Wednesday, 4 August 2010

How to install OpenSuse 11.3 on an HP TC1100 tablet

I was very exited to finally get my very own tc1100 in the mail yesterday. My first thoughts, of course, where: how can I get rid of this W7 and get a nice OpenSuse on there. Well, here we go:

1. Create an install USB

I downloaded the Network install iso at To make this iso bootable from a USB key, you need to install SysLinux first (either via Yast), or:

zypper in syslinux

Unfortunalty, whatever I tried, syslinux was not recognized. Turns out, you need the very latest version of syslinux (which was not available on my 11.0), so I booted up a 11.2 computer, did the same there and all went well.

Next we will unpack the iso onto a USB key:

Check which device is your usb key:

# ls -l /dev/disk/by-id/*usb*

his will print out something like the following, with sdX being the actual device (for example, sdb in my case).

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 2010-03-05 18:22 /dev/disk/by-id/usb-SanDisk_Cruzer_Colors+_4527710EBF819BC0-0:0 -> ../../sdX
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2010-03-05 18:22 /dev/disk/by-id/usb-SanDisk_Cruzer_Colors+_4527710EBF819BC0-0:0-part1 -> ../../sdX1

Once you know your device name, eject it:

# umount /dev/sdX1

And write the uncompressed iso to it:

# dd if=/path/to/iso/openSUSE-11.3-NetworkInstall-i586.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=4M;sync

2. Boot the TC1100 from USB

Put the USB in the TC1100 USB port and power on the tablet. On the bootup screen, press the scroll button on the top of the computer to enter the boot menu. Once there, you can change the boot order under the menu tools. Make sure to look under Hard Drive, that was where my USB was hiding.

3. Install OpenSuse 11.3

Once you boot from the USB key, you see the installation program start up. Just follow the steps like any regular Linux install. Make sure to select the tablet options under software.

Oh yeah, since we are using the network install... be sure to connect to either an ethernet network or a wireless network. I did my install wireless, I was impressed that my wifi card was recognised out of the box.

Voila... around 3 hours later, I had a full OpenSuse install.

4. What works out-of the box

As mentioned before, wifi works out of the box. The tablet seems to be functionning for the most part so far. The stylus pointer also works (exept for the right button).

5. Graphics card driver

The GeForce 420 needs the legacy NVIDIA driver. Unfortunately, OpenSuse 11.3 no longer offers the precompiled legacy drivers. It does however offer an opensource 'nouveau' driver, that supports the card. I decided to use the original NVIDIA installer that is offered by NVIDIA here: For me, the driver did not work. So I just did nothing and used the nouveau driver.

So far, compositing does not work, but I can use xrandr to rotate my screen.

PS: I compiled the driver from NVIDIA manually, but it did not function properly and caused my xrandr to stop working, so I'll stick to nouveau for the time being.

6. Enabling 3D effects and compositing
not yet

7. Create a screen rotation script

screen rotation should work with:

xrandr -o left


xrandr - o normal

Let's create a file (set permissions to executable) with the following contents. I call the file rotate:

rotation="$(xrandr -q --verbose | grep 'connected' | egrep -o '\) (normal|left|inverted|right) \(' | egrep -o '(normal|left|inverted| right)')"
case "$rotation" in
# -rotate to the left
xrandr -o left
xsetwacom set "Serial Wacom Tablet" rotate cck
# -rotate to inverted
xrandr -o normal
xsetwacom set "Serial Wacom Tablet" rotate none
# -rotate to the right
xrandr -o normal
xsetwacom set "Serial Wacom Tablet" rotate none
# -rotate to normal
xrandr -o normal
xsetwacom set "Serial Wacom Tablet" rotate none

The xsetwacom command makes sure that the tablet's stylus functions properly.

In order to make this executable, right click on it and set permissions to executable.

cp /pathtofile/rotate /usr/bin/rotate

will make it a real command. You can type rotate in a terminal and see what happens...

8. Fix the tablet hotkeys and get right click

Download xbindkeys. This utility needs compiling, so make sure you have gcc etc installed.


./configure --disable-guile
make install

create a file:


with the following contents:


This will assign some useful commands to the top buttons. You can use the command xbindkey -k to find out the code of a button (or use xev)

To autostart:

ln -s /usr/bin/xbindkeys /home/dorien/.kde4/Autostart/xbindkeys

9. Some useful aps

cellwriter, xournal,...

10. What's left..

Jacksense in not enabled, so if you plugin headphones, you can still hear sound through the speakers: just click o
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n the mixer icon and configure channels, add line jack sense and uncheck the box. That fixes that.

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