Geeking for the hack of it (HP TC1100)

For any who aren’t familiar with the TC1100, here’s a link to the device Wikipedia article…because why wouldn’t it have one? Clicky


A decade and a half ago I bought an HP TC1100 from my employer’s hardware supplier.

It served as my functional laptop in my road-warrior gig for about 5 minutes before I left consulting. Afterwords, it sat in a box, it sat on a bookshelf, and on a desk at my mom’s house until Windows XP went out to pasture and mom graduated to an iPad.

Recently the TC1100 came back to me, still in reasonably good physical shape, but with its grossly outdated OS. I decided I’d have a go at resurrecting it to serve one specific purpose: I need something in the kitchen to display my recipe library while I’m cooking.

In a storm of whimsy I tried it with:

  • Arch kernel 4.6.4 but had no luck getting the disk partitioning sorted out in a meaningful way. This is my failing, not Arch’s – I still dunno what went wrong there.
  • Ubuntu 16.04 minimal, with LightDM, & a greeter hack for Onboard on-screen keyboard, which hooks the OSK into the accessibility options at start-up. What that means is I don’t need the keyboard to operate the device. This approach worked, but the unit ran very sluggish.
  • Android 6: an endless loop of kernel panic.
  • Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” with Xfce, retired MDM in favor of LightDM, permitting me to re-use the greeter hack.

I stopped at Mint+LDM+Xfce because it met my principle goal.

Some asides I’m still flirting with:

  • Running Android applications
  • Using the WACOM drivers for Linux to “paint” on marvelously underpowered hardware