Linux on a DELL Latitude XPi

Linux on a DELL Latitude XPi

Post by Larry Meado » Sat, 28 Oct 1995 04:00:00

Hope this is useful to some of you out there...
Linux on a Dell Latitude XPi


Dual Scan Color 640x480 (tft 800x600 is available)
2 PCMCIA Slots
8MB expandable to 40
810 MB removable IDE HD
1 serial, 1 parallel, 1 PS-2, 1 Ext. VGA
Docking station has above plus SCSI and Ethernet


Slackware 3.0 installation, CD-Rom.

Linux does not support the ethernet in the Docking Station (SMC 91C92),
so I bought an IBM Credit Card ethernet adaptor.
This and my modem card worked out of the box with Slackware, except
the modem speaker is weird.

The SCSI is a tmc8xx (Future Domain) but at a weird address and IRQ,
and the BIOS string isn't automatically recognized. You can boot with
After booting, I recommend you rebuild the kernel with a modified seagate.c
(diffs below).  This allows auto-detection to work, which is nice
when booting without the desk dock.

Installation from CD worked, although there are some problems with the
auto-detection at the beginning (it seemed to think there were 6 CD roms).
I haven't worked more on this.

X works on the internal screen at 640x480, and on the external at 640x480
and 800x600. I don't have a good 1024x768 yet; interlaced works but is
unacceptable. The chipset is a CL-GD7543 which is unsupported.
Attached is an XF86Config that is a starting point.

Bad Things:

The docking ethernet doesn't seem to work even under Windows. I'm using
WFW 3.11 and Chameleon NFS. The ethernet will work for a while then the
whole laptop will freeze up.

The SCSI init flakiness under linux is annoying; it may be a real problem
when I try more than one external device. I suspect that this is a linux

When the notebook is closed, it seems to have a heat problem. I've only
seen this under linux. The text mode display shifts to the right of the
screen and wraps around; it shifts to different pages and starting positions
every time a carriage return is sent. This will happen even when the notebook
sits on a bed for too long (not enough air flow). Works fine after it cools
off. Never seen any trouble in Windows related to this. Maybe linux is
on the ragged edge of timing?

Good Things:

Great keyboard.

The docking station is the reason I bought the machine. I hope that the
problems get resolved. It would be great if someone would write a driver
for the ethernet chip.

Good value for the money, reasonable weight.

Very modular -- removable disk, memory is easy to get to.

Seems pretty fast, I'll have to run Spec on it.

Wish list:

- Better X configuration
- Linux drivers for docking ethernet
- Dell doesn't provide disks for the Dell-installed software. Of course, I
managed to delete it all before backing anything up. If anyone has one
of these with the installed software intact, I'd love to see a list of
the software (and maybe get some of it from you :).

XF86Config -- significant changes

Modeline "640x480"     25.230 640  664  760  800   480  491  493  525
Modeline "1024x768"    44.9  1024 1048 1208 1264   768  776  784  817 Interlace
Modeline "1024x768" 72.16 1024 1056 1208 1264   768  776  784  817 +hsync +vsync
Modeline "800x600"     50     800  856  976 1040   600  637  643  666 +hsync +vsync

Section "Device"
    Identifier  "My Video Card"
    VendorName  "Unknown"
    BoardName   "Unknown"
    VideoRam    1024
    Chipset     "CLGD5428"
    Option      "sw_cursor"
    Option      "fifo_conservative"
    Option      "noaccel"     # probably not necessary
    # Insert Clocks lines here if appropriate
seagate.c context diffs:

*** seagate.c   Mon Oct 23 11:05:21 1995
--- seagate.c-save      Wed Aug 16 11:53:29 1995
*** 62,68 ****

  #ifndef IRQ
! #define IRQ 11        /* lfm */

  #if (defined(FAST32) && !defined(FAST))
--- 62,68 ----

  #ifndef IRQ
! #define IRQ 5

  #if (defined(FAST32) && !defined(FAST))
*** 183,189 ****
  {"FUTURE DOMAIN CORP. (C) 1992 V8.00.004/02/92",   5, 44, FD},
  {"IBM F1 BIOS V1.1004/30/92",                    5, 25, FD},
  {"FUTURE DOMAIN TMC-950",                        5, 21, FD},
- {"Future Domain Corp. V1.0008/18/9364/32IBM F1 BIOS", 5, 49, FD}, /* lfm */
  #endif /* CONFIG_SCSI_SEAGATE */
--- 183,188 ----

Larry Meadows


1. Linux on a Dell Latitude XPi P75D laptop

That's VERY interesting. I have a sort of converse problem with 1.2.8
on the same hardware. When I cold-boot my system the console display
is messed up. I blind-type my way into X or an SVGALIB application,
run that for 15 minutes or so and when I come out, I may have to do
setfont, but after that evrything is fine. When I soft boot from DOS,
reboot linux, or even power-on reset the system, when it is physically
warm, it runs perfectly.

For me this is no more than a nuisance, but I'd like to know what is causing it.

        Steve Linton

PS to run X you have to pretend that the video chip set is clgd5428, since the 7543 is not supported yet.

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