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This is a guide to running Linux with the Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop. This Inspiron 1501 is one of only a few laptops with an AMD Turion64 X2 processor. Unfortunately, due to the Dell 1390 Wireless card, this laptop can be a little tricky to configure under Linux.
This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.
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|Name||Dell Inspiron 1501|
|Processor||AMD Turion64 X2 TL-50|
|Graphics||ATI Radeon Xpress 1150|
|Network||10/100 Ethernet, Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Wireless|
|Other||4 x USB2.0|
|HDD||Partial||Yes, if kernel version greater than 2.6.20|
|Sound||Yes||Use the snd-hda-intel module|
|56K Modem||Yes||use driers at http://www.linuxant.com/drivers/|
For the hard drive in the Inspiron 1501 to be detected while installing Linux, you will likely need to use the boot parameter 'all-generic-ide'. However this will cause a performance penalty. This issue has been fixed since kernel version 2.6.20.
In some distributions, such as Ubuntu, you will need to add
pci=nomsi to your boot options for the system to boot properly.
The ATI Radeon Xpress 1150 in this laptop is supported by both the open source radeon module and ATI's proprietary fglrx module. You may like to view our Configuring an ATI graphics chip guide for installation instructions.
This Dell 1390 wireless controller in the Inspiron 1501 doesn't have any native drivers for Linux so using the ndiswrapper module is necessary. You can review our Configuring the ndiswrapper module for information on how to use this driver. The windows driver is available from Dell's website. There is also at set of native drivers which are available here, but these have note been tested yet. Using the BIOS configuration page, turning off the Wireless Hotkey (Fn-F2 control) seems to help the card work better with ndiswrapper and the Windows driver. (Without turning off the Wireless Hotkey control, the card may get detected, but not find any networks with “iwlist scan”, and the little green WiFi light may not come on.)
Some versions of the Inspiron include the Dell 1490. This works with the bcm43xx module.
If you try to install the Dell 1390 wireless controller through the built in linux Additional Drivers program and your laptop crashes, you can try to install the linux drivers manually.
You can run this command in a terminal to find out witch Broadcom card you have.
lspci -vvnn | grep 14e4
If it does not show up as the BCM4311, you can go to this link for specific instructions on your Wi-Fi chipset, https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx#sthash.O7GHuhP8.dpuf
Most Dell Inspiron 1501 should have the BCM4311 and if you do, you can procede to install the b43 Open source driver.
If you have Ubuntu 12.04 and up you can then run the following commands in a terminal to install the b43 open source driver.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer
You can now restart you Inspiron 1501 and you should be able to connect to a Wi-Fi Signal.
The Dell Inspiron 1501 does require some intermediate level configuration work for it to work well under Linux. Unfortunately this can be quite tricky for new Linux users.