Born to run UNIX!

Installing SuSE Linux 10.0 on a Dell Inspiron 8000 with NVidia GeForce 2 Go

Hardware overview

CPU Intel Pentium III (Coppermine) stepping 0a 850 MHz ok
RAM 256 MB ok
hdd IBM-DJSA-220 - 20GB ok
Floppy n/a  
Graphics nVidia Corporation NV11 [GeForce2 Go] (rev b2) - 32 MB ok (nvidia)
Display 15" SXGA+ (1.400 x 1.050) ok
Sound Multimedia audio controller: ESS Technology ES1983S Maestro-3i PCI Audio Accelerator (rev 10) ok (snd_maestro3)
USB 1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801BA/BAM USB (Hub #1) (rev 02) ok
Firewire FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments PCI4451 IEEE-1394 Controller not tested
LAN Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82557/8/9 [Ethernet Pro 100] (rev 08) ok
WLAN n/a  
Modem Communication controller: Agere Systems WinModem 56k (rev 01) not tested
TouchPad Synaptics ok
PCMCIA CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4451 PC card Cardbus Controller not tested
ACPI Suspend to disk/ram, lidclose, CPU frequency scaling not working

For more details have a look at the output of lspci, cat /proc/cpuinfo and lsmod.

The installation process

The basic installation was pretty simple. I had SuSE 7.2 installed before and that was very easy as well.

Here is a short writeup of the installation process. I will go into detail on some aspects that didn't work out-of-the-box below.

  1. Choose language
  2. Set date and time
  3. Choose desktop Gnome or KDE (I like KDE better)
  4. Manual partitioning
    /dev/hda1               1          66      530113+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/hda2   *          67          79      104422+  83  Linux
    /dev/hda3              80        1385    10490445   83  Linux
    More details can be found in the /etc/fstab.
  5. Choose packages to install (I tend to install a lot development packages already here)
  6. Set resolution, activate 3D acceleration. I use this /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
  7. Set up the Ethernet NIC with DHCP.

At the end of the installation process I ran the online update to apply the security patches available at that point. After a reboot (the kernel was updated as well) I ran the update again to install the NVidia driver. It's all done automatically, no need to rerun Sax2.

After installation modifications


Just a few benchmarks:

glxgears 814.457    
tuxracer 66 - 125 800x600 default
Enemy Territory - radar 13.7 800x600 normal quality


While media players had sound, all games I tried complained about not working audio. That was fixed by adding my default user to group "audio".

To play CDs with xmms I had to configure the "CD Audio Player" input plugin in the preferences to use "Digital audio extraction".

I disabled the KDE startup and shutdown sounds in the control center to not annoy people when using the PC in public places.

Environment settings

Set zsh as default shell. You might want to copy my ~/.zshrc and ~/.alias files although some settings might not make much sense for others.

I redefined some keys, for example I like the left windows key to open the K-menu. For that I assigned "F20" to that key using xmodmap. The key manipulations are written to the file ~/.Xmodmap:

keycode 115 = F20
keycode 116 = slash
keycode 117 = Alt_R
add Mod1 = Alt_R

If I understood things correctly, ~/.Xmodmap is automatically evaluated when X is started. But KDE overrides the keyboard settings with its own, so I re-evaluate my configuration in a script I put into ~/.kde/Autostart that simply calls

xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap

System services

One of the first things I do with a fresh linux installation is disabling services I don't need. Here of course it depends on the personal needs what can be disabled or not. I stopped these services (either via Yast or on the console with "chkconfig -s <servicename> off"):

After that the list of open ports looks like this: output of "netstat -tulpn". Note: a local address of "" or "::1" means that this service doesn't listen to connections from outside the machine itself.


No action from my side was necessary, the touchpad worked out of the box:


I guess this is the most interesting part for a lot of people.

CPU frequency

I have not yet found a way to control the CPU speed.

Suspend to Ram

I did a test with

echo 3 > /proc/acpi/sleep

and the machine goes to sleep but is unable to wake up. It might have to do with the fact that it doesn't correctly "power off". I have to keep the power button pressed for some time to fully power down. Then I can do a normal boot. I have not done further investigations to get this running.

Suspend to Disk

Similar to suspend to ram: it goes to sleep but doesn't fully power down. Again I have to keep the power button pressed for some time to fully power down and be able to boot normally again.


Not much to say: everything so far worked right out of the box except for the suspend.

© 2005 Back to my linux on laptops page Last modified: Mon Jan 2 21:35:30 CET 2006