Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dell Precision M4500

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.
code :
su (+enter password)
urpmi --auto-update
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" :
Than open console, login as root "su" (+enter password). Open e.g. midnight commander by command "mc" and go to following folder : /etc/modprobe.d/ . Create a new file there with name alsa-base.conf and insert into it following line : options snd-hda-intel model=dell-s14. Restart computer and now microphone should work. Of course also open mixer and check if the channels are not muted or too low volume.

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.

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