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Old 06-07-2011, 06:00 PM
Paul Johnson
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

If you have one of these new-ish Dell laptops, maybe we can help each other.

I've got a new Dell Precision M4600 laptop. In the Dell web pages,
there was indication that they had RedHat running on these things, so
I figured it was safe to order. Now I'm told it was a mistake in
their web pages (e.g.
http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/precision-m4500/pd?refid=precision-m4500&s=bsd&cs=04&baynote_bnrank=0&baynote_irrank= 0&~ck=baynoteSearch)

Maybe you are like me, trying to install Debian Linux. The laptop can
"mostly work", except suspend to ram and the fancy touchpad features.
Since some of this success has been hard fought, I'd like to share to
other users and learn from others as well.

1. Don't bother with Debian Squeeze. The newer kernel from
testing/Wheezy is necessary in order to get the ethernet card working,
and it is also necessary to compile the Nvidia driver from the testing
distribution if you want to use your video. I tried using Squeeze as
the base but there were too many hitches, so I ended up stepping all
the way to testing. The newer kernel appears to be necessary to use
either the wireless ( Intel Corporation Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 ) or
the wire (Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection ).

2. The kernel boot option "reboot=bios" is necessary. Otherwise, the
system cannot shut down or reboot.

Don't insert "reboot=bios" manually into /boot/grub/grub.cfg, the
system will erase the changes when you update the kernel.

Instead, edit /etc/default/grub, mine looks like this:

# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

GRUB_DEFAULT=0
GRUB_TIMEOUT=5
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="reboot=bios"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

Now here are the things where I need help.


1. The touchpad "sorta" works. The system sees it as a PS/2 mouse,
and so you can point and click with it, but none of the synaptics
multitouch features work. I am tracking many bug reports from other
users on this. The touchpad is a thing Dell calls the "Multitouch"
and they say it is manufactured by a firm in Taiwan. I think in the
end it will be made to work as ALPS. I've patched the kernel driver
psmouse.ko and am able to get system to recognize the touchpad, but am
not able to get touchpad to respond to synclient. I've worked on this
quite a bit, and the web references seem to disagree about whether we
need a fix in the kernel module psmouse or a better program in user
space to interact with a touchpad.

Here are some links, in case you are wondering. This is an
ever-present problem, affecting all distributions.

Kernel Bug 28092 – Dell E4310 Touchpad not recognized by synaptics kernel driver
https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=28092

[Bug 773165] [NEW] Touchpad is recognized as PS/2 and ALPSsimultaneously
http://fossplanet.com/f10/%5Bbug-773165%5D-%5Bnew%5D-touchpad-recognized-ps-2-alpssimultaneously-144569/

Bug 590880 – Trackpad on Dell Inspiron E6410 not recognized
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=590880

Bug 318567 – ALPS touchpad in Dell Latitude E6510 not recognized by
kernel 2.6.33
http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=318567

Recognize ALPS Touchpad on Dell E6510 in Ubuntu
https://confluence.nau.edu/confluence/display/~cmg238@nau.edu/Recognize+ALPS+Touchpad+on+Dell+E6510+in+Ubuntu

Bug #380126 in xserver-xorg-input-synaptics (Ubuntu): “[Karmic]
Touchpad not recognised correctly, synaptics driver not in use”
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-input-synaptics/+bug/380126


2. The keyboard is weird. Compared to previous laptops I've had, it is
almost awful. Because the screen is so wide, they decided to add a
full numeric keypad on the right, so now the touchpad is pushed far to
the left. Its quite uncomfortable for me to use this. Anyway, the
config of the keys is not recognized by any of the standard
configurations, so the page up and page down keys in the numeric
keypad do not work in most programs, and editors like "vi" go crazy
when you try to use the up arrow or down arrow keys in insert mode. An
Up arrow or Down arrow in vi prints out the letters "A" and "B" at the
start of the line. Lots of programs just ignore those keys.

If you have ideas about keyboard configuration, please speak up.


3. Wakeup from Suspend to RAM does not work. This appears to be a
deep-down problem in the kernel's support for Sandy Bridge
architecture. But after that gets fixed, there will probably be some
Nvidia driver problem too. It seems like there usually is.


--
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas


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Old 06-07-2011, 06:27 PM
William Hopkins
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On 06/07/11 at 01:00pm, Paul Johnson wrote:
> If you have one of these new-ish Dell laptops, maybe we can help each other.
>
> The newer kernel appears to be necessary to use either the wireless ( Intel
> Corporation Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 ) or the wire (Intel Corporation
> 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection ).

Whoa, whoa, why? If you mean 'the older kernel packages don't come with the appropriate modules', that's fine. But it doesn't mean you need the new kernel. You can get the source for the kernel modules and compile it for an earlier kernel.

>
> If you have ideas about keyboard configuration, please speak up.

This seems like your most fixable issue. Even a completely crazy keyboard can be made to work, you just have to find the closest keymap and modify it as necessary. You can even create wholly-new keymaps if you need to, and modify them key-by-key.
If you have only a few keys broken try seeing what codes you're getting with xev and modify them with xmodmap.

--
Liam
 
Old 06-07-2011, 07:32 PM
Ron Johnson
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On 06/07/2011 01:27 PM, William Hopkins wrote:

On 06/07/11 at 01:00pm, Paul Johnson wrote:

If you have one of these new-ish Dell laptops, maybe we can help each other.

The newer kernel appears to be necessary to use either the wireless ( Intel
Corporation Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 ) or the wire (Intel Corporation
82579LM Gigabit Network Connection ).


Whoa, whoa, why? If you mean 'the older kernel packages don't come

> with the appropriate modules', that's fine. But it doesn't mean you
> need the new kernel. You can get the source for the kernel modules and
> compile it for an earlier kernel.




Unless the driver doesn't compile on the older kernel...

--
"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure
the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally
corrupt."
Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749


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Old 06-08-2011, 08:56 AM
Johann Spies
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On Tue, Jun 07, 2011 at 08:00:16PM +0200, Paul Johnson wrote:
> If you have one of these new-ish Dell laptops, maybe we can help each other.

I have a Dell Lattitude E6410.

>
> 1. Don't bother with Debian Squeeze. The newer kernel from

Mine is a bit older so Squeeze works and putting the laptop to sleep and
waking it up works.
>
> 1. The touchpad "sorta" works. The system sees it as a PS/2 mouse,

I had so much trouble with the touchpad that I disabled it in the bios
to be able to work. I just had enough of a jumping cursor which
disrupts my work.

> 2. The keyboard is weird. Compared to previous laptops I've had, it is
> almost awful. Because the screen is so wide, they decided to add a

My keyboard was giving me a lot of trouble when the computer was
stressed (loadaverage > 1.0) to such an extent that I could not keep on
working when high level of IO was taking place in the background. I
experienced problems like repeating characters or a lack of reaction
from the keyboard. A hint from another user using Fedora on
a HP who had similar problems convinced me to try an external
usb-keyboard. That helped me to keep on working even when background
tasks like database dumps, indexing and backups were pushing up the
loadaverage.

Regards
Johann
--
Johann Spies Telefoon: 021-808 4699
Databestuurder / Data manager

Sentrum vir Navorsing oor Evaluasie, Wetenskap en Tegnologie
Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology
Universiteit Stellenbosch.

"Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed,
for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea I will
help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand
of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10


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Old 06-13-2011, 02:46 PM
Paul Johnson
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 1:00 PM, Paul Johnson <pauljohn32@gmail.com> wrote:
> If you have one of these new-ish Dell laptops, maybe we can help each other.
>
> I've got a new Dell Precision M4600 laptop.
>
> 3. Wakeup from Suspend to RAM does not work.


Hi,

I have an update on this Dell Precision laptop. I "accidentally" left
the Debian sid repository active when apt-get ran

The kernel updated to 2.6.39 and the laptop DOES suspend and resume.
I had to remove the reboot=bios option from the kernel command line
before this success was experienced.

I still have intermittent trouble.

1. Sometimes, suspend fails to shut down the network devices and the
laptop resumes immediately. Manually disabling the networking devices
seems to help.

Running hook /usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/55NetworkManager suspend suspend:
Having NetworkManager put all interaces to sleep...Failed.


2. Often the laptop still refuses to turn itself off. After I try a
command like "/sbin/shutdown -h now" or the menu shutdown options, I
see the black screen messages that halt at "Shutting Down". Whereas
"reboot=bios" did solve that in previous kernels, it does not help
now, and it seems to get in the way of suspend/resume.

Still no success on getting the full functionality of the touchpad,
but you can stop the system from seeing it as a mouse, which helps in
some ways to prevent the mouse-like interpretation of touchpad
behaviors. Here's the link on howto

"Recognize ALPS Touchpad on Dell E6510 in Ubuntu"
https://confluence.nau.edu/confluence/display/~cmg238@nau.edu/Recognize+ALPS+Touchpad+on+Dell+E6510+in+Ubuntu

This does not enable scroll for me, but it does protect the touchpad
from mouse harassment.

$ xinput --list
⎡ Virtual core pointer id=2 [master pointer (3)]
⎜ ↳ Virtual core XTEST pointer id=4 [slave pointer (2)]
⎜ ↳ DualPoint Stick id=12 [slave pointer (2)]
⎜ ↳ AlpsPS/2 ALPS DualPoint TouchPad id=13 [slave pointer (2)]
⎣ Virtual core keyboard id=3 [master keyboard (2)]
↳ Virtual core XTEST keyboard id=5 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ Power Button id=6 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ Video Bus id=7 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ Power Button id=8 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ Sleep Button id=9 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ Laptop_Integrated_Webcam_FHD id=10 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ AT Translated Set 2 keyboard id=11 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ ACPI Virtual Keyboard Device id=14 [slave keyboard (3)]
↳ Dell WMI hotkeys id=15 [slave keyboard (3)]
--
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas


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Old 06-14-2011, 06:42 AM
Johann Spies
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 04:46:23PM +0200, Paul Johnson wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 1:00 PM, Paul Johnson <pauljohn32@gmail.com> wrote:

> "Recognize ALPS Touchpad on Dell E6510 in Ubuntu"
> https://confluence.nau.edu/confluence/display/~cmg238@nau.edu/Recognize+ALPS+Touchpad+on+Dell+E6510+in+Ubuntu
>
> This does not enable scroll for me, but it does protect the touchpad
> from mouse harassment.

Thanks for the link. I will follow it up.

Regards
Johann
--
Johann Spies Telefoon: 021-808 4699
Databestuurder / Data manager

Sentrum vir Navorsing oor Evaluasie, Wetenskap en Tegnologie
Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology
Universiteit Stellenbosch.

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know
not what they do..." Luke 23:34


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Old 06-23-2011, 05:37 PM
Paul Johnson
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

>> On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 1:00 PM, Paul Johnson <pauljohn32@gmail.com> wrote:
>

I have no improvement on the touchpad config to report, but have found
a way to dependably reboot the system and also to suspend and resume
the system,but from RAM and disk.

After upgrading to the Debian sid kernel, I noticed some changes,
suspend intermittently worked. I'm told that drivers are flaky, so
that explains the unpredictable response.


Adding "noapic" to the kernel boot command seems to be a magic bullet
with this version of the kernel,

2.6.39-2-amd64

In grub.cfg, it looks like this

linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.39-2-amd64
root=UUID=5aa5cbbd-18ce-4978-b171-886ae7ae6cd3 ro noapic

And these versions of related programs:

nvidia-glx 270.41.19-1
TrueCrypt 7.0a

In case you are new to grub 2, they don't want you to edit
/boot/grub/grub.cfg, since that will be erased by kernel updates.
Instead, edit /etc/default/grub and change this line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="noapic"

In case you are keeping track of the changes, I have found with the
newer kernel that the option "reboot=bios" is not beneficial by
itself, the system still locks up when you try to restart and suspend
does not work. Inserting "noapic" fixes problems, no matter the
reboot option.

If suspend does not work for you, I would urge you to remove any
driver or modules you have customized and see if the problem is
solved. Add them back one at a time to find the enemy.

--
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas


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Old 07-17-2011, 07:33 PM
Paul Johnson
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

Here's my progress report on Debian and the Dell Precision M4600.

I am in a state of "currently not broken" usage.

I still use noapic and it allows suspend and restart.

I have worked A LOT on the touchpad question. There are hundreds of
posts about it, too confusing. The best thing i've found is this
thread on the Redhat bugzilla.

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=590880

I think you will conclude the following.

1. We do not yet have data from ALPS to make the true multitouch features work.

However

2. There is a patch for the Linux kernel that you can apply. Toward
the end of the thread, you see my post about it, and I'm happy to say
that the newest version of the patch solves the worst of the problems.
The patch I'm using now is attached to this email, and you can find
instructions on how to apply it on many sites, this one seem best to
me

http://budts.be/weblog/2010/12/dell-latitude-e6510-screen-and-touchpad

https://patchwork.kernel.org/patch/350841/

After this, you should get a thing that is seen as

1. vertical scrolling by drawing finger down right side
2. tap to click
3. double-click on sliders to "grab" them
4. no touchpad failures after suspend/resume

It also fixes the "accidental cursor movement" problem while typing.

I asked "why is this not in the kernel now." If you go read here:

https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=14660

you see that the people who manage the kernel are waiting until ALPS
gives the data for a fully functional multi touch device, they do not
want to emulate some glide ps/2 mouse with the patch that ALPS and
dell are providing.

So now i see no "touchpad" config options in the Gnome mouse config
thing, and cannot use the synapctics tools to adjust it. It is a
more-or-less dumb mouse device without many options.

$ cat /proc/bus/input/devices

I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0002 Product=0005 Version=7326
N: Name="ImPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint"
P: Phys=isa0060/serio1/input0
S: Sysfs=/devices/platform/i8042/serio1/input/input5
U: Uniq=
H: Handlers=mouse0 event5
B: PROP=0
B: EV=7
B: KEY=70000 0 0 0 0
B: REL=103

Nevertheless, I am not so disgusted to own this Dell anymore. The
only thing that really
upsets me about the machine now is that the touchpad is set on the far
left side of the keyboard,
and I can't reach the buttons without moving my right hand off the
keys. I would NEVER have chosen this keyboard if I had seen it, but I
was trying to order the M4500, which I had used in the past,
but it was no longer available.

This may not seem like much progress, but I've invested at least 30
hours on the touchpad alone, and I am glad to report some progress.

pj





--
Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas
 
Old 07-18-2011, 12:10 PM
Wawrzek Niewodniczanski
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On 07/17/11 20:33, Paul Johnson wrote:

Here's my progress report on Debian and the Dell Precision M4600.


[...]


I have worked A LOT on the touchpad question.

[...]



Thanks for great update. I have M6510 and the same problems, so I'm
going to give the patch a try. BTW I'm left handed and I found
additionally problem with touchpad. One click is 'bind' to left
click rather to main click.



Cheers,

Wawrzek

--

Wawrzyniec (Wawrzek) Niewodniczański - (niewod @ LinkedIn)

System Administrator - Engineering Services Team (XenServer)

Citrix Systems, Building 101, Cambridge Science Park, CB4 0FY,
Cambridge

PhD in Quantum Chemistry, MSc in Molecular Engineering
 
Old 07-18-2011, 12:10 PM
Wawrzek Niewodniczanski
 
Default Wrestling with Dell Precision laptop. You too? Discuss tips & experience

On 07/17/11 20:33, Paul Johnson wrote:

Here's my progress report on Debian and the Dell Precision M4600.


[...]


I have worked A LOT on the touchpad question.

[...]



Thanks for great update. I have M6510 and the same problems, so I'm
going to give the patch a try. BTW I'm left handed and I found
additionally problem with touchpad. One click is 'bind' to left
click rather to main click.



Cheers,

Wawrzek

--

Wawrzyniec (Wawrzek) Niewodniczański - (niewod @ LinkedIn)

System Administrator - Engineering Services Team (XenServer)

Citrix Systems, Building 101, Cambridge Science Park, CB4 0FY,
Cambridge

PhD in Quantum Chemistry, MSc in Molecular Engineering
 

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