Debian Linux on an HP tc1100


Mike Beattie has a blog called debian/ rules where he posted a recent article describing how he installed Debian Linux on a new HP tc1100 Tablet PC.  It took Mike a while but he claims to have all the hardware bits fully supported including the Wacom active digitizer.  He promises a future account that covers the conversion process in detail.  Personally, I’m not sure what you gain by doing this as a huge portion of the Tablet PC functionality is in the Tablet extensions to Windows XP and some great third party software written for them but, hey, it may just fall into the "because I can" category.



I expect linux has a long way to go before it reaches windows XP tablet edition’s feature-set, but then it can keep on going: as people are free to hack in whatever they like. I, for example, am working on making these things more left-hand friendly (, something that isn’t possible with windows at present.


Some good links I have found:

Stuff I have done on my tc1100 is:

mapped the buttons along the top edge (‘Q’ menu etc)
I used evtest (
to find out which codes were available, the following were available on /dev/input/event0

setkeycodes e002 230
setkeycodes e003 231
setkeycodes e004 232
setkeycodes e005 233
setkeycodes e006 234
setkeycodes e007 235

I used evrouter (
to map these codes to running some utilities / scripts I like.

what I did is available here: its pretty clunky but it works.
I am running the tabatha utility as one action via an entry in sudoers file ALL ALL=/usr/bin/tabatha – this is probably very insecure.

The xrandr screen rotation works fine using the NVIDIA 7174 driver. I haven’t tried the wacom rotate patch documented here:
I’ll have to do that next – the pen is totally useless without it – its pretty funny trying to use it rotated – totally nuts :-)

I patched and compiled a vanilla kernel

with the following tc1100 patches

and the suspend2 patches

I am still trying to get suspend/resume to work properly – this is currently the most broken thing in terms of functionality – to make it really useful as a mobile device it has to be able to be sent to sleep and woken up quickly and reliably and with all devices in a useable state.

and the madwifi drivers ( I have the W500 wifi card with the Atheros chipset)

cvs drivers are obtained by a:
cvs -z3 co madwifi

I use wpa_supplicant with this to log onto the wpa network at my office.

I edited my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to include the wacom input devices – one with rotation + single head & one
with the external vga head enabled using the NVIDIA driver and set the tc1100_wmi, wacom and wacom_acpi modules to be loaded at boot.
I also set one of the the init.d start up scripts to do the required:

echo “1” > /dev/ttyS14

I have a bluetooth mouse – a bluetake bt500 which works a treat.
Just change /etc/defaults/bluez-utils to have HIDD_ENABLED=1 and it works very well.

Gimp ( and inkscape ( both have pen input that works well with the tablet pen – they both recognise and use the pressure sensitivity.

Gournal ( is great for quick notes as is jarnal (

A commercial handwriting recognition product will be on the market in a little while – its being written by penandinternet.
The SDK is available here:
The comments on a fully developed program here the developer seems to be a debian fan:

An open source gesture recognition program is xstroke
available here:

Stuff that doesn’t work at all:

MMC card reader – haven’t looked into this yet – don’t know how hard it is.

The 3 buttons that “light up” with the tablet pen – used to launch MS Journal, the XP Tablet edition Keyboard, and do screen rotation. Again I haven’t looked into this yet & don’t know how hard it is.

I use crossover office & VMWare to run windows apps I have to use.

As to why – no viruses / stable / no limitations

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