Linux on HP DM1-4010us

Initial Purchase

Recently purchased the HP DM1-4010us. A nice little machine (10 inch screen) with the AMD E-450, 4GB Ram and a 320GB HD. It comes with pre-loaded with Windows 7. A brief look on the web showed people were having a generally positive experience loading Linux on it.

Keyboard/Synaptic TouchPad problems

On my machine, unfortunately, I immediately started having problems with the keyboard/touchpad freezing. It appears in Linux there is a bug that is triggered --(when temperature gets too high)-- after some amount of activity -- in my case, usually USB access. It freezes the built-in keyboard and trackpad and I have to restart or suspend/resume to get them back. Attaching a USB keyboard or mouse works fine. While the temperature doesn't get extreme it does seem that the problem becomes worse once the computer has reached it's operating temperature -- around 60C. There are some bug reports out on the Linux bug tracker that link problems with the internal i8042 controller module and the thermal or battery module.

Thus began a series of attempted configurations to resolve the problem.

[ Various attempts at resolution removed. ]

Replacement Policy

After a lot of frustration I took the opportunity to return the laptop for another one in the same line. Thank you, HP, for a nice return policy. The new laptop is running fine and everything seems to be working well (mostly, see below). Runs Linux a little hotter than Window the battery doesn't last quite as long but everything else works as advertised.

Still Freezing

After returning the laptop for another, I no longer have the problem with the keyboard/touchpad locking up. I do experience occasional problems when the laptop gets under heavy load -- total lockup and I have to use the power switch to reset. Looking at the forums this appears to be related to the thermal module. It doesn't happen too often, so hopefully this will get resolved upstream in the future.

Decided the fix for this was adding:

to the kernel parameters. For Debian this can be configured in /etc/default/grub and run update-grub afterwards.

Installing Debian Wheezy

Debian Wheezy's initial install went pretty well. On reboot, however, the graphics were crushed by a frame buffer bug caused by the missing firmware. Debian doesn't install the non-free firmware by default. To resolve:

  1. On boot, add radeon.modeset=0 to the kernel parameter to disable the radeon framebuffer.

  2. After loading add non-free to your /etc/apt/sources.list

  3. For my model, I installed the following additional packages:

    firmware realtek
  4. reboot

You should now have working wireless and video with 3d acceleration.

Improving Wireless Performance

Using the brcm80211 driver with firmware does not produce good results for the BCM4313 wireless device. The range is significantly reduced. The only fix is to install the proprietary drivers. For details look here.

Basically, enable non-free sources (see above), and install the broadcom-sta-dkms package. The installer should handle everything else for you. You may need to unload the old modules (or reboot) to get the right module loaded.

Final Verdict

Well, after a bit of troubleshooting, everything seems to be working fine. With the above configuration fixes, this laptop has been working nicely. It handles the latest Debian release nicely and works well with both Ubuntu's Unity and Debian's Gnome 3 desktop environments.