Debian GNU/Linux on Dell Inspiron 1764

Installing, configuring and using Debian GNU/Linux on Dell Inspiron 1764 (N0476409) notebook.

Hardware overview

  • Intel Core i5-520M (2.4GHz, 4 Threads, turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz, 3M cache)
  • 17.3″ WLED High Definition+ (1600×900) TFT Display
  • 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450
  • 4096MB 1067MHz Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM (2×2048)
  • 500GB (5400RPM) Serial ATA Hard Drive
  • DVD +/- RW Drive (read/write CD & DVD)
  • Dell Wireless 1520 (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Dell Bluetooth 365
  • Integrated 1,3MP webcam

Devices that works with Linux

  • CPU: both cores and HT works, recent Linux kernels support speedstep,
  • USB: works (even with Debian Installer images),
  • DVD+/-RW: works (even with Debian Installer images),
  • Graphic: basic features (2D, hardware accelerated 3D rendering) works with proprietary drivers only, most other features (CAL, POWERplay, multihead) unsupported; no FLOSS alternative,
  • Sound: works, but I need to pass options to module to make sound work properly,
  • Ethernet: works (even with Debian Installer images),
  • Wireless LAN: basic features (STA mode) supported by proprietary drivers only, other features (monitor mode and packet injection) not supported; no FLOSS alternative,
  • Bluetooth: works (as HCI only after reset with hid2hci),
  • Card reader: works (tested with MicroSD and Memory Stick PRO Duo, both with adapters),
  • Webcam: works.

Also “Suspend to RAM” works using sysfs method of hibernate script. “Suspend to disk” works using ususpend method.

Devices that does not work with Linux

  • none :-D




Download and install fglrx driver. Google is full of instruction how to install it, so I skip this step.

When driver is installed and fglrx is loaded into kernel its time to configure X.Org. Probably aticonfig would be best choice, but it fails on Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series cards with message:

# aticonfig --initial
aticonfig: No supported adapters detected

Download my xorg.conf and put it into /etc/X11 directory. Then start X-server using startx command. My default layout include Inspiron’s built-in TFT screen, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450, ALPS touchpad and any other mice connected to it.

You will probably see “AMD unsupported hardware” watermark in lower right corner of the screen. There is no configuration option to remove it. Removal is possible by patching file. Kano posted small script to replace call to EnableLogo with NOPs on Phoronix Forums’ thread “Unsupported Hardware watermark”:

for x in $(objdump -d $DRIVER|awk '/call/&&/EnableLogo/{print "\\x"$2"\\x"$3"\\x"$4"\\x"$5"\\x"$6}'); do
 sed -i "s/$x/\x90\x90\x90\x90\x90/g" $DRIVER


Create file /etc/modprobe.d/sound with following content:

alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
options snd-hda-intel model=dell index=0

Reload alsa driver (or reboot).

Wireless LAN

Drivers need to be compiled from sources. First prepare your system for kernel module building. Install build-essential and module-assistant packages.Then prepare kernel headers:

# aptitude install build-essential module-assistant
# m-a prepare

When kernel headers are ready download 802.11 Linux STA driver for Broadcom’s IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n devices (this includes BCM4311, BCM4312, BCM4313, BCM4321 and BCM4322). Compile it. Install. And finally load into running kernel:

# cd /usr/src
# wget
# mkdir hybrid-portsrc-x86_64-v5.60.48.36
# cd hybrid-portsrc-x86_64-v5.60.48.36
# tar zxf ../hybrid-portsrc-x86_64-v5.60.48.36.tar.gz
# make
# mkdir /lib/modules/`uname -r`/local
# cp wl.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/local
# depmod -A
# modprobe -v wl

Command dmesg | tail should output something similar to this:

wlan0: Broadcom BCM4353 802.11 Hybrid Wireless Controller


Dell Bluetooth 365 is detected as HCI on kernel 2.6.32-bpo.4-amd64 only if previously reset with hid2hci (get a copy form bluez 4.6). This is actually a feature, not a bug. Use recent hid2hci to put device into HCI mode:

# hid2hci -m dell -v 413c -p 8162
Attempting to switch device 413c:8162 to HCI mode was successful

3 comments to Debian GNU/Linux on Dell Inspiron 1764

  • Dink-X

    Upgrade to Catalyst 10.5! ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450 is officially supported from now on.

  • Blecha

    I installed ubuntu 10.04, presently with upgrade:

    Linux husa 2.6.32-30-generic #59-Ubuntu SMP Tue Mar 1 21:30:21 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

    I never got the webcam working under Ubuntu while the hardware is certainly OK (I have windows 7 in double boot). Full description of the problem at:

    Any help, hint ?

    Thanks Andre Blecha

    • All input/event devices you have referred to are not for video capture. I have no idea what they are for, as this camera have no buttons. On my laptop camera works with uvcvideo kernel module (USB Video Class driver). Driver initialization looks like:

      Linux video capture interface: v2.00
      uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device Laptop_Integrated_Webcam_1.3M (0c45:641d)
      usbcore: registered new interface driver uvcvideo
      USB Video Class driver (v0.1.0)

      I have only one video device attached (build-in webcam) so I can test it with simple mplayer invocation:

      mplayer tv://

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