Debian sid amd64 on Dell Studio 1537
Installing Debian sid amd64 (March 2009) on Dell 1537 Laptop
This seems like a pretty good machine so far. There are
several hardware configurations. This one has the ATI
Mobility Radeon HD 3400 and the Intel 5100 WiFi card. All the hardware
seems to work pretty well except:
Some hardware that is often problematic on linux works fine here-- in particular,
the builtin sdhc card reader, and the builtin webcam.
- There is no driver for the fingerprint reader.
- The cpu/gpu fan monitor is absent (the fan functions correctly)
- The graphics card has different problems with different drivers. The
best seems to be the closed source ATI driver. (overheating occurs
with xorg driver)
- I didn't try the ir or firewire ports, but they probably work.
I installed a stock kernel 22.214.171.124. All necessary drivers are in the
kernel source and most are loaded automatically. But, the wifi
card also needs the intel microcode iwlwifi-5000-1.ucode. This
is available in firmware-iwlwifi (probably non-free).
Following are the drivers for the hardware.
Poking around in the stock kernel configuration to find
these modules is tedious these days. There may be infra red
hardware installed, but I am not sure. This Studio 15 has
one half-height mini pci-express card slot and two full size
mini slots inside. They, and the memory and harddrive, cpu,
etc. are easily accessible from the bottom panel. The
half-height slot has the intel 5100 wifi card installed. The
other two slots are empty and are labeled for wpan and
wwan. I wonder if other mini pci-express cards would also
work in them. The BIOS has configuration options for
- Chipset: Intel 8201I , ICH9
00:01.0 PCI bridge:
Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset PCI Express Graphics Port (rev 07)
and PCI Express Ports
Kernel driver: pcieport-driver
- USB controlers
Kernel drivers: uhci_hcd, ehci_hcd
09:01.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (rev 05) (prog-if 10 [OHCI])
Kernel driver in use: ohci1394
- 00:1b.0 Audio device:
Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
Kernel drivers: snd_hda_intel
- 01:00.1 Audio device:
ATI Technologies Inc RV620 Audio device [Radeon HD 34xx Series]
Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel HDA Intel
- 00:1f.2 SATA controller:
Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E SATA AHCI Controller (rev 03) (prog-if 01 [AHCI 1.0])
Kernel driver: ahci
- 00:1f.3 SMBus:
Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
Kernel driver in use: i801_smbus
- 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller:
ATI Technologies Inc Mobility Radeon HD 3400 Series
Kernel driver in use: fglrx_pci (proprietary from ati)
(can also use xorg ati driver, but see below)
- 04:00.0 Network controller:
Intel Corporation Wireless WiFi Link 5100
Kernel driver in use: iwlagn (also need iwlwifi-5000-1.ucode binary firmware from Intel)
- 08:00.0 Ethernet controller:
Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM5784M Gigabit Ethernet PCIe (rev 10)
Kernel driver in use: tg3 (tigon)
- 09:01.1 SD Host controller:
Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Host Adapter (rev 22) (prog-if 01)
Kernel driver in use: sdhci-pci
- 09:01.2 System peripheral:
Ricoh Co Ltd R5C843 MMC Host Controller (rev 12)
Kernel driver in use: ricoh-mmc (used for SDHC cards)
P: Vendor=0c45 ProdID=63fb Rev=82.29
S: Manufacturer=SONiX Technology Inc.
Kernel driver: uvcvideo
- AuthenTec 2810 Fingerprint sensor
P: Vendor=08ff ProdID=2810 Rev=17.03
S: Product=Fingerprint Sensor
No Kernel Driver available
- Sensor module
I bought this as a refurb from the dell outlet website
and saved 30% or so, althought the main reason was I needed
a quick delivery. But, a memory module was not snapped in
properly (it still worked). And a few screws were loose and
did not have the factory loctite on them. One of these
small screws plays an oversized structural role holding the
screen when rotating the cover and it was loose and causing
the screen to close improperly.
I imagine using ubuntu or something would have made an
easier and more complete install. But I am drawn to debian
like moth to flame. I tried the daily snapshot business
card of the sid installeer, but it did not find the hardrive
and the network properly. I used the Debian 5.0 business
card disk. I shrank the existing Vista partition to 55 GB
(47 were used out of the box!) I am keeping the Vista-- the
first time I have paid for microsoft since DOS 6.0 on a
preinstalled slackware machine in 94. (I inadvertently left
vista in save to disk mode and the shrink failed at
first. But, I rebooted vista, shutdown properly, and then
the shrink worked). I had to reboot windows a couple of
times after the shrink for it to start normally. The
installer asked me several times if I wanted to start card
services, which is the kind of thing the debian installer
has been doing for over a decade... plus ça
change . You may need to install grub and not grub2
(there is a choice). I installed grub2 on a different Studio
15 and it screwed up the vista boot. I installed plain old
grub. After rebooting vista it took four minutes or so to
boot, but then all was well. I installed only the base
system of debian. Reboot into linux. Change apt source from
lenny to unstable, then upgrade. Now you have a sid base
I also added
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org sid main
Each of the xorg radeon, radeonhd, and the ati proprietary
flgrx drivers are supposed to support the Radeon HD
3400. The radeonhd produced only a black screen. The radeon
driver works, but gives a little snow and the GPU
(thermaltake sensor 3) runs 69+ degrees constantly and the
fan is on high all the time. But suspend-to-ram works
s2ram -f -v -p -s. Note that the howto
for s2ram gives a long list of switch combinations to try
and this is not one of them. I tried all of them
methodically with init=/bin/bash. I almost gave up and then
tried this one for the hell of it and it worked. I am using
the flgrx proprietary driver, which built and installed
without much problem. With the same switches s2ram is
unusable because it gives corruption (well I played with
various xorg.conf settings but gave up) However, the display
is very clear and the GPU is cool and the fan shuts off. In
vt console, it is still hot and the fan is on high.
pm-utils and its quirk-checker say I am good to go with
'ati' driver. Everything is fine. But kpowersave uses
pm-utils and actually they fail to resume. But the s2ram
line above does work. Also the quirk checker admonishes me
for using the fglrx module.
Media keys I installed
'keytouch-editor' as root. There appears is a list of devices. Choose the keyboard.
Press an extra function key to confirm at the
The next screen is confusing. All you need is to
press the 'new' button. Then press a media function
key. Its name will appear. click ok. dont type anything anywhere.
dont choose any actions. repeat clicking 'new', typing a key
and then ok. Now save the file with some name. now run keytouch.
try to import the file. if this does not work, copy the file
to /usr/share/keytouch/keyboards. try to follow the naming
examples. restart keytouch and try to choose your file from the list . It
may show you your file, let you choose it, and then complain that it does not exist,
while giving you the name
it prefers that your file be called. rename the file to this name. restart keytouch.
choose the filename. now a configuration panel gives
you choices of what to do with the keys. The results are
saved with the system initialization files. This final screen is actually kind of convenient
and the media keys are then functional and fairly easily configurable.
Wifi catcher This seems to probably work, but I think it is OS-independent.
Backlit keyboard Controllable with the fn key.
Fingerprint reader 2810 AuthenTec. no driver available at this time.
Web cam Works out of the box and looks nice with 'cheese'. Other programs I tried
failed completeley for various reasons.
The finger print reader and webcam are connected internally via a usb bus.
Module rfkill_input allows the rfkill switch on the side to work. The wifi light
also works properly.
Ricoh card reader seems to use shdc cards fine. But I didnt test it too much yet.
Other software issues
Mathematica 3.0 for windows works fine in wine. The characters were all greek when I tried with
my last system.
Google earth There are some 32 bit compatibility drivers necessary. I think ia32-libs-gtk, lib32ncurses5,
lib32nss-mdns. Then there was a tip about disabling the libcrypt in the googleearth
install directory. It works now.
32 bit compatibility ia32-apt-get installs ia32 libraries under /emul. It uses trickery to show all 32 bit
intel libraries as available for the 64-bit bit platform, but with ia32- prepended to the names. Still there
are some kind of bugs with this system that are associated with perl.
Don't forget in the stock kernel to uncheck the option to load all the particular hid modules
automatically. ( a huge number)
Use kmix to turn off the annoying console beep.