Updates: 2004/05/29: WiFi working under FC2; 2007/10/20: and F8


This document describes experiences with running Linux on a DELL Inspiron 8600

See other pages: Knoppix3.3, RH9, SuSE9.0, FreeBSD (ndis), RH9/FC1, Gentoo,, Debian3.0r1 and RH9 on I8500.

This page was started the day the machine arrived, and is developing.

This report is listed at TuxMobil - Linux on laptops, notebooks, PDAs and mobile phones under Dell

Overall Description

The 8600 has a range of models from a 1.4 GHz to a 1.7 GHz Mobile P4, 1280x800 (WXGA) to 1920x1200 (WUXGA).

IrDA - works except on COM3 / ttyS2

It appears that ttyS2 (the FC2 default) does not work as the IrDA - on boot it reports `ttyS2 at I/O 0x3e8 (irq = 0) is a 16550A' and `ide2: I/O resource 0x3EE-0x3EE not free.', `ide2: ports already in use, skipping probe'. As such, during POST press F2 and Alt-P 3 times and set the IrDA to COM2 or COM4 (which select IRQ 3 with I/O 0x2f8 or 0x2e8 on ttyS1 or ttyS3 - ra3 is the latter). Edit /etc/pcmcia/config.opts to `exclude irq 3' (so that the IRQ is free) and /etc/sysconfig/irda to set `DEVICE=/dev/ttyS3' (or 1), and run `chkconfig irda on' so that it starts on reboot (or `/etc/rc.d/init.d/irda start' or `irattach /dev/ttyS3 -s').
It should load ircomm_sir, sir_dev, irnet, ppp_generic, slhc, ircomm_tty, ircomm, irda, irtty_sir and crc_ccitt, and /var/log/messages should have
irda: irattach startup succeeded
kernel: NET: Registered protocol family 23
irattach: executing: 'echo ra3 > /proc/sys/net/irda/devname'
irattach: executing: 'echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/irda/discovery'
irattach: Starting device irda0
or under FC3
irda: irattach startup succeeded
dhclient: irda0: unknown hardware address type 783
irattach: executing: 'echo localhost > /proc/sys/net/irda/devname'
irattach: executing: 'echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/irda/discovery'
irattach: Starting device irda0
dhclient: irda0: unknown hardware address type 783
and dmesg should report something like `divert: not allocating divert_blk for non-ethernet device irda0' and `IrCOMM protocol (Dag Brattli)'.
irdadump should report `hint=0400 [ Computer ] (19)'.

This just works to a PalmV using jpilot, and a SonyEricsson P900 using minicom, both at 15200bd.

See wouter and spierrel

WiFi - ndiswrapper, linuxant or ipw2100 - b43legacy on F8

I managed to get it to work under FC2 under the ndiswrapper but there was no signal strength, and it seemed not to come back up if it ever went down, and needed a reboot.
The linuxant driver should also work.

However, the way forward is using the ipw2100 driver. Under 2.6.10-1.737_FC3 ipw2100-1.0.2 compiled a charm, but `modprobe ipw2100' complained about Unknown symbols in ieee80211 and ipw2100. It would load OK using `modprobe ieee80211_crypt; modprobe ieee80211_crypt_tkip; modprobe ipw2100' but iwconfig fails to see anything :-(

Under Fedora 8, the b43legacy works, but the firmware has to be loaded separately, e.g.

sudo b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware/ wl_apsta-

winmodem - scanModem - HSF ICH4 - hsfmodem - linuxant

scanModem reports that it has an HSF ICH4 modem (log) which works with the hsfmodem-7.18.00full_k2.6.9_1.681_FC3-1fdr zipped RPM from the linuxant 'HSF driver downloads for Fedora Core 3 i686 kernels' page (install log lsmod dev messages). It appears to connect at 38400 (log).

BlueTooth - needs bluez

Load up the bluez RPMs from FC2, and it all just works (e.g. to a SonyEricsson P900).

kernel: usb 2-2: new full speed USB device using address 2
kernel: Bluetooth: Core ver 2.4
kernel: NET: Registered protocol family 31
kernel: Bluetooth: HCI device and connection manager initialized
kernel: Bluetooth: HCI socket layer initialized
kernel: Bluetooth: HCI USB driver ver 2.5
kernel: usbcore: registered new driver hci_usb

hcid[2052]: HCI daemon ver 2.4 started
bluetooth: hcid startup succeeded
bluetooth: sdpd startup succeeded
kernel: Bluetooth: L2CAP ver 2.1
kernel: Bluetooth: L2CAP socket layer initialized
sdpd[2056]: sdpd v1.5 started
hcid[2052]: HCI dev 0 up
hcid[2052]: Starting security manager 0
kernel: Bluetooth: RFCOMM ver 1.2
kernel: Bluetooth: RFCOMM socket layer initialized
kernel: Bluetooth: RFCOMM TTY layer initialized


Fn-Up,Down, Fn-F2 work

Fn and Up and Down cursor keys generate un-recognised characters (0x8[56]), but also change the brightness.
Fn and F2 toggles all the wireless devices - WiFi and BlueTooth (0x88).

vga=795 gives 160x64 on text VCs

Selecting `vga=791' or `vga=795' gives text Virtual Consoles with 64 lines of 160 characters.


By booting the DELLTOOLS psrtition, a set of HW tests can be run. Some of these involve interaction (plugging in and unplugging the PSU, conforming that the display is OK, etc).

Remaining niggles

Piete Brooks 2008-03-04