openSuSE10.3 on Dell XPS M1330

My interesting foray into installing openSuSE 10.1 on a Dell XPS M1330 

 http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/

So... you want to install Linux [hopefully, openSuSE] on your Dell XPS M1330.  You certainly came to the right place.  I went throughquite a hassel to finally get everything up and running.  [relatively speaking].  Without further adieu...


System Specs:

  • Dell XPS M1330
  • Intel Core 2Duo T5250 1.5Ghz proc
  • 1GB DDR
  • Integrated Intel WLAN & Broadcom wired gig ether
  • WXGA LCD: 1280x800 
  • Nvidia GeForce 
  • Integrated webcam
  • Integrated Remote control
  • Slot loading DVD+-RW 
  • openSuSE10.3 x86_64 [dvd install]

 

Install: 

  • Out of the box, my machine had Windows Vista Home Premium... blah! I had to immediately setup some alternative OS. 
  • My first choice was to use openSuSE10.1, which I also have running on my Dell e521 Desktop.  Unfortunately, upon installing it and arriving at the yast hardware configuration, 10.1 did not recognize the wired of wireless NIC.  Time to upgrade... 
  • After downloading 10.3, I ran the install.  By trade, I'm a developer, so I installed quite a few packages that most desktop users would not require.  The install took just at an hour.  
  • openSuSE10.3 recognizes the Intel wireless 802.11 a/b/g card as well as the Dell [broadcom] gigabit NIC out of the box. 
  • Once you get to the yast hardware configuration, there are a few nuances that you must specifically configure. See the following sections before proceeding past the yast hardware recognition phase.  

Network: 

  • Everything seems to work fine.
  • The Intel wireless card works quite well with the SuSE wireless configuration toolbar.   
  • UPDATE: The default install of the iwlwifi drivers is version 1.2.2.  This version creates some interesting problems in staying connected to unencrypted networks.  Constant connection/disconnection/reconnection will occur.  You must upgrade to the latest iwlwifi driver, version 1.2.22.  Download and install instructions can be found here.  My simple instructions would be: 
    • Download 1.2.22
    • untar and type 'make' to compile
    • unload the driver
      • $> sudo modprobe -r iwl4965 
    • backup your old iwlwifi driver
      • $> cp /lib/modules/$KERNEL/updates/iwl* ./ 
    • install the new version
      • $> sudo cp ./compatible/*.ko \ /lib/modules/$KERNEL/updates/ 
    • reload the driver
      • $> sudo modprobe iwl4965

Soundcard: 

  • By default, the soundard is detected as required.  However, using the default settings, one can only get sound through the headphone jack.
  • Don't worry, there is a fix!  Go into the expert audio configuration mode. 
  • Highlight the soundcard detected [should only be one] and select `Edit`. 
  • You'll want to `Add` an entry.  
  • The config entry should be named `model`
  • The value should be `laptop-eapd`
  • See the bottom of this page: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=415363
  • The yast utility will prompt you to restart the sound drivers, do so and test the sound.  
  • WARNING!! DO NOT MUTE THE SOUNDCARD.
    • I just muted my soundcard from the taskbar and have yet to figure out how to turn it back on.  I've reset the sound driver several times with no luck... so back to headphones only! 
  • FYI: The volume controls above the keyboard also work!! 

Videocard: 

  • The video card will install itself as an Nvidia GeForce series.  The only configuration you'll need to do is in regard to the monitor. 
  • Make sure and set the native resolution to 1280x800@60Hz [under `LCD` section]
  • Also make sure to set the default resolution to this.  
  • Set the color depth to 24bit as well
  • UPDATE: In order to improve the video quality, I went ahead and loaded the latest drivers from Nvidia
    • Log into console mode as root: Ctrl-Alt-F2
    • You need to disable the X-Server, the easiest way to do so is initiate `init` level 3
      • $> init 3 
    • Run the Nvidia Install 
      • $> sh Nvidia-installer-version -q 
    • Run Sax to configure the video
      • $> sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia [this is a zero not, `O`]

Dell Remote Control:

  • My included infrared remote control actually worked!
  • Once the system is installed, go into the yast hardware configuration section and enable the Infrared device listed.  
  • I haven't tried setting up the "Play/Stop/etc" buttons, but the volume control from the remote works great.  

Webcam: 

  • The integrated webcam is actually a USB Omnivision Laptop Integrated webcam.
  • openSuSE finds it and uses the `uvcvideo` driver by default 
  • Haven't found a good video capture program that supports it, but I'm still looking 

BlueTooth:

  • Untested at this time [although OpenSuSE picks it up]

DVD Writing:

  • Untested at this time

ACPI:

  • The suspend functions seem to be working.  OpenSuSE detects the lid closing. 

DVD Reading [movies]:

  • This feature was especially tricky to get working.  
  • After installing your favorite dvd playing software [xine,videolan,mplayer, etc] and libdvdcss [all of which are available via community repos.... see NOTES].... your dvd's still do not play.  
  • This is because the default region has not been set on the slot loading dvd player [don't ask me why]
  • There is a utility available to manually set your region code
  • Download `regionset` from http://linvdr.org/projects/regionset/.  The i386 binary worked well for me
  • Compile/Install regionset.  
  • As root, run `regionset`
  • It will prompt you a few times to make sure you want to set the region, then select the region that fits your dvd feature [`1` is North America]
  • You should now be able to play dvd's

NOTES:

  • Make sure you enable all the community software repositories.  This gives you access to all sorts of packages [dvd players, mp3 players, codecs, etc, etc] 
  • The function keys also work to dim/brighten the screen