This page shortly describes my experiences in running Debian GNU/Linux on a Dell Inspiron 2500 laptop.
Specifications of my system
- Intel Mobile Celeron processor, 800 MHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 14.1'' display, 1024x768
- 24x CD-ROM drive (TEAC CD-224E)
- Floppy disc drive
- 20 GB harddisk (Fujitsu MHR2020AT)
- Synaptics Touchpad
Intel 82820 ICH2-M (USB, HDD)
Audio: Sigmatel STAC9700
Network: Intel 82559
Modem: Lucent LT Winmodem
PCMCIA: O2Micro OZ6933
- External connectors:
Audio: headphones, microphone-in, line-in
PS/2 for keyboard and mouse
I'm using XFree86 4.2.0 with the i810 driver. You may take a look at my XF86Config-4 file.
The 14.1'' and 15'' displays support a maximum resolution of 1024x768 pixel, the 12.1'' display can only display 800x600 pixel. The appropriate modelines for the generic VESA modes at 60 Hz are:
ModeLine "800x600" 40.0 800 840 968 1056 600 601 605 628 -hsync -vsync
ModeLine "1024x768" 65.0 1024 1048 1184 1344 768 771 777 806 -hsync -vsync
For framebuffer support, see http://i810fb.sourceforge.net/.
Xfree 3.3.x should also work with the XFCom-i810 X-server (and the i810gtt module, if you use kernel 2.2.x), which can be downloaded from
The touchpad works with the the synps2-driver of gpm. You can then use msc as repeater mode and then use /dev/gpmdata for XFree. There are also two special drivers for this touchpad which, however, I haven't tested yet:
The usage of the standard kernel i810_audio module is problematic: the STAC9700 chip is only capable of a sample rate of 48000 Hz. Some programs play sound with a lower sample rate too fast or even refuse to work when they can't set the hardware to the proper rate. You should use the ALSA intel8x0-driver instead, which works fine (except some clicking noise you can sometimes hear). I'm currently using version 0.9rc3.
I've added the following lines to /etc/modules.conf (or a file in
/etc/modutils/ respectively on a Debian system):
alias char-major-116 snd
alias char-major-14 soundcore
alias snd-card-0 snd-card-intel8x0
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-intel8x0
alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss
USB works fine with the kernel drivers uhci
PCMCIA works with the yenta_socket kernel module. Just select the options "PCMCIA/CardBus support" and "CardBus support" in the kernel configuration. Don't forget to change the PCIC variable in the cardmgr init-script.
The eepro100 module works for me. There is, however, another driver created by Intel, which is introduced in kernel 2.4.20. You can also download it at their website.
If you have a laptop model with a Lucent modem (Device-ID 0x11c1:0x0448), you are lucky.
This modem works with the ltmodem-driver,
but you have to use a BIOS version of at least A08, which
is available on Dell's support website. With earlier BIOS versions, the
modem is not assigned an IRQ which is needed by the driver. The appropriate
lines in /etc/modules.conf (or a file in /etc/modutils/
respectively on a Debian system) are:
alias char-major-62 lt_serial
options lt_modem vendor_id=0x11c1 device_id=0x0448
Although this step should not be necessary if you use the .deb or .rpm package, the modem device can be created manually with
mknod /dev/ttyLT0 c 62 64
chgrp dialout /dev/ttyLT0
ln -s /dev/ttyLT0 /dev/modem (optional)
Newer models of the laptop seem to have a 3Com modem (model 3CN3AC3556B-D-100,
Device-ID 10b7:1007) built-in, for which no software is available up to now.
Direct Access Keys
The keycodes (visible with xev) are 129...132 for the four
"direct access" keys and 174 and 176 for volume down and up, respectively.
The only task is now how to tell your applications to use these keys. I
have mapped them to F13...F18 by adding the following lines to my ~/.Xmodmap
keycode 129 = F13
keycode 130 = F14
keycode 131 = F15
keycode 132 = F16
keycode 174 = F17
keycode 176 = F18
The ~/.Xmodmap file is sometimes considered deprecated. On recent distributions, this file may not be read during X startup or login. You can then add the line xmodmap $HOME/.Xmodmap e.g. to your ~/.xsession file.
APM does not work, except of powering off the system after shutdown. ACPI, however, seems to work, at least battery status information is shown and the system can be shut down by pressing the power button.