openSUSE 11.3 on a Dell Inspiron 1525

This document describes how I installed and configured GNU/Linux (64-bit openSUSE 11.3 distribution) on a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop. You may also be interested in my previous guide to installing openSUSE 10.3.

Technical specifications

The Inspiron 1525 is available in various configurations. My system has the following components:

Component Details
CPU Intel Core2 Duo T8300 (2.40 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache)
RAM 4096 MB 667 MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM (2×2048)
Hard disk 250 GB 5400 RPM SATA
Display 15.4" TFT widescreen; 1440×900 (WSXGA) resolution
Graphics controller Intel 965 GM
Modem unknown
Ethernet Marvell 88E8040
Wireless LAN Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
DVD drive TSSTcorp DVD+-RW TS-L632H
Sound Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
Touchpad AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint
Integrated camera OmniVision Laptop Integrated Webcam
Ports IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
4× USB 2.0 
RJ45 (Ethernet) 
RJ11 (modem) 
HDMI 
S-Video 
VGA 
2× headphone 
microphone 
memory card reader 

Summary

Component or featureDetails
Suspend to disk works out of the box
Suspend to RAM works out of the box
DVD works out of the box
USB works out of the box
Ethernet works out of the box
WLAN works out of the box
FireWire not tested
graphics works out of the box
hard disk works out of the box
modem not tested
sound mostly working (see below)
memory card reader works out of the box
touchpad works out of the box
camera works out of the box

Details

Most components and features work out of the box. Here is a description of some components which required some configuration, or which I have not yet gotten to work.

Sound

There are many variants of the Intel 82801H (ICH8 family) sound card. The one used in my Inspiron 1525 is a STAC9228, and still has a few support issues detailed below.

See also:

No audio on boot or resume

When using the "default" kernel (kernel-default), the audio output works as expected. However, when using the "desktop" kernel (kernel-desktop), there is no audio output after booting the system or resuming from suspend. There is a workaround for this: first, install the latest hda-verb package from tiwai's openSUSE Build Service repository. Then, whenever you boot or resume your computer, run the following command as root:

# hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D2 0x24 SET_VOLUME_KNOB 0x7f

It should be possible to automate this process; there are probably some scripts that run automatically on bootup or resume that this command can be added to.

Garbled audio on resume

As mentioned above, there is no audio output when resuming from suspend, but that's only if no audio was playing at the time the computer was suspended. If you suspend the computer while audio is playing, then resume, you may find that whatever application which was playing audio has locked up, and may be outputing irritating noise at full volume. The only solution is to kill the offending application.

No built-in microphone

The built-in microphone does not work. According to Michael Olberg, this can be fixed on Ubuntu by installing Dell's backported drivers. I'm not sure how to solve the problem on openSUSE, though. In the meantime I just use an external microphone plugged into the microphone jack on the front of the machine.

No audio from right headphone jack

There are two headphone jacks on the front of the machine. Only the left one produces audio output. I haven't been able to figure out how to get any audio out of the right one, though DellLinuxWiki claims to have a fix for Ubuntu which may work if you're using Gnome on openSUSE 11.3.

Keyboard

The keyboard includes three volume control buttons, four media control buttons, a "Home" button, and various Fn-key combinations. The volume control buttons do not work out of the box; possibly they send standard key codes which can be mapped with xkb. The other five special buttons I haven't tested yet.

Fn-Up and Fn-Down correctly increase and decrease the LCD brightness, respectively. Fn-F1 is meant to suspend to disk, but doesn't work. Fn-F3 is presumably meant to suspend to RAM, but this doesn't work either. Fn-F8 switches between the local, external, and dual display modes; I haven't tested this.

Modem

The modem does not show up in the YaST Hardware Information application, so I assume it is not working out of the box. However, I haven't actually tried to use it, so I don't know. The modem is apparently part of the Intel High Definition Audio chipset, and is identified as follows:

$ cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#0
Codec: Conexant ID 2c06
Address: 0
Function Id: 0x2
Vendor Id: 0x14f12c06
Subsystem Id: 0x14f1000f
Revision Id: 0x100000
Modem Function Group: 0x2

This modem should therefore work with the HSF (softmodem) driver.

See also:

Links