This website describes my experience installing linux (RedHat72) on my Compaq Presario 1712US laptop. I provide this information in good faith and the entire risk as to the quality and performance of your Laptop/Operating System is with you. Should this information prove incorrect, you assume the cost of all necessary servicing, repair or correction. This process is not for the faint-hearted and assumes you've a reasonable *nix system administrator experience.
I got Windows XP pre-installed on my Compaq presario 1712US. I wanted to buy a laptop without any pre-installed OS, but didn't find any at the local retailer's. I decided to install RH72, mainly because I was developing some s/w which needed kernel 2.4.x.
Here, I try to explain the steps I took to get linux installed on my laptop. The product specification of Compaq's Presario 1712US can be obtained from Compaq's website.
I had created 2 CDs with the RedHat7.2 linux distribution. I booted with the first CD and followed the normal linux installation steps. RedHat did a good job in detecting all the components, including the linksys wireless LAN card (this does not come in the base Presario 1712US - U'll have to buy a card separately). I use DHCP most of the time and had no trouble whatsoever initializing the in-built ethernet card or the wireless LAN card.
Presario 1712US uses the ATI Radeon mobility chipset (a very new product) and the Xfree86 server that goes with RedHat72 is unable to find a proper driver for this. You need to download version 4.2.0 from the Xfree86 ftp site. Follow the installation guide and install this version of the X server. I had downloaded all the tarballs from the directory for i386-linux and said "yes" to all the questions asked by the installer. After this, I tried running Xconfigurator, but it dumped core. So, I did an "rm -f `which Xconfigurator`" and reinstalled Xconfigurator. You can do this either by doing an "rpm -i xconfigurator-rpmname" or by rebooting using the Linux CD and choosing the upgrade option. Say "yes" to choose from individual packages and choose Xconfigurator - it figures in the last menu item. After the installer installs Xconfigurator, it tries to detect the card and configure the X server. The reinstalled Xconfigurator was able to configure my server and I was up and running. If you choose to install from the rpm, you need to run Xconfigurator to configure the server. I havn't figured out why on earth reinstalling Xconfigurator made the whole thing work. My guess is that while installing Xfree86 4.2.0, I got rid of some files inadvertantly.
Now, that the Xserver was configured, you can choose to use your favorite desktop environment. I use kde, and to get it working I needed to put "startkde" in the .xsession file in each user's home directory and also edit the /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc file. I commented out the twm entry and added "exec startkde"
That's all you need to do to get linux running (with different desktop environments) on Presario 1712US.
Last updated 03/05/2002