Debian Sarge on Dell Inspiron XPS Guide (Net Installer)
This documentation is distributed freely by initialdrifteg6. This comment is not to be deleted. Actually.. Don't modify this at all! If you want to add something to it then please add it to the bottom and note the date so there will be some kind of log. You should gaze this documentation and definately print it out before doing anything!
Refer to the bottom of this documentation for references and other links that might be useful. I was influenced by some of the documentation references below.
I nor any partner here will be held responsible for anything. NOTHING. I did this and it worked for me. Period. You need to do anything else. I have provided this information for free and have released myself and and contributing party from any liability for damages done due to neglegance or any other reason that might exist. Proper research should be done for anything in life prior to attempting it... Especially since the XPS and 9100 are not cheap computers.
Boot from the debian linux cd using the command
During the setup you will want to be stepped through many steps. All of the information and questions asked by the setup was fairly easy for me to understand so please message me if you have any issues with this. Honestly i'd be frappin suprised if anyone else around is actually installing Debian Sarge on a Dell XPS. The mix isn't that common since the XPS was supose to be a gaming machine... Almost makes me wonder why linux wasn't preinstalled with cedega to begin with. Once we're through with this documentation you'll be playing Counter-Strike faster (better fps) than you would on your Win32 Box.
A few steps that i will tell you that i did since i do remember them off the top of my head. I decided to do a dual boot with Microsoft Windows XP and Debian's Net Installer Version of linux. Once the command above was ran, it asked me languages crap. Do that. Bla bla bla. It'll as for partitions. Since i already had Windows XP on here i decided to keep that partition. (oh yea... forgot to mention... I partitioned my harddrive in Windows before even bootin up the linux CD... see... i told you that this documentation should have been read or atleast gazed prior to installation. and don't make fun of my inability to use the shift key... i like lower case letters! uppercase letters are STUPID! (i work with a bunch of drafts men and aparantly they are all stupid cause they can't grasp the concept that American English DOES have lowercase letters. Once you have your two partitions, then boot from the debian cd)
Tell the installer not to delete all the partitions but to manually edit the partitions. You should see your NTFS Partition and perhaps some other dell partitions... I deleted that crap (minus the NTFS and the 40Meg Dell Utilities) because i'm just famous like that... I really don't care what dell had on there. But Dell was taking up valuable HDD Space on my computer! But i took the 30GB unformatted partition (you will most likely have a different size partition) and make 29GB of it an ext3 format, mounted at / and used default settings for the rest. With the remaining 1GB i made a SWAP format partition. I made all of my partitions primary since i don't plan on making any other partitions... 4 is enough for me...
Once you've finished setting up the partition layout, i made sure that i was to install the Grub Boot Loader to the hda0 location (MBR) *Master Boot Record*
You'll probably go through many more steps which i forget, but one thing that i do remember when the setup unmounts your cd and reboots. Make sure that you tell it to load off the the HTTP and not the CD. since this is infact a NET INSTALLER that we're doing. Once aptitude appears and it gives you a menu... All i did was hit 'g' to have it start downloading. 20 Minutes later it finished downloadin for me. If you're on a dialup or some other special connection... sorry... you're SOL (Shit outta luck) cause this is the only method that i have done this on.
I urge you to read each and every word on this documentation since you are pretty much like me (i'll take in assumtion), that you hate reading! So i'll be as informal as possible so it's as if i'm talkin with you directly. The first step that we want to take is to log in to the gdm (that graphical user interface that appears) and login. Take notice that you cannot login as the root here. So use the user that was created when the setup was still in progress. Load up the Root Terminal. This is located under the 'Foot' or 'K' button on the menu. Kinda like the M$ Start button. I'm sure M$ will find someone to sue about that one also.. Even though it was kinda Macintosh's idea to begin with.
Anywho. Press that "Start" button and select Root Terminal from the System Menu. Your root password is required. If you have already forgotten. Reboot with the debian cd and start this method over. We've all done it once before. Actually. Maybe you have, but i haven't =)~
At this point you might be wondering why i have actually documented this much... if you're really wondering you might wanna make something up cause i'm not gonna mention my horrible memory and tendencies to forget stuff... anywho... i've added this little section for the works and don't works on my system and the system specs. I figured that there might be many differences on people's systems.
Dell Inspiron XPS
Pentium 4 3.4GHz 800MHz FSB 512KB Cache
80 GB Harddrive (50GB NTFS & 30GB EXT3) <-- it's windows... of course it won't work! =)~
1024MB DDR400 PC3200 (512MBx2) RAM
128MB 8x AGP ATI Radeon Mobility 9700
Dell Broadcom Wireless A/B/G <-- it works but i haven't gotten WEP workin on it. it works on wifi spots
WUXGA (1920x1200max) LCD Screen
You will want to update the resource lists on debian so we can get the latest and greatest.
Once updated (should only take a few seconds) We'll want to upgrade the distribution. I did this by the following command.
It is not necessary, but my old roommate was being a douchebag and told me that i HAD to use this command instead of the apt-get upgrade. And please keep this in mind. This documentation is MERELY what i did. Down to the single click! And it works! This does work and i don't care what anyone says!
After doin the upgrade (not dist-upgrade, which i haven't ever done actually.) The computer decides to tell you that it is imperitive to do a reboot. I took it's advice and did as such right now. The command that i did to do the reboot was REBOOT <-- in lower caps smartass! =) *wink*
When it reboots login again and start up the root terminal again. This time we will want to get the Kernel Sources
apt-get install kernel-source-2.6.8
Change your directory.
Tar (if you don't know what this is then i'd suggest that you just go back to windows. Granted everyone has to start somewhere, but this is basics of basic compressions) Unzip (Untar) the compressed using the command below... this more or less with just unzip it into /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8
tar xvfj kernel-source-2.6.8.tar.bz2
You need to do the following command. This is very important. It will map /usr/src/linux to /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8 Do this NOW!
ln -s /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8 /usr/src/linux
Do this command below... Don't ask me why.. i just know it helps when installing some programs... It gets the kernel headers. If it doesn't work for you then you might have to do something like apt-get install kernel-headers and then select your kernel version from a list... it might end up like looking like apt-get install kernel-headers-2.6.8-1-386 or something, but the command below worked successfully for me.
apt-get install kernel-headers-&(uname -r)
Congratulations. You have successfully setup your basic debian box. Now we get to the goodies... Video Card, Wireless Internet Card, and Sound Card.
I'll start with the Sound Card since it's the easiest of them all!
First... I do not like the drivers used be the debian net installer for the sound. I opted to use Alsa. To install this program i (from the root terminal) ran the following command.
apt-get install alsa
I needed something to test the program to make sure that it worked so i decided that audacity was a good program to test. And of courses this is another package not included but available by debian. So go ahead and install audacity.
apt-get install audacity
Now it's time to configure your sound card. Run the command below and just be patient and hit enter on Everything! that's what i did and it worked!
Test to see if it comes up correctly. (To get it to work right i had to run a volume control program first. I found one under "Start" --> Multimedia --> Volume Control. Then Run audacity to see if any error messages occur. If not then try recording something from your microphone (be sure to set the microphone to record... i over looked that in audacity and was wondering what the heck was going on!) So run Audacity with:
This section is probably a bit confusing and might take you a bit of time to get the hang of it, but here we go!
First we need to install alien. This program will convert any RPM package to a DEB package! YAY!
apt-get install alien
Then we need to get a script from a server which is found on and written by the owner of Http://kanotix.com/files/
to get the script use wget and type:
since linux is kinda funny about installing drivers while in the XWindows... be so kind to logout! you will need to do this by stopping gdm with the following command:
This will bring you into a "dos" enviroment. login as root and direct yourself to the directory where you wgeted that install-radeon-debian.sh file. If you forgot where you put it then SHAME on you! type startx and go find it! whenever you found it just log off the machine with the actions menu or the start menu (depends on what front end you are using) alright... let's proceed. run the script with the following command!
silly thing will access the internet again and will take it's time downloading stuff from the ati website. (fglrx drivers) Once it's finished it'll boot back into the XServer with startx... it'll automatically log you into the root account since that is the account you should be in right now! unfortunately even this guy who wrote the script didn't get everything down as it wouldn't work on my computer! arg! but i did find some changes to make! run the terminal and get these two files
the stupid thing still doesn't have the right file path of your drm files so around line 182+/- in the /lib/modules/flgrx/build_mod/make.sh file i changed the line to
and there in the /lib/modules/fglrx/build_mod/2.6.x/ is a file called firegl_public.c and two lines in it are
and they need to be
once you have done that type
once that is finished, run the root terminal (you should already be in the root account, but anyways) type the following to change directories
we're gonna compile this sheit now!
and this should create your modules!
and this should go in and install your file! run the program kedit as root and open up the /etc/X11/XFConfig-4 file. scroll down to the bottom (near the bottom) and change the 24 bit resolutions to something that you like... you might see "800x600" or something else... since i have the WUXGA (i think that most inspiron xps will have this) i set my highest resolution to "1920x1200". just add whatever resolutions that you know your monitor supports and you'll be set.
tada! reboot your computer. don't ask why. just do it right now! login again and run the following in a terminal screen. if you see direct rendering: Yes then you are a good boy/girl for following the instructions correctly!
glxinfo | grep rendering
This section is rather painless as well... I haven't tested this as i'm typing it so it might not be 100% accurate, but at the same time i have installed this damn wireless setup on this same laptop probably about 10 times now (i get a sudden change of mind and decide to format all too often) hence the reason for this documentation and for your entertainment and educational purposes as well of course.
Under KDE there is a wireless configure program... Start --> Internet --> More Programs --> KDE Wireless Manager
This program requries the wireless tools. use apt-get to get them
apt-get install wireless-tools
first... don't use linuxant. i actually bought their driverloader and it was a waste of money... they give you a spiffy web front end for their software and that's all... you're much better off downloading ndiswrapper which is freeware through open source of course. You can find the download section of this program on sourceforge.net
Above is the reference for this file and i used the version 0.12.... download this file and remember where you saved it... I did this whole setup as the root user so you can to if you want, but i don't care... i dunno if there are any restrctions or not. anywho... once downloaded, unzip the sucker
tar zxvf ndiswrapper-0.12.tar.gz
this should have created a folder called ndiswrapper-0.12... change your current directory to this folder by typing
At this time you will want to compile the program. to do this type
once it's installed you'll wanna install your wireless drivers. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THIS WORKED FOR ME! I KNOW THAT FOR SURE! if it doesn't work for you, you can try to contact me... i'm initialdrifteg6 on aim. identify yourself as i will not otherwise respond. You need to get your windows drivers. Download them from dell.com and you will need the data in the folder AR. i think that dell's driver comes in exe form and when you extract it it'll be under like C:\dell\ somethin something something... note that i used bcmXXXX5a.inf.... i forget the full name of it, but there will be two inf files in the AR folder.... you should use the *5a.inf opposed to *5.inf.... Again! this works for the Dell Broadcom wireless a/b/g card. it might work for yours, it might not... who know! worked for me and i'm happy.
to install the windows driver type (change location to the location of your driver and change XXX to whatever the actual file name is.
ndiswrapper -i /LOCATION/bXXX5a.inf
you can check and verify that the driver is installed...
ndiswrapper -l <-- that is an L... if it's there it'll be like
bcmwl5a drivers loaded, hardware present
configure your device!
iwconfig wlan0 mode Managed
iwconfig wlan0 essid <ESSID>
iwconfig wlan0 key restricted <KEY>
iwconfig wlan0 up
once you see that there you can build the module script with ndiswrapper for the modprobe proggy...
do this now
I rebooted and it took in effect... i'd suggest doin the same... and most likely if you have gone through and read this manual to this point, then you'll realize that i haven't been wrong yet *wink* =)
I found a userspace daemon called LinEAK (Do an "
apt-get install lineakd
which is a program that will catch all those special keys on your computer. It's dead simple to set up and use, and you can program the keys to do whatever you want. For instance, I have mine set so that the Play button runs a script that I have set up to play music using xmms.
To add support in lineakd for the XPS special buttons, add the following to the bottom of your lineakd.def file. This is in /etc/lineakd.def in Debian, might be in /usr/share/lineakd under another distro. (Don't change /usr/share/lineakd/lineakd.def in Debian, as it won't affect anything).
brandname = "Laptop/notebook"
modelname = "Dell XPS and Inspiron 9100"
Play = 162
Previous = 144
Next = 153
Stop = 164
VolumeUp = 176
VolumeDown = 174
Mute = 160
After you change the file, type:
To make sure that you edited the corect file and have support installed, then type: $
lineakd -c DXPS
To make a config file in $HOME/.lineakd/lineakd.conf.
Edit this file and add commands for what you want the keys to do.
My commands are: Mute = "aumix -w 0" Next = "xmms --fwd" Play = "xmms --play-pause" Previous = "xmms --rew" Stop = "xmms --stop" VolumeDown = "aumix -w -5" VolumeUp = "aumix -w +5"
as a user to start the daemon. You can add that line to your $HOME/.xinitrc ($Home/.xsession in Debian) as well to start as soon as your X session starts on boot.
A few programs that i like to use are listed as followed
apt-get install gftp #This is a nice FTP Program and easy to use
apt-get install mozilla-firefox #Watered down version of mozilla. very nice proggy
apt-get install gaim #Kinda like a AOL Instant messenger
apt-get install firestarter #Firewall Program
1. If you have purchased cedega (it's a program, very nice one in fact... then you will need the following program) apt-get install libpng3 (apt-get install libpng3)
References that i have and you might found/find useful!
again... these are not my sites but merely links to useful sites that might be able to provide support for/to you that was not found here. If you have any suggestions or comments that would make this documentation compelte, please email it to me.
you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with any questions or comments.