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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 08-20-2007, 02:29 PM   #16
briareus
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Registered: Aug 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Distribution: SourceMage
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Lightbulb My experience with the 1420n


Hi all, this is my first post.

Down to business: I received my 1420n about a week ago, and within 40 minutes I was sick of ubuntu and had wiped the drive to start over.

I installed SourceMage GNU/Linux off of Stable Iso 0.9.6, and compiled a barebones system with the tg3 driver for the wired ethernet compiled into the kernel. I then went online to ipw3945.sourceforge.net and downloaded the latest files of: ipw3945, ipw3945-ucode, and ipw3945d (the daemon). Upon untarring and installing the packages (as per the instructions which differed slightly depending upon which of the above package's README you were following) I found that the wlan did come up.

However, I had zero luck associating with any seen wlans for two days, until I happened to configure it with iwconfig as eth2, and suddenly it worked (whether to unsecured networks or using wpa_supplicant). So that's my advice, use eth2 for wireless if you have trouble with eth1, which I think might be trying to use the ieee1394 [firewire] connection.

Wireless done, and because by now I had spent so much time on that I hadn't even set up a graphical interface, I downloaded and compiled xorg-server (using xorg-modular packages). One thing I had failed to do was to also install the xf86-video-vesa, xf86-input-mouse, and xf86-input-keyboard, so my X was failing at startx at mouse/keyboard/video-driver.

That done, I was into a beautiful desktop using vesa driver at the full 1280x800 resolution i had configured in xorg.conf. I have yet to get and install the "intel" driver that supercedes the i810 that supports most video hardware up to the GMA 3100 found on the Dell 1420n. I have read that some people have been using the old i810 driver with mixed results, but mine would not start. I was receiving odd startx warnings about not finding devices to associate with PCI:0:2:1 or PCI:0:2:0, depending upon which one I specified as the card in xorg.conf. From what was mentioned to me by someone in irc, the phenomena may be due to the core2duo cores each seeing the same Intel GMA 3100 card, and duly assigning it two PCI ID's. Whatever the reason, vesa works.

I am at work now, so I cannot post any files, but if anyone wants some config sorcery I can conjure up some files if needed. I've got everything working except sound, but from what I read in this thread I think I can fix that tonight.

Have a great day.

~briareus
 
Old 08-20-2007, 02:30 PM   #17
Setlew
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Registered: Jun 2007
Distribution: PCLinuxOS 2007
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Talking Update: PCLinuxOS works fine so far!

Just got my shiny little Dell today. After validating Vista and making sure everything looked OK at first glance, I stuck my live CD of PCLinuxOS 2007 in to see if it would work. After fooling around with the laptop for awhile, I figured out that you had to start the laptop withOUT the Cd in the drive, hit F12, THEN stick the live CD in and boot. Odd, but it worked.

PCLinuxOS booted up the first time. I haven't tried twiddling with networking yet, as I don't have my wireless hub turned on at the moment and the room I unpacked it in doesn't have any unused ethernet jacks available; but I have a working X server and soundcard. It displays the KDE desktop as a squashed 1280x1024, which I am correcting at the moment, but everything else looks good. I'm gonna have some FUN with this thing!
 
Old 08-20-2007, 02:32 PM   #18
Setlew
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the info, briareus. I'll look into it if I have trouble with my wireless card.
 
Old 08-20-2007, 02:37 PM   #19
dcypherd
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Registered: Aug 2006
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Sabayon???

I have Toshiba Tecra A9 that has fairly similar specs. I have had a fairly similar experience to you. When I tried to install Ubuntu it dumped me to an initramfs prompt. I found a way around it but it would probably broken again at the next kernel update. I tried most of the distros listed here. The ones that seemed to work for me were PCLinuxOS which is OK. The one that I had the most success with was Sabayon 3.4e. It booted up and dected the max screen resolution(with widescreen). The only things that are not working yet are 3D and Wireless(which I found in PCLinuxOS). I couldn't even get ndiswrapper to talk to it without it cratering my system. I would like the 3d to be working but can live without it. I have a spare pcmcia card that I use for wireless. I think the problem is that the chipset is so new that the drivers are not yet perfected and so have not been put into repos. If there is anyone out there who has 3D/Wireless Working on this chipset please PM me. Sabayon is more advanced than ubuntu, especially when it comes to package management but it has a lot of nice things installed by default that are lacking in ubuntu. Like in sabayon as soon as I install it I have a completely functional system. Whereas in ubuntu You have to install flash codecs skype etc. I was actually surprised at the stability of sabayon as most of its packages are brand new or newer.
 
Old 08-20-2007, 02:57 PM   #20
Setlew
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As usual, I spoke too fast.

I'm having trouble with the graphics, as did gluis. Simply put, the video won't display anything remotely legible using anything other than the vesa driver (so far), and that one has a screwy resolution. It looks, as I mentioned before, like a 1280x1024 squished into 1280x800. It's also somewhat out of focus.

I'll do some reading and check up on this stuff; hopefully I can find a solution. At least PCLinuxOS loads without too much trouble, BUT...of course...I'd like a better video configuration.
 
Old 08-20-2007, 02:58 PM   #21
Setlew
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Thanks for the info, dcypherd! I had trouble with Sabayon a few months back, but I'll give it another look.
 
Old 08-20-2007, 03:28 PM   #22
briareus
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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Try the "intel" driver

it might be in the newest newest new kernel, but if not, look for xf86-video-intel or something like it. I do believe you can find the source at intel's webpage for downloading drivers like i810 etc. I can't remember the url. vesa in mine looks good, did you remember to put one of your modes as "1280x800" in your xorg.conf file?

I put "1280x800" "1024X768" "800x600" "640x480" as my modes, in depths 4, 8, 15, 16, and 24, defaulting to 24.
 
Old 08-20-2007, 07:08 PM   #23
Setlew
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1280x800 is in the xorg.conf file, with varying depths specified; indeed, it is the only resolution specified.

Did a little bit of reading on the net, and apparently there are quite a few people having "growth problems" as the X3100 graphics chipset is not yet widely supported in Linuxland. Since PCLinuxOS 2007 was released in late May, this would likely seem to be the problem. I'll have to ask the guys on the forum if they've come up with any fixes for this chipset.
 
Old 08-20-2007, 11:43 PM   #24
BlueVette
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Registered: Mar 2004
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Hey Setlew... I'm a pclinuxos user myself and have an Inspiron 1420N that I've installed it on. Regardless of the huge # of problems I've had with this stupid laptop, I think there still may be hope for it. This has been the worst laptop for linux I've ever come across. However, I have fixed the ethernet port, internal speaker issues, and other problems. But, one major issue still stands for me, and that is the vesa driver for xorg and the wrong screen resolutions. If you come across a solution for pclos in regards to that, please let me know. I'll be searching for a solution myself. (typically hanging out in #pclinuxos and #pclinuxos-support on irc.freenode.org)

BlueVette
 
Old 08-21-2007, 03:24 AM   #25
dcypherd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setlew View Post
Thanks for the info, dcypherd! I had trouble with Sabayon a few months back, but I'll give it another look.
My only recomendation for the installation is that if you boot into the live mode choose the option that disables 3d acceleration(otherwise the live dvd will crash). If you choose the graphical installation choice I don't think it prompts you for this. The difference between the two options is that the live option shows off all the software in a nice kde env. The graphical installation option is just a fluxbox env with the anaconda installer... I think that that is the one fedora uses??? maybe??? It was slick but also very powerful. The live mode allows for this as well. There are two options for downloads I recommend the dvd just cuz it allows you to choose KDE(default) and gnome or vise versa. It also installs all skype google earth picasa mp3 and flash. You also have the option to install a whole bunch of open 3d games. So I don't recommend the mini edition download the whole dvd which can be dled pretty fast of bitorrent

The biggest difference that I found with sabayon was package management. I still run ubuntu and debian on other machines and I like apt and synaptic a lot. Sabayon is based on gentoo which uses portage for its pm. instead of
Code:
sudo apt-get install package-name-here
you type
Code:
sudo emerge package-name-here
If you are not a fan of command line package management
Code:
sudo emerge kuroo
kuroo is a gui package manager kinda like adept or synaptic. It does take a bit longer to install packages because everything is compiled. But almost everything you need is included in sabayon and when you install everything is binary so it took me about 45 mins an hour to install. I hope that everything here made sense. Let me know if you have any questions.

PS My fave part of the kde install is that it uses the SUSE menu which is AWESOME... I am totally a sabayon convert
 
Old 08-22-2007, 05:26 PM   #26
briareus
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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Last night I got all sound working, compiled and installed kernel 2.6.23-rc1 which has beeter hardware support for this laptop, and it was good. I didn't get around to installing driver "intel" yet for the full glx support, I will work on that tonight. I'll post a blog about the whole experience soon. Have fun!
 
Old 08-23-2007, 11:36 AM   #27
bz0b
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I think the reason there is all this errors arising is because the hardware in the dell inspiron 1420 is too new for 7.04, out the box, i mean yes there are drivers after the install, but actually gutsy gibbon is running pretty stable and it picks up mostly everything out the box. i am pretty sure by the time that it is released it will pick up all the drivers from the cd. so just give it time, resort to pclinuxos or windows
 
Old 08-23-2007, 11:26 PM   #28
gluis
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actually, i've read that the kernel gutsy uses doesn't support the dvd drive in the 1420. (piix)

to get the cd/dvd to work on my machine, i had to add piix to the modprobe at boot. w/o it, it doesn't recognize the drive or media inserted in it.

i've seen some bug reports about this at launchpad. in short, if you get it running w/ 7.04, be wary of upgrading w/o checking to see if your optical drive is supported still.
 
Old 08-24-2007, 11:08 AM   #29
andipin
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Registered: Aug 2007
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Where can I find the drivers?

the first link will take you to where a kindly soul posted online the packages that come on dell's 1420n restore partition. (read: all the packages found to make it work). the second link is from dell's site, listing those packages and giving reasons why they are needed.

The files are not there anymore. Do u know where can I get them?

Thanks,
 
Old 08-24-2007, 11:22 AM   #30
andipin
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Registered: Aug 2007
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Where to get the drivers

Hi,
I followed the links but drivers are not there anymore, they were removed from the site. Do u think I can get them from U or something?
Thanks!
 
  


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