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25 November 2006 @ 02:56 pm
Ubuntu Edgy amd64 on Dell Latitude D820  

Ubuntu EdgyFeisty amd64 on Dell Latitude D820

Here's a list of what works, and what doesn't with Edgy (and now Feisty) on my Dell D820 laptop. Also, some fixes for known bugs.


In short, the amd64 version of Edgy is simply unusable out of the box and even the installer crashes most of the time. The 32-bit version does not seem to be affected. The only way to get around that is passing the notsc and no_timer_check options to the kernel. After than it becomes usable.

Components Status Notes
Intel Core Duo 2 T7200 (2.0Ghz 667Mhz FSB) Works with fix Pass options notsc and no_timer_check or use newer kernel. Updated: No problem on Feisty.
2.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM Works
15.4" WUXGA LCD display (1920x1200) Works with fix You need to install the 915resolution package to get 1920x1200, otherwise you're stuck with 1600x1200.
Intel 945GM graphics Works with fix X itself works out of the box, but you need to pass the -noacpi option to the X server, otherwise the display goes black when you close the lid (and never comes back). Updated: The "intel" driver now works on Feisty and is recommended. I use the "NoPM" server option and had no problem since then.
CD-RW/DVD+RW Drive Works Haven't tested too much, but it seems to work fine
Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Dual-Band Mini Card Works but Requires binary-only daemon provided with Ubuntu (driver is not merged and is a pain to compile if you want to use a custom kernel)
Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5752 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (rev 02) Works
ICH7 Family Serial ATA Storage Controller IDE (rev 01) Works
Bluetooth Untested
Internal modem Untested
USB Works Tested with Extigy soundcard, mouse, printer, mass storage
Touchpad Works but I use proto=exps for the psmouse module, otherwise tapping doesn't work. Updated: Using the touchpad as synaptics now works with Feisty, but then docking/undocking causes tapping to no longer work. I'm stuck with using it as exps and reloading the module every time I dock/undock (anyone's got a fix for that?)
High Definition Audio Controller (rev 01), STAC9200 audio codec Problems Basic playback works, but problems in full-duplex mode and mixer is b0rked. Updated: One must use plug:front (instead of plughw:0,0) for the PCM mixer to work. Also, the Hg version (since May) of ALSA appears to work better with full-duplex, although it's not oerfect.
Smartcard reader Untested
Express card Untested
Firewire Untested
Suspend to RAM Problems It works sometimes, but sometimes it never wakes up. Updated: wake up works now, but things stop working sometimes, e.g. keyboard
Suspend to disk (hibernate) Problems Tried once, didn't work. Haven't investigated
Docking/Undocking Problems Was completely broken with Edgy. Now with Feisty, the main problem I have is with the touchpad (see above).
IRDA Untested

Kernel problems

While the 32-bit Edgy kernel runs find on this machine, the 64-bit one is totally broken by default. There are two problems:
1) X hangs every now and then, usually after clicking on a button. dmesg also reports clock problems. This is solved by passing the "notsc" kernel option.
2) Kernel crashes on any ACPI event. Whether I close the lid or plug/unplug the AC adaptor, the kernel crashes right away with nothing printed on the console. This problem is fixed by passing the "no_timer_check" kernel option.
It seems like kernels from both Debian Etch and Fedora Core 6 are also affected. Stock kernel 2.6.19rc6 (which I'm running now) isn't affected.

Soundcard problems (Intel HDA)

The D820 ships with an on-board Intel HDA card (Sigmatel STAC 9200 codec). Alsa support for that card is currently (as shipped with Edgy or ALSA 1.0.13) very buggy. The PCM control does not work. When I plug in the headphones, I can still hear the audio from both the internal speakers and the headphones. Also, trying to do full-duplex results in a lot of xruns. I don't have any fix for that yet. If anyone knows how to get it to work, please reply here.

X problems

Seems like the X server is now trying to handle some ACPI events. Unfortunately, the ACPI event generated when I open or close the lid just kills X. To fix the problem, I had to edit /etc/X11/gdm/gdm.conf and add the -noacpi to the X command line (there are three different command lines, so you need to add it to the one being used).
Just after installing Edgy, all my X server could do was 1600x1200. To get the full 1920x1200 resolution, I had to install the 915resolution package.

Software for AMD64

Overall, the software works pretty well. The only things that don't work ATM are the ones that involve closed-source software. No acroread, flash (the ad display plugin) and binary codecs for MPlayer. So far, I can live without those without too much problem.
Tags: ,
(Anonymous) on November 26th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
Linux Laptop and Notebook Installation Guides Survey
Your document has been included into the TuxMobil: Linux laptop and notebook installation guides survey (DELL) (http://tuxmobil.org/dell.html).
(Anonymous) on December 2nd, 2006 12:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you man
Your article is very great, i have a t7200 processor and i have some problem with some distros and this processor. i hope that the options notsc and no timer check will working fine with knoppix, because ubuntu use sudo.. and i hate sudo! ;) bye

(Anonymous) on December 24th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
Current Status

I like you am interested in a 64 bit notebook. Could you comment on the current status on an updated kernel? Is everything working out of the box, or do you still need "notsc".

jmspeexjmspeex on December 25th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
Re: Current Status
Newer kernels (I'm running a 2.6.19-rc6) don't need any of the extra options. Everything seems to work normally (unless otherwise noted in the above post).
(Anonymous) on December 27th, 2006 06:47 am (UTC)
Re: Current Status
Thank You. Could you give me pointers on the best way to upgrade the kernel easily?
jmspeexjmspeex on December 27th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Current Status
Well, the build command I use is:
make-kpkg --initrd --append_to_version -x86-64 --rootcmd fakeroot kernel_image
But you first need to configure the kernel. I started with the old config available at /lib/modules/2.6.17-10-generic/build/.config and copied it to the local directory. Then I did a "make oldconfig" to make the options up to date (had to guess quite a few). In general, I'd say stick to stock kernels (even if it needs workarounds) unless you know what you're doing (and I'm not sure I know what I'm doing).
(Anonymous) on January 16th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Re: Current Status
how do you install a sound card for the 820
(Anonymous) on February 27th, 2007 07:50 am (UTC)
Thanks for the cool info. Just want to let you know that the AMD64 Feisty with latest updates seem to have solved both the tsc problem and the X crash on lid close. My laptop is a Dell E1505 with Core 2 Duo. When I was using Edgy, the notsc worked, but the -noacpi did not. The lid close problem almost caused me to drop back down to 32 bits.
7wrc on May 2nd, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
And as for me the lid close problem caused me to drop back down to 32 bits.
ext_38231 on March 26th, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
Lid Open/Close Issue
Jean-Marc, On the off-chance you haven't discovered this yet, regarding the lid close-X crashes, the following seems to fix the issue. Hibernate and Suspend still work for me, but I no longer destroy X by closing my lid: Section "ServerFlags" Option "NoPM" "true" EndSection I discovered this in http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=2150458. Hope this brings you joy. It sure did me. Chris Larson Just This Guy
jmspeexjmspeex on March 26th, 2007 07:55 am (UTC)
Re: Lid Open/Close Issue
Actually, I wasn't aware of that, so thanks for the link.
ext_38231 on March 26th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Lid Open/Close Issue
You're welcome. Hope it's helpful.

(Oh, and sorry for the poorly marked-up message, and for not mentioning xorg.conf. That might have been a useful thing for me to have included. )

Thanks for Speex,

Chris Larson
Just This Guy

sharaf_maksumovsharaf_maksumov on April 17th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
Actually great stuff!
laurenice on May 6th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Thanks jmspeex for the useful information.
Keep up the good work.
selenation on May 7th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
Very informatively..
Good job!