Copyright © 2009 Guido Flohr, all rights reserved
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license can be found at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.txt.
June 27th, 2009
|Revision 0.5||August, 28th 2009|
|Remarks on keyboard (Qt and dead keys on Greek keyboard layout)|
|Revision 0.4||July, 3rd 2009|
|Keyboard and touchpad|
|Revision 0.3||June, 30th 2009|
|Sound, SD card reader, CPU|
|Revision 0.2||June, 28th 2009|
|DVD/R+W tested and described|
|Revision 0.1||June, 27th 2009|
Table of Contents
This guide should give you a complete walk-through for getting Linux to run on the E5400 laptop or others from the Dell Latitude E series. It is focussed on Gentoo Linux, and the Latitude E5400, but it is probably useful for other distributions, and other laptops from the Latitude E series, like E5500, E6400, and E6500.
The Dell Latitude E5400 replaced my older Latitude D820, which became dodgy recently, with spurious monitor failures. The first impression did not exactly make me ecstatic. Compared to the D820, the new gadget looks cheap, and not half as classy as its predecessor. On the other hand it is very light (2.49 kg plus 0.45 kg for the AC adaptor, your milage may vary depending on the exact production configuration), silent, and everything functional.
All sockets and connectors are on the sides of the device, the rear side is not used at all. The reason for this will remain a secret of the designers at Dell.
The coolest thing is actually the power supply. The plug has a very stylish blue, glowing LED ring as an indicator. Looks great, especially at night.
Apart from that, I'm not exactly happy with the notebook. The wireless is not working stable, it currently crashes (and freezes!), when watching videos with VLC, it has issues with the display, and - very annoying - the fan is almost constantly running. I could only manage to turn it off by cooling it externally. I would not recommend the notebook to anybody.
This is an overview of the hardware in my E5400:
Table 1. Hardware
|Hard drive||Seagate||Momentus 7200.3 ST9160411ASG||S-ATA 160 GB, 7.200 r/pm||works as /dev/sda|
|DVD/R+W||Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions Corp. (PLDS)||DS-8A3S Rev. HD11||works as|
|Network card||Broadcom||NetXtreme BCM5756ME Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express||Gigabit||works out of the box with the Tigon3 (tg3) driver|
|Wireless (wlan) card||Intel||Wireless WiFi Link 5100||802.11a/g/n||works with the iwlagn driver, but unstable|
|Graphics card||Intel||GMA 4500 MHD||-||works out of the box with xf86-intel-video driver|
|Display||Dell||14.1” WXGA+ (1440x900)||works out of the box|
|Sound chip||Intel||works with the hda-intel driver|
|Bluetooth||not yet tested|
|USB Controller||Intel||82801I (ICH9 Family)||3xUSB UHCI, 1xUSB2 EHCI||works out of the box|
|SD Card Reader||Ricoh||R5C847||works|
|PCMCIA (CardBus Bridge)||Ricoh Co. Ltd.||RL5c476 II (rev ba)||can't test|
|FireWire (IEEE1394)||Ricoh Co. Ltd.||R5C832 (rev 04)||can't test|
|CPU||Intel||Core 2 Duo P8600||2.40 GHz||works out of the box|
|Keyboard||Dell||German keyboard layout (qwertz)||works out of the box|
|Mouse, Touchpad||ALPS||AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad||basically works|
Commands are formatted like this: ls -l, filenames
Longer commands, or content of text files are formatted as a block:
$ lspci | grep Broadcom 09:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5756ME Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
In such blocks, lines starting with a dollar sign ($) are commands that can or should be executed as an unprivileged user. Lines starting with a hash sign (#) are either commands to be executed as root, or sometimes comments in files. If you cannot tell from the context, better not type anything at all.
If you got stuck, my central configuration files may be of interest for you.
Make sure that
/usr/src/linux is a
symbolic link to your actual kernel source directory, and then
install the file as
Even if your kernel version does not exactly mine (check
line 3 of the config file for my version), you can
probably still use it as a starting point. Just don't forget
to run "make menuconfig" so that the file fits your kernel.
Then go on as follows:
# make clean make menuconfig make -j3 make modules make modules_install cp arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-guido
/boot/grub/menu.list have an entry
title=Kernel configuration by Guido Flohr root (hd0,5) kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.30-gentoo-r4 root=/dev/YOUR_ROOT_PARTITION_GOES_HERE
Make sure that you fill in the correct root partition (copy it from other entries?). And, of course, you can use other identifiers wherever I refer to my name.
If you wonder why there is nothing said about init ram disks or file systems (initram or initramfs), well, simply under normal circumstances you just don't need that. It only complicates kernel building.
This is my
/etc/make.conf. You should
only use that for informational purposes because it will almost
certainly not fit for your own system.
You should install this file as
and please make a backup before. The file fits for the
WXGA+ display (maximum resolution 1440x900). There are other
E5400 flavors with a lower resolution of 1280x860. Please
check that before you use the file.
Please note that I have a German keyboard layout. Please change the layout from "de" to yours or check the chapter Keyboard for better instructions how to change that.
This document is currently work in progress. Take it as my private protocol of installing Gentoo on the system, and getting all hardware that I need to work with it. Some sections are currently missing. If a section that you desperately need is still missing, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Gentoo Linux on A Dell Latitude E5400||Guido Flohr||Imprint|