Saturday, October 15, 2005


Gentoo Linux on Dell Inspiron 9300

I recently became the owner of a Dell Inspiron 9300. This was a replacement laptop for my old Dell Inspiron 8600. Inspiron 9300 is a great desktop replacement laptop with a huge 17 inch display. Its slightly on the heavier side, that is something you have to make do with for the 17 inch display. I am running a dual boot of Windows XP and Gentoo Linux on this laptop. In this post I will try to cover the installation of Gentoo on this laptop.

Hardware componentStatusComments
Pentium M Processor 750, 1.86GHzWorks
17 WUXGA TFT DisplayWorks
128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X300WorksRequires ATI Linux drivers.
1024MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2x512)Works
60GB (5,400 RPM) Hard DriveWorks
NEC ND-6650 8X DVD+/-RW DriveWorksDMA requires libata support.
Broadcom Corporation BCM4401-B0 100BaseWorks
Intel ProWireless 2200 802.11b/g Mini PCI WirelessWorksRequires Intel ipw2200 drivers.
Internal Intel AC'97 56k Modem ControllerDon't knowHaven't tried.
Dell Wireless 350 Bluetooth 2.0Works
Tested with Plantronics bluetooth headset.
Intel AC'97 Audio ControllerWorks
PCMCIA Cardbus: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 IISeems to workHaven't tested, dont own any hardware.
FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C552Seems to workHaven't tested, dont own any hardware.
SD Card Reader: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822Not supported

Basic Installation
Advanced Installation
I use gcc-3.4 as my compiler as it supports Architecture specific optimisation for the Pentium M processors. To install from stage1 using gcc-3.4 you need to add the following lines to your /etc/portage/package.keywords
sys-devel/gcc ~x86
sys-libs/libstdc++-v3 ~x86
Then run the script. Once gcc-3.4 has been installed edit your make.conf to change the arch type as pentium-m from whatever you were using earlier.
source /etc/profile
You need to re-source /etc/profile so that you use the gcc-3.4 as the default compiler. Re-emerge glibc and gcc-3.4. Unmerge gcc-3.3 and then proceed from stage2 to stage3.

Additional features for Gentoo Linux
The DVD drive by default runs without DMA. By editing the kernel headers you can enable DMA. Edit the file /include/Linux/libata.h, change the line
Enable scsi cdrom support if you hadn't enabled it earlier. Recompile your kernel and reboot, you need to pass ide1=noprobe to the kernel. The DVD drive will now appear as a scsi device /dev/sr0 and not as a IDE device /dev/hdc. hdparm doesn't work with scsi devices without the libata passthru patch from Jeff Garzik.

Unresolved issues
Specific information
Contact Information
E-mail: bharathblog at gmail dot com

Last updated: Sunday, February 22, 2006

Just a FYI, bluetooth works great on the 9300. You need to patch the kernel with the patch at, and then emerge bluez support (There should be a little doc on gentoo about it).
Do you mind posting your /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6 ?
Yes, I'd like to see your lsmod output or /etc/modu..../kernel-2.6 as well. I have everything working, but waaaaay too many modules bieng loaded. I want to trim down a bit.
I have posted my kernel-2.6 as link in the post.
thought I would chime in with my kernel 2.6.15-r1: you cannot follow these instructions to change #undef to #define as that line was apparently updated in this kernel. However I found that if you add libata.atapi_enabled=1 AND ide1=noprobe to your kernel boot options or in grub.conf the kernel loads the cdrom as sr0
Thats true becaude from 2.6.14 onwards libata directly supports ATAPI devices which wasn't the default behavior and hence you needed to change #undef to #define. If you compile the piix as a module then you just need to use libata.atapi_enabled=1 and there is no need to use ide1=noprobe as the ide drivers arent loaded.
Okay, everything for me works on my Inspiron 9300 (except the SD reader of course), only thing is, with the 2.6.15 kernel, the ati drivers don't work properly, but using the 2.6.12-r6 kernel, it works perfectly. Any idea why?
The problem is actually in the ati-drivers. Its a documented bug, if you apply the following patch to your ati-drivers and then recompile it you should be all set to use the 2.6.15 kernel series.
I have my bluetooth headset working under Linux. Will soon post the howto... Please wait till then.
Thanks for all the info here, but no matter what I do I can't get my 9300 to boot from the CD I burned from the iso!

I have tried everything, I made sure it was a bootable CD, I set it to boot from CD, I burned it to another CD with another download thinking it might be corrupt (the file), but NOTHING! ahh!

I would be eternally greatful for any help...

Thanks in advanced
If you have tried everything probably something wrong with your CD Drive... Might want to contact Dell. Try the CD in another computer to see if it works before calling Dell.
Your links are no longer working. Did you take your lsmod and xorg (etc) off the server or what? Just curious. Thanks
Should be working now.
Has anyone had success with suspend-to-ram. I have this laptop, except it has an NVIDIA card instead of ATI, and I've yet to be able to succesfully suspend, and then bring it out of suspend mode. Any one else?
I am having troubles with a Creative Labs Jukebox Zen Touch Ultra. I can get my dmesg to recognize when it is on and off, but I can't find what /dev address it is being mapped to. Everything I have seen says it maps it to sda1 but considering that is our hardrives, and sdb doesn't work. Help?
Posting more information helps, dmesg surely would help.

The other thing that you might want check is if you have included Probe all LUNs on each SCSI device.
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It would be better if we use Bluetooth headsets instead of carrying mobile every place at home no need to check for mobile in dilemma about where i left my mobile oh God! thansk to blue tooth headsets is the recent website where i ordered one bluetooth headset very cheaply
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