As mentioned here, I bought a HP dv6253cl (AMD Turion 64 dual core) laptop around April, 2007. Up to about a month ago, it worked all right, with the wireless indicator on with blue color. Then it stopped working. If memory serves, I think it stopped working after installing Windows Update. The wireless light is always orange nowadays.
So I chatted with HP through their online support. The person gave me some drivers to install, to no avail. A subsequent chat resulted in HP informing me that its laptop has some kind of motherboard defect. They opened a case for me and asked me to send the laptop back for repair. The repair takes around 10-14 days, they say. And most likely, they will reimage my box.
I was really pissed. I managed to get by with wired connection up to Christmas. And decided to take matter into my own hands and load Linux on it, for now. If I need a Windows machine, I can build a virtual one running on top of Linux. At least that was the plan.
I spent a lot of time during Christmas to fix this, still not done yet. Here is a laundry list of some of my activities:
1. I used VMWare Converter to create an image of my laptop, resulting in a file around 20 gig, in case I need it;
2. Wireless card can be challenging to set up on Linux. ndiswrapper and Windows driver are needed to make it work. Google research showed there was at least one person with HP dv6253cl (my model also) who has it working on kubuntu. So I decided to give it a whirl.
3. kubuntu failed to install, even after modifying some loading parameters. Maybe I got the wrong version.
4. Funny thing was, after the failed kubuntu install, I booted into Windows, and the wireless was back and working. A reboot dashed my hope that somehow it was fixed.
5. So I downloaded ubuntu Alternate CD (not Live CD. LiveCD wouldn’t load) for AMD 64-bit on this laptop while running Windows, and burned the ISO image to a CD using ISO Reader. Once again the weired thing happened: wireless came back. Rebooted, and wireless was dead again. Subsequent CD burning in Windows on this machine didn’t result in wireless working again.
6. unbuntu Alternate CD didn’t work either, just like kubuntu. Had I have more time to tinker with it, I probably could load them (kunbuntu and ubuntu Alternate CD) successfully. But it really should not be this hard!
7. So after reading some good comments on sabayon, a distro based on Gentoo, I gave it a shot. I was impressed. The UI was slick, it feels very smooth and speedy, probably due to 64-bit. The only thing was that the screen was too bright, and the default font in Konqueror and Firefox look uglier than Windows. I wish there was some Windows ClearType kind of display thing on sabayon.
8. But the wireless still won’t work:
haidong@localhost ~ $ dmesg | grep ndiswrapper
[ 844.848423] ndiswrapper version 1.47 loaded (smp=yes)
[ 844.937076] usbcore: registered new interface driver ndiswrapper
Well, I will keep working on it. I think I will re-install sabayon, without doing the “emerge –sync”, “layman -s”, and “emerge mozilla-firefox” like the first go-around. One thing is for sure: my next laptop won’t be a HP. My buddy Scott Whigham had a more painful experience with HP.