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Thread: HP Envy 15 - too new for Ubuntu

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    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    HP Envy 15 - too new for Ubuntu

    I just got an HP Envy 15 notebook, and I went through the process of installing Ubuntu on it. In short, the conclusion is that this laptop is just too new for Ubuntu / Linux in general.

    Ubuntu 10.04 alpha runs with limited results on the machine, details below.


    the laptop is configured as follows:

    CPU: i7 1.6GHz
    RAM: 8GB
    video card: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5830
    display: 1900x1080
    SSD: 2x160GB in hardware raid
    external USB DVD-RW


    $ sudo dmidecode -s system-product-name
    HP ENVY 15 Notebook PC
    $ sudo dmidecode -s system-version
    $ lspci -vnnn | perl -lne 'print if /^\d+\:.+(\[\S+\:\S+\])/'
    00:00.0 Host bridge [0600]: Intel Corporation Core Processor DMI
    [8086:d132] (rev 11)
    00:03.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation Core Processor PCI Express
    Root Port 1 [8086:d138] (rev 11)
    00:05.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation Core Processor PCI Express
    Root Port 3 [8086:d13a] (rev 11)
    00:08.0 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation Core Processor
    System Management Registers [8086:d155] (rev 11)
    00:08.1 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation Core Processor
    Semaphore and Scratchpad Registers [8086:d156] (rev 11)
    00:08.2 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation Core Processor
    System Control and Status Registers [8086:d157] (rev 11)
    00:08.3 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation Core Processor
    Miscellaneous Registers [8086:d158] (rev 11)
    00:10.0 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation Core Processor QPI
    Link [8086:d150] (rev 11)
    00:10.1 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation Core Processor QPI
    Routing and Protocol Registers [8086:d151] (rev 11)
    00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 5 Series/3400 Series
    Chipset High Definition Audio [8086:3b56] (rev 05)
    00:1c.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 5 Series/3400 Series
    Chipset PCI Express Root Port 1 [8086:3b42] (rev 05)
    00:1c.1 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 5 Series/3400 Series
    Chipset PCI Express Root Port 2 [8086:3b44] (rev 05)
    00:1d.0 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 5 Series/3400 Series
    Chipset USB2 Enhanced Host Controller [8086:3b34] (rev 05) (prog-if 20)
    00:1e.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge
    [8086:2448] (rev a5) (prog-if 01)
    00:1f.0 ISA bridge [0601]: Intel Corporation Mobile 5 Series Chipset LPC
    Interface Controller [8086:3b03] (rev 05)
    00:1f.2 RAID bus controller [0104]: Intel Corporation Mobile 82801 SATA
    RAID Controller [8086:282a] (rev 05)
    00:1f.3 SMBus [0c05]: Intel Corporation 5 Series/3400 Series Chipset
    SMBus Controller [8086:3b30] (rev 05)
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: ATI Technologies Inc Device
    01:00.1 Audio device [0403]: ATI Technologies Inc Juniper HDMI Audio
    [Radeon HD 5700 Series] [1002:aa58]
    02:00.0 USB Controller [0c03]: NEC Corporation Device [1033:0194] (rev
    03) (prog-if 30)
    03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation WiFi Link 6000
    Series [8086:4239] (rev 35)
    04:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Attansic Technology Corp. Device
    [1969:1063] (rev c0)

    installation is tricky, as the installation image is not recognized from the external USB DVD drive, while the machine would not boot from the internal SD Card reader.

    thus, the trick is to create a bootable CD / DVD with the installation image, and copy the same stuff over to the SD Card reader. but the CD into the DVD drive and the SD card into the reader. when turning on the laptop, select the DVD as the boot device (tap ESC while starting, select F9 and go for the DVD). as you reach the installation menu, select 'Install Ubuntu', which will find the install medium in the SD Card reader, and it will install.

    if you try your luck with 9.10, you'll see that at the end, you'll get an error message that grub could not be installed. and yes, the grub in 9.10 just cannot deal with the hardware raid controller in the system. I could only boot using the super grub disk on a USB stick.

    thus I recommend to going for 10.04, albeit it is still alpha, which solves other issues as well.

    status - what works and what doesn't

    CPU - works, although I'm not sure about the power states. in idle, the machine is 50 C hot, and the went is always on. Alex Chiang claims that a kernel patch of his has been accepted into 2.6.33-rc2, but I also saw the 50 C idle temp on 2.6.33-rc8 (see Alex's site here: )

    RAM RAM works fine

    SSD / HDD - there's an intel raid controller in the system, thus the 2x160GB SSDs are recognized as a single 320GB drive. but, the raw disks are still present and appear in all sorts of disk-aware applications as /dev/sda and /dev/sdb - which brings in some confusion. the SSD is very fast.

    ethernet - the built-in ethernet adapter works fine

    wifi - the built-in wifi does not work on 9.10, but works on 10.04 fine

    video - well, not good. the binary ATI driver does not support the 5830 card as yet. the open source radeon driver causes screen corruptions every once in a while (see ). going for more recent packages solves this issue. X either starts with the radeon or the radeonhd open source driver. with the radeon driver, gdm crashes at startup (see ), thus X has to be started with startx

    video/2d - 2d seems to be OK, flash videos like youtube also play fine. have not checked mplayer or other players yet

    video/3d - 3D is extremely sluggish, seems to be software-emulation

    keyboard - the keyboard works fine, including the special keys

    touchpad - it's a 'clickpad' style thing, which is quite annoying. initially one can't even click properly, as click area is also an active touchpad, and your finger moves while pushing the button. Takashi Iwai submitted a kernel patch that makes things work a lot better (see ), which will emulate the 3 mouse buttons on the bottom of the touchpad. nice. still, gestures like two-finger scrolling are missing

    audio - the built-in audio works. the HDMI audio channel also appears as a separate audio device, but I haven't checked.

    webcam - the built-in webcam works fine, as a video4linux device under /dev/video0

    SD Card reader - the SD card reader works fine

    bluetooth - haven't tested, though the bluetooth applet in the gnome bar crashes regularly

    poweroff / suspend / hibernate - these don't work at all. actually, shutdown doesn't work either, the machine is just left hanging there, see here:

    things to do

    - make radeaonhd the xorg driver that is loaded, instead of the radeon driver

    - make the gdm screen not crash with the ioctl error calls, see here and here

    - make the idle temperature of the system lower

    - pray for 3D support, either from the ATI binary driver, or the open source radeonhd driver

    - make susped / hibernate work, see here:

    if you have any inputs on the above, don't hesitate to drop a comment below...

    relevant pachtes
    to make the XHCI driver not freeze the system when a new device is plugged in:

    some other helpful XHCI patch:

    see Takashi Iwai's clickpad patch above


    in general, the hardware is very poorly supported by Linux at the moment. the CPU is overheating, the video is not handled properly, gets corrupted, and the gdm login screen doesn't even start. no suspend / resume, which is quite important for a laptop. the touchpad support has to be patched into the kernel manually.

    these together with the fact that only an alpha-grade Ubuntu version, 10.04 is suitable to boot on the system at all, creates a very unstable laptop for the time being. hopefully 10.04 matures into production grade in a few months, and meanwhile some of the open issues get solved as well.

    the obstacle that seems to be the most difficult one is the video: ATI just doesn't support this card yet, and there's no telling when they will. the open source radeonhd driver is brand new, and there's no telling when it will have 3D support in it.
    Last edited by akos.maroy; April 14th, 2010 at 06:32 AM. Reason: added some patch URLs


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