29 Jul 2010 ncm   » (Master)

I just installed a Debian GNU/Linux Squeeze snapshot on a Dell e6510 with an intel i5-520M and integrated intel graphic adapter. The experience took me back to the early '90s. The installer tried to put Grub2 in the MBR and failed. It tried Grub 1 and that failed too. It put in LILO, successfully. Then, putting in Grub 2 worked. Starting X locked up the machine, hard. It turns out that the i915 driver in current released kernels is busted. Booting with i915.modeset=0 keeps it from locking up, but leaves a black screen; setting the driver to "vesa" lets it start up to a desktop. The 2.6.35-rc6 kernel on experimental has a fix for i915, but apt won't install it. Building that kernel from sources worked, with full-screen stellarium running about 23 frames/s (vs. 0.3 without). I haven't tried the intel 6200 wireless yet.

This E6510 is prone to announcing that the CPU fan has failed, during startup and setup intervals, but allows you to continue. Suspend works, but resume doesn't; after resume, you can ssh in, but the screen stays black, even in text consoles. Looks like I'll be sticking with VESA for X. Again. In text consoles, it buzzes when it's supposed to beep, and you can't turn it off by any means I have discovered. (Blacklisting the pcspkr driver doesn't do it.)

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