I just got in my hands new laptop Dell Precision M4500. It is quite new model from Dell and I'm going to describe you some issues during getting Linux on it.
So I've downloaded my favorite Linux distribution Mandriva 2010.1 in its latest release. After installation and first restart I got blank (black) screen already during booting. Of course, the problem was with video card NVIDIA FX1800M and it's drivers. Than I had to start system into safe mode - command line interface.
In order to be able to install proprietary deriver from NVIDIA, it is necessary to install following packages : binutils, gcc, make, kernel-source, kernel-server-devel.
su (+enter password)
urpmi binutils --auto-select
sh ./NVIDIA-LINUX-x86-....(use name of your driver)
Installer will guide you through the installation and after restart you should be able to start system normally. Note : if you need to uninstall some package use command urpme.
Next issue was to get working my wireless : Broadcom Corporation Device 4353 (rev 01). To find out what wireless card (+other devices) you have, you can use command lspci -nn. Do not install broadcom-wl driver, it wont work. The only way I get it working was by ndiswrapper. So go to Mandriva Control Center->Install&Remove software and install ndiswrapper. Than go to Network & Internet tab->Set up a new network interface->Wirelelss->Use a Windows driver (with ndiswrapper )->pick up file with windows driver. You should download a windows driver unpack it and find files bcmwl5.inf and bcmwl5.sys. After all this steps, you can finally configure your wireless as usually.
Let's fix the last issue...Microphone is not working neither with pulse audio neither with alsa. First I've disabled pulse audio in Mandriva Control Center->Hardware->Sound configuration->uncheck "Enable pulse audio" :
Overall I'm quite happy with this laptop, but once again was proved, that new hardware is not well supported by Linux. I have this experience on all my laptops. All the issues was solved "out of box" later, based on users experiences and debugging. Hopefully this blog will be useful for others as well. Let me know by mail in case of some comments or questions.