GNU/Linux on the Dell Inspiron XPS

This page gives a quick overview of what I've done so far to make GNU/Linux work on the Dell Inspiron XPS notebook.

Graphics: You have several choices:

Ethernet: The ethernet works out-of-the-box with the Broadcom Tigon3 driver in the Linux kernel.

Sound Support: Works without problem through the kernel i8xx support. I have not yet tried ALSA (which is superior).

Wireless: Neither of the wireless chipsets (TrueMobile 1300 and 1400) are supported under GNU/Linux. They are rumoured to be supported through a proprietary Windows driver loader ($20 from http://www.linuxant.com/driverloader/). There is a free driver loader as well. I have tried neither, since both require use of proprietary software.

USB: You can use all four USB ports under GNU/Linux through the UHCI driver.

ACPI: I compiled it in. It is showing CPU temperature, battery state, and whether or not it is plugged in. I haven't gotten it to suspend yet. When I hit the suspend button, it tells me 'button/sleep SBTN 00000080 00000003' and doesn't do anything with it.

Specs

P4 3.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 80GB HD, 1920x1200 WUXGA display, 128MB Radeon 9700 Mobility. Dell TrueMobile 1400 a/b/g wireless. DVD+RW.

Initial Impressions About the Notebook

Stability: Unimpressive so far. I don't think this is platform-dependent. I have had the computer crash under Linux when I went from line power to battery. I have seen it overheat and die under Windows (here, the problem was that I had placed it on a soft chair, and the ventilation system blows air from underneath, so requires a hard surface, flat).

Noise level: Quite impressive. Very quiet most of the time -- much quieter than almost any desktop and most notebooks if it is not doing anything to processor-intensive.

Monitor: Beautiful, 1920x1200, ultrawide viewing angle, very good color reproduction. Sweet.

Sound System: Sounds very good -- an order of magnitude better than any notebook I've seen, and better than the dinky powered speakers most desktops come with. The sound quality is on-par with the $70 Altec sound system one of my housemates has, although the maximum volume is much lower. The maximum volume is loud enough that I usually have to turn it down a bit when I'm watching movies (louder than the really cheezy desktop speakers that come with low-end computers these days).

Power management/battery life -- HAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. Right. Giant, heavy battery. I haven't timed it yet, but I think it has like 45 minutes of battery life or something.

Design flaws:


Piotr Mitros