Thursday, December 6, 2007

Overview of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon on the Dell 1501

Everything you need to get Ubuntu 7.10 running on your Dell Inspiron 1501.

Gutsy installs with no problems. There is a problem with GRUB, the resolution settings are wrong and this causes a 2 -3 minute lag in booting. Once done, Gutsy takes less than 25 seconds to load. You can find the guide on how to fix it here.

Two Methods:
1. The Restricted Driver Manager can install the the firmware for the Broadcom 43xx card in the Dell 1501. You can find the guide .

2. You can use ndiswrapper to install the driver. For the guide and maybe why you'd want to do it yourself, check out this article.

ATI Proprietary Driver
Two Methods:
1. The Restricted Driver Manager can install the the driver for ATI graphics card in the Dell 1501. ATI's 8.37.6 fglrx driver is automatically installed, configured and 3D enabled. You can find the guide here.

2. You can install the newest ATI driver that uses AIGLX yourself. You can find that guide here.

Compiz-Fusion is enabled by default, so you don't have to install anything. If you used ATI Propiety Driver method 1, use need to setup Xgl using this guide to get Compiz-Fusion working. If you used ATI Propiety Driver method 2, Compiz works after a logout/reboot.

Media Codecs
Gutsy makes codec installation easy, no more automatix or struggling with adding repos. mp3, DVD, avi, aac, mpeg, wmv, asf, mov, flv, mp4, flash codecs are installed when you try to play them. If you like to add all the major codecs and make playback easy, check out my codec cheatsheet. The only thing not enabled in Ubuntu is reading encrypted DVDs. To add DVD playback to Ubuntu follow this guide.

Works out of the box. In order to do any of these guides you're going to need to plug in your Dell Inspiron 1501. Don't be cheap, go out and buy an Ethernet cable.

Brightness & Volume
Works with BIOS 1.70, use this guide for rolling back you BIOS.

Suspend & Hibernate
Doesn't work if you install the Proprietary ATI Driver (either method). A bug in ATI's driver causes this. No fixes have been found yet. If you use the MESA driver that is installed by default suspend and hibernate will work.

Video Out
Works out of the box, Gutsy's Screens and Resolutions (System>Administration>Screens and Resolutions) makes using multiple monitors a breeze. Configuration doesn't require editing your xorg.conf file.

Works, you just need to follow this guide to set it up.

Card Reader
Works out of the box.
edited by pHreaksYcle


Pablo said...

hello redDead, do you know how to change the memory size of the Radeon xpress 1150 IGP in Ubuntu? i have been searching a lot without positive results.

redDEAD said...


no wish i did, i've been searching for it too. have a post in ubuntu forums that was never answered.

Jason said...

redDead, do your posted manuals/blogs pertain specifically to AMD64 (K)ubuntu? I presume they do, but I wanted to make sure since, as you already know, things can be different between 64-bit and 32-bit architectures. Best regards.

redDEAD said...

These pertain to the Ubuntu 7.10 32 bit release. I don't use or offer support for the 64 bit version.

r4wMUnt34q said...

Thanks for making this blog. I am about to receive a Dell Inspiron 1501 and I am new to Ubuntu. I hope I will find a lot of usefull information here ;)

Alexey Zavizionov said...

Thanks for your blog! That's really helpful.

As add, be sure that you select "Subpixel smoothing" for rendering within fonts configuration. That is get more friendly effect of fonts ;)

Ken said...

The new ATI catalyst 7.12 driver is out! Suspend and hibernate are now working on my 1501!

The Envy for the driver can be found here:

Once you install it and reboot, compiz will be broken. You just have to open up a terminal and type
sudo gedit /usr/bin/compiz

"change lines 30 and 31 to:
COMPIZ_BIN_PATH="/usr/bin/" # For window decorators and compiz

and then a few lines down, change to:
COMPIZ_NAME="compiz.real" # Final name for compiz (compiz.real)"

(found this info here:

Suspend for me works as it should. Hibernate didn't work via gnome power management, but does work with s2disk and s2both. I've done some tweaking to my hibernate settings so that may be the reason. Don't know.


Dario said...

Hi, I'm trying to install Ubuntu 7.10 on a new 1501 but the boot freezes...
The last lines I see:

* Starting deferred execution scheduler atd [OK]
* Starting periodic command scheduler crond [OK]
* Checking battery state... [OK]
* Running local boot scripts (/etc/rc.local) [OK]

...and it freezes!

Any idea? Thnaks in advance...

Dario said...

Hi, I've just solved restarting several times in "safe" mode...

Francesc said...

ken, what bios version are you using? it does not seem to work for me (downgraded to v1.70 in order to get the brightness controls to work...)

evolveCoder said...

Just to add a note about using Mesa drivers. In my setup, without fglrx, encrypted dvds (the normal movie kind) didn't work. On the upside, at least ati's finally getting around to open-sourcing their drivers.. so maybe suspend, hibernate, and all these worries will go away in a year or so.

btw, thanks for the blog!

jairp said...

Awesome Job!!

I installed fresh copy of Gutsy 7.10. and directly came to your blog to fix all my problems. I have inspiron e1505. and, after your guide, everthing works. well, the graphics, wifi, brightness... everything.

gr8 job!!!
keep it up

Luobotou said...

redDead, Has your 1501 display ever get flaky. Like losing background settings - ATI card or display problem (mine just slipped out of warrenty . . .

GregSS said...

I tried installing ndiswrapper according to the directions here and I get the message to insert the disk labeled
'Ubuntu 7.10 _Gutsy Gibbon_ - release i386 (20071016) in the drive '/cdrom/'
When I do it just pops up with the same message...this is the CD I installed from and downloaded from
Anyone have any ideas?

Draghon said...

This may come out silly but I still have to share. I tried installing for nearly 4 hours using original and alternate versions of Ubuntu 7.10 downloads burnt to a CD-RW. Eventually, re-downloading from a different mirror and burning to a CD-R did the trick. Still don't know which one did it but I'm not sure using an RW was a good choice to begin with. Either way, 20 minutes from now, I'll follow your post for my E1505. Thanks for providing this.

Marcelo said...

with Envy now suspend is working but hibernate still not working

thanks Ken and Reddead for this

Marcelo said...

if suspend worked and hibernation worked with s2disk or s2both, see this link to make s2disk your default hibernation in gnome and gdm

Natashe said...

Hello Matt,

Many thanks for a brilliant guide that has inspired me to go out and buy a refurbished Dell Inspiron 1501 from Dell Outlet and install Ubuntu Gutsy as soon as I received it (which was yesterday). So far so good and everything works as you have explained on your blog.

Therefore,a big thanks and a small token of my appreciation to you my friend. Please keep up the good work and Viva Linux and may ubuntu go from strength to strength.

Thank you from London, UK

bsilverio said...

Hi redDead,

You guys had a easy time installing Ubuntu on 1501, though that's not the case for me. During the partition part of the installation, there is no disk being displayed to be partitioned... Did i mis something?