Linux on the Compaq Armada e500s

Page started 16th April, 2001. Latest update: 23rd November, 2003.

Latest update: 11th July, 2002.

What's New?

What can go wrong?

I cannot take any reponsibility for problems you may have.

What's Here?

Specification Desired system Basic Install XFree 86
ADSL Kernel settings Sound wacom and mousewheel
Window Manager Learning Difficulties Help Wanted
To Do Power Management PCMCIA Support


The manuals and specification for this machine is here. Mine has a celeron 650 with 128Mb, DVD and 13.3"tft.

I used suse because frank steiner has created a great Linux page on the Compaq Armada e500s with suse 6.4. Oh yes, and it comes on a DVD.

if you have a different laptop check linux-laptop, a rather useful page.

Desired System

I wanted a machine that would do everything, in particular adsl with usb, print, and tablet, as well as develop, and test..

Also to play sound, and have great javascript

Basic Install

Suse 7.1 installed easily with kernel 2.4

X Windows Support

The key configuration file for starting X windows is the /etc/X11/XF86Config file.

My XF86Config may get X Windows started on your e500. it is here. It is configured to run a serial intuos wacom tablet, and a logitech optical cordless trackball wheel.

More information on setting up wacom is here.

Xfree information on configuring XF86Config. XFree86 >version 4.1 supports the wacom tablet as well as mousewheel.

Kernel Configuration Settings

this uses a patched(see adsl) version of the stable source 2.4.2. This is the
configuration file I use.

It will probably be worthwhile copying the system map created into its correct place.



See Kernel, you need to write CONFIG_SOUND_MAESTRO=m in the kernel configuration file.

after booting type (as root): modprobe maestro in a terminal.

Learning Difficulties.

I wanted a simple interface, that our clients could use.

It needs to be fun, it also needed to allow some privacy, and prevent users from altering each others work.

We currently have no users on this notebook.

You might like to see our sites: peepo designed to enable users to browse the web without words. Our other site is for teachers, parents, carers and facilitators.

This drastically effected our choice of interface, and the way we configured the Window manager.

Configuring your Window Manager.

You can run KDE, and I do, for some emergency tidying up.

Icewm has a much smaller size and I recommend it.

You will need a Desktop and a menu, mine are designed for people with learning Difficulties.


This has links to Xkill, floppy, autostart and trash as well as the same items as menu.

Ksmiletris is far and away the most popular, it allows for an enormous range of ability.


You should be able to understand this...

prog rxvt xterm rxvt -bg black -cr green -fg white -C -fn 9x15 -sl 500

prog fte fte fte


menu Work folder {
    prog PAINT xpaint xpaint
    prog WORD kedit kedit


menu Games folder {
    prog SMILE ksmiletris ksmiletris
    prog PACMAN kpacman kpacman
    prog CARDS kpat kpat
    prog TRON ktron ktron

innitab is configured not to run x on startup.

each users homepage has the following two files also in /etc/skel

copy the files and add a line or two to each.

.bashrc =


.xinitrc =

kfm &

one client only wanted to use a single program, and another has great problems maintaining interest. for these clients it is worth opening their workspace with their chosen program running. save a blank page 350x200 as /root/popped

.xinitrc =

xpaint -popped popped  &

KDM has a great photo sign-in capability, the need for a password can be disabled:

Edit /etc/shadow deleting everything between the first and second colons for each client.

eg: sam::11128:0:99999:7:-1:-1:1075506364 sam will not need a password.

Help Wanted

Some chance.

finding other activities that are suitable and run ie kpacman, kinvaders and kasteroids,

and also re-sourcing ktron and others to make them playable, (ie slowing down).

To Do

Plenty: right now adsl/alcatel usb

Configure KDM to enable photo login

PCMCIA Support

Okay I left this in, because the machine has 2 slots, it just isn't a priority for me.

though one day I may well connect this machine to a small network.

Power Management

This may be working or not, I don't know about this.

Last modified on 16th April 2001 by
Jonathan Chetwynd