Installing M6 on a Dell Vostro: A success story

Hi @all!

Just installed yesterday M6 on a brand new Dell Vostro 3700 (17" version) with an Core i3-330M and the onboard (or onCPU?) graphic card (Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator HD).

To sum it up here: everything went flawlessly, of course I knew of the openoffice problem and I deselected that, and I was aware of the network config problem – no problem to solve that after I have been reading this forum.

Especially I was expecting problems with the graphic card, as it is this brand new thing and I found some stories on the internet describing the problems which may have occured because of this graphic chip. But I didn’t have to select any special boot option to make it work, it really worked from the beginning – the correct xorg driver was used and the correct screen resolution was setup for me. When using the 3D effects in KWin, xorg is a little bit unstable and I sometimes found myself on the login screen (KDM) again. No problem for me, I deactivated all effects in KWin and the thing is rock-solid stable now.

This Dell has a Dell Wireless 1397 Mini Card as an WLAN/WiFi adapter, and after activating Networkmanager manually,as described in this forum already, I also had
to download some firmware, as there is a B43 chip on it and the firmware doesn’t come with openSUSE (I guess on purpose, may be a Licensing problem or smth. like that…). But openSUSE provides a script for that (/usr/sbin/install_b43_firmware or similar…) and this is therefore also no real problem…

I remember that I couldn’t connect to my WLAN though after activating networkmanager and installing the firmware and reloading the kernel module for the WLAN adapter: I could select my wireless network in KNetworkmanager and I also got to the point where I had to give my WPA2 Password, but I couldn’t connect – it seemed as it wouldn’t accept my password…
After a reboot though everything worked fine and I could connect to my wireless network – so try this if you cannot connect to your secured WLAN :slight_smile:

Also noteworthy (at least for me) is that really like everything seems to work on that laptop with openSUSE – for instance the sd card reader is properly supported and all the special function keys seemed to work (display brightness, sound volume… etc). Especially the sd card thing surprised me, as i never had a laptop where this thing was working before…

Well I’m sorry if I post here some obvious things which are no big news for some of you, but I really had a super-nice experience installing openSUSE on a laptop – this is only the second time I install openSUSE and really … I would like to do that more often. You must know the last time I installed a SUSE before was in SuSE 7.1 times and my first SuSE (how was it spelled correctly then?) was like 5.3 or 5.4 … what a change since then…

I think the installation process is really done very well – you have very sane default settings, even an expert with special needs wouldn’t change a lot in those, but if you have to you can easily do that in the overview tab … and after setting up everything, only then the real installation starts and there is no need of interaction then anymore. You can go away and when you come back you are prompted with the login screen and you can use the system straight forward. Thats really cool.

So if someone looks for a new laptop, and searches the internet beforehand (which you should always do when buying new hardware and planning to use linux on it…), perhaps will find this post and I can tell that the new Dell Vostro will be supported really well with openSUSE 11.3 and you can use it already very well with a current Milestone of 11.3.

Best regards,
Thomas

Hi Thomas, many thanks for that update. We have had on our openSUSE forum a few Core i3 users with the Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator HD report problems with openSUSE-11.2 (which has an older 2.6.31 kernel and older Xorg and older Intel 2.9.0 driver). … I had read that the hardware your laptop has should function better on openSUSE-11.3 (milestone 6 currently) with its 2.6.34 kernel, xorg-1.8 and Intel driver 2.11.0, and your experience appears to indicate that.

It might be worth while writing a bug report on the instability of the 3D/special desktop effects, although I suspect that is an upstream problem with either the Intel 2.11.0 graphic driver, or with the xorg-1.8 being at fault.

Still it would not hurt to raise the bug as worst case it will be closed right away reference an upstream update being needed. Guidance for bug reports is here: Submitting Bug Reports - openSUSE you can use your forum username and password to log on to bugzilla.

On 05/07/2010 04:06 AM, possebaer wrote:
> This Dell has a Dell Wireless 1397 Mini Card as an WLAN/WiFi adapter,
> and after activating Networkmanager manually,as described in this forum
> already, I also had
> to download some firmware, as there is a B43 chip on it and the
> firmware doesn’t come with openSUSE (I guess on purpose, may be a
> Licensing problem or smth. like that…). But openSUSE provides a script
> for that (/usr/sbin/install_b43_firmware or similar…) and this is
> therefore also no real problem…

Broadcom owns the copyright on the firmware, and does not give
permission to distribute it, thus openSUSE cannot include it. The script
you mention downloads a driver that Broadcom does publish, and extracts
the firmware from it.

Did you disable kwallet during the first connect?
Then it’s Access Denied which always hits me when installing or using the LiveCD. So annoying…

Basically, you need to kill knetworkmanager and start it again after kwallet was disabled to get it work.

Nope, there’s an option in knetworkmanager’s settings, where you can tell it to save passwords unencrypted. Done.

Works only if you change it before connecting the first time, but not when disabling kwallet while connection (just select defaults in kwallet windows which appears).
At least for me and some of my colleagues…

Oh yes that was the problem I ran into, I disabled Kwallet while connecting to the wireless through knetworkmanager the first time. Not that annoying, as the problem occurs only the first time – a bigger problem though if you only use the LiveCD I guess…

Well first sorry for the late reply, I tend to forget these things…

With regards to a Bug Report, I have to say that the hardware is not mine and I just installed it for my parents and did the basic configuration so they can do their usual really basic stuff (internet surfing, email etc…), and I have no access to this machine at the moment, so I couldn’t test anything, or provide log files – I could only provide a description of the problem from my faulty memory. I prefer not writing a bug report over writing a bad one with sparse details and not really a possibility to answer following up questions.

Additionally to that I saw just today that list of regressions in the 2.6.34 kernel (Gmane Loom) and some of them seem related to intel graphics hardware and the i915 driver, that is used on my system. I will keep an eye on those and try to find out more the next time I have access to the machine.

Best regards,
Thomas

I understand. I have done the same (not writing a bug report) when its on a friend’s or relative’s PC to which I have no subsequent access (and where they are not capable to follow up the bug report).

Interesting. If you do a search for “i915” here: Software.openSUSE.org under “openSUSE factory” you get some interesting hits. I wonder how many are relevant … :\