November 16, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy heron On Dell xps m1330

Filed under: Ubuntu — Bigbrovar @ 8:53 am
Tags: , ,

Ubuntu and Dell XPS M1330

Recently decided to vote with my pocket and stop paying the MS tax. Hence i ordered a laptop that came pre-installed with Linux. i wanted some sleek,powerful and just works with Linux. and the Dell xps m1330 was just want fitted my need. out of the box it just works mp3 and all. it also comes with a reinstall partition which is meant to reinstall the system to it factory state in case you break your computer. what really impressed me the most was the finger print reader which (through thinkfinger) would allow you to use your finger print for  GDM session login, Screensaver unlock, Sudo and gksudo prompts, PolicyKit authorization. now tell me that is not cool.

How ever i found the default dell configuration very ideal for grandmothers. and very restrictive when it comes to hard drive partitioning. It doesn’t allow you to set your partitions the way you would want. and instead forces down some weird partition table where %90 of your disk space is given to the root (/). i found this most unacceptable so i decided to leave the comfort zone of the pre-installed Ubuntu and install a vanilla Ubuntu on my own terms.
Before i started anything i created a recovery DVD using the disk creation utility on my desktop. once that was done. i inserted Ubuntu 8.4.1 desktop cd on my drive rebooted the computer and went on to install Ubuntu my on way. once the installation was complete some things didn’t quite work out of the box but were easily resolved

here are some of the things i did to get a vanilla Ubuntu to work perfectly just like the pre-installed hardy heron that came with the dell

before anything this is the hardware configuration of my dell m1330

Intel core 2 Duo T5850 (2.16GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
1     4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz
1     Standard Display with 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
1     Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
1     Speed: 320GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) with Free Fall Sensor
1     Ubuntu 8.04 with DVD Playback
1     Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
1     CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW Drive)
1     High Definition Audio 2.0
1     Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card
1     56Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell)
1     Biometric Fingerprint Reader
1     Built-in Bluetooth capability (2.0 EDR)
1     Standard LCD with Tuxedo Black Casing and Camera XPS M1330
1     Intel Centrino Core Duo Processor

what works
Intel core 2 Duo T5850 (2.16GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache) 
Just works               

Standard Display with 2.0 Megapixel Webcam  
Just works                                       

Speed: 320GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) with Free Fall Sensor
Just works                 

Integrated 10/100 Network Card 
Just works

Not Tested                                                                                             

CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW Drive)  
Just works                                                        

High Definition Audio 2.0
Just works                                                                      

Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card 
Just works                                                         

56Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell)
Just works

Biometric Fingerprint Reader
Just works

Built-in Bluetooth capability (2.0 EDR)
Just works

Standard LCD                                                                                    
Just works

Internal mic                                                                                       
Just works

Memory card reader 
Just works                                                                           

The Tweaks

Has you can see almost everything works with the vanilla hardy heron install. well almost so here are some of the things to change the almost to everything
Note you must make sure that your system is update to date because some bugs came with the first release of ubuntu which have been fixed with latter update. In case you are using the latest hardy heron image 8.4.1 then you are in the clear.

To get the finger print reader to work like it did on the pre-installed dell. you have to install a tool called thinkfinger
open terminal (Applications/Accessories/Terminal) copy and paste this into it and press enter.
sudo apt-get install thinkfinger-tools  libpam-thinkfinger

once installed you need to add your finger print to the database

1. As a regular user (not as root), enroll your fingerprint:
tf-tool --acquire
You will be prompted to swipe your finger 3 times.
2. Verify that your fingerprint is stored correctly:
tf-tool --verify

for the final process we have to tell your authentication process to accept your finger do this we would edit /etc/pam.d/common-auth

gksu gedit /etc/pam.d/common-auth

this would open a text file. now add the follow line to the bottom end of the file

auth    sufficient
auth    required try_first_pass nullok_secure

save the text file and you and done.

There is an easier way to of getting this done.
just copy and paste this in terminal and press enter
sudo '/usr/lib/pam-thinkfinger/pam-thinkfinger-enable'

Once that is done reboot your computer

Now anytime you use sudo, or login you can use your finger print in place of your password

Internal mic
Actually the internal mic works, but doesnt work out of the box because of the wrong configuration which can be easily fixed by

1. Open the sound controls by clicking the sound icon next to the clock.
2. Select File->Change Device->HDA Intel (Alsa mixer)
3. Then goto Edit->Preferences and select everything

now in other to get some dell firmware update for your system you can add this repository to your sources.list
deb hardy main
deb-src hardy main

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

another minor issue with the dell m1330 on a vinalla hardy heron is WiFi LED on system does not turn on when WiFi is in use, but wireless still works.
Fix: Install linux-backports-modules for your kernel. For example, if running kernel 2.6.24-16-generic:
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-2.6.24-16-generic
as at press time i was running 2.6.24-21-generic
so i just did
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-2.6.24-21-generic

to know what version of the linux kernel your laptop is running
cat /proc/version

and last but not the least

the pre-installed can with mp3 and dvd support to get this on your dell you need to add the medibuntu repo

Open up a terminal (applications -> accessories -> terminal) and copy/paste this code:

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list && wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y ubuntu-restricted-extras non-free-codecs w32codecs totem-mozilla libdvdcss2

In case you might want to add more open source goodies

sudo aptitude install alien compizconfig-settings-manager thunderbird xchat amsn lastfm startupmanager htop cowsay irssi youtube-dl ffmpeg audacity libdvdcss2 vlc libdvdcss2 ubuntu-restricted-extras w32codecs amarok cheese virtualbox ffmpeg gparted wine zdesktop nautilus-actions nautilus-clamscan nautilus-gksu nautilus-image-converter nautilus-open-terminal nautilus-script-audio-convert nautilus-wallpaper soundconverter soundkonverter-amarok pidgin-encryption pidgin-lastfm pidgin-libnotify pidgin-mpris pidgin-musictracker postgresql ssh skype audacity opera gthumb thinkfinger-tools libpam-thinkfinger startupmanager mousepad irssi cbrpager comix k9copy k3b libk3b2-extracodecs aptoncd

One issue i forgot was the eject button on top of the keyboard does not work out of the box with ubuntu. i solved the problem here


  1. I can’t get the lock screen to turn off when resuming from standby. I’ve tried gconf-editor and selecting off for the lock. Did you always have to enter a password on resume?

    Comment by Bill — December 14, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  2. for hardy i never had that problem. everything worked out of the box. but with ibex i never was able to use my finger swap to unlock my screen from resume

    Comment by Bigbrovar — December 14, 2008 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  3. After y added the 2 lines to /etc/pam.d/common-auth
    The computer prompt 2 time every time that I use sudo or for the first login.

    here is my /etc/pam.d/common-auth file

    # /etc/pam.d/common-auth – authentication settings common to all services
    # This file is included from other service-specific PAM config files,
    # and should contain a list of the authentication modules that define
    # the central authentication scheme for use on the system
    # (e.g., /etc/shadow, LDAP, Kerberos, etc.). The default is to use the
    # traditional Unix authentication mechanisms.
    auth requisite nullok_secure
    auth optional migrate missingok
    auth sufficient
    auth required try_first_pass nullok_secure

    Comment by Nardo — January 19, 2009 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  4. sorry my bad .. i had that problem to fix u have to undo the changes you made to /etc/pam.d/common-auth (hope you backed it up .. ) by removing the 2 lines you added following the guide. save and edit.. then run the following command
    sudo ‘/usr/lib/pam-thinkfinger/pam-thinkfinger-enable’

    that is all .. reboot and everything would be set.. and you wont have to type your passwd twice to login.. i have updated the guide to reflect this.

    Comment by Bigbrovar — January 19, 2009 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  5. I haven’t used linus operating system in the pass cos i haven’t gotten any need for it, nice article

    Comment by francis — February 2, 2010 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  6. wonderful article

    Comment by uche — February 2, 2010 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

  7. are you sure the free fall sensor is actually working?

    Comment by Goelzer — September 8, 2010 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  8. Simply wish to say your article is as astounding. The clarity for your submit is just nice and that i can assume you are a professional on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to snatch your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the rewarding work.

    Comment by Alexander Andonian — January 31, 2012 @ 8:49 am | Reply

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