Installing Gentoo 2006 Linux on Dell Inspiron 6400

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Installation Sample Guide(French)

Main config files:


Dell Inspiron 6400 WSXGA+ works well in Gentoo Linux kernel 2.6.17

Date posted : 14/07/2006

Last updated: 14/07/2006

Following a first try with Mandriva I don't get quite satisfaction indeed the vesa video driver not allow DRI rendering.
Too bad with a so powerfull computer.
Since someone said me that the matter was resolved with Gentoo, kernel 2.6.17,
Let's go to Gentoo, first time with the LiveCD
No sooner said than done, Gentoo is installing: Gentoo is a really good approach of Linux, in fact everything may be rebuild and is clearly explained.
Software "portage" is the main component, once you have understood "emerge" , you are on the speedway. Running on the Dell computer, compilations are quick (ccache using .)
Unfortunately future is dark, because I don't have anything else to do ! Everything is working ! Everything ? nearly !

General Hardware Specifications of Dell Inspiron 6400

Hardware Components Status Under Linux Notes
Processor 0,Genuine Intel, T2400, 1,83 Ghz,
Processor 1,Genuine Intel, T2400, 1,83 Ghz
Works Linux triphon 2.6.17-gentoo #8 SMP PREEMPT Mon Jul 10 23:31:11 CEST 2006 i686 Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2400 @ 1.83GHz GNU/Linux
15.4" UltraSharpTM WSXGA+ (1680x1050) display with TrueLifeTM Works See note 2
Intel Media Accelerator 950 Graphics1 Works Use i810 XOrg driver. xorg-x11 7.1 modular - See note 2
1 GB of shared1 DDR2 SDRAM standard; 2 Dimms 512MB Works No special procedures required during installation
Sound card Intel I/O controller HHDA Works No special procedures required during installation-driver snd-hda-intel
100 GB Hard Drive,Mobile I/O Controller Hub SATA Works No special procedures required during installation
Integrated Network Card Works No special procedures required during installation
Internal 56k Modem ???? Not tested, No need for me
Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 802.11 ABG Mini Card Wireless Works See Note 3
9-cell (80 WHr) "Smart" Lithium Ion battery: Works No special procedures required during installation
Dell Wireless 350 Bluetooth Internal ???? Not tested, No need for me

Note 1 -> CPU-kernel

The machine is no longer freezing, BIOS Intel SpeedStep mode is ON
This strange problem with Mandriva has disappeared , as it came.(New Kernel ?)

Note 2 -> Intel Media Accelerator 950 Graphics

As in Mandriva with vesa driver, I use "915resolution" to give 1680x1050

Before starting X , I execute the command: "./915resolution 5a 1680 1050 32 "

"./915resolution -l " gives us the final status:

./915resolution -l Intel 800/900 Series VBIOS Hack : version 0.5.1 Chipset: 945GM
Mode Table Offset: $C0000 + $269
Mode Table Entries: 36

Mode 30 : 640x480, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 32 : 800x600, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 34 : 1024x768, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 38 : 1280x1024, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 3a : 1680x1050, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 3c : 1920x1440, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 41 : 640x480, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 43 : 800x600, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 45 : 1024x768, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 49 : 1280x1024, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 4b : 1680x1050, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 4d : 1920x1440, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 50 : 640x480, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 52 : 800x600, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 54 : 1024x768, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 58 : 1280x1024, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 5a : 1680x1050, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 5c : 1920x1440, 32 bits/pixel

Video driver: i810

   Piece of /etc/X11/xorg.conf :

Section "Device"
   Identifier "Card0"
   Driver "i810"
Section "Screen"
   Identifier "Screen0"
   Device "Card0"
   Monitor "Monitor0"
   DefaultDepth 24
   SubSection "Display"
   Viewport 0 0
   Depth 32
   Modes "1680x1050"

Section "dri"
   Mode 0666
EndSection .


"glxgears" extended to the full screen gives 97 FPS,
The motion is quite smooth

Running "tuxracer" :   tux is speedy and the player is now too slow ...

Note 3 -> Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 802.11 ABG Mini Card Wireless

Installed software:

* net-wireless/ieee80211 ---> Latest version installed: 1.1.13-r1
* net-wireless/ipw3945 ---> Latest version installed: 1.0.5
* net-wireless/ipw3945-ucode ---> Latest version installed: 1.13
* net-wireless/ipw3945d --> Latest version installed: 1.7.18

and my proc "wifi"

iwconfig eth1 essid myfamilly key 1234567890
sleep 4
ifconfig eth1 up
ifconfig eth1 netmask
route add default gw


"ping -s 64000" to an other ethernet Linux LAN computer, takes 38 ms, good wifi elapse time.(20Mbit/s)

Note 4 ->Personal remarks: Some traps with Gentoo installation

1-How define USE parameter before knowing applications : I keep the value of the initial LiveCD
So my whole system is not fully optimalised.

2-Localisation, keyboard,page-code, LANG ... be careful and see documentation.
For French people,çais

3-etc-update you must consider carefully what the suggested update will do ....bad experience with udev!

4-auto-mount of external device like CDROM,UsbKey, the problem is not gentoo specific.. Supermount needs a kernel-patch, autofs ok to mount but how unmount ? , my choice is finaly "submount" with a little icon in KDE and "nautilus" , because konqueror(kdeinit) don't release the device !!! bad bug !

Example of "submount" in fstab:
/dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom subfs fs=cdfss,ro,users 0 0
/dev/sdb1 /mnt/cle subfs fs=vfat,rw,users,exec 0 0

And the icon text: /home/user/Desktop/CDROM
[Desktop Action Mount]
Exec=/bin/sh -c "mount /mnt/cdrom ; nautilus /mnt/cdrom ;sleep 10 "
Name[fr]=Monter /mnt/cdrom

[Desktop Action Umount]
Exec=/bin/sh -c "umount /mnt/cdrom ; nautilus /mnt/cdrom ; sleep 10 "

[Desktop Action Read
Exec=/bin/sh -c " nautilus /mnt/cdrom ; sleep 10 "
Name[fr]=Lire /mnt/cdrom

[Desktop Action Eject]
Exec=/bin/sh -c "eject ; sleep 10 "
Name[fr]=Ejecter cdrom

[Desktop Entry]

5-Modus Operandi: My time is not countless !
I work with 2 system equal partitions, the first and a backup.
Sometimes, if OK of course, I copy the first on the backup and swap .
So,if crash, I ever can return at a previous checkpoint, without having to rebuild the whole system.
The magic command is "cp -ax / /backup", next update the new "fstab" , update MBR with "lilo" and you may swap ...

I noticed too that is is quite significant to have "ccache" enable with a good size (2Go).
So the compilation elapsed time will be strongly shortened.
To be cool, I take 10Go or more for system partition size .


First , thank Gentoo team for a so nice going !

My next goal is to create a bootable DVD of my own system with all packages ready
so I can start or install a new machine in a few minutes
With Gentoo, it seems to be easy .


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