OpenSUSE 10.2 on the Latitude D610
Updated 10 July 2007

Note: There is a related document related to a more recent version of openSUSE.
See also:
Index of openSUSE related documents
Running openSUSE 10.3 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running openSUSE 11.1 on a Dell Latitude D610

The purpose of this document is to comment on the suitability of running openSUSE 10.2 on a Dell Latitude D610. Specifically the intent is to provide information about default hardware support and solutions that may be better than the default setup. Where possible, I have elected to prefer the use of hardware manufacturer recommended or developed drivers regardless of whether they are proprietary or open source.

CPU Pentium M
Graphics Card ATI Mobility Radeon x300
Hard Drive 80 GB SATA
Wireless Network Card Intel ProWireless 2915 ABG
Pointing Device Alps GlidePoint/StickPointer
Laptop Specific Function Keys
Wired Network Broadcom 57XX Gigabit Integrated Controller
Audio Sigmatel STAC 975X AC97
Power Management
Modem Conexant D110,MDC,1.5,v.92

Pentium M
The Latitude D610's processor works out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. OpenSUSE 10.2 also supports dynamic CPU scaling in Intel Pentium M processors out of the box.

ATI Radeon Mobility x300
The ATI Radeon Mobility x300 is supported with at least basic functionality out of the box. I suspect that the driver included with openSUSE 10.2 does not include 3D support although I have not verified this. In any case my preference would be to install the proprietary Linux drivers developed by ATI. ATI's drivers which include an installer option can be downloaded from ATI's Linux proprietary driver page. As of 26 June 2007 it appears that the only option is to download the installer which can be used to directly install the necessary driver or to generate an RPM which can then be used to install ATI's proprietary driver. I found that some previous versions of the installer did not work on openSUSE 10.2 and I have not attempted an install with the current version. ATI has been releasing updated versions of the driver installer so with luck it may be possible to get ATI's drivers running. ATI also used to provide downloadable RPMs although this option has not been provided for recent driver revisions.

Hard Drive
The Dell Latitude D610 uses a Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive, the result of which is that the partitions will be labeled in the fashion sda1 as opposed to hda1 because of the way Linux handles the SATA bus. No special configuration as a result of the hard drive is necessary.

Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG
(Can be cross applied to Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG)

To get an Intel wireless card running the necessary firmware will need to be installed as it is not included in the default openSUSE configuration (the driver is open source and is included in openSUSE, the firmware is proprietary however). The easiest way to install the Intel firmware will most likely be to configure the non-oss addon repository if you haven't done so already and subsequently install the firmware using YaST. The package name is: ipw-firmware. Once you have the firmware installed the network card's functionality is excellent and in my opinion is the best network management I have seen in any Linux distribution. The Dell Latitude D610's Wi-Fi indicator light appears to be illuminated sometimes but its performance seems inconsistent.
Dell Branded Wireless Cards
Some Dell Latitude D610s include a Dell branded wireless card instead of an Intel wireless card. Computers that have an Intel wi-fi card will carry the Centrino branding; those that lack a wi-fi card or have one produced by some other manufacturer will have a Pentium M sticker instead of the Centrino sticker on the right palm rest. Over the past few years most wireless cards that carry the branding of the computer manufacturer have been Broadcom cards although they could be just about anything. Unfortunately there is not a native Linux driver for the Broadcom cards because Broadcom hasn't provided the necessary information to produce one. Fortunately, there is a fairly successful project known as NdisWrapper which allows wireless card drivers for Windows to be used on Linux. I don't have any experience using NdisWrapper; however, I would recommend visiting the project's home page for information about the project and using NdisWrapper.

Alps GlidePoint/StickPointer
Both the pointing stick (the blue thing that looks like an eraser) and the touch pad along with corresponding buttons work normally out of the box.

Laptop Specific Function Keys
The Latitude D610's function keys seem to control functions in a variety of ways. For example the controls for screen brightness work at the bios level and will work with any operating system. Other keys such as the hotkey to eject the optical disc appear to be controlled by additional software and do not function out of the box on openSUSE 10.2. There is a package that tries to enable some of the keyboard's specialized functionality although it appears to be quite unstable. The packages hotkey-setup and kdeutils3-laptop can be installed by users who wish to try gaining use of more laptop specific function keys.

Wired Network
The Dell Latitude D610's wired network card works out of the box with no additional configuration necessary.

Sigmatel STAC 975X AC97
The audio system works out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. One feature of openSUSE 10.2 that may not be immediately obvious is the capability to control the volume for headphones (or external speakers) separately from the volume of the Latitude D610's internal speakers. Additionally the volume setting for headphones may be muted by default making it appear that the system's sound system is not working when it actually is functioning properly.

Power Management
OpenSUSE 10.2 supports dynamic frequency scaling on the Pentium M processor out of the box. The keyboard shortcuts used to adjust the screen brightness on the Latitude D610 also function properly without installing any additional software. It does not appear that openSUSE is lacking any typical power management capabilities out of the box. It is not clear if KPowersave's estimates of remaining battery life are accurate because the estimates do not seem to be affected by changing settings which can be expected to significantly affect the computer's power consumption such as display brightness. If KPowersave's estimates for remaining battery life are accurate, the Latitude D610 is much less efficient when running openSUSE 10.2 than Windows XP although I have not been able to test this yet and I doubt the relevancy of the estimates KPowersave gives.


See Also:
Index of openSUSE Related Documents
Index of Linux Related Documents
Running openSUSE 10.3 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running Fedora Core 9 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running Ubuntu 8.04 on a Dell Latitude D610
Using Restricted Formats such as MP3 and DVD on openSUSE 10.3

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