Linux on the Dell Inspiron 5000e

Last modified: Fri Jun 6 15:12:56 MDT 2003
If it is much past this date, then the information on this page is wrong.

This laptop is now well supported under Linux, so changes to this page will be much less frequent. The version numbers for software that I mention might not be the most recent version available. In most cases, it can be assumed that a newer version of the software will still function on the Inspiron 5000e, if an older version of the software worked.

Just for fun I have decide to start coloring changes I make in red so they are easier to find. Things will stay "new" until I add something else. Thanks to XEmacs and html-helper-mode the date at the top is always current to the last time I changed this page.

Things that work. Things that don't work. Things I don't know about. Places to get more information.

This is my recommended setup: Linux kernel 2.4.10 and XFree86 4.1.0. A comprehensive tutorial on upgrading to these two packages is beyond the scope of this web page. I suggest you consult information specific to your Linux distribution to find the easiest method to upgrade. Debian unstable (but not testing yet) supports both of these items without problem. I do not recommend just apt-get dist-upgrade -ing from stable to unstable if you don't know what you are doing. Anybody with a bit of Linux and Debian experience can probably handle the broken dependencies, etc., but it won't "just work," which is why it is called "unstable."

Most people come to this page because they are trying to get XFree86 running on their 5000e. XFree86 4.0.2 (and 4.0.3 and 4.1.0) fully supports the ATI Mobility chipset in the 5000e, so I recommend that you upgrade to 4.1.0. Here is a copy of the XF86Config-4 file that I use. The paths and such are setup for Debian, but it should be pretty easy to touch up to work on other distributions. 4.1.0 is currently in Debian unstable, and I am sure will move into testing soon.

2.4.<mumble> kernel DRI modules are not advanced enough to provide direct rendering under XFree86 4.1.0, so the module from the DRI tree must be used if you insist on running something from an older tree. You should follow the instructions in the DRI compilation guide to obtain the sources. To compile the kernel module you should go into the directory build/xc/programs/Xserver/hw/xfree86/os-support/linux/drm/kernel and run make -f Makefile.linux. You should then be able to copy the r128.o file into /lib/modules/`uname -r`/....

Kernel 2.4.10 includes the updated DRI code, simply build the kernel and enable the /dev/agpgart module with the Intel 440BX option and the Rage 128 option under Direct Rendering Manager.

You also might want to read Scott A. Crosby's XFree86 on Inspiron 5000e -- HOWTO and addendum on the linux-dell-laptops e-mail list.

Things that work:

(fill in information about how to make them work)

Things that don't work:

(fill in information about problems)

The 5000e really works well for me, and at this point the only thing I that bothers me is the general crapiness of the notebook itself. After owning my notebook for about 20 months, every single piece, except the actual screen and the floppy drive has been replaced at a minimum of once, and some pieces multiple times. Every single piece of the plastic casing has suffered multiple stress fractures, requiring replacement, and the motherboard, cpu board, and hard disk have all been replaced. I am not an abusive road warrior; this notebook spends most of its time sitting on my coffee table, and a big outing for it is traveling from the living room to the bedroom..

Things I don't know about:

(don't have, don't care, or haven't tried)

Places to get more information

Jeff Lessem