Installing Debian on Dell M1210

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This guide is not completed, feel free to update it if you have more information


Component Status Comments
Camera Works Download driver: linux-uvc
Card reader Need more research kernel patch? MMC dot work?
CD/DVD Works parameter at boot?
Dual Core CPU Works Install smp kernel
Ethernet Works out of the box
Firewire not tested
Media Butoms Works out of the box
Modem not tested, but... Propietary driver limit modem to 14.4Kb
SATA Disk Works out of the box
Sound Works out of the box
Suspend to RAM Need more research working for other people
Suspen to disk Need more research working for other people
S-Video output Works
Touchpad Works out of the box
USB Works out of the box
VGA Port Works
Video (NVIDIA) Works free and propietary driver
Wireless Works with some work Download driver: ipw3945


  • Debian GNU/Linux Etch (testing) Daily Build Debian Installer
  • kernel 2.6.18-3 - Custom build

Base installation

Using Daily Build (I have used this)

Today, dailybuild Debian installer CD has solved SATA & CD problem

Using Debian Installer Etch beta 3 release

Error message:

No common CD-ROM drive was detected.

SATA driver can block access to CD drive in installations from CD. On systems having a SATA IDE controller that also has the CD drive connected to it, you may see the installer hanging during hardware detection for the CD drive or failing to read the CD just afterwards. A possible reason is that the SATA driver (ata_piix and maybe others) is blocking access to the CD drive. You can try to work around this by booting the installer in expert mode and, in the "Detect and mount CD-ROM" step, selecting only the drivers needed for CD support. These are (ide-)generic, ide-cd and isofs. The drivers needed to access the disk will still be loaded, but at a later stage. By loading the CD drivers before the SATA driver in this way, you may be able to complete the installation. Note that CD-ROM access may still be an issue after rebooting into the installed system.

Booting debian netinst from USB drive

The workaround I used is to boot from a USB stick (don't worry you will get your CDROM working later).

gzip -dc boot.img.gz >/dev/sdX

Enable USB drive boot from BIOS setup, and then Install Debian base system as usual.

Using kernel boot parameters

(Not checked) You can append libata.atapi_enabled=1 to the install or expert command lines at the boot prompt to get your cdrom detected and then be able to install from it.




deb testing main contrib non-free
deb unstable main contrib non-free
deb testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb testing main
deb sid main


APT::Default-Release "testing";

Upgrade base system

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade


Compiling a custom kernel

apt-get install linux-source-2.6.18 libncurses5-dev kernel-package
cd /usr/src
tar jxf linux-source-2.6.18.tar.bz2
cd linux-source-2.6.18
make menuconfig
make-kpkg --initrd --revision gacq01 kernel_image
cd ..
dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.18_gacq01_i386.deb

Manually edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and reboot


Installing nvidia drivers

Pre-compiled driver if you install a linux-image

apt-get install nvidia-kernel-2.6.1x-1-686-smp
apt-get install nvidia-glx nvidia-settings

Build your own nvidia driver if you have builded your kernel

apt-get install nvidia-kernel-source nvidia-kernel-common
cd /usr/src
tar xvzf nvidia-kernel-source.tar.gz
cd linux-source-2.6.18
make-kpkg --revision gacq01 modules_image
cd ..
dpkg -i nvidia-kernel-2.6.18_1.0.8776-1+gacq01_i386.deb
apt-get install nvidia-glx nvidia-settings

More info in:


Update your /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Module"
        #Load   "dri"

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "NVIDIA"
        Driver          "nvidia"
        Option          "NoLogo"
        Option          "RenderAccel"   "true"
        Option          "NvAGP"       "1"

Section "Screen"
        Device          "NVIDIA"

Wireless interface


driver from for example


ieee80211 subsystem from for example


firmware from for example


regulatory daemon from for example


2. Install these modules ONLY if you didn't compile your own kernel

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.1x-1-686-smp
apt-get install gcc-4.0

3. Complile and install modules

tar -zxvf ieee80211-1.2.15.tgz
cd ieee80211-1.2.15
make install
cd ..
tar -zxvf ipw3945-1.1.0.tgz
cd ipw3945-1.1.0
# if you have problems here see notes
cd ..
tar zxvf ipw3945-ucode-1.13.tgz
mkdir /usr/local/lib/firmware/
cp ipw3945-ucode-1.13/ipw3945.ucode /usr/local/lib/firmware/
tar zxvf ipw3945d-1.7.22.tgz
cp ipw3945d-1.7.22/x86/ipw3945d /sbin/ipw3945d-$(uname -r)
cd ipw3945-1.1.0
cp ipw3945.ko /lib/modules/$(uname -r)
depmod -a

4. /etc/init.d/ipw3945


case $1 in
 echo -n "Load ipw3945:"
   modprobe -i ipw3945
   /sbin/ipw3945d-$(uname -r) --timeout=30
   sleep 2
   echo " done."

   echo -n "Unloading ipw3945:"
   /sbin/ipw3945d-$(uname -r) --kill
   modprobe -ir ipw3945
   sleep 2
   echo " done."

exit 0
chmod 755 /etc/init.d/ipw3945

5. Enable start on boot

update-rc.d ipw3945 defaults 30

6. /etc/network/interfaces

auto eth2
iface eth2 inet dhcp


  • If your are planning to use your wireless interface in monitor mode, for example to use kismet, uncomment "CONFIG_IPW3945_MONITOR=y" from the driver Makefile before running make.
  • If you have error: "too few arguments to function ‘ieee80211_tx_frame’" problems compiling ipw3945-1.1.0 with 2.6.18 kernel. ipw does not properly recognize the version of ieee802.11 stuff in the kernel. A quick hack is to change "EXTRA_CFLAGS += -DIEEE80211_API_VERSION=$(IEEE80211_API)" to "EXTRA_CFLAGS += -DIEEE80211_API_VERSION=2" on line 96 of Makefile. (



Using uvcvideo - Only work with v4l2


apt-get install libpt-plugins-v4l2
svn checkout
cd linux-uvc/linux-uvc/trunk
sudo make install
modprobe uvcvideo
dmesg | tail
ln -s /dev/video0 /dev/video


  • Only v4l2 is supported
  • Add users to system group "video"

Webcam test

apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev
tar -xvf luvcview-20060706.tar.gz
cd luvcview-20060706
./luvcview -d /dev/video0 -f jpg -s 640x480


Sound card

If you have conflict with the webcam USB microphone you can use this configuration in /etc/modprobe.d/sound to set the correct device order asignation.

alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
options snd-hda-intel index=0
alias snd-card-1 snd-usb-audio
options snd-usb-audio index=1


Error trying to open /dev/sg0 exclusively (Permission denied)... retrying in 1 second.
cdrecord: Permission denied. Cannot open '/dev/sg0'. Cannot open SCSI driver.


chgrp cdrom /dev/sg0

Modem (Not tested)


These are NOT free, however - an uncrippled version will set you back USD 19.99, the free ones only support 14k4 :-(

dpkg -i hsfmodem_{version}_{arch}.deb
if necessary, run "hsfconfig" to complete the installation, enter license information, or to change your modem's configuration.

Hacerlo andar igual


Ricoh Card Reader



Suspend to RAM - Not working yet

apt-get install gnome-power-manager

to validate

  • After the installation of the NVIDIA driver, Suspend to RAM worked well after setting SUSPEND2RAM_FORCE="yes" in '/etc/powersave/sleep'.


Cambiar en /etc/default/acpi-support



Detected by preinstaled windows

Modem:Conexant HDA D110 MDC V.92 (winmodem)
NIC: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
SATA: Intel(R) 82801GMB/GHM (ICH7-M Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller - 27C4
Card Reader: Ricoh Memory Stick Y MMC
Webcam: QuickCam for Dell Network
PAD: Synaptics PS/2 Port Pointing device

General references

Other sites about M1210 & Linux

About Debian