Running openSUSE 11.1 on the Hewlett Packard "HP Mini" 2133

The HP Mini 2133 ships with VIAs Chrome 9 video controller (CN896 chipset), which is not well supported under Linux. There are some instructions in the web (e.g. here), but nothing worked for me. I was not able to get working drivers under Debian 5.0, Ubuntu 8.10, Ubuntu 9.04 beta (of 2009-03-27) and Ubuntu Netbook Remix (Jaunty beta of 2009-03-28)[1]. But I found a package repository with precompiled drivers for openSUSE 11.1 here, and it worked. I stopped testing at this point (e.g. I haven't tried Fedora 10, Gentoo, or compiling kernel and/or Xorg modules by hand under Debian 5.0).

Step 1: Base installation

Start installation. The Yast2 installer will start in text mode and complain that X can not be started. That's ok. Just confirm and proceed. The whole installation process (including one reboot by the installer) will be in text mode. When you boot in your installed system for the first time, X will work, but will give you some ugly resolution (640x400 or something).

Step 2: Xorg driver for the VIA Chrome 9 (CN896)

Working under X with the ugly default resolution is almost impossible. I recommend switching to a virtual console (e.g. Ctrl+Alt+F2). Login as root and run yast2, which runs fine in a console.

Choose "Software" and "Software Repositories" and add the following repository:

You have to import the key of Jan Engelhardt. Do so (on your own risk). Now choose "Software" and "Software Management". Find the package xorg-x11-driver-video-openchrome (e.g. by searching for "chrome"). Select it and install.

Quit yast2. Now edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. You may use the nano editor in the console. To install it by hand just run

# zypper install nano

Now use nano or some other editor to open /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Find the section "Device" and change the name of the Driver from "vesa" to "openchrome". Save and reboot, and you should have the correct 1024x600. The 3D acceleration will not work, but this is beyond repair (IMHO).

Step 3: Driver for the Broadcom BCM4312

The HP Mini ships with the Broadcom BCM4312 wireless network controller. You will need both the firmware for the controller and a kernel driver for Linux. To install the kernel driver start yast2 and choose "Software" and "Software Repositories". Add the following repository:

You have to import the key of the Packman Project. Do so (on your own risk). Install the packages b43-fwcutter, broadcom-wl and broadcom-wl-kmp-default. When finished, quit yast2. Start yast2 again, choose "System" and "Boot Loader". Make "openSUSE 11.1 -" your default kernel. Quit yast2. To make sure everything worked, you may start a terminal and type

# grub-install

This should be redundant, but one time yast2 messed up my MBR and I wasn't able to boot. Issuing grub-install before reboot should fix this.

To install the firmware, just open a terminal and run

# install_bcm43xx_firmware

That's it. Now reboot. The Gnome Network Manager should now see all your wireless networks.

Step 4: CPU scaling

Linux’s ACPI has some problems interacting with the 2133’s BIOS. I observed no thermal problems with the CPU (YMMV), but CPU scaling doesn't work. As a result, the CPU constantly runs at 1,6 Ghz, which is not battery friendly and reduces unplugged lifetime. To activate CPU scaling, add the boot parameter acpi_osi="!Windows 2006" to the appropriate line in your /boot/grub/menu.lst file. On my machine, it looks like this:

title openSUSE 11.1 - (default)
    root (hd0,4)
    kernel /vmlinuz- root=/dev/disk/by-id/ata-FUJITSU_MHZ2120BH_G2_K615T8B2RKCF-part6\
resume=/dev/disk/by-id/ata-FUJITSU_MHZ2120BH_G2_K615T8B2RKCF-part7 splash=silent showopts acpi_osi="!Windows 2006"
    initrd /initrd-

Save and reboot.

That's it!

[1] Update: Under Kubuntu 9.04 (final version) the video controller worked properly with 1024x600, but you have to adjust the size of Gnome’s virtual desktop (which is 1280 x something or larger, so you can't see KDE’s menu bar). Use Ctrl+Alt+F1 to switch to the console, start nano as root and following this advice add the following lines to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (which was empty on my machine):

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Configured Video Device"
    Option "PanelSize" "1024x600"

Restart with shutdown -r now and video should work. Wireless works too out of the box. You may add the boot parameters for CPU scaling (see step 4 above), but I haven't tested.

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