Here is how I got Linux (RedHat 6.0) running on a Compaq Armada M700, on loan
from Compaq. The model I have is the 6400/14T, but the various models only
appear to differ in processor speeds, disk sizes and so on, so the actual model
shouldn't make much difference.
I gleaned much useful information from the Linux on Laptops page, in particular the Dell Inspiron 7000/7500 pages as these machines appear to share much hardware with the M700.
The following describes what I did: I was successful, but I guarantee nothing, and accept no liability for lost data, damaged hardware or any other untoward happening in your life.
Addendum. The machine has now returned to Compaq, so don't expect any more updates to this page!
My Computer -> Control Panel -> System -> Performance -> Virtual Memory -> Let Me specify ... then Disable virtual memory ...
Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System tools -> Disk Defragmenter
24 bit colour works, too, but is somewhat slower. When the native driver works properly it should be very fast, and 24 or more bits no problem.
This should now reboot to a working system.
Edit /etc/lilo.conf, and add
vga=791after label=Linux line, and run lilo. This does the framebuffer magic.
Addendum. I have been trying out the Mach64 driver version 3.3.5 in place of the SVGA driver, and it works well at 24 bit colour. However, it doesn't like hibernating and messes up on resume.
cd /etc/X11 ln -sf ../../usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_Mach64 XAnd edit XF86Config so the accel driver has depth 24.
Another Addendum. From Paul Foster:
I found that the XFree86_Mach64 server that comes with RH6.2 doesn't like the Armada - the screen really flickers badly. I removed the RH6.2 package and installed the RH6.1 version - works perfectly.
Get the Maestro soundcard driver. Update. This page seems to have disappeared. Furthermore, the Maestro driver is now in the standard kernel sources, so maybe it's on your system already!
alias sound maestroto /etc/conf.modules
If you get no sound out when you play something, start aumix and turn up the volume.
Reboot, and we are done!
Install the RH errata. Add users, install ssh1, ssh2, xv, realplayer, etc.
The hibernate (suspend to disk) Fn-blue button works as well. This writes a file to the Windows partition, though I am led to believe that a dedicated hibernate partition (type 0x84) should work if you don't want to keep Windows.
After a resume you may find the keyboard in a virtual terminal acts weird: hitting 'A' produces '^A' and so on. To remedy, press Fn-Scroll. This problem only affects virtual terminals.
Addendum. Lucent have released a binary-only driver (you may find it doesn't like the version of the kernel you are running), and there is work on open source drivers.
The picture at the top of the page was taken using a Canon S10, loaded using a Compact Flash card adapter in the PCMCIA slot (see the section on PCMCIA ATA/IDE card drives in /usr/doc/HOWTO/PCMCIA-HOWTO), and edited with the gimp.
Most things work (except the winmodem). It is pleasantly fast, both in disk and in screen: the 10G disk provides ample room (even with a bloated Windows partition), and the 14.1" screen is clear and sharp. Battery life is much as advertised, though the battery meter (asapm or equivalent) gets confused about the amount of time left.
The sound driver is described as beta, but works well with only an occasional glitch. There is some crosstalk noise from the disk drive, but if you turn the line1 volume right down it disappears. Sound reproduction is actually quite reasonable through the stereo speakers: this machine makes a good portable CD player!
Russell Bradford, November 1999.