Martin's page he mentions an ATI feature called "Radeon PowerPlay" that can save a lot of power. There is a Debian wishlist bug for this, #264037 or you can use Martin's packages.

No one seems to have played with the s-video out, but there are reports of it working.


Several other pages had info about how to get the extra keys on the keyboard working. They all explained how to get it working on one install but not in general. So I wrote a separate page on Enabling keyboards in Linux. Here's the direct link to the nc4010 info.

Other keyboard info,


Used Scott's instructions. Örjan also has some.

Intel mini-PCI card

Broadcom BCM5705M gigabit controller: uses the tg3 driver. Warning this driver was removed from 2.6.11, due to non-free firmware issues. It's expected to show up in non-free at some point, until them you have to deal with the issue on your own :(

Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g wireless: uses the ipw2200 driver - this driver is in the ipw2200-source package in contrib since it depends on non-free firmware you have to download from another site. You can use the module-assistant package/command to build and install this driver for whatever kernel you may be using.

Assuming you have the drivers available everything just works automatically due to hotplug. I use the ifplugd package to manage the network devices automatically, it's very nice.


Works. hotplug set up the device correctly all I had to do was configure the software. I installed the bluez-utils package, and read /usr/share/doc/bluez-utils/README.Debian.gz. It was hard to find how to get it to see my bluetooth mouse leading me to file #304222. Once I got it working I can use the mose whenever I want and it all just works, yay! I haven't tried any other bluetooth devices, but how to get a phone with bluetooth soon.


Works. Install alsa-base then run alsaconf. It will detect the ali5451 card, choose it and say yes to the question about adding it to /etc/modprobe.d/sound. Run alsamixer or install gamix, gnome-alsamixer, or one of the other alsa mixers.

Cardbus slot

It just works. This is a nice improvement since the last time I setup a laptop. I've only used it for a Cardbus-to-CF adapter card so far and that works. I should probably try networking cards, but I haven't needed to with the built-in stuff.

Minor devices


I haven't tried it yet. Bdale lists instructions on his page for his nc4000 maybe they are the same for the nc4010?

SD slot

Örjan points to the wbsd driver but that page lists the "O2 Micro, OZ711Mx MultiMediaBay Accelerator" as having no known driver. If a driver becomes available, please let me know.

Infrared, i2c

Untested. Örjan's page documents these.

Power issues


Since I was having problems with ACPI I thought I'd see if there was a newer firmware available and there was. Unfortunately HP urls change too often for me to provide a link here, so instead I will describe how I found the firmware. Aslso since HP doesn't support Linux on this model you have to do some tricks.

To get the firmware go to,

This is a MSWindows utility for creating a bootable DOS floppy for upgrading the firmware. Run this utility using Wine (the dosbox program won't work, it really is a MSWindows program). Wine will start up an installer window which asks you to read and accept a license and then asks you where to install. Pick a location like C:\Temp and proceed. The utility will install and then try to start, but this fails. But that's ok because the software unpacked and we can get the floppy image. Go to $HOME/.wine/fake_windows/Temp/ and in the unpacked files there is a ROM.IMG file, this is the floppy image. You can either create a floppy or a bootable ISO. I tried using pxelinux and memdisk to boot the image and that doesn't work (confirming a report I read somewhere).

The version I upgraded to is f.2f. You can tell your current version while booted by looking at the SMBIOS part of hwinfo output. Here is the floppy image and the bootable ISO image I used.

Matt Taggart <>