Linux on the laptop Dell Latitude D830

with the Mandriva 2009 distribution


Linux distribution: Mandriva 2009 One


: works out of the box

: works after some configuration
NO : does not work
Status with Mandriva 2009
15.4" TFT, WUXGA (1920 x 1200)
nVidia Quadro NVS 140 M, 256 MB
OK : max. resol. 1920x1200 works fine; 3D effects OK
VGA output (beamer, external monitor) nVidia Quadro NVS 140 M, 256 MB OK
Intel HDA 82801H (SigmaTel STAC 9205) OK : hissing noise problem fixed (see below)
Hard disk
ATA, 160 GB OK
Tracking  devices
trackpoint + touchpad
OK : both touchpad and the trackpoint can be used
Broadcom NetXtreme BCM 5755M Gigabit PCI Express OK
Wireless (WiFi)
Intel PRO/Wireless 4965 AGN OK
Internal modem
Conexant MDC RD02-D330 (operates through the Intel HDA audio controller) NO (see below)
CardBus (02 Micro, Inc.) OK
USB 4 ports, Intel 82801H controler OK
1 port IEEE 1394, Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI) (02 Micro, Inc.) not tested
not tested
CD/DVD read/write HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GSA-T21N OK
Suspend to RAM

Suspend to disk NO
Screen light buttons
Sound control buttons OK

Software  (from Mandriva 2009)

Installation of Mandriva 2009

The laptop has been bought from Dell without any OS pre-installed :-)

The Linux installation has been performed from the live CD Mandriva 2009 One (KDE version), asking to the BIOS to boot on the CD and then choosing "Live Install". The installation proceeded smoothly, except for the hissing noise from the loudspeakers (see below).


Screen: 15.4" TFT, WUXGA (1920 x 1200); graphic card: nVidia Quadro NVS 140 M, 256 MB

Software: Xorg 7.3 + nvidia driver
Works nicely (Xorg configured by the install to use the driver nvidia; here is the resulting xorg.conf file). The maximum resolution (1920 x 1200) is used by default and results in a very nice display. At such high resolution, the default fonts looks quite small. But their apparent size can be changed easily from the menu

Configurer votre bureau -> Apparence -> Polices -> Forcer le PPP des polices

replace 96 PPP by 120 PPP

(I guess the English menu is something like Configure desktop -> Appearence -> Fonts -> Force DPI)

The 3D rendering works well: OpenGL OK (checked with glxgears and Wherever Racer) and 3D effects in Compiz Fusion work.

VGA output to a beamer or external monitor

Hardware: nVidia Quadro NVS 140 M graphic card

Software: Xorg 7.3 + nvidia driver + nvidia-settings

The only configuration to perform "by hand" is to edit the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf to change the line

Option "DynamicTwinView" "false"


Option "DynamicTwinView" "true"

in the Section "Device" (see the attached xorg.conf file) (for some reason, Mandriva people had disable the dynamic twin view in the xorg.conf and it has be restored to allow for the nvidia X server settings to work properly).

Then, each time to plug a video projector (beamer) or an external monitor, press Fn F8 to switch to the dual screen mode. After this, launch the application

Main menu -> Tools -> System tools -> NVIDIA Display Settings

or type nvidia-settings in a console.

This opens a window labelled "NVIDIA X Server Settings". Click on "X Server Display Configuration". You should be able to select two items in the "Model" section:

For each of them,
  1. set the resolution to that supported by the beamer/external monitor, for instance 1024x768
  2. click on the "Configure" button and make sure "TwinView" is selected
  3. click on the "Advanced..." button and set the Panning parameter to the same value as the resolution (e.g. 1024x768)
Then click on the "Apply" button (and possibly on the "AutoFix" button if some error message shows up). You should then have the same display on the laptop screen and on the external device. A difference could be some flattening on the laptop if the aspect ratio of the external device is 4:3 (as in the above example with 1024x768), but this is not a trouble: the external display has the correct aspect ratio and the full screen option of various softwares (e.g. Acrobat Reader) will work properly.


Hardware: Intel HDA 82801H audio controler on SigmaTel STAC 9205

Software: module snd_hda_intel of linux kernel 2.6.27

The major problem during the install was a lound noise (hissing) arising from the loudspeakers at some point in the boot sequence and staying permanently afterwards. This is actually a feedback from the microphone; it is a well known problem (also present with Mandriva 2008 Spring), reported in Mandriva Bugzilla: bugs 44877, 44703, 40816 and 38895, as well as in various forums (e.g. here).

A simple workaround is to run kmix (either by typing 'kmix' in a console or from the sound button in the task bar of the desk), then in kmix menu, select

Configuration->Configurer les canaux

add Mux and click on OK. Then a Mux level bar appears. Setting it to zero fixes the problem. Even after a reboot.

Update (12 November 2008): the bug has been corrected by Mandriva who delivered an official update of the sound-scripts package

Tracking devices

Hardware: touchpad, trackpoint

Software: module synaptic of Xorg

Works out of the box. Both the touchpad and the trackpoint can be used.

However the cursor motion from the touchpad is too slow (certainly because the 1920x1200 screen is too big for the default settings). This can be easily improved by adding/changing the following lines in the Section "InputDevice" of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Option "MaxSpeed" "1.50"

Option "MinSpeed" "0.7"

Option "AccelFactor" "0.3"

See the attached xorg.conf file.

I have also added

Option "MaxTapTime" "0"

in order to suppress taping, i.e. touching/tapping will not be taken as a mouse click (but this is a personal taste).


Hardware: Broadcom NetXtreme BCM 5755M Gigabit PCI Express

Software: module tg3 of linux kernel 2.6.27
Works out of the box.

Wireless (WiFi)

Hardware: Intel PRO/Wireless 4965 AGN

Software: module iwlagn of linux kernel 2.6.27
Works out of the box.


Hardware: Conexant MDC RD02-D330 (operates through the Intel HDA audio controller)
Software: module hsfhda of linux kernel 2.6.27

As for most (all ?) laptops, the internal modem of the Dell D830 is not a real modem, but a "soft modem" (also called a "winmodem"), i.e. a device which depends on software to perform the functions traditionally handled by modem hardware. For further details, see the Linmodem web page.

The type of modem is identified via the command

cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#1

which returns

Codec: Conexant ID 2c06

Address: 1

Vendor Id: 0x14f12c06

Subsystem Id: 0x14f1000f

Revision Id: 0x100000

Modem Function Group: 0x2

It is supposed to be supported by the hsfmodem driver. So I have installed the dkms-hsfmodem rpm from Mandriva 2009 and run the command

modprobe hsfhda

to load the hsfhda module in the kernel. Everything seemed to work well (no error message and a symbolic link /dev/modem -> /dev/ttySHSF0 is created by the module). But when I launch kppp, I have got the error message "Modem is busy".

I have not spent much time to figure out what the problem is. Some relevant pages are

Tech/Modems on Dell Linux and Linuxant HSF modem.


Hardware: CardBus bridge 02 Micro, Inc.
Software: modules yenta_socket and pcmcia of linux kernel 2.6.27
Works out of the box.


Hardware: Intel 82801H USB
Software: modules uhci_hcd, ehci_hcd, ohci_hcd and usbcore of linux kernel 2.6.27
Works out of the box.

FireWire (IEEE 1394)

Hardware: Firewire 02 Micro, Inc.
Software: modules ohci1394, ieee1394 of linux kernel 2.6.27

Not tested.

Power management (suspend and hibernate)

Software: acpid 1.0.6

Suspend to RAM : works out of the box via the command

su -c pm-suspend

By default, closing the laptop's lid does not trigger a suspend to RAM. To change this, I've modified the file /etc/acpi/actions/ so that it becomes

#! /bin/sh

test -f /usr/sbin/laptop_mode || exit 0

# lid button pressed/released event handler

if grep -q closed /proc/acpi/button/lid/LID/state; then




Then, closing the lid triggers a suspend to RAM. After opening, the system resumes and a black screen appears. Touch the touchpad and you will be prompted for your password to return to your session.

Suspend to disk (hibernate) : does not work

The command su -c pm-hibernate does trigger a suspend to disk, but the system fails to resume when pressing the power on button.

Control buttons:

Usefull links

Eric Gourgoulhon <>, LUTH, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot, 92190 Meudon, France.
Last modified on 17 November 2008.