Nicholas Studt

i4100 installation 12 November 2001

This information is provided to let you know how I configured my laptop to work with Linux; it is provided with no warranty at all under any circumstances. If you break your laptop trying anything listed below don't whine at me about it.

That said, if you have anything constructive to contribute to this information let me know at

My Configuration

This is the hardware that my Inspiron 4100 has inside of it. Yours, of course, could be configured differently.

  • Pentium®III Processor, 1.0 GHz
  • 14.1 SXGA+ TFT Display
  • ATI 16MB Video ( ATI Radeon M )
  • 256MB, SDRAM, 2DIMMs
  • 20 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive
  • Modular Floppy Drive
  • Integrated Network Card
  • Internal 56k Modem
  • 24X Max Variable CD-ROM Drive
  • Internal miniPCI Dell TrueMobile 1150 Wireless Networking (Wi-Fi Certified)
  • 59 WHr Lithium-Ion Battery

Overall I am very pleased with this laptop. Under Redhat 9 everything works correctly out of the box, unlike previous versions of redhat. Of course good things come to those who wait. ;)


No hassle with this, automatically detected correctly.


Suspend to Disk / Hibernate

Got around to getting suspend to disk working. All that was needed was following the instructions on dell's support site (Dell Support Page this link may not work, the title of the document is "How do I recreate the Suspend to Disk (S2D), or Save-to-Disk, file or partition on a Dell? Inspiron? portable computer?" this is part of the "Knowledge Base" ). They type of partition is "OS/2 hidden C: drive" and run the s2d utility from dell. Pretty easy and it mostly works. Sometimes it does not resume or locks completely on resume and I believe this to be a problem with apm and the kernel and not in the hardware itself.

Update: The seemingly random problems with resume were nothing wrong with linux, the kernel or apm, and I strongly suspect the same thing happens with other operating systems as well. The crux of the matter is the button on the front of the laptop triggers an unsuspend. Couple this with a laptop bag that allows this button to be hit while in transit and you have a laptop that suspends and unsuspends several times while it is in the bag, which makes things mildly unhappy. Yea, it took me a while to figure this one out ;) The solution is to get a bag that does not do this...


Redhat 9's X setup on install correctly identifies both the chipset and the panel. It just works. Including GL and DRI.

The rest of this section is for historic purposes.

Good news, XFree86 4.2.0 is out and supports this chipset. Also of note RedHat has released new XFree86 rpms, version 4.1.0-15, they appear to have back ported the fixes for the radeon support so that works as well now. Here is the config file. The 3d stuff doesn't work in Redhat's release and I haven't tried 4.2.0 yet.

This configuration allows the screen to run at 1400x1050, not bad running at a Depth of 24.

Some related information if this doesn't work for you can be found on the's Xpert list, particularly in November 2001. Or possibly in the message from Micheal Clark that contained the tar ball and the XF86Config that I was using.


Sound is correctly identified and works flawlessly under Redhat 9, the rest of this section is left for historic purposes.

Under the 2.4.9-12 ( Redhat 8 ) kernel rpm the sound seems to work, sort of. sndconfig seems to work with the newer kernel and assigns the sound card as such in modules.conf.

alias sound-slot-0 i810_audio
post-install sound-slot-0 /bin/aumix-minimal -f /etc/.aumixrc -L >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
pre-remove sound-slot-0 /bin/aumix-minimal -f /etc/.aumixrc -S >/dev/null 2>&1 || :

There does seem to be some playback problem though. Some applications do not play sound correctly, through this module. I got around most of this problem by running esd and sending the sound that way. The only real noticeable application that I haven't found a fix for is flash, everyone sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks. This is due to a bug in the i810 driver in this version of the kernel. It is fixed in 2.4.9-21 from redhat but it has a nasty problem of hard-locking the machine if you stop the audio stream from a wav or from flash.

Internal Ethernet

The internal ethernet (10/100) comes across as eth0 and will run using the 3c59x driver from a stock kernel. Nothing special required, it uses eth0.


Note: Save yourself some time and use the GUI tool provided by Redhat.

The internal wireless card is actually run off of the pcmcia slots. Therefore, just set up your network in /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts, define the network configuration in /etc/syscongfig/network-scripts/ifcfp-eth1 and off you go. The first couple of octects from the cards mac, this may be different for you, is 00:02:2D. Oh yea, in case you missed the not obvious reference it uses eth1.

Internal Modem

I am almost positive that this is a WinModem, but have not investigated because I don't currently have dialup access anywhere. Broadband for me all the time ( woot ! ).

I have recieved some information that there are drivers for the modem, haven't had an account to test it out on but here's the link.


USB works flawlessly, I finally got a USB based printer to test against.


hdparm is your friend to the end, it makes laptops happy. Here are the options that I put in /etc/rc.d/rc.local, it makes the drive speed along. The second lines seems to make the drive even happier, but as I just found it I am keeping the old line around. Just in case.

/sbin/hdparm -d 1 -c 3 -m 16 /dev/hda
/sbin/hdparm -X udma5 -S 240 -d1 -u1 -m16 -c3 /dev/hda

That little E Button

That little E button is keycode 129. You can map this with xmodmap by putting "keycode 129 = F22" into .Xmodmap and then restarting X. If you are on a Redhat System, like I am, this will be read automagicly. You can use your window manager to map the key at this point. And viola, you now have a mapped E button.

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