Installing Linux on an Inspiron 500M
By John Madden
Master copy here
29th October, 2003 -> Wireless now working.
Dell Inspiron 500M
CPU: 1.3Ghz Pentium M
HardDrive: 30GB HD
DVD/CD: 8x DVD <- Working
Graphics: Intel Extreme Graphics <- Working
Sound: Intel audio controller <- Working
Modem: 56k integrated Intel AC'97 <- Working
10/100 NIC: Intel integrated <- Working
Wireless: Intel Pro/Wireless 2100 <- Working
Others: USB <- Working
ACPI <- Working
Infra-Red <- Working
PCMCIA <- Working
I booted this computer the first time I got it, and was presented with
a Dell screen to press any key to accept the licencing agreements for
the pre-installed Microsoft software - so I put in a Debian CD and
pressed the power button! Hit <F12> for a boot choice, chose the DVD
drive and booted the Debian CD.
I didn't need to choose any special boot options, just went with
the standard 2.2.20-idepci kernel on the CD. The only trouble with this
is it didn't have the ethernet module, so I would advise booting the 2.4
kernel and installing that one. As it happened, I installed a 2.4 kernel
from the sources on the CD so I could use the USB Mass Storage module to
get the sources for the ethernet card from a usb memory stick. This
module is included in later 2.4 kernels (I don't know if it's included
in the 2.4.18 kernel on the CD).
Pretty simple really. You just need a 2.4 kernel with the e100
module, or you can download the sources from intel.
This is also pretty simple to get going properly. Thanks to a
lot of other people who had to set up this card before, there are plenty
of resources on the web about it. Intel provide kernel drivers for this
card (an i830 module). This is also provided in later kernels aswell.
For X to work, you choose the i810 driver for the card. While this does
get X working, because the card uses shared memory, it only manages
640x480 at 16 colours. To get around this, there is a program out there
called 855patch which you can use to set the video memory. So, I added
the following line to my startx script (towards the start of it)
Then, in the Device section of my XF86Config-4, put the following:
Also, since it's a very bad thing to always run as root, I setuid root
on 855patch, since it needs root to set the video ram.
Simple enough, just use i810_audio and ac97_codec.
I got the pctel drivers from linmodem and with a small change that I
found on the web, it works fine. The change you have to make is in
src/ptserial/ptserial.c. The following line:
#define PCI_DEVICE_ID_I845 0x2486
should be changed to
#define PCI_DEVICE_ID_I845 0x24c6 <-- change 2486 to 24c6
Then, ./configure --with-hal=i8xx; make; make install and modprobe
ptserial should detect the modem for you.
For all those searching for the answer to the Intel Pro/Wireless
2100 under linux question, look to
www.linuxant.com and download their
driverloader. It's a wrapper around windows drivers, so you need the XP
drivers for the card, but it works!
And, while I'm at it, I want to thank Marc Boucher of linuxant for
taking time one evening to ssh (through loops and forwards) to my laptop
and mess with the settings until he figured out what was causing the
problem and sorted it out for me.
Support this company. This is the second time they've saved
dedicated linux users from the drudgery of Windows for their networking.
Works fine. Use usb_uhci module
Works (I presume), use yenta_socket module
I presume it works ok. I doubt I'll need to use it. Use any of the
irda modules that come with the kernel.
Works fine with the ACPI kernel modules. I'm running 2.4.22-ac4 now
and the following script (again, found on another site on the web) puts
the machine into sleep mode:
xset dpms force off
hdparm -y /dev/hda
echo "1" > /proc/acpi/sleep
Then, re-awakening the machine is just a matter of hitting the power
button. You will have to export XAUTHORITY aswell before the above
script works for you, but you get the general idea.
500M and kernel 2.6
I compiled 2.6.0-test7 to see if that had any extra support for the
machine. It turned out that more stuff works in 2.4.22-ac4 than in
2.6.0-test7. ACPI doesn't want to work at all. The pctel modem drivers
are for a 2.4 kernel and would take some work to port to 2.6. The rest
of the stuff I tested was fine (graphics, network and sound).