An Ubuntu Adventure: Installing DELL’s Patches

I left you on the previous chapter installing Ubuntu 10.10 image available for download from DELL’s website. There is also another bunch of files that you can install. The two that seemed to me most relevant are:

  • Realtek Driver – to provide SD Card support
  • Quanta Driver – to enable the display switch key.

But that will need to wait until the basic image is installed! And that is what happened about 30 minutes later.

The install completed without any problems, I rebooted the system and Ubuntu took me through the initialisation process. It looks like Unity is loaded and running well, I have also connected to my home wireless LAN without a glitch.

Time to check what is working!

Let me list the basic stuff that works:

  • Audio speakers and jack are working fine. The system auto mutes when you plug the jack
  • Mic (internal and external) seems to work too
  • Wifi and Ethernet works well
  • Web cam is working with Cheese
  • Suspends and Hibernate works ok
  • Bluetooth scan finds devices
Here is what doesn’t work:
  • SD card is not recognised
  • External monitor display works only if I select it manually via the “monitors” application
Well this was kind of expected as they both have additional fixes provided from the DELL website. Time to install those!

Guess what? They worked!

To install the Realtek sd card driver you need to download and run a dkms package. Installing the dkms package was pretty simple by following DELL’s instructions:

Custom Instructions for realtek-rts-pstor-pcie-media-card-reader-dkms-1.10.10_fish1.tar.gz:

1) Right click and extract package
2) Open up the debs directory that was extracted
3) Double click the .deb file and follow on screen directions. - reboot with SD card and now works fine.

For a good measure, I restarted my system and presto! the Realtek driver was installed and the SD card detected.

The Display switch key fix is a shell script and different instructions are provided for that:

Custom Instructions for acpi-disable-win7_fish1_a00.tar.gz:

1) Right click package and extract

2) Open a terminal window, and use the “cd” command to switch into the directory containing the script

3) Run the script using “sudo sh SCRIPT” where SCRIPT is the name of the script.

This too worked fine! Toggling displays between the external monitor and the laptop screen works as it should :)

What you wouldn’t expect in a Ubuntu image

The DELL provided image is clearly not just a copy of the ISO that you can download from Ubuntu.com. An obvious difference is that it contains some proprietary software. For example:

  • Youtube worked out of the box, checking closely Adobe plugins are installed in the image
  • Broadcom WIFI worked fine since the driver was also part of this image
  • DELL support software can be found if you search for DELL in Unity
  • Skype is install by default in the image

Next Chapter – Will it pass the Certification Tests?

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