Dell XPS M1530 and the Ubuntu (7.04, 8.04 LTS, 8.10 , 8.10 Beta) ride

I bought my Dell XPS M1530 just over a couple of months ago, before Dell started selling the Ubuntu pre-installed ones. I was considering buying a Macbook, but after I saw the specs on this baby, I knew I was left with no choice. I got further bargain, after a little bit of haggling with the Dell Rep, of a total of 4 Gig RAM and the Audigy Sound Software at no extra cost.
Well, anyways, as soon as a couple of days passed with me showing it off to my colleagues and family, I decided to get down to business.

I erased the complete hard-disk using the mighty gparted and re-partitioned it to have a Windows partition (20Gigs) , a Dell partition (auto-created by Dell , Mental Note: Think about getting rid of this) , a 10 Gig Mac OS X partition (Oh yeah !! you read that right. More on this later) and finally a huge Extended partition, which hosts 2 of my Data partitions , a swap partitions and last but definitely not the least, my Ubuntu partition.

My Dell started it’s life (the one which counts anyway), with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron.

The only trouble it gave me was that my Touchpad wasn’t working properly. The mouse pointer was behaving as if it had a mind of it’s own.  But I fixed it by adding “i8042.nomux=1” line at the end of the “kernel” line in Grub.

I had to also alter my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to have optimal performance from it.
Thankfully, Intel’s iwl4695 driver does not give any issues and I was able to run it without any issues from day one.
That apart, the only other thing that did not work out of the box was the finger print reader. But it was a matter of time, or rather overcoming my laziness, before I got it working too.

Note : There are some excellent links at the end of this article to get everything working in Ubuntu 8.04

I was running the Heron happily for quite some time, during which I got compiz (use Envy for a hassle-free experience), my build-environment, VPN (both PPTP as well as Cisco vpn), Firefox 3 updates and Flash, 3-D games, working without problems. I even played around with cheese to ensure my webcam was supported.
I have a habit of installing all the Ubuntu updates as soon as I see the update-manager working and before I knew it , I was riding on 8.04.1
Again, no issues and the ride still going nice and smooth.

During this smooth sail, I had this itch to install MAC OS X on my laptop since I had given up MacBook for it. Without going into too many details, let me just say MAC OS X 10.5.2 rocks (wink) (wink) !!!

I saw the Ubuntu 8.10 Aplha releases coming out and was itching to upgrade my laptop with it , but my work load prevernted me from doing it.

But finally, two days ago I ran the update manager with :
$sudo update-manager -d
and upgrade to 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Beta

Here I had a few hiccups.

For starters, my wireless was not working. Thankfully, this was not a major issue but required a simple re-entering my WPA2 key. But before that I saw that my Network Manager did not show any Wireless networks and I had to kill it from the shell and restart it.

Then there was the problem of the Touchpad, similar to the one mentioned above in this article. But this time I has to append the “i8042.nomux=1” on the Grub “kernel” line, as well as make sure that I used my older xorg.conf file (the upgrade process intuitively backed my old file). But for optimum performance, I actually removed the xorg.conf file, restarted gdm from the console with “$sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart” and let the new X server detect everything on its own and this worked like a charm. ( My new, automatically generated xorg.conf file)

The Wifi is working great, but one thing I noticed that my wireless drivers seemed to have changed. My lsmod output is as follows :

raseel@raseel-xps:~$ lsmod | grep iwl
iwlagn              99588  0
iwlcore             92740  1   iwlagn
rfkill                 17048   2   iwlcore
led_class          12164  1    iwlcore
mac80211      216820  2   iwlagn,iwlcore
cfg80211         32392  3    iwlagn,iwlcore,mac80211

That’s about it. I did not have to do ANYTHING more after the upgrade.

As I use The 8.10 Beta, I’m yet to be  disappointed on any front.

This post is basically to encourage anyone owning the Dell XPS M1530 to go ahead and install/upgrade Ubuntu 7.10 or 8.04 LTS or 8.04.1 or 8.10 Beta without fear.

Resources :

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