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debian on an inspiron 6000

[This page originally lived at http://www.natecarlson.com/linux/inspiron6000.php. I am working on migrating all content over to WordPress, which is why this post exists. Most of the comments on this post are waaay out of date.. if you still have an Inspiron 6000, any modern distribution should take care of you.]

This document contains some rough notes on what I needed to do to get Linux running smoothly on my Inspiron 6000.

Last modified: 9/13/05 Nate Carlson

I recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 6000, and of course am running Linux on it. The notebook has some “bleeding edge” hardware in it, so there is still some tweaking required to make things work properly.

First of all, some notes on installation. With Debian’s sarge rc3 installer, I had to use the 2.4 kernel, as the 2.6 kernel would not detect the CD-ROM. (The CD-ROM on this laptop is an ATAPI drive on a PIIX SATA bridge, and the SATA driver included with the 2.6 kernel does not support ATAPI-over-SATA.) When installing with 2.4, disk access will be s-l-o-w, because the 2.4 kernel does not support DMA with the chipset. Besides having to use a 2.4 kernel, you can install as usual.

After installation, you’ll want to upgrade to a 2.6 kernel. At first, whenever I enabled the ATAPI feature in the SATA driver, any heavy disk i/o would hang the system. I ran into a web site on the Inspiron 9300 that that has a patch to fix this behavior. You can grab the patch from:


The patch on this site also includes patches to properly support the touchpad, which is very nice!.

If you have an Intel ipw2200 card, you will also want to install the wireless drivers. The driver is availabile in the ‘ipw2200-source’ package on Debian. Follow the directions to build and install; remember to grab the firmware image per the direction’s instructions.

My 6000 has an ATI Radeon X300 PCI-E video card. To get acceleration on this card, you will want the fglrx drivers from ATI. There are Debian packages for these drivers available from:


Again, just follow the directions to install. I am using Xorg from Ubuntu, so I used the Xorg packages.

If you have the Bluetooth module, installation is trivial – just make sure you have the Bluetooth USB drivers in your kernel, and it should work. The Bluetooth card shows up as a standard USB dongle.

Well, that’s it for now – I will try to organize this document better and include some more information at a later date. Hope it helps!

If you have any comments on this document, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at: natecars@natecarlson.com

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