OpenSUSE 10.3 on a Dell Latitude D610
Updated 27 March 2008

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

The purpose of this document is to provide information about running openSUSE 10.3 on a Dell Latitude D610 with a specific focus on hardware support. As such, the information contained on this web page should be useful for other computer models which contain the same or similar components as the Dell Latitude D610.

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 Processor
OpenSUSE 10.3 supports the Dell Latitude D610's Pentium M processor out of the box and does not require any additional configuration. OpenSUSE 10.3 does support dynamic CPU scaling out of the box which helps to conserve power and lengthen battery life.

ATI Radeon Mobility x300
The ATI Radeon Mobility x300 is supported out of the box. By default, 3D acceleration is disabled for the Radeon Mobility x300 in openSUSE 10.3; however, 3D acceleration can be easily enabled by opening up the X11 Configuration Panel. To do so, start the YaST Control Center (type "yast" into the search box located at the top of the start menu and click on the top result "Administration Settings (yast)"). Enter the root password. Once in the YaST Control Center, click “Hardware” in the left panel, then click “Graphics Card and Monitor.” This will open the X11 Configuration Panel. Simply tick the “Activate 3D Acceleration” box and follow the prompts.
X11 Configuration Dialog Box in openSUSE 10.3
Another option some people may prefer for configuring the ATI Radeon Mobility x300 graphics card would be to install ATI's proprietary linux driver. There are two possible methods that could be used to do this. The first (and simplest method) is to install the ATI driver repository. Installing the ATI driver repository is very simple and directions to so can be found on the following page: Installing Addon Repositories on openSUSE 10.3. Note: there is also a repository for openSUSE 10.3 which makes it very simple to install proprietary NVidia graphics card drivers. The second method of installing the proprietary ATI graphics drivers is to download them from ATI's proprietary linux driver page. ATI provides instructions for this installation procedure.

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

Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG
(Also applies to: Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG)

To configure an Intel wi-fi card under openSUSE 10.3, the necessary firmware may need to be installed. In most cases, the Intel firmware will have been installed by default and the non-oss repository will already be configured. There are some circumstances where the firmware may not be installed (the driver is open source and is included in openSUSE, the firmware is proprietary however). The easiest way to install the Intel firmware (if necessary) 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 does not illuminate but this does not have any impact on the function of the Dell Latitude D610's wireless network card.
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 NdisWrapper project 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
Some of the laptop specific function keys on the Dell Latitude D610 work out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. Among these are the shortcuts to control screen brightness (Fn+up arrow/Fn+down arrow), the shortcut to enable/disable the wireless adapter, and the volume control keys located above the keyboard. Certain key combinations, however, will result in an unrecoverable system crash. Among these are the shortcut to eject the optical media (Fn+F10); do not attempt combinations you have not verified to work properly without first saving any open projects.

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 on the Dell Latitude D610 works out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. One feature of openSUSE 10.3 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 built-in speakers. The settings which appear to be the master volume controls can be adjusted while headphones are plugged in, but there will be no effect on the headphone volume since the headphone volume controls are entirely separate.
See also:
Using Restricted Formats such as MP3 and DVD on openSUSE 10.3

Power Management
OpenSUSE 10.3 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. KPowersave gives battery life estimates similar to what I see on Windows XP. I would guess that the estimates are based on the same information and that Windows XP and openSUSE 10.3 provide similar performance in terms of battery life on a given laptop.


See also:
Index of All Linux Related Documents
Index of openSUSE Related Documents
Using Restricted Formats such as MP3 and DVD on openSUSE 10.3
Running Fedora Core 9 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running Ubuntu 8.04 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running Ubuntu 8.10 on a Dell Latitude D610
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