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The Compaq Presario 2700T on RedHat 7.3.

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Summary (my opinion and experience):

RedHat 7.3 was selected after some thought. The sound works. The external usb floppy is recognized fine. Mount it in /etc/fstab as /dev/sda. X works fine. To configure X   I used the "setup" option that is available at the root command prompt after installing with all the "defaults" in the installation program. I have tried numerous settings , and the best one seems to be "Generic Laptop Display Panel 1280x1024" using 16bit color at 1280x1024 resolution selection. I got the best results using a ps2 mouse. The unit does get a little warm and this is something to watch closely. This unit has a pentium 3 in it.

I am using a dual boot with winxp on the other side. I had to use Partition magic 7 to re-partition the drive for dual boot because of the XP (ntfs) file system. I tried fips. The version I had did not work with ntfs. With winxp professional and partition magic (it must be at least version 7) you just follow the directions that come with the partitioning program. When you are done you will have the space you need. Is there another way ? After you get the space you need and install Linux you may need to edit the grub.conf (or lilo.conf) file to include your other operating system in the routine if you are using xp on the other side. If the machine won't boot xp just change the grub.conf file as I have shown in the example below. That worked just fine for me.

At the install I got the message that i should make a boot disk because the bootloader may not install correctly. Since this unit does not have a standard floppy that was not an option; so I took the plunge and went ahead without making a boot floppy(something I would not normally ever recommend) The unit will not boot from the usb floppy. I would recommend getting a floppy drive from the manufacturer which is what I have ended up doing.

The unit has a winmodem which will work with the driver you can get from the linmodem site. Your modem is then accessable as /ttySHSF0. The driver that works in my unit is an rpm. It uses the hsflinmodem driver. (Be sure to check to see what brand of winmodem your unit is using.) To find your type of modem you will need to inspect the proc file. At the command line type

cat /proc/pci  (the command is typing the letters   cat   then space then type   /proc/pci )

then press enter. This wil display the contents of that file which should have the modem info on bus 2. This uses the command cat which is short for concatenate. This command prints a file to the standard output ( the monitor screen ). The proc file is a special file that contains information about data structures used by the kernel. It includes information about hardware.

Specific info is listed below.
Unit:   Compaq Presario 2700T (2701)
Processor:   Intel Pentium 3   1.133 ghz
System:    RedHat 7.3 ver 2.4.18-3

Quick summary:

Functional. The partitioning could cause you to loose everything -- be careful.
Unit heats up slightly; the bottom gets to about 110 deg F .
I have got the ethernet card working fine on my network.
I use a samba server. Network printing works fine.
Sound works well.Usb floppy and mouse work.
Haven't been able to boot from usb floppy
Display is very nice.

UPDATE 11/Dec/2002:

This may be of use at some point in time if you have bad memory in your laptop.I had some problems with the unit hanging up sometimes.I downloaded memtest86 from memtest.com and tested the memory in the machine. I found some bad memory at the top end. It was only a very small part of the total , but enough to cause trouble so it needed attention. Since laptop memory is expensive and can be hard to find , options were limited. I found a site called icewalkers.com that had a very nice detailed explanation of how to exclude portions of memory from use at boot time with parameters in the grub.conf file, however as of 05/06/03 the best site I've found for the info is an article at the ftp portion of ibiblio:
this article at the ftp portion of ibiblio
The grub.conf file that I now use is several paragraphs down. Notice the part "mem=240m". That tells grub to only use the first 240megs of ram which bypasses the bad memory location. The machine is working fine now.

Here is a link to icewalkers.com, they have some useful info there. I suggest trying the above link to ibiblio first. icewalkers logo

Update 2003-02-23:
I have burned some data with the cd writer in this unit using the interfaces on RedHat 7.3. This was less confusing than the one that comes with windows, although it does not do as much. Battery life is short; so be aware of this if you are thinking of using this laptop away from the power supply on battery power only. There are fixes for this problem available now. They involve reconfiguring the kernel. I will put the links here when I get time. I guess the overheating could be a problem if you are going to do very heavy duty stuff that makes the processor work hard. In spite of all the complaints I have read about this unit, I have not had any trouble with the overheating part; so I guess it depends on your use. Would I go out and buy this laptop for Linux if I had it to do over? Probably not right away. There are power management issues that, as I understand, are being worked out now so a user friendly install can be done. These issues are there because most equipment is designed for one certain large software company. When those issues are resolved, yes I would buy this unit.

UPDATE 2003-03-01   Upgrade to RedHat 8 ( 2.4.18-14 )
I have upgraded to RedHat 8 on the laptop. The installation went very smoothly. My installation was slightly over 2.5 gig and took about 1hr and 20 minutes. Every thing was recognized except for the "monitor type". It found the firewire ohci1394 this time. The display is fine, however. I chose upgrade and customize packages. I used the graphical installation. So far it looks like everything I had installed and working before the upgrade is still ok; with the exception of one problem that was not RedHat's, or Linux' fault. The controlerless modem ( linmodem ) needs to have the rpm package upgraded for the new kernel version in RedHat 8. The modem is still then /tty/SHSF0. ( I use a symbolic link to /dev/modem ) (the kernel version in mine is 2.4.18-14 for which there was a driver) When you are done with the upgrade install,just go to the above mentioned site ( the hsflinmodem link ) and download the new driver for the i686 arch. You must uninstall the old driver first. Do this: rpm -q linmodem at the command line to get the info about the old driver. Then do rpm -e with the info you get. That will remove the old driver. I have not done exaustive tests yet but here is the preliminary summary: If you don't see it here, I haven't tested it yet. This page was edited and posted with the laptop. I have not had any problems with the unit overheating, but it does get warm. Be sure you have the tabs on the back bottom of the case set to make the the unit elevated so the air can circulate; if the air flow is blocked at the bottom of the unit, then it will heat up.

display:  	  functional (very nice) 
modem:    	  functional (after new driver installed)
Network printing: functional (The network is not using DHCP. The printer is an hp laserjet 4.)
ethernet card :   functional
mouse:		  functional logitech usb/ps2 optical mouse. no scrolling yet
keyboard:         functional
floppy:		  functional
sound:		  functional
play audio cd:	  functional
lbreakout2:	  functional ( better than on 7.3 )
Opera: 		  functional
dual boot:	  functional

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
#          root (hd0,1)
#          kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda3
#          initrd /initrd-version.img
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.18-3)
	root (hd0,1)
	kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.18-3 ro root=/dev/hda3 hdb=ide-scsi mem=240m
a	initrd /initrd-2.4.18-3.img
title winxp
	rootnoverify (hd0,0)
	chainloader +1

end update

UPDATE 2005-09-17   Upgrade to Fedora Core 4
I have upgraded the laptop to 2.6.11-1.1369_FC4 (Stentz) and all went ok. Display is ok. I used a dvd disk as the install source. The wheel mouse and the pad both work. I will post more later as I get time.

Any comments , suggestions or questions welcome.
If you have installed Linux on a laptop , send the details and we will post them on a page here.
Email: webmaster

Here is a copy of the grub.conf file I have on this machine (I added the last 3 lines):

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
#          root (hd0,1)
#          kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda3
#          initrd /initrd-version.img
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.18-3)
	root (hd0,1)
	kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.18-3 ro root=/dev/hda3 hdb=ide-scsi
	initrd /initrd-2.4.18-3.img
title winxp
	rootnoverify (hd0,0)
	chainloader +1

Here is what Linux sees in the unit:  (yours may be different)

usb floppy:    Vendor: Y-E DATA Model: USB-FDU          Rev: 4.01
Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI SCSI revision: 02
Host: scsi1 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
Vendor: TOSHIBA  Model: DVD-ROM SD-R2102 Rev: 1A15
Type:   CD-ROM                           ANSI SCSI revision: 02

vendor_id	: GenuineIntel
cpu family	: 6
model		: 11
model name	: Intel(R) Pentium(R) III Mobile CPU      1133MHz
stepping	: 1
cpu MHz		: 730.906
cache size	: 512 KB
fdiv_bug	: no
hlt_bug		: no
f00f_bug	: no
coma_bug	: no
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 2
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr sse
bogomips	: 1458.17

Intel PIIX4 Ultra 100 Chipset.

Intel Corp. AC'97 Audio Controller
Intel Corp. AC'97 Audio Controller
PCI Bus #01

ATI Technologies Inc Radeon Mobility M6 LY
PCI Bus #02

Conexant HSF 56k HSFi Modem

Intel Corp. 82801CAM (ICH3) Chipset Ethernet Controller

  0:     131110          XT-PIC  timer
  1:       2535          XT-PIC  keyboard
  2:          0          XT-PIC  cascade
  8:          1          XT-PIC  rtc
  9:         55          XT-PIC  usb-uhci, usb-uhci
 10:         25          XT-PIC  eth0
 11:          0          XT-PIC  usb-uhci, Texas Instruments 
			 PCI1410 PC card Cardbus Controller
 12:         20          XT-PIC  PS/2 Mouse

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last update 2005-09-17

Copyright (c) 2002 David Tarsi. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being no invariant sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being no Front-Cover Texts, and with the Back-Cover Texts being no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
GNU Free Documentation License

The content of this page has been prepared to provide information on the authors experience with particular relevance to the mentioned laptop. The information is not a complete source. Use at your own risk. Any advice given by the author also is covered by this statement. This page is not endorsed by Compaq. This website has no connection whatsoever to Compaq. Your use of this information is your acceptance of responsibility for all consequenses resulting in such use. In developing the content of this page, every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and relevance. It is nevertheless possible that errors or omissions in the content may occur from time to time as this page is updated. No legal liability attaches to author , the website , or the isp for any inaccurate or misleading information contained on the website or this page at any time, or for the consequences of any errors or omissions, or for the use of said information. However if written notice is given to the webmaster of inaccuracies or omissions, we will endeavour to establish the factual position and where necessary have the author correct the content in an appropriate and timely manner.