Gentoo GNU/Linux on Dell XPS M1730

So I just received my brand new M1730 from Dell and since Dell sent a 32bit version of Windows Vista I have decided to decline the Windows Vista EULA, opt for a refund/credit and install Gentoo on it instead.

Heres how I did it (this is not intended as a howto).

First of all I ghosted (both) installed HDD's for the factory configuration (in case I had to restore for some reason).

Next I slid the good 'ol Gentoo 2007.0 LiveDVD into the DVD drive and proceeded to boot the machine with a one-time boot option (F12) but after trying many different versions and arch types I finally resorted to the amd64 LiveDVD which seemed to do the trick (except iiNet's rsync mirror seems to be borked).

Once I installed the base system it was as easy as doing a normal install except for the following options that I added to /etc/make.conf

CFLAGS="-march=nocona -O2 -pipe"

I was intending to use suspend2-sources as this is a laptop and it would be nice to be able to suspend/resume this beast between UNI and home (suspend2-sources are patched with both genpatches which includes the patches found in gentoo-sources, and Software Suspend 2 which is a new and improved implementation of suspend-to-disk for the Linux kernel¹) but unfortunately its masked for the amd64 arch.

About the only problem I encountered (other than accidentally trying to use the wrong arch for the stage3) was the CONFIG_PHYSICAL_START option in the default kernel configuration, as it was set to 10000. As per this webpage, I edited the .config and set it to 20000 and then the kernel happily compiled (I even have 32bit emulation too!).

All I need to do now is emerge xorg, wine/cedega, firefox and openoffice, then configure suspend2 (tuxonice), dual monitors and all the other niggly little laptop features on this thing (like aux LCD, mic sense jack, media buttons and wifi) :P

I will try to remember to post as I get devices working on this beast.

UPDATE: 07/12/2007 @ 1336
I managed to get output on the DVI interface in single link mode, but the resolution is all wrong (way too small)! It is either an xorg.conf MetaMode miss configuration or the latest nvidia drivers are borked...


Julius said...

I picked up one of these around the same time you did and after not being able to reinstall Vista Ultimate 32 (system hangs during the last installation phase) I've decided to use Gentoo as well.

Any additional insight on how you got the rest of the niggly little laptop features to work would be greatly appreciated.

I'm new to Gentoo but only by comparison to FBSD.

Cheers and thanks for the tips!

Draino said...

Julius, I can be contactable via email (see my Google/Blogger profile) or via IRC ; Gentoo IRC (username Sloshy) or on irc.oz.org #retrogamers (username DRAiNO).

I was going to write up a howto, but most problems I have encountered have been fixed by updating and/or re-emerging packages.

I am also a gentoo forum member (username draino) and you you are welcome to contact me there also.

FYI: I used to be a FBSD user too.. until I discovered Gentoo :)