Installing Fedora Core 3 on a HP compaq nw8000

After a recent hard-drive crash I had to reinstall Linux on it. Details on installing a clean Fedora Core 3 installation on a HP compaq nw8000 follow.

After my recent hard-drive crash I had to reinstall Linux on it. Since I got a clean drive from HP and I haven’t used Windows on the laptop I decided to use the whole drive for Linux. If you need to keep Windows, I suggest you look at my notes on installing Fedora Core 2 on the same laptop.

Updated 2005-04-07: Added information on getting the wireless network to work.

I let the installation process handle the partitioning of the drive. I did consider splitting /home logically from the rest but then decided against it. After all, MP3’s and digital pictures are what eats up a lot of my drive space. Package selection was done according to my tastes, I’ve never learned to use the default packages and have always preferred custom selections of the packages to be installed.


After the installation was complete, I naturally updated all of the packages and the kernel version. yum did a good job in updating – even updating the kernel in the process, which is something apt-get doesn’t do automatically.


The new driver supplied by ATI worked out of the box with the kernel (2.6.9) originally supplied by FC3. However, the updated kernel (2.6.10) caused problems with the driver from ATI. Luckily others have created RPM packages of the driver and necessary kernel parts. Once these were installed with yum and fglrxconfig was run to create the configuration file everything worked fine. I currently get almost 2000 fps with glgears. I use the display at 1600×1200 which works very well.

I haven’t tested the laptop with an external screen or a projector yet. I’ll report when I have.

Sound, Bluetooth, Firewire, etc.

As has been the case for several years, I haven’t had any problems with sound configuration out of the box. With FC2 the headphones jack didn’t disable the internal speakers from working, but with FC3 the headphone jack does disable the internal speakers. I recommend using separate volume controls for the internal speakers and the master volume since changes in the master volume don’t affect the headphones volume.

Bluetooth works fine (if you installed the packages) once the service is started – and the button at the top of the keyboard is pressed to enable Bluetooth. Gnome’s Bluetooth File Sharing worked immediately with my Nokia 6820.

I tested Firewire by hooking up my ASUS DRW-804P DVD-writer and using it. Again, everything worked right out of the box without any configuration work needed. The USB ports also work and connecting my card reader and memory stick worked.


The internal ethernet card works out of the box. I haven’t tested the wireless network interface yet as I don’t have a network with which to test it. Likewise, using Bluetooth to create a GPRS connection hasn’t been tested yet either. If I ever get around to testing them, this entry will be updated.

I do recommend that you turn off IPv6 since it slows things down if it’s on but isn’t used. You can do this by adding the line

alias net-pf-10 off

to your /etc/modules.conf file.

You need madwifi and uudecode to get the drivers for the Atheros AR5212 that comes with the laptop. To install uudecode, just type the following:

yum install sharutils

Then follow the installation instructions for madwifi and run the system-config-network tool to handle the necessary configurations. And remember, the buotton that enables Bluetooth also enables the wireless interface so you’ll need to press it (the blue light turns on) if you need wireless connectivity. Now you should be up and running.

Fedora Core 3 specifics

Since Fedora Core doesn’t come with everything you need to play MP3’s, DVD’s, and various video formats available on the net, I suggest for example the following sites for information on how to get things running:

That’s all for now, this entry will be updated as I test new features or parts of the hardware.

This report is listed at
TuxMobil – Linux on laptops, notebooks, PDAs and mobile phones.

4 thoughts on “Installing Fedora Core 3 on a HP compaq nw8000

  1. The bluetooth and wlan chips differ in the nw8000 models. Which version do you have?

  2. The bluetooth chip is (output from cat /proc/bus/usb/004/003 ):

    P: Vendor=049f ProdID=0086 Rev= 8.02
    S: Manufacturer=ACTIONTEC
    S: Product=Bluetooth by hp

    The wlan chip is is an Atheros AR5212 802.11abg NIC (rev 01) (output from /sbin/lspci ). As noted, the bluetooth chip works fine without any configuration, and I’m still working on testing the wlan connection.

  3. Any plan to describe about the card reader? Mine has SD one.

  4. No I don’t. From what I’ve read it requires some sort of kernel trickery that I’m not interested in dealing with. And since we shoot both SD and CF cards I’ve bought a card-reader that works like a normal USB-drive solving all problems.

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