First of all I want to thank Jonathan Lutze for this translation. I just edited some minor things. And now, on with the show: 🙂

Well, after writing a short post about this laptop and its co-working with Linux, i want to make a summary at this place. And in advance: The D520 is much better supported than the D531.


Processor: Intel Core Duo 2 T5500 1.66 GHz

Memory: 1024 MB (2×512MB)

Display: 15,3” (1400×1050)

Video card: integrated Intel 950 GMA

Ethernet: Broadcom NetXtreme BMC4401-B0 (100Mbit) (Kernelmodule: b44)

Wireless: Dell Wireless 1390 (Broadcom, via ndiswrapper)

What is working…

Quite everything: I quickly booted from the archlinux cd and installed the basic system via ftp, during which arch unproblematicly discovers and configurates (read: loads the correct modules) the ethernet card (besides: The new Arch-installer is very cool and configures autonomously much, which in earlier times was unnerving manual work.)

When the basic system is on the disk, you can install every important package necessary for a graphical environment via:

pacman -S xorg-server hwd xorg-xinit xf86-input-mouse xf86-input-keyboard xf86-video-i810 915resolution synaptics libgl-dri mesa

(with these packages you will be able to bring up an very basic X.)

The hardware-detection of hwd is really very good and creates a functional xorg.conf (sometimes you have to change the vesa-driver to the [in your case] correct one). If you want to spare you that, you can use my xorg.conf. Because the current Intel-Driver isn’t available in the stable repository of arch yet, you have to rely on 915resolution, to use the HiRes-Resolution of 1400×1050 (simply adjust the /etc/conf.d/915resolution this way).

Well, now X is running, but most people want a real desktop environment – personally I’m using Gnome and am very satisfied with it. A stout-hearted [not my idea, he wrote it that way ;)][it sounds much better in german – niels 🙂 ]:

pacman -S gnome gnome-extra gnome-network-manager networkmanager

and some time later you have the current version of Gnome ready to use and as well the Network-Manager.

At this point in time the Network-Manager discovers only the cable-bound ethernet (LAN) – Ndiswrapper brings you the remedy. Install it with

pacman -S ndiswrapper

The necessary driver for the DELL-card are on the DELL-Website for the D520. Download and unzip it with

unzip -a R151517.exe

(That was the current driver when I have done this install). With the following you can install the driver

ndiswrapper -i DRIVER/bcmwl5.inf

Now you only have to prevent the loading of the module bcm43xx in the /etc/rc.conf (so just put a ! in front of the line) and insert "ndiswrapper" in the MODULES-line. After a reboot or a

modprobe ndiswrapper

the NetworkManager will be able to find Wireless-networks and you can connect to them without problems (WEP, WPA – I didn’t encounzer a single problem with any of these types).

The integrated soundcard needs the ALSA-driver intel-hda. Archlinux sets up everything correctly and a

pacman -S alsa-utils alsa-lib

will assure sounds and songs coming from the speakers.

The Latitude does have a firewire-port, but I couldn’t test it, because I lack the corresponding cable 😉 But the driver gets loaded and initialised correctly, so you shouldn’t expect any surprises from there.

What isn’t working yet…

AIGLX doesn’t work properly, because the software in the stable repository is, like I mentioned, not that bleeding-edge. The newest version of the xserver is 1.4, archlinux brings with it the verison 1.2 and a quite older Intel-driver, not the newest version 2.1. But these versions are already in the unstable-repository, so it is only a matter of time, until they get ported; As soon as that is done AIGLX should run correctly. Ironically another factor of the not_really_working AIGLX is the bleeding_edge_version of compiz-fusion in archlinux. So when you install an Ubuntu, you get all the fancy coloured effects, because the version Ubuntu uses is somewhat older. But then again, one can wait…


Xserver 1.4 is now in current, so AIGLX should be working without any problems. As soon as I get my hands on the D520 again I will verify my not so bold claim. 🙂

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