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#title Installing Ubuntu on a Dell Dimension 9150

The Dimension 9150 was a computer produced by Dell. This page brings together information regarding installing information on this machine, and shows what may or may not work. If you have this computer running on Ubuntu, please add or change information relating to your experience.

Hardware Configuration Used

The Dimension 9150 system that you may have will differ from the one displayed below. These can contain more or less the same components but in different configuration.

Built-in Components

  • Intel Pentium 4 HT (3.8 GHz) Processor
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) RAM
  • nVidia GeForce 6800 Graphics Card

  • Dell 19" LCD Monitor E196FP
  • 2 x 250 GB SATA HDD (Maxtor 7L250S0) in a RAID 0 Array
  • CD-RW Drive (Sony CRX217E)
  • DVD+/-RW Drive (HL-DT-ST GWA4164B)
  • 13-in-1 Card Reader
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi
  • 2.1 speaker system

Peripherals included with system

The following are peripherals were provided with the system.

  • AverMedia TV Tuner

  • Logitech DiNovo Bluetooth Keyboard, Mouse and MediaPad

Other devices attached to the system

  • BT Voyager 1055 Wireless Adapter
  • Creative Webcam

Installation

Installation was carried out by installing from a USB memory stick, using a LiveUSB. I found this faster than using a LiveCD, for some reason the booting of the LiveCD went quite slowly when using the CD-RW drive. Instructions on how to create a LiveUSB from another Ubuntu machine can be found at Installation/FromUSBStick.

To boot from the memory stick, turn off your computer, insert the LiveUSB memory stick, turn on your computer and repeatedly hit F12 as soon as you turn on your computer. Then use the arrow keys to navigate down the menu and select USB device. If your using a LiveCD, turn on your computer, press F12, insert the CD and select the drive to boot from using the arrow keys.

Installing under RAID 0

Only done using Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)

Because of the RAID 0 setup, installing Ubuntu was slightly more complicated than normal. It takes a little extra work as the installer doesn't recognize the array, and only shows the two drives its made up of. The instructions found on the Ubuntu forums worked perfectly on 8.04 Hardy, and are untested on 7.10 Gutsy. The tutorial resulted in the 2 x 250GB hard drives being successfully usable as a 500GB RAID 0 device.

Please read the notes, discussing the Windows XP and diagnostic installation that would already be on your array.

Installing on a single hard drive

Only done using Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) and Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

Ubuntu was successfully installed on a single hard drive (after deleting the RAID array), without any problems thereafter on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) and Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron).

Notes

  • When installing Ubuntu on RAID 0, I found it easier to delete the array with Windows installed, and recreate a blank array. This was done by using the CTRL+I keystroke during boot to bring up the Intel array manager. This means it removes the Dell diagnostic partitions and the backup of Windows XP. I was having problems doing editing the partitions with these still present. If anyone knows how to dual-boot XP and Ubuntu on a RAID 0, please add information to this page.
  • Separating the hard drives also erases the diagnostic partitions.
  • The array manager is stored in the ROM, so it can't be erased when changing the drives array configuration.

Working Components

The system was installed with Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) for a brief period and then with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) for the longer term. Please feel free to edit these with more information if you have tested with your system that is similar to this one.

Under Hardy Heron (8.04 LTS)

Component

Status

Comments

RAID 0 Array

Working

Managed to get the RAID 0 array using instructions found at [..].

Graphics Card

Working

Works fine and works fully when the restricted drivers are installed.

Monitor

Working

Works fine after install. Live CD has problems with the included monitor, fixed by using the safe graphics mode.

Sound

Slightly Working

The Creative X-Fi Linux drivers don't want to install under 8.04. You need to use OSS instead of ALSA in order to get the sound to work. More information and instructions to overcome this can be found here.

USB Mouse

Working

Tried a generic USB mouse. Works perfectly.

TV Tuner

Working

The AverMedia TV tuner worked out of the box. Used with the My TV app.

Ethernet

Working

Connected to a router and access the Internet successfully.

Media Card Reader

Working

XD and SD cards were worked with successfully.

Bluetooth Input Devices

Not working properly

It's a long story, see the issues section.

Operation

Status

Comments

Suspend

Not working properly

See the issues section

Hibernate

Not tested

I don't have swap space on my hard drive. If you have this set up, please test it and post your results here.

Under Gutsy Gibbon (7.10)

Component

Status

Comments

RAID 0 Array

Unsure

You'll need to try this for yourself. Used the same instructions that were successful when used with 8.04 Hardy, but these failed on 7.10 Gutsy, however I may have incorrectly followed one of the instructions.

Monitor

Working

Works fine after install. Live CD has problems with the included monitor, fixed by using the safe graphics mode.

Sound

Slightly Working

Creative's Linux drivers install and allow sound to be played with ALSA. I had problems with the driver as it seemed to uninstall itself every so often, but I didn't use 7.10 long enough to observe this any further.

USB Mouse

Not Tested

USB Keyboard

Working

Tried with a Labtec USB keyboard. The standard keys worked, along with the function keys. Didn't check the media keys.

TV Tuner

Not Tested

Ethernet

Working

Connected to a router and access the Internet successfully.

Media Card Reader

Not Tested

Operation

Status

Comments

Suspend

Not tested

Hibernate

Not tested

Issues

Bluetooth Input Devices

This behavior was found in Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) and Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), but the following information was gathered from information using 8.04 LTS Hardy.

Fixed with USB Keyboard method

There appears to be a problem with the 9150 and using the Logitech DiNovo Bluetooth Keyboard, which includes a keyboard, a mouse and a MediaPad, which is a separate numerical device with a small screen.

The keyboard appears to work in the BIOS, when working with GRUB and during the boot screen. For example, users are able to cancel the routine disk check or select an alternate operating system. When the GDM loads and the user need to log in, there is no response from any of the devices, no keys can be made, the mouse does not move, and the MediaPad has no effect on the screen. Pressing the discovery button on the front of the Bluetooth hub has no effect, and the light on the hub does not respond.

Below is a list of ways which are confirmed to get the keyboard workable again:

Unplugging and Reinserting the USB Cable

This method requires the user to manually take out and reinsert the USB cable going to the hub. After a few seconds, the mouse will respond to movement and keystrokes can be made.

The downside to this, is that no devices can be used with the hub as the Bluetooth manager stops working as if there was no Bluetooth hardware attached to the computer. This prevents users of this method from pairing other devices. Additionally, a main pitfall is that because the Bluetooth manager is disabled, it doesn't allow the user to permanently configure the keyboard and other devices after getting them working.

Whenever you reboot your computer, you'll have to do this again.

Using a USB keyboard (fix using this)

Tested and known to be working in Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), not tried in Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron).

A separate, wired USB keyboard can be used to overcome the problem by accessing the Bluetooth manager while it is still working, instead of facing the problem where the manager stops working when the hubs USB cable is reinserted. This solution also stays intact after reboot, so you will only have to do this once, and you can pair up other devices unlike in the above method.

The keyboard must be a USB type, the 9150 does not have ports for the older PS/2 cables, which are the purple or green round connectors used in keyboards and mice.

Below is the instructions for this method:

  • 1) Have the wired USB keyboard and the DiNovo Bluetooth hub plugged in. 2) Boot up and log in using the wired keyboard.

    3) Press Alt+F1 which brings up the Applications menu, use the arrow keys to go to System > Preferences > Bluetooth. 4) On the Bluetooth dialog, the tabs should be selected Component and you can use your right arrow key to move to the Services tab. If you can't keep pressing tab until you have selected the tabs at the top of the dialog.

    5) Using the tab and arrow keys to move the selected item, go to Input Service then navigate to the Add button while still having it selected. 6) Starting with the mouse, press the connect button on the mouse and use the arrow keys, tab and enter to select the mouse from the dialog, it should appear as Logitech MX900 Mouse.

    7) Using your mouse, you can continue to repeat the above process to add your keyboard and MediaPad. 8) Remove the wired keyboard and reboot. You should be able to use the devices straight off the bat, and you'll also be able to pair additional Bluetooth devices.

Notes

Theoretically, you should be able to use a mouse to the same effect, by doing the reinsert method, logging in and making GDM automatically log you in. You should be able to then reboot, be automatically logged in with the Bluetooth still working, unlike the way it stops working when you reinsert the hub as you have to type in your username and password, and use the mouse to pair up the devices using the Bluetooth manager. However, it seems to crash while the devices are connecting when doing this in Hardy.

Changing the Bluetooth Configuration

Tested and working on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron).

Theres a setting in /etc/default/bluetooth in which changed, it shows similar behavior to the first method, where the USB connector is reinserted. The main different is that it doesn't require it to be redone each time the computer is started, but you are still unable to use the Bluetooth manager to preform tasks such as add additional Bluetooth devices.

Heres the instructions:

  • 1) Load up the terminal and type in:

gksu gedit /etc/default/bluetooth
  • 2) Find this in the file:

HID2HCI_ENABLED=1

and change the value 1 to 0.

  • 3) Save the file and close gedit.

After this, you should be able to reboot and not have to reinsert the hubs USB cable, but you still will not be able to configure additional Bluetooth devices.

Suspend doesn't work properly

Not fixed yet.

The 9150 has a problem with going into suspend mode. I haven't managed to get this to work properly, so please add any information you can to the bottom of this article.

When suspend is clicked on, the system begins to go into suspend mode. The monitor turns off and the hard drives sound like they're spinning down, but the main fan at the front of the computer doesn't seem to turn off.

InstallingUbuntuOnADellDimension9150 (last edited 2013-12-09 04:55:06 by cprofitt)