05 November 2012

As with my previous post on installing Ubuntu 12.04, the HP Envy 6 is not supported by Ubuntu 12.10 out of the box. Some work is required to get ATI switchable graphics working and the card reader still requires a manual driver installation. On the bright side, the drivers for the Broadcom BCM4313 [14e4:4727] wireless card work flawlessly out of the box and the kernel no longer requires acpi_backlight=vendor.

As a change from my previous installation, I no longer dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu. If you install Windows 7 first and then install Ubuntu, it should detect the existing OS and configure Grub accordingly.

What works?

  • All primary components ** Processor, RAM, HDD, SSD, LAN (10/100/1000)
  • UEFI (secure boot)
  • ATI Switchable Graphics (see below)
  • Video output (HDMI and VGA with HP adapter)
  • Backlight/screen brightness buttons
  • Wireless (802.11b/g tested)
  • Webcam
  • Integrated card reader (see below)
  • Audio (speakers, built-in microphone, headphone jack)
  • Input devices (keyboard: all hot keys, touchpad: no disable button)
  • USB 2.0
  • Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP, mouse/keyboard input devices, etc.)
  • AC / Battery state information
  • Suspend and resume

What doesn’t work?

  • Audio mute indicator light
  • Disable touchpad button and light

What wasn’t tested?

  • USB 3.0
  • Wireless: 802.11n functionality
  • Any special functions of the integrated Beats Audio system.

ATI Hybrid Graphics (Radeon 7600m + Intel HD 3000)

Reading the bug list it is clear that this is a big problem. To summarize, at present only the open source drivers will work on hybrid systems. The drivers are ok, but slower than their closed-source counterparts.

I suggest you follow the instructions on Stack Overflow. This will get OpenGL and OpenCL functioning.

Note, to get 3D acceleration when using the integrated GPU, you MUST edit /etc/X11/Xsession.d/10fglrx and append one of the following lines to the LIBGL_DRIVERS_PATH line:

32-bit systems: /usr/lib32/dri

64-bit systems: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dri

The card reader

As with Ubuntu 12.04, the card reader does not work out of the box. You simply need some UDEV rules (see bug 971876) along with the driver. Until this bug is patched and the driver merged into the upstream kernel, do this:

wget http://planet76.com/drivers/realtek/rts-bpp-dkms_1.1_all.deb
sudo apt-get install dkms
sudo dpkg -i rts-bpp-dkms_1.1_all.deb
echo 'DRIVERS=="rts_bpp", ENV{ID_DRIVE_FLASH_SD}="1"' | sudo tee -a /lib/udev/rules.d/81-udisks-realtek.rules

The touchapd

As a note, right clicking is accomplished by a dual-finger tap. Dual finger scrolling can be enabled through the Touchpad tab in the Mouse and Touchpad settings.

SSD performance and lifespan improvement

There are several performance tweaks you can apply to make the SSD run a little faster and last longer. The only one I’ll suggest here is enabling TRIM so garbage collection

To /etc/fstab add the discard option to your SSD device. For example:

UUID=f0920b41-6ea1-404d-8d5e-5362624c77d5 /               ext4    discard,errors=remount-ro 0       1

Next steps

One feature I really wish worked is the SSD caching feature (called ‘Intel Smart Response Technology’ in Windows). As far as I know nothing like this is ready for production use in Linux. Lets hope someone gets working on it soon!