Ubuntu on tc4200

During the fall of 2006 I experimented with Ubuntu Linux on an HP Compaq TC4200 Tablet PC. This machine has the following specification:

  • Intel Pentium M 1.73 GHz
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 40 GB Hard Disk drive
  • 3 USB 1.1 ports
  • rotating, XGA display
  • integrated Wacom digitizer and stylus
  • WiFi (802.11) support

My investigation was aimed at exploring the state of Linux support for tablet hardware. After my initial installation I used the machine full time for about two weeks.

Software Used

The following software packages were used:

  • gournal
  • jarnal

Hardware Idiosyncrasies

Notes of configuring the hardware.

Pen Support

The stylus/pen was correctly detected and configured by Edgy’s installer.

Screen Rotation

The rotate script rotates the screen 90° clockwise.

Binding a Hardware Key

In order to bind a hardware key (or two) to the rotation script, I followed these steps. Notes that the TC4200 has one hardware key next to the volume controls, above the keyboard, and three keys along the display. The display keys must be pressed with the stylus to be activated.

  • # install the xbindkeys package

    # Use xev to determine the scan code for the key; for example, the key next to the volume control has a scan code of 205

    # Add a mapping to /etc/X11/Xmodmap:

    keycode 205 = XF86RotateWindows

    # Create ~/.xbindkeysrc:


    # add xbindkeys to /etc/rc.local

The soft keys along the edge of the display have the following scan codes:

  • Q key: 12
  • rotate key: 10
  • ink key: 9

Additional Resources

date:2008-11-13 17:37:00