Setting up Linux (Debian Squeeze) on a Dell Latitude E6510 with Nvida Quadro NVS 3100M and 1920x1080 Display

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Datum: 22.05.2010 16:00:11

New notebooks are sometimes a little pain in the ass to get working with Linux. After more than 4 weeks, my new notebook finally arrived last monday. Monday this week I tried installing Debian Squeeze (still is testing) on my new Latitude and after 2 hours formatting the drive with dmcrypt, failed with a not starting X, not finding a screen. I didn't have the time to check it out because I needed a running System with OpenGL and Virtualbox to run my old Windows XP-Image using VisualStudio with the setup OpenGL-Stuff for university, so I went with Windows 7 for the first 3 days.

My Latitude E6510 specs:

  • Intel i7-620M 2.66 GHZ Dualcore with AES-NI and Turbo Mode (biggest dualcore with AES-NI offered with the new Latitude-series)
  • 4GB RAM (2 * 2GB) (8GB would have been 250€(+taxes) more)
  • 250GB @7200RPM HDD (had 120GB in my old one, but never used it, since all big data normally goes on to external drive or the raid in my server)
  • 15.6" @ 1920x1080 (After working over 4 1/2 year with 1024*768 it was time to get big)
  • Nvidia Quadro NVS 3100M (well no player-card, but at least it seems some old games run on it)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 Wifi

On Thursday I completed the OpenGL-Stuff and had time to pay some attention to the problem. I tought why not try an up-to-date Live-CD (Ubuntu 10.04 Live-CD) first, to see if that at least works. I downloaded the new Ubuntu 10.04-live-cd and the problem was worse, not even an error-message that it couldn't start X, only a black screen after starting. Then installed Debian Squeeze again from the latest DVD and started investigating what the problem was, it seemed to have problems with not finding a display.

First I added the following lines to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main non-free contrib
deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main non-free contrib

and comment out the cd-rom line and install nvidia-xconfig:

apt-get update
apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

Then I created a basic xorg-conf with the nvidia-tool:

nvidia-xconfig

and edited it to use vesa instead of nvidia until we have setup the property nvidia driver for the Nvidia Quadro NVS 3100M and add the 1920x1080 resolution for the display to work.

Thats what the device-section should look like:

/etc/X11/XF86Config
Section "Device"
Identifier     "Device0"
Driver         "vesa"
VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
EndSection

and that would be the screen-section

Section "Screen"
Identifier     "Screen0"
Device         "Device0"
Monitor        "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth    24
SubSection     "Display"
Depth       24
Modes        "1920x1080@60"
EndSubSection
EndSection

with the added 1920x1080 resolution.

Now we can restart the system and at least work with a X-Windows, decent resolution and start installing the nvidia-driver.

I used the entry in the debian-wiki for setting up the nvidia-driver: Debian Wiki: Nvidia Graphics Card which was really easy, fast and worked. In short:

apt-get install module-assistant nvidia-kernel-common
m-a auto-install nvidia-kernel-source

that will install some additional packages like the right gcc used by the kernel (currently 4.3) and stuff.
Then I changed from vesa back to nvidia in the XF86Config.

/etc/X11/XF86Config
Section "Device"
Identifier     "Device0"
Driver         "nvidia"
VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
EndSection

After rebooting I was able to use Nvidias Tool ( apt-get install nvidia-settings if not already installed while setting up the driver and open via System -> Administration -> NVIDIA X Server Settings) to setup my dual-screen-setup (21" CRT @ 1600 * 1200 above my notebook) like wanted.

Next thing was the wireless lan, which wasn't supported out of the box on debian since it needs a binary firmware-package which are non-free and not default in debian. There for the already added non-free in /etc/apt/sources.list is necessary. The right package for the Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6200 is firmware-iwlwifi.

    apt-get install firmware-iwlwifi

Now a

ifconfig wlan0 up

should load the kernel-module and activate the card.

If you get a

SIOCSIFFLAGS: Unknown error 132

probably you turned of your wifi with the switch on the right side of you notebook next to the firewire ... took me about an houer to realize it was turned of and the wifi-led not on.

Now it was time for updating to the latestet packages, since there has a lot changed since the last debian squeeze beta-cd/dvd over 400 packages or me and about 900mb to download ... took some time with 240kb/s.

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade && apt-get dist-upgrade

That's it for the start, some minor things I did afterwards:

  • Setting a DPI-value for my monitors (140+ was ugly big, now going with 90 for both displays)

Infos on how to set DPI:

Some things still to be done:

  • Find out how to turn off the touchpad but not the stick. Because I hate touchpads and to often accidently push it and in my opionion sticks are much superior :)
  • Find out if the mysterious mouse-movement/clicking happening sometimes while writing is caused by touchpad, stick or something else
  • Turning off the annoying beep (login / console) of the speaker (seems like blacklisting pcspkr doesn't do the trick alone)
  • Fixing my conkyrc to work with i2c instead of hwmon
  • Getting used to the keyboard, since some things changed a lot from my thinkpad (ESC-key on same line with F-keys, a windows-key, ctrl and FN exchanged, sound-control on right side of keyboard, ... )

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Kommentare (13)

  • Kommentar von raboof am 30.05.2010 22:48:44
    Gravatar raboof

    The 'blank screen after starting' is most likely caused by a kernel that contains the Nouveau driver, but an old version.

    I have the same laptop, and the Nouveau drivers cause a blank screen on startup rougly from kernel 2.6.32-5 up to 2.6.34. With the very latest snaphot kernel, 2.6.34-git16, however, the nouveau drivers work out-of-the-box like a charm.

    I'm happily using the non-proprietary nouveau drivers now - haven't tried OpenGL yet though.


  • Kommentar von raboof am 30.05.2010 23:02:19
    Gravatar raboof

    Oh, and one way to turn off the system beep is to mute the 'beep' channel in alsamixer.


  • Kommentar von robo47 am 30.05.2010 23:36:49
    Gravatar robo47

    Thx for the informations, well I need OpenGL-Stuff für university and some 2d-programms use it too (mysql workbench) will try the nouveau some time, but as of now it seems like everything graphics-related works, haven't testet 3d-stuff via wine/virtualbox yet, but running openarena work.

    It seems the beep-channel in alsamixer does not really mute what i expected.

    Switching to for example a console via ctrl + alt + F3 and working there, does still have the buzzing-sound.


  • Kommentar von Gary am 02.06.2010 15:49:57
    Gravatar Gary

    Try blacklisting the module see if that works for you (after rebooting)

    a3k2g:~# cat /etc/*version*
    squeeze/sid
    a3k2g:~# tail -n 3 /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

    # no more beep
    blacklist pcspkr

    Nice laptop by the way :)

    Users of Dell Studio or other models that include Ati might find squeeze install experience here helpful:

    http://gnubyexample.blogspot.com/2010/05/ati-3450-graphics-and-debian-squeeze.html


  • Kommentar von robo47 am 02.06.2010 20:40:41
    Gravatar robo47

    The pcspkr is already blacklisted but it seems that it has no effect, still have the ugly buzz-sound after boot (on the login screen) and in the consoles.


  • Kommentar von NickAtNight am 08.06.2010 23:06:09
    Gravatar NickAtNight

    Did you ever track down the

    Find out if the mysterious mouse-movement/clicking happening sometimes while writing is caused by touchpad, stick or something else


  • Kommentar von robo47 am 09.06.2010 09:49:46
    Gravatar robo47

    The movement is from the touchpad which is really extremely sensitiv, it seems even when moving over it without touching it, it moves and since my 2 thumbs direct lie accross it, the movement for ALT, space,. ALT GR or the mouse-keys creates those movements.

    My current "workaround" is a piece of paperboard of the size of the touchpad (not to thin!) taped with black ducktape. until I figure a way out to deactive only the touchpad, works perfekt, looks a bit weird, especially on a new notebook ... but hey, it works :)


  • Kommentar von wawrzek am 05.09.2010 23:16:27
    Gravatar wawrzek

    I've heard that mysterious mouse-movement/clicking are cause by stick and many user demand to turn this feature off.


  • Kommentar von harold am 01.11.2010 09:36:51
    Gravatar harold

    Hi there,

    Do you have a line linke : I/O resource 0000:00:1f.3 [0x8000-0x801f] conflicts with acpi region SMBI
    when you run dmesg | grep ACPI?

    Do you have some problems to wake it up from suspend or hibernate.

    I installed squeeze only a few days ago (right after I got the machine) and the only way to _repair_ the blank screen was to add 'nomodeset' in grub.

    thanks,

    matt


  • Kommentar von robo47 am 01.11.2010 09:55:42
    Gravatar robo47

    Yes I have the acpi-error and I had the problem that standby did only work 1 time, the second time i tried to turn it on again from standby it rebootet short after wakeup, but that is gone since some time, think something kernel-specific.

    I am using the 2.6.32-5 but recompiled with aes-ni support (aes-ni is turned of since 1 or 2 kernel-updates, because of a bug with Lenovo Thinkpad T410)

    -> http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=597658


  • Kommentar von harold am 07.11.2010 20:47:32
    Gravatar harold

    One more annoying thing: does your laptop hangs while you turn on wifi? It happens to me: when wifi switch is off and Iturn it on while some wifi operation is going on ( ex. discovering networks) it hangs and hard reboot is the only way.

    thanks,

    matt


  • Kommentar von harold am 07.11.2010 20:48:21
    Gravatar harold

    One more annoying thing: does your laptop hangs while you turn on wifi? It happens to me: when wifi switch is off and Iturn it on while some wifi operation is going on ( ex. discovering networks) it hangs and hard reboot is the only way.

    thanks,

    matt


  • Kommentar von robo47 am 08.11.2010 08:17:36
    Gravatar robo47

    I only turn wifi off via software, will have to test that some time soon where I have wlan.


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