Dell XPS M1330 and Ubuntu (12-28-Update)


Duuuude, I got a Dell.  This is my new Dell XPS M1330.  It’s tuxedo black – matches me and unbelievably small and powerful.

For me, this was a moment of truth. Do I want a mac or do I want to stay with Linux?  I priced them both. I considered it.  I decided that I really truly love linux.  I love my PC, just not with Windows.  I love Dell’s support.

In the end, whether you go Vista, Mac, or Linux is all a matter of personal freedom and preference.  We get alot of gently Mac ribbing on this blog, but in the end linux is like the kinda of ruddy little-brother to Macs.

So… here’s a how-to on how to get your M1330 running with linux.

Device

Compatibility

Processor - Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7500 @ 2.20GHz

Works

Slim and Light LED Display with VGA Webcam

Works

DVD+/-RW, 8X

Works

128MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8400M GS

Works

Sound - ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi® Xtreme Audio Sound Card

Works*

Dell Wireless 1505 Wireless-N Mini-card

Works

USB

Works

Firewire

?

Express Card Slot Reader

Works

Remote Control

Works

Biometric Finger Print Reader

Works*

VGA Web Camera         

Works*

Media Keys

Works*

Built-in Bluetooth capability (2.0 EDR)

Works

Integrated 10/100 Network Card

Works

HARD DRIVE, 160G, Serial ATA, 9, 7.2, SE080

Works*

Headphones – both jacks!

Works

ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi® Xtreme Audio Sound Card

Not Yet

Hibernation

Works*

Suspend

Works*



Notes:

Install Ubuntu’s Gutsy Gibbon. It’s stable and a very good operating system for a new linux users. It’s got great helps and a bleeding edge kernel that you’ll need for Dell’s latest computer.

The m1330 has the Intel Core2 Duo.  That means you can run the AMD/64 version of ubuntu. 

Hard Drive Partitioning & Media Direct

First things first, you gotta get your hardrive properly partitioned. You need to decide whether you want to keep Vista or not. If you are new to linux, keep vista. You’ll also need to take special care to keep Dell Media Direct working. If you aren’t, you can use the Ubuntu Gutsy Install CD to torch it.

Here’s a guide to how to shrink your drive and keep the media center stuff working. There is a guide here. It involves a fresh install of Vista. You’d do that anyway, wouldn’t you? Who wants all that Dell stuff slowing down your system?

Moving Your Home Directory

Before Things get too installed, it’s a good idea to have your home directory on another drive. Partition a separate drive. I suggest this guide..

Wireless – Dell Wireless 1505 Wireless-N Mini-card

First things first, you gotta get the wireless working. It won’t work out of the box. Ndiswrapper is the way you wanna go. There’s a great guide here.

Since you are going to need WPA, do this…

sudo apt-get install wpasupplicant

Graphics – 128MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8400M GS

Envy is your friend. Install. Select Nvidea’s graphics driver. Reboot. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

This great guide will help you not only install Envy but also help you install Compiz Fusion.  I’ve had some performance issues with emerald and compiz.  The latest drivers (169.07) have improved some performance. Unfortunately,  I think the gtk-decorator still provides cleaner graphics.

Audio – Sound - ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi® Xtreme Audio Sound Card

The super duper Sound Blaster X-Fi card isn’t supported yet. You’ll also notice that one headphone works and one doesn’t.  The internal sound card now works out of the box.

Audio – Second Headphone Jack and Microphone (Added 12-17-2007)

Dell released this fix on the second headphone jack.

The fix for the external microphone was given by one of comments below…

wget http://people.ubuntu.com/~rtg/linux-backports-modules-2.6.22-14-generic_2.6.22-14.11UNRELEASED_i386.deb

sudo dpkg -i linux-backports-modules-2.6.22-14-generic_2.6.22-14.11UNRELEASED_i386.deb

sudo reboot

Webcam

There are some guides that talk about how to get this to work, but my webcam worked out of the box with Gutsy. I use kopete and amsn.

sudo apt-get install amsn kopete

Biometric Finger Print Reader

The m1330 can also be configured with a fingerprint reader. There’s a great Ubuntu guide here.

Suspend & Hibernation (Updated as of 12-26-2007)

Suspend and Hibernation are just buggy in linux.  Period. After much work, I have it working perfectly.  It just requires a bit of tweaking. 

sudo gedit /etc/default/acpi-support

Change the following settings…

# Note that network cards and USB controllers will automatically be unloaded
# unless they’re listed in MODULES_WHITELIST
MODULES="uvcvideo"

# Should we attempt to warm-boot the video hardware on resume?POST_VIDEO=false

# Should we save and restore state using VESA BIOS Extensions?SAVE_VBE_STATE=fals

There are two bugs right now that only one CPU is scalable after a suspend.  There is a rather crude fix for this…

sudo gedit /etc/acpi/resume.d/72-acpi-pain.sh

Add the following before the last line of the file…

modprobe -rv acpi_cpufreq
modprobe -v acpi_cpufreq
/etc/acpi/power.sh


Since making these changes, I’ve had no problems suspending and resuming and my cpu cores have both awoken from sleep.  WOOHOO! 

If your audio doesn’t work on resume, follow this

The last tweak was just an annoyance that I finally got around to fixing on Christmas Day.  If you are having problems with network-manager in Gnome not refreshing the network list on resume, these steps adapted from this guide help me…

sudo gedit /etc/acpi/resume.d/99-reload-wireless.sh


Paste the following into the editor window…

#!/bin/sh

# Stop NetworkManager
/etc/dbus-1/event.d/25NetworkManager stop

# Unload the ipw3945 driver
/sbin/modprobe -r -f ndiswrapper

# Reload the ipw3945 driver
/sbin/modprobe ndiswrapper

# Restart NetworkManager
/etc/dbus-1/event.d/25NetworkManager restart


Then, we have to make it executable…

sudo chmod 755 /etc/acpi/resume.d/99-reload-wireless.sh


This unloads ndiswrapper and reloads it after resume and thus resets your wireless nic.  It’s crude, but effective. 

Thank you DELL and Ubuntu.

Bluetooth

It works.  I have a no problems sending and receiving files from my Centro.  Woohoo!

Power Consumption – Does your fans ever stop?

Some people have reported their fan perpetually running in Gutsy.  I have hearing problems, so I can’t hear the fan (grin).  It’s caused by the nvidia driver.  I can only tell you about power consumption and the temperature of my CPU.  I suggest the following changes..

Install powertop…

sudo apt-get install powertop

Read what it says and decide what you think you need.  I made the following changes on boot up…
 

sudo gedit /etc/rc.local

Then add before.. exit 0

hciconfig hci0 down ; rmmod hci_usb
echo 1500 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
iwpriv eth1 set_power 5
mount -o remount,noatime /
hal-disable-polling –device /dev/scd0

Then, a blogger suggested that you go into SYSTEM -> ADMINISTRATION -> Services and turn off Bluetooth.  I would go into SYSTEM->PREFERENCES->SESSIONS and make the bluetooth not load at startup.  I hope this helps.

Hard Drive:  Is my Hard Drive cycling itself to death?

The relevant bug information is here There’s been much written about this and it is marked as critical on the fixes.  There is dispute about whether this bug actually kills your hard drive. The hard drive in our computer is designed for more cycles. In fact, cycles may not hard it all!  But, to feel safe and sound, The relevant fixes and will be moderating hard drive temperatures. I did not apply this fix because I did not feel my harddrive was being effected by this bug.

Whether you have this problem or not depends on which hard drive you purchased.  The fix and explanation is located here

Automatix

For the most part, Automatix is a thing of the past.  Gutsy has incorporated alot of the things which Automatix

Conclusion

I love this laptop.  I love linux on this laptop.  If you need help, contact me. 

If you have any questions about this guide, please let me know.  It’s going to be for me a work in progress.  I’m very happy with my laptop and really like the way its running. installed.  Let me know what you think.

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46 thoughts on “Dell XPS M1330 and Ubuntu (12-28-Update)

  1. I love Ubuntu too!
    I’m waiting for Gutsy Gibbon’s full release on Oct 18th before I upgrade, though. Not a beta person.
    Enjoy your new computer!

  2. I love Ubuntu too!
    I’m waiting for Gutsy Gibbon’s full release on Oct 18th before I upgrade, though. Not a beta person.
    Enjoy your new computer!

    Not normally a beta person either.

    I suppose you could manually install the latest kernel.

    When you use bleeding edge technology, you need the bleeding edge kernel! That’s gutsy.

  3. One thing to keep an eye on. Gutsy’s Gnome has some extra graphical addons to make it more Vista-ish. The second or third day that I had Gutsy on my system, Gnome went up to 100% CPU utilization on both CPU’s (dual core). I had to shut down the graphical addons to get it to run correctly. Of course, that was on Gutsy Tribe 4, and it may have been fixed since then.

  4. One thing to keep an eye on. Gutsy’s Gnome has some extra graphical addons to make it more Vista-ish. The second or third day that I had Gutsy on my system, Gnome went up to 100% CPU utilization on both CPU’s (dual core). I had to shut down the graphical addons to get it to run correctly. Of course, that was on Gutsy Tribe 4, and it may have been fixed since then.

    We talking about compiz?

    I’m not having problems with it’s graphics.

    But…. I will say that Compiz and this Nvidia card don’t get along well. I think new drivers are going to be needed.

  5. I must say this tutorial has helped me alot. When i got my new dell xps m1330, i immediately ripped out vista and put a full install of ubuntu 7.10 desktop edition. These are just some differences i experienced during this install.

    1. The wireless card worked out of the box.
    2. The network card worked out of the box
    3. the webcam worked out of the box.
    4. the audio worked out of the box
    5. The biometric reader worked to some extent after i followed ur tutorial. I can add a fingerprint for my admin user account but i cant get it to show up in the log on screen. I followed all your steps…
    6. I am not sure how to get the Express Card Slot Reader and the firewire to work
    7. I cant get compiz to work for the life of me…

  6. I must say this tutorial has helped me alot. When i got my new dell xps m1330, i immediately ripped out vista and put a full install of ubuntu 7.10 desktop edition. These are just some differences i experienced during this install.

    1. The wireless card worked out of the box.
    2. The network card worked out of the box
    3. the webcam worked out of the box.
    4. the audio worked out of the box
    5. The biometric reader worked to some extent after i followed ur tutorial. I can add a fingerprint for my admin user account but i cant get it to show up in the log on screen. I followed all your steps…
    6. I am not sure how to get the Express Card Slot Reader and the firewire to work
    7. I cant get compiz to work for the life of me…

    Yes, I have to revise this guide. Gutsy did wonders for the soundcard and speakers.

    About compiz, do you have the nvidia drivers installed?

  7. ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card

    Drivers are coming soon for ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card….

    Stay tuned.

  8. You know, I just have to say that Ubuntu’s driver for Nvidia under Gutsy just turned me completely off. I was running about 12,000 fps using glxgears while using Feisty. Upon switching to Gutsy, I got the drivers they recommended (nvidia-glx-new) and was a little more than displeased when glxgears returned 7,000 (+/- 100) fps. I ended up correcting it by compiling the latest nvidia drivers from their website, but that’s not going to cut it in the future. In the meantime I’ve switched to openSUSE 10.4 and been thoroughly impressed with features like one-click installation of drivers, and a one-click installation of compiz-fusion. Ubuntu is doing a good thing getting their name out there, but I want new versions of a distro to feel like I’m going into the future, not back in time.

  9. On my Dell xps m1330 the fan is running all the time using gusty. Do you know a solution?
    Compiz is working quite ok with Envy’s driver by the way

  10. On my Dell xps m1330 the fan is running all the time using gusty. Do you know a solution?
    Compiz is working quite ok with Envy’s driver by the way

    I updated the post to include your question.. let me know how about the fan. My CPU temp went down after those changes.

    I’ll be willing to bet the cpu usage has to do with the nvidia driver. You might consider updating the nvidia driver to the latest one (100.14.23)

  11. I made your changes, but I’m still having the same problems.
    After 15 min of just not using my pc, conky showed a temperature of 35 C but the fan still keeped running.
    One time it stopped for a short time at 37C.
    To switch off the fan, one can go to suspend for half a minute or so. But after returning it takes only a few minutes and the fan continues. (And there is still this CPU scaling bug after suspend)

  12. I made your changes, but I’m still having the same problems.
    After 15 min of just not using my pc, conky showed a temperature of 35 C but the fan still keeped running.
    One time it stopped for a short time at 37C.
    To switch off the fan, one can go to suspend for half a minute or so. But after returning it takes only a few minutes and the fan continues. (And there is still this CPU scaling bug after suspend)

    Not cool… we’re going to have to wait for fixes to come out for this…

    It’s the nvidia card that is way too hot. I hear the vesa drivers don’t make the fan run, but who wants to run those?

  13. I have made the following changes by adding this to my /etc/rc.local file:

    hciconfig hci0 down ; rmmod hci_usb
    echo 1500 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
    iwpriv eth1 set_power 5
    echo 1500 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
    mount -o remount,noatime /
    hal-disable-polling –device /dev/scd0

    Furthermore I disabled bluetooth in the system settings “services” (Don’t know how this point is called in the english menu..)

    My fan now starts and stops from time to time… Fan behaviour is now “almost” similar to vista.

    I tried the vesa driver for an hour or two. It is even worse using them, so I can confirm what is written here:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/InstallingUbuntuOnADellXPSM1330

    Lets be hopeful that new nvidia drivers will fix the performance/temperature issue completely. Sadly there is no statement from nvidia about this problem in the nvnews.net forum.

    For some reason my fingerprinter does not work propper . Works in Vista and thinkfinger installation and configuration worked! But nothing happens when I strip my finger over it….

    Suspend worked out of the box for me. Have not tried the mic yet.

    Kind regards

  14. Hi!
    I’ve got Dell XPS m1330 too. Fantastic! I’ve installed Ubuntu in my laptop but the bluetooth doesn’t works. The applicattion says: Invalid adress MAC_ADRESS. How can I do? Can you help me with this? My mouse is bluetooth and I’ve already hated touchpad hehe

  15. Hi,

    I have a Dell D620 and I am running Debian Lenny (testing) on it. Ubuntu and debian don’t have much differences in most things. My question is about the scripts that you have in your blogs that turns off compiz fusion before suspend and reloads it during resume. Does it acutally work for you? Here is my problem:

    I have followed the steps mentioned in your blog for suspend to work ( I got it from various threads, and now i saw your page ). My video comes back with probability 1 if i suspend without compiz fusion. With compiz fusion it comes back with certain probability. Now i restart X through ctrl + alt + backspace (had to sometimes) and the system freezes completely. I have to use the power key to turn off. Now, if I dont use compiz fusion at all and then do ctrl alt backspace after resume, I can perfectly restart X.

    One other thing. I noticed that if compiz-fusion were running and without suspending, I just restart X by pressing ctrl alt backspace it will restart X without any issues. I tried this so many times and it simply works.

    In summary,
    1. run compiz fusion
    2. suspend and resume laptop
    3. do ctral alt backspace

    Does it freeze your system? It does it everytime for me :)

    Are you sure those scripts to turn off and on compiz fusion are working? I noticed that in 25-compiz-kill.sh the “killlalll compiz.real” has three “l”s I noticed it and changed it in mine. I dont think the script works. I proved it to myself by commenting the line that loads compiz fusion in 99-compiz-resume.sh

    Why then have those scripts. By the way I have them as executable. May be if those scripts worked well, my problems would disappear. I have temporarily disable ctrl alt backspace from restarting X.

  16. Thanks for pointing that out. On the 64-bit install of Ubuntu that I just did, I never installed the scripts. Suspend worked out of the box with compiz-fusion.

    Don’t ctrl-alt-backspace. When I get that blank screen, I hit ctrl-alt-f6 and the screensaver password box pops up.

    I’ve not been using suspend as much recently, there is a bug that cpu-frequency scaler.

    THANKS FOR ALL THE CORRECTIONS!

    Thanks!

  17. You know, I just have to say that Ubuntu’s driver for Nvidia under Gutsy just turned me completely off. I was running about 12,000 fps using glxgears while using Feisty. Upon switching to Gutsy, I got the drivers they recommended (nvidia-glx-new) and was a little more than displeased when glxgears returned 7,000 (+/- 100) fps. I ended up correcting it by compiling the latest nvidia drivers from their website, but that’s not going to cut it in the future. In the meantime I’ve switched to openSUSE 10.4 and been thoroughly impressed with features like one-click installation of drivers, and a one-click installation of compiz-fusion. Ubuntu is doing a good thing getting their name out there, but I want new versions of a distro to feel like I’m going into the future, not back in time.

    I tried SUSE for about a week. It’s nice. That Gnome-Main-Menu is pretty cool too. In the end, I returned to Ubuntu.

  18. Hi There!

    I have some problems with Bluetooth connection with my Motorola K1 cellphone, when you search & selected the manager made an obex connection, without setting a password or anything between XPS an K1…

    other problem was the DirectMedia Button, without DirectMedia Partition… now, i’m trying to install again with DirectMedia Partition, because my last installation died by this button.

    finally, the soundblaster audio card is a Sigmatel Emulation of SB Audigy… anyway, the incorporate microphone doesn’t work.

    If anybody can help me, please post here…

    Have a nice day, and sorry, but my english is too bad!

  19. Hi Bloghardt!

    I tried your fix for the cpu scaling problem after suspend. It does not work for me. After applying it, none of both cores are scalable. Both stay at 2.00 Ghz permanently

  20. modprobe -rv acpi_cpufreq
    modprobe -v acpi_cpufreq

    That’s very odd…. Mine is working perfectly. Try…

    sudo modprobe -rv acpi_cpufreq
    sudo modprobe -v acpi_cpufreq

  21. I also have an XPS M1330 (a red one) with nVidia 8400M GS, Intel 4965 WiFi, T7300 processor (2 GHz), 2 GB RAM, 160 GB 7200 RPM harddisk and WLED screen.

    On my M1330, everything works out-of-the-box with Ubuntu 7.10 – also the WiFi and the webcam. Hibernate and suspend also work without needing to tweak anything. There’s one little problem after waking up after suspend: the sound volume is automatically set to the maximum.

    The only thing that didn’t work was the internal microphone, but that was easily fixed with the patch to ALSA for which you already posted a link.

  22. I also have an XPS M1330 (a red one) with nVidia 8400M GS, Intel 4965 WiFi, T7300 processor (2 GHz), 2 GB RAM, 160 GB 7200 RPM harddisk and WLED screen.

    On my M1330, everything works out-of-the-box with Ubuntu 7.10 – also the WiFi and the webcam. Hibernate and suspend also work without needing to tweak anything. There’s one little problem after waking up after suspend: the sound volume is automatically set to the maximum.

    The only thing that didn’t work was the internal microphone, but that was easily fixed with the patch to ALSA for which you already posted a link.

    I will say how joyful I am to hear that everything worked out of the box for you. My wifi did not work out of the box.

    But, I do understand that the next release of Ubuntu will have it work.

    Merry Christmas!

  23. Ciao!
    I have just bought my new Dell XPS and I am going to install Gutsy.
    I have heard of some problems related to the “hard drive killer”, that is the continuous start and stop of the hd, that could lower it lifetime considerably….
    Can You tell us something about it?
    Thanks
    Herger

  24. There’s been much written about this and it is marked as critical on the fixes. It’s neat that you should ask me about it a day after I did the research on it.

    The fix that I used is located here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=3675960&postcount=26)

    The relevant bug information is here (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695)

    There is dispute about whether this bug actually kills your hard drive. The hard drive in our computer is designed for more cycles. In fact, cycles may not hard it all. But, to feel safe and sound, I applied the relevant fixes and will be moderating hard drive temperatures..

    Have a happy new year!

  25. Am just curious: Did you install 64 bit or 32 bit Gutsy (for this HOWTO) ? Does the Audio – Second Headphone Jack and Microphone fix work for 64 bit if you you -i –force-architecture ?

  26. Hi all!
    I bought the marvelous XPS 1330, but I have some problems in mounting CD’s and DVD’s.
    While for USB keys, there is no problem, when I insert the cd-dvd non icon appears on the desktop and I have to mount them manually (always with no icons appearing)…
    What can I do?
    Thanks and the best regards

  27. Hi,

    I have a m1330 running kubuntu gutsy.

    My fan is always running, I tried the solutions posted here(thks for this good job), but the problem goes on.

    Hibernation too.. but I do not use this… no problem jajaja.

    Mainly problem fan!!! this noise makes me crazy”!!!!!

    Thks

    heze54

  28. Great post!!
    Ubuntu and m1330 is a great combination, all work well, I try the fix for mic and suspend

    I have a problem and a question.

    I can get working compiz fusion with intel integrated card I try a cuoplue of fixes but not working some idea?

    The question is a easy way to get a ubuntu 32 to 64 with reinstall (I am afraid not)

    issues with 64 version in m1330?

    thanks

  29. Ya reparaste tus problemas con el bluetooth y el microfono?

    yo ya lo tengo funcionando si te puedo ayudar mande un email saludos

    Hi There!

    I have some problems with Bluetooth connection with my Motorola K1 cellphone, when you search & selected the manager made an obex connection, without setting a password or anything between XPS an K1…

    other problem was the DirectMedia Button, without DirectMedia Partition… now, i’m trying to install again with DirectMedia Partition, because my last installation died by this button.

    finally, the soundblaster audio card is a Sigmatel Emulation of SB Audigy… anyway, the incorporate microphone doesn’t work.

    If anybody can help me, please post here…

    Have a nice day, and sorry, but my english is too bad!

  30. Ciao all! Really great post: I had some problems with the microphone and it helped me!
    Just one thing: the webcam doesn’t semm to be recognized.
    If I launch camorama it says:

    Could not connect to video device (/dev/video0/).
    Please check connection.

    What can I do?
    Thanks and regards
    herger

  31. I have the same problem, but originally I can use it and now have the same mesagge

    If I launch camorama it says:

    Could not connect to video device (/dev/video0/).
    Please check connection.

  32. Fingerprint reader , with login support works! Use fprint instead of Thinkfinger.If you install Thinkfinger uninstall it with :sudo apt-get unintall thinkfinger-tools libpam-thinkfinger. Then get the dep package from here: http://madman2k.net/comments/105 , http://madman2k.net/files/fprint-packages.tar . Untar it , issue dpkg -i *.deb .
    Modify /etc/pam.d/common-auth to this

    auth required pam_env.so
    auth sufficient pam_fprint.so
    auth sufficient pam_unix.so try_first_pass likeauth nullok
    auth required pam_deny.so
    #auth sufficient pam_fprint.so
    Permissions to /dev/usb/ have to be modified to be able to read it it as standard user (for right now I chmod -R 777 /dev/usb I know bad , better way would be to make a usb group and make the permissions to 775, Some please give a better way. For now it works, Just run ,
    pam_fprint_enroll -f 7

  33. Our company had ordered HP laptops with fingerprint readers for some of our employees. They would record their fingerprints while clean, then in the field they would try to activate their laptops with dirty oilfield fingers. It locked the laptops after so many tries, and they had to ship the laptops with the feature turned off.

  34. Hi,

    you don’t have to explicitly download NVIDIA driver for ubuntu, there is a tool called restricted driver manager with which you can enable the card and it will automatically download, install and configure the driver.

    If that fails, you can download the binary driver from the following page:

    http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us

    or try the steps in this tutorial:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/Nvidia

    for any issues, check this forum:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=57368

    Adios.

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