Running Debian Linux on a Dell Latitude c610
This page describes how I installed Debian Linux on a Dell Latitude
c610. That is the page describes how I think one should do, the actual
route I followed was a lot less direct with may false leads etc. Also
this was my first experience with Debian so I have probably done lots
of things in the wrong way.
My machine was configured like this:
I am relatively pleased with this laptop. It has good performance, and
I like the feel of the keyboard. It is equipped with both a glide-pad and
small steering pin. One nice development since my previous (old)
laptop is that now you can add/remove an external mouse and still use
the glide-pad without a reboot. The integrated network options leaves
me two free PCMCIA-slots. The only drawback is that the internal modem
is a winmoden, and that there are too many bugs in the BIOS.
- Pentium III Processor 866Mhz with SpeedStep
- 14.1 XGA TFT Display
- 16MB ATI Radeon Mobility M6 LY
- 30GB ATA Hard drive
- Modular Floppy Drive
- Integrated Network Card (3c905C)
- Internal 56k Modem (Winmodem, PCTEL 2304WT v.92 MDC)
- 24X DVD-ROM CD-R/RW Drive (Toshiba SD-R2102)
- Internal miniPCI Dell TrueMobile 1150 Wireless Networking 802.11
APM claims that the battery should last for almost three hours when
fully charged. And by inserting another battery in the media-bay I can
double that, which should be enough to last most transatlantic
flights. That is unless you do CPU-heavy activities like watching moves
etc in which case you may need a third battery to last all 8 hours.
I have recently tried to upgrade my BIOS but experienced some
problems. The versions I have tried and their problems are:
I have tried even later versions of the BIOS but all of them have had
the fan problem. But I just read on the net that the problem can be
fixed by simply pression Fn+z. I haven't had time to test this yet but
will probably do so soon.
- A04 Sometimes never reports the battery as beinng charged more
than 95% when on AC-power, but the battery shows 100% once the machine
is disconnected. Also the password enter screen you get after a
resume, if you have a BIOS passowrd, is an unreadable dark grey on
- A05 This version hangs on resume on battery power if it was on
AC-power when suspended. Also had the unreadable password screen bug.
- A07 No hangs here and the password screen is now readable. But
sometimes on resuming the thermometer gets stuck in a high setting so
the fans start at maximum speed. Also the bultin clock starts to loose
a lot of time (>1m per hour).
Currently I run A04 pending verification of the fan problem workaround.
The system came preinstalled with W2K. Since I had no good
repartitioning program I redid the disk completely. That is I
repartitioned it during the linux-install and then reinstalled W2K.
Installing Debian was kind of complicated. It turned out that the
kernel on the 2.2r4 cd-images did not support the builtin network
card (but it did support the wireless). I borrowed a Xircom-card which
I used during the installation. Things to think of during
Immediately after the installation I upgraded to unstable. I also
downloaded the kernel 2.4.16-sources and built my own kernel. I have
made my current kernel configuration file
available here. This file is for 2.4.19 which I run now.
- Make sure you setup the networking
- Do not install X11 since the video-card may not be
To get the integrated network card to work I added support for
3c590/3c900 series cards to my kernel, after that it worked
The integrated wireless card is located on the PCMCIA-bus so once I
got PCMCIA working I just added support for the Hermes cards
(Networking->Wireless LAN). There were two entries for Hermes and I
built both as modules. Although I think you only need the one with
Orinoco support. I also had to change the Itersil entry in
card "Intersil PRISM2 11 Mbps Wireless Adapter"
manfid 0x0156, 0x0002
Here I have changed
The PCMCIA-stuff in the 2.4-kernel works. But I had to change the
PCIC definition in
Currently I have converted and am using teh external pcmcia_cs package
for pcmcia support.
Suspending to memory works ok but I haven't bothered setting up
suspend to disk yet. I have received reports that the linux APIC
support does not work with this machine (it freezes). I run without
APIC support in the kernel and have no problems.
Xfree 4.1 and later has support for the ATI Radeon LY so nowdays there
are no problems here.
I currently use the support for i810_audio in the kernel. This works
Volume control buttons
With some hacking I got the volume-control buttons (Fn+PageUp/Down) to
work. First install the
i8kutils package. Then get the
source to this package. The source contains a newer version of the
i8k.c than what is included in the 2.4.16
kernel. Copy the new
.../kernel-source-2.4.19/drivers/char/i8k.c, enable Dell
Inspiron 8000 Support as a module and rebuild your kernel.
Once the i8k module is installed it is possible to read the status of
the volume-keys (it is also possible to get the serial number of the
/proc/i8k). The actual volume control is done
i8kbuttons daemon. I had to write a start-script
to this one and place it in
/etc/init.d/i8kbuttons and create links to it from
It turned out that I had to make some changes to be able to use the
cd-writer. I had to enable SCSI-support (as module) in the kernel. Add
make sure the links
/dev/cdrw exists and points to
might have to run
MAKEDEV sg scd in the
directory as well if
/dev/scd0 does nto already exist. I
am now able to burn CD's at 8x.
I haven't tested the USB-stuff yet but the kernel seems to recognize it.
I got email from some people who said that the drivers at
http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/pctel-linux/ might work. I tries
them and was able to talk to the modem, but I also managed to lock the
machine. I will probably make more tests.
- 3 December 2002: Made kernel config up to date (2.4.19)
- 27 November 2002: Added note about fan problem workaround
- 23 November 2002: Added note about modem and APIC, update X
- 22 April 2002: Updated all files here to the latest versions
- 22 April 2002: Added note about BIOS experiences
- 18 January 2002: Added note about builtin sound
- 13 January 2002: Added XF86Config and CDRW
- 4 January 2002: Added volume control buttons
- 31 December 2001: Initial version
Last modified 2007-04-21 17:59:49 by