Installing Ubuntu Edgy (6.10) on Dell Inspiron E1505 (6400)

I recently bought Dell Inspiron E1505 (it's Inspiron 6400 in small business section of dell website). Here goes my notes based on Ubuntu 6.10 (edgy) installation on it (as dual boot).

First, my configuration:

  • Intel Core Duo 2.0GHz, 1 GB RAM
  • 128MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1300 HyperMemory Card
  • 120 GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive
  • Dell wireless 1390 card
  • Dell 350 Bluetooth module
  • Integrated Broadcom 10/100 network
  • Integrate sound card

Most of the hardware was recognized automatically by the ubuntu installation. Audio was working great. Wireless and graphics required following steps. (I have yet to test bluetooth, so no notes on that yet)

Dell Wireless 1390 Card
Ubuntu edgy configures wireless card with bcm43xx driver, but I was not able to make it work with it. Your best option is to use windows driver on linux with the help of ndiswrapper .

  • blacklist bcm43xx driver, by adding following line in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    blacklist bcm43xx
    Reboot after that.
  • Download wireless card windows driver (either from your driver CD, or from the dell website). Unzip the .exe file - you should see a DRIVER directory with bcmwl5.inf file.
  • Now comes the ndiswrapper: I first tried the ndiswrapper package shipped with ubuntu using following steps, but that did not work. install ndiswrapper-utils, and configure the drivers using it
    sudo apt-get install ndiswrapper-utils
    sudo ndiswrapper -i /path/to/bcmwl5.inf
    sudo ndiswrapper -l
    sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
    ---> It gave an error
    So I uninstalled ndiswrapper packages installed by ubuntu.
  • Then I downloaded ndiswrapper-1.27 source code from ndiswrapper site , and compiled it like this.
    sudo apt-get install build-essential   
    tar -zxvf ndiswrapper-1.27.tar.gz
    cd ndiswrapper-1.27
    sudo make install
    sudo ndiswrapper -i /path/to/bcmwl5.inf
    sudo ndiswrapper -l
    sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
    and then configured wireless using System->Administration->Networking, and everything is working great since then. Do make sure to add the following line to /etc/modules to make it work after a reboot also:
Display Driver for ATI X1300

In order to use the full capabilities of this card, you will need to install ATI linux drivers. There are two versions of it - one is open source, and another binary only drivers from ATI. I went with binary only drivers from ATI, as they seem to be the best option. I used following steps:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx
sudo apt-get install linux-restricted-modules-
sudo depmod -a
sudo aticonfig --initial 
sudo aticonfig --overlay-type=Xv

Once it's done, add the following line /etc/modules:


and reboot the system (or you can load the module yourself, and restart the gdm).

Using windows boot loader for dual boot ( Advanced Users Only )
One can either install grub into MBR (master boot record) for dual boot, or one can use windowsXP's boot loader itself for dual boot. I choose windowsXP boot loader in MBR instead of grub for following reasons:

  • You can delete/destroy your linux partition (and thus grub files), and you can still boot windows (quite useful if you play with linux a lot like me).
  • With Windows MBR intact, you still have access to MediaDirect (it's quite useful to play DVDs without booting into full-fledged OS). If you use grub, you can't boot into your MediaDirect partition.

Anyway here goes the steps :

  • Use Alternative Install CD for Ubuntu, as it allows to install grub on a partition other than MBR. Use that, and select your linux root partition for installing grub instead of MBR (remember to write down you root partition number while editing your partition table during installation).

  • After installation, use a linux rescue CD with grub shell support (e.g. RPL), and boot into your newly installed ubuntu with following commands:

    root (hd0,X)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz- root=/dev/sdaY ro quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.17-10-generic

    Y is the linux root partition selected by you (e.g. 1 or 3 or 5 etc), and
    X = Y - 1.

  • Use following commands to create linux.bin file, and copy that to usb stick, or to your windows partition.

    sudo dd if=/dev/sdaY of=linux.bin bs=512 count=1

  • boot into windows XP, copy linux.bin to someplace in your windows partition (say C:), and then edit C:\boot.ini to add following line in the end:

    C:\linux.bin="Linux Ho Ho Ho"

    and you are set. If you want, you can decrease "timeout" at the start of boot.ini file to 10 secs instead of default 30 secs.

  • Now reboot your computer, and you will see the option of booting into linux from windows Boot Menu.