Linux on the Compaq Armada 1520D
This page describes how I have set up Linux on the Compaq Armada 1520D
laptop. This is inspired by Sakari
Aaltonen's page about setting Linux on the Armada 4120. Only the particular
settings for this laptop model are pointed out.
Jean-Pierre Eckmann of the University of Geneve uses succesfully my configuration
settings on a Compaq Armada
laptop. He also uses XFree86 3.3.1 pretending to have the CLGD-5428 and
he has no problems in restoring text mode quitting X.
Back in January we planned to get a laptop computer to support our GPS
data acquisition campaigns. Since the GPS data acquisition and elaboration
programs run under Windows 95 (or DOS, but they seem to work under
Win95 also) we need this OS. On the other hand we're getting quite Linux
addicted so we required Linux compatibility.
The choice was a Compaq Armada 4120 but then the 1520D has come out,
and it's less expensive.
page we did know it is possible to have Linux working on the Armada
4120, and we did expect just minor changes on the 1520D.
The Armada 1520 comes with a pre installed version of Win95 (you can choose
NT). The user should create a set of floppy for the reinstallation of the
OS. On our Pc the disks creation program failed after the first, and this
operation took much time to try to recover from this. I had to give up
but Compaq Italia provided two free CD with the software.
The PCMCIA Ethernet card configuration took many hours of work (it's
supposed to be Plug'n'Play!) under Win95, since the combo adapter was set
on the UDP (twisted pair) port and our ethernet uses coax (BNC) adapter,
the Win95 driver doesn't let you choose the port.
The problem was solved booting a DOS 6.2 floppy with DOS driver and
setting the port to "autosense".
The Pc comes with two partitions: one for Win95 (/dev/hda1) and one for
the Compaq Setup (/dev/hda3). I added two other partition for Linux (/dev/hda2)
and Linux swap (/dev/hda4) using FIPS.
This structure is reflected in the lilo configuration file (/etc/lilo.conf),
setup boots the Compaq setup utility.
I have chosen to give 600 Mb to Windows and 400 Mb to Linux due to
the amount of Mb the GPS data require.
I have installed the Slackware 3.1 (from the Sept. 1996, 6 disks, Infomagic
box) and soon have updated to kernel 2.0.30.
Our Pc is equipped with 3Com EtherLink III Lan Pc Card, Model 3C589D (Combo,
both for 10Base-T and Coax).
I have installed pcmcia-cs-2.8.23 sources and have compiled them. In
order to use this card you have to install a kernel with network support
but no network device.
The following files must be edited in order to keep the 3C589D to work:
Note that if do a warm reboot from Win95 to Linux the ethernet card
is not recognized properly, the card manager sees an "unknown memory card".
You have to perform a cold reboot.
/etc/pcmcia/network.opts: fill in this file with the proper network informations
(IP, DNS, gateway and so on);
/etc/pcmcia/config: since the 3C589 is listed as a
recognized card but the 3C589D is not present, you have to add a section
for this card. It is sufficient to copy the 3C589 section and modify the
identifier to 3C589D, the driver for the 3C589 works with the 3C589D. If
you use the BNC (Coax) port you have to add opts "if_port=2" after
"3C589cs" in the class network module;
/etc/pcmcia/config.opts: exclude the irqs used
by other devices: irq 5 (used by audio device) and irq 12 (used by mouse);
/etc/rc.d/rc.pcmcia: modify the line PCIC_OPTS
to PCIC_OPTS="irq_mask=0xefff". This eliminates the irq conflict of the
PCMCIA manager with the pointer (mouse), both internal and (when present)
external. The hint to solve this problem is not present in the documentation
of the pcmcia service previous to versions 2.8.23, so if you have
an old pcmcia package this may not work for you.
Just compile the kernel with Audio support and the following settings:
SB 16 Compatible audio device with
In our system the audio support is compiled as module and loaded automatically
by kerneld when needed.
I installed XFree86 3.3. There are still some troubles with it but it works.
The server is the SVGA which supports the CLGD7548 chip used by the Armada.
Both 8 bpp and 16 bpp work. Find here the complete XF86Config
and a brief version (with all you need).
There are two major problems:
Some people over the net suggested a solution for the first problem above:
just reduce the virtual screen size to 1100x900 or less. Some people report
the second problem doesn't occur on their machine.
there are some messed lines on the bottom of the virtual screen;
when you get out of X the normal text mode is not restored properly, the
text appears in the right upper part of the screen and it is hard to read.
So far the only solution I have found is rebooting :(.
Thanks to Oliver Junge, Lim Keng Pang, Andy Shofield and
Mail me if you fix these
BTW the window manager is AfterStep, but that's up to you.
Parallel port Zip
I currently use an IoMega parallel port Zip drive. Since this is not used
often the support is compiled as module. These modules have to be compiled:
scsi, scsi disk and ppa. If you load the modules automatically with kerneld
comment the module loading in /etc/rc.d/rc.modules
and uncomment the lines for kerneld. Set up the proper aliases in /etc/modules.conf
(you can name it conf.modules). The mounting options are described in our
Other setup issues
If you don't want the system to try to mount the cd at the startup just
change permissions of /etc/rc.d/rc.cdrom to 555 (login as root and type
chmod 555 /etc/rc.d/rc.cdrom), that is, the cdrom startup file is
not executable (this may applay only for the Slackware).
If you want let the user to mount zip and cdrom drives, modify the
Mail pours in at high volume here from people who use these configuration
files. I'm trying to answer to everyone, but please before mail
me be sure that:
For help mail to .
you did NOT edit and save the configuration files in a DOS/Windows enviroment,
this appends a CR character at the end of each line and the resulting files
are unusable in Linux unless you strip the CRs;
you recompiled your own kernel, most of the people have Linux on the their
Armada working with these configuration files ONLY after recompiling a
tailored version of the kernel;
you are not using a strange and exotic distribution, some people solved
their problems switching to one of the major distributions.
Distributions which have been tested (to my knowledge) on the Armada
Distributions which could eventually give you problems:
Slackware, this is the one on my 1520D and it used by many people; this
distribution has been tested on the 1530D by Jean-Pierre Eckmann, also;
Red Hat 4.2, reported by Morten Nielsen, Lim Keng Pang and Andy Schofield;
D.L.D. (?) distribution, reported by Joerg Sailer.
I will try to use Debian distribution, but it will not be in the near future
due to the lack of free time.
S.u.S.E. distribution, reported by Joerg Sailer.
If you use the configuration from this page, please report to me any
success (and failure), indicating the distribution (and its version) you
are using and (if any) the non standard devices on your machine. They will
be added to the list above, giving you the credit. Please tell me if you
want your e-mail address to appear in the page, I won't show it by default.
Sad note: I have received some spam because of this page, so
please DO NOT mail me anything that is not about Linux and/or the Compaq
Armada, and NO, I DO NOT want to buy your book about how to place
my page into the Top Ten of the major search engines. I do not want this
page to appear there at all. :)
page: a list of linux laptop installations.
the Armada 4120.
XFree86 home page.
AfterStep windows manager
Trento Engineering Faculty: where
I work and where this page is hosted.
Pluto sezione di Trento:
local Linux User Group (in italian).
Last update 29/10/97 by