Linux on the HP Pavillion dv6110us (dv6000) Laptop

I purchased this notebook on January 4, 2007. I sent it in to both and Later, I quit my job, handed in the HP, and my new startup is all Macs. Neener. (Of course, our cluster is Linux.)


I installed x86_64 CentOS 4.4, which is like RHEL 4 Update 4. I needed a kernel update to 2.6.18 (details below) to get SMP working reliably.


The laptop came with (rough details):


This laptop has a broken APIC, at least according to this guy and this guy. Without "noapic" on boot, the system either won't boot at all or hangs fairly quickly. A better solution is to specify "iommu=off".

I found that SMP didn't work (again, the symptom is hangs) with the default CentOS 4.4 kernel, but does seem to work reliably with 2.6.18 (details below.)

Craig Bergren wrote to say that with a 2.6.20 kernel and FC6, he was able to boot with just "vga=791 iommu=memaper=2", and the APIC turned on.

A final important point is that USB 2.0 doesn't work unless you boot with "noirqdebug".

Component Status
BIOSI have version F.1A, which was released in November 2006.
Battery The 6 cell battery seems to be good for about 2.25 hours of minimal use and 1/2 that while really busy (building the kernel.) Battery status is in /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0, but I can't find a desktop battery applet for Gnome in the CentOS rpms. How odd.

Capacity is 4064 mAh out of 6000 mAh design max.

I later bought a 12-cell battery, it is full at 8800 mAh. It shows a design max of 6000 mAh, too.

USB Works with my USB keychain storage device, external mice and keyboards. USB 2.0 has an IRQ problem unless you specify "noirqdebug" -- there are spurious unhandled interrupts on the USB IRQ.
Video I installed the nVidia driver 1.0-9746, and answered "yes" to loading nVidia-supplied 32-bit OpenGL libraries. After running nvidia-xconfig, I still had to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to add "1280x800" (do include the quotes) to the Modes line in the Secreen section.

Incidentally, the nVidia driver will complain and not work unless "noapic" or "iommu=off" is specified at boot -- this is needed anyway to avoid hangs, but it's nice to see that there's something concrete wrong beyond the hangs.

built-in Ethernet Network Works fine.
built-in Wireless Network I have a "Broadcom Coropration Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN Mini-PCI Card", according to lspci. I don't seem to have a driver for it (no surprise there.) From what I read on the 'net, I need fwcutter, etc.

As a workaround, I stole my girlfriend's old Netgear MA111 USB wireless, which is based on the Prism2 chipset, and got drivers from After adding "alias wlan0 prism2_usb" to my /etc/modprobe.conf, it just worked.

Craig Bergren wrote me to say:

As of a few kernel upgrades ago, I'm now using the b43 driver in the driver stack ssb, b43, mac80211, rc80211_simple. It's a whole lot more reliable than nidiswrapper or the older bcm43xx.

He did not say what kernel he was using.

Modem I think I have a WinModem of some kind, but who cares?
Sound This was auto-detected as snd-azx, and works.
CD It comes up as a ATAPI 24X DVD-ROM DVD_R_RAM CD-R/RW drive. I managed to burn a DVD+R DVD from within Windows. Haven't tried burning in Linux, but it reads CDs and DVDs fine.
Disk I have a 100 gbyte disk, and at boot smartd says "Device: /dev/sda, Bad IEC (SMART) mode page, err=-5, skip device". Easy come, easy go.
Touchpad Occasionally on boot the kernel says "Unable to query Synaptics hardware" and subsequently the keyboard and touchpad don't work. I haven't seen this since I updated to 2.6.18.
Keyboard When I hold down control-somekey, the auto-repeat sometimes throws a somekey without a control. This is annoying for us emacs users! It happens about 1 in 20 characters when I am not touching the touchpad. It happens every time if I hold down control-somekey and touch the touchpad. It does not happen with shift-somekey. It still happens if I disable the keypad by pushing the button above it.

Windows doesn't suffer from this. If you touch the touchpad, it might stop auto-repeating, but it doesn't forget about the control key. [Actually I did get one email saying that the problem does happen sometimes in Windows.]

Kernel update

Due to SMP not working, and general worry about new laptops and old kernels, I updated the kernel to 2.6.18. I got the kernel from

I also needed the unifdef srpm, and built it first:

rpmbuild --rebuild unifdef*.src.rpm
rpm -ivh /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/x86_64/unidef-1*

And then I built the kernel:

rpm -ivh kernel*.src.rpm
cd /usr/src/redhat/SPECS
rpmbuild -bp --target x86_64 kernel-2.6.spec
cd /usr/src/redhat/BUILD/kernel-2.6.18/linux-2.6.18.x86_64
make mrproper
cp configs/kernel-2.6.18-x86_64.config .config
make modules_install
make install

After this I still need "noapic" or "iommu=off" on my bootline. But SMP started working more reliably. I still get ~ 1 lockup per 2 weeks.

Greg Lindahl
Last Updated: December 23, 2008
Ad revenue: 14,163 page impressions, 79 clicks, $14.57, through August 25, 2009 -- I'm rich!