How to get OS/2 and / or Linux on your Compaq Armada 1750

At some point I might may this a fully blown mini HowTo, but for the time being its not ;)

OS/2 Installation and Setup
Linux Installation and Setup

OS/2 Warp 4 Installation

First off, you'll need to update your install disks for the new IDE drivers. Go to the device driver pack online, download the new IBM1S506 pack, and following the instructions contained there. If you want, you could use DANIS506 instead, but there's not much in it for the install (though I'd suggest you switch once your system is up). The DANIS506 IDE driver is on hobbes (just do a search)

You may need to put the mouse driver from WSEB onto the disks if you have trouble with it detecting the mouse. I normally just tell the pop up panel that I have a PS2 mouse and let it get on with it.

When using FDISK to partition, make sure you don't touch the compaq setup partition, which is at the start of the disk! Bootmanager can safely be installed after this on the disk, or at the end. If you want to keep your Compaq win9x installation, use partition magic to create some space. Personally I'd advise blasting it and doing your own install (if you do, you'll need to use fdisk under 9x to set the active partition back to bootmanger, as the 9x install disables bootmanager).

After the diskette booted install phase has complete, hit F3 to get a command prompt (don't reboot yet). Use tedit to verify only one OS2DASD.DMD entry is there, delete a second one if present.

Install PCMCIA support when prompted. Pick whatever machine you like from the list, as none of them work! However, we need to install the basic PCMCIA stuff so when we add our driver later on it'll work.

Ensure you select VGA as your graphics adapter even though it has selected SVGA. Also, don't let it install any sound drivers at this point. Pick other options as you want

Once your system is up, we need some Card Services for our PCMCIA. The Armada 1750 has a TI 1225 cardbus controller, which is Intel 82365-compatible. I use the TouchStone Software cardbus driver, which you have to pay for. Others may work, but the touchstone one is pretty good (but you do have to buy it). The settings you'll need with it are
BASEDEV=SSPCIC.SYS /E /VS:auto /AP:on /EC:auto /IM:0,ISPP /II:off /MX:off /RS:0x80000000 /RE:0xa0000000
Be sure to remove the BASEDEV=IBM2SS* statement that the PCMCIA installer put in.
There are a few free drivers out (including a new one from IBM) which may well work - see Dr Martinus OS/2 Notebook Site, scroll down to the TI 1225 section (also see the Intel 82365 section, as the TI is supposedly compatible)

Now apply a fixpack of your choice (As of Jan 01 I use FP 13 with a few post fixes), along with DDPack 2.

Now for sound and display :) For display, use SciTech Display Doctor for OS/2. Its quite cheap, and works beautifully (you may need to use GAOPTION USE LCDBIOS if your screen corrupts on reboots). Its available from, and the support with it is stunning. The card is an ATI 3D Rage LT Pro, which is fully supported. For sound, you need a new version of the ESS 1869 driver, as the ones with OS/2 cause a trap d on boot once your fixpack hits 10. I use version 2.17, but 2.15 or above should be fine. Check the ESS website or do a search on the compaq support site (the entry is under a different laptop). Alternatly, you can get a copy on Hobbes at the moment.

And there you are! Your Armada 1750 should now be working fine with PCMCIA, display and sound. Go enjoy!

For those of you wishing to use XFree86/2, things don't look too good (until SciTech do their driver). The problem that existed with linux XFree86 and the ATI / LCD bug still remains in the os2 port. Supposedly, if you plug a monitor in when you load XF86, it will work, but I have yet to try this. Recently I've been playing with the PM "fb" drivers, from and older XFree86 release. I've hit many snags, but it seems to work for exporting programs off your nearesr linux box ...

Linux Installation

I use Redhat 6.2, though most modern distros should be fine. You may hit problems with anything older than RH 6.0 or its equivalent, while RH 7 and such like should be fine. However, if you use RH 7.0, its got a beta version of glibc, so compiling your kernel (which you need to do to get the best out of your system) is a PITA, so take your pick ;) Note that some things will be different with non RH distros (eg debian), but being a RH user myself I can't tell you what (if anyone has details please email me)

The install should just go on fine. The graphical install might be fine, though I didn't test it. Go on, be hardcore and use the text mode one! Have a quick read of the partitioning bit of the OS/2 install for some pointers. If you want, you can set your compaq setup partition to be mounted - its a msdos filesystem (though for safetys sake I'd advise mounting it as read only by changing /etc/fstab).

If you're installing X, make sure your distro will give you 3.3.6 or 4.x.x. If it won't, don't install it yet, as you'll need a newer version to get X going without masses of hassle. The card is a ATI Rage LT Pro with 4mb of memory. Don't worry about the monitor settings just yet, as we'll change them later on

All being well, your system will just come up fine, as most distro kernels have everything you'll need. Once you've turned off all the un-needed services to secure your box, its time to go compile a new kernel (so if you've installed RH 7.0 or one of its derivatives, go find another HowTo and install the needed glibc and tools. I told you, didn't I?)

Unpack your new kernel tree to /usr/src. As the tarball will create the linux subdirectory, its best to move your existing kernel tree to linux-2.x.x, and remove any symlinks. Once its unpacked, move it to linux-2.x.x, and create a symlink to linux (ln -s linux-2.x.x linux). If you haven't done this before you should probably check out the kernel compilation howto. Now, cd to linux, and type make menuconfig and pick your options. You don't need scsi, math emulation, and I'd advise you read the help on most stuff. When you get to the Console devices, you need to select "Video Mode selection support" (CONFIG_VIDEO_SELECT), "Support for Frame Buffer Devices" (CONFIG_FB) and "VESA VGA Display Console" (CONFIG_FB_VESA). Don't choose the Mach64 framebuffer support, as it won't work with the LCD Display. Once you've finished, save the config, then hit exit (and save here too).

Now, run "make dep", "make bzlilo" (ignore the error at the end about lilo), "make modules" and "make modules_install". Now, "pico /etc/lilo.conf". We need to add our new kerner to the lilo boot menu, and take advantage of our groovey frame buffer support. Clone the existing entry for linux, then change the image to /vmlinuz, remove an initrd entry if present, and change the label to new. Finally, below the label line, add a new one of "vga=792" Now, run /sbin/lilo and check it added the new kernel.

We also need pcmcia support. If you're using a 2.4.x kernel, things are slightly different owing to some native kernel support for pcmcia, so read the documentation within the kernel tree. For 2.2.x kernels, get a copy of the pcmcia sources from For 2.2.17, get 3.1.20 or later. For 2.2.18, you'll need at least 3.1.23. Unpack this into /usr/src/linux and enter the pcmcia-xxxx directory. Run "make all", and configure as needed (the defaults are probably ok, but looking them up in the readme wouldn't hurt). Then run "make install", and finally reboot.

At the lilo prompt, enter new. All being well, you'll then see a smiling tux and get a high resolution console. If you don't like the framebuffer hi-res look, change the vga line in /etc/lilo.conf to 100 (the default) and re-run /sbin/lilo

Now to configure X: Ensure you're using the Mach64 driver, and then edit /etc/X11/XF86config. In the monitor section, here is my reccomendations (though there are others out there):

HorizSync 30-100
VertRefresh 50-100
# Modelines

# 800x600 @ 100 Hz, 64.02 kHz HSync
Modeline "800x600" 69.65 800 864 928 1088 600 604 610 640 -HSync -VSync
# 800x600 @ 60 Hz, 37.8 kHz hsync
# Modeline "800x600" 40 800 840 968 1056 600 601 605 628 +HSync +VSync

# 1024x768 @ 75.17 Hz, 60.29 HSync
Modeline "1024x768" 72.00 1024 1084 1220 1324 768 771 777 798 -HSync -VSync

You may wish to put the same in /etc/vga/libvga.conf if you intend to use SVAGLIB

And that should be it!

If you're wondering why framebuffer support, its the combined opinion of the linux hardware and kernel mailing lists. As time progresses, the need will diminish, but as the framebuffer support will get better, you'll have less reason for not wanting it! Until quite recently, if you wanted any X support, you'd need framebuffer to have your graphics card correctly setup. Otherwise, you'd get very bizare screen corruptions. With the latest Mach64 and SVGA X drivers, its not usually needed, but some problems may still be seen without it. The problem stems from some wierd bugs in the Rage LT Pro video bios which affect display to lcd displays. As the winblows drivers just worked around them, it wasn't until linux started treating the LT Pro like the other Mach64 cards that the problems were brought out into the open, and ATI formally admited they were there ...