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Installing Linux on a Dell Inspiron 5100 Notebook

10/09/03 This one is dedicated to installing Gentoo GNU/Linux on the laptop

I began using linux on my desktop a little over a year ago, and once I figured out how to get sound i never looked back. I got the dell inspiron 5100, and i knew I would install linux along with windows xp, mainly because I need some proprietary software for school, and I don't have windows on my desktop.

The Hardware:

Intel P4 2.4 GHz

512 Meg DDR RAM

40GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive

24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive

Mobility Radeon 7500 Video card

15 inch SXGA+ display

Internal Conexant D480 56K Modem

Integrated Broadcom 440x 10/100 Network Card

2 USB ports

1 Firewire port

1 Svideo output

1 SVGA output

Belkin USB optical mouse

The Software:

Windows XP Home Edition (pre installed)

Gentoo 1.4


The only preparation I went through was backing up data on the windows partition, other than that I followed the installation docs from pretty much word for word.

Other Hardware

Sound, Video, and Mouse all work fine. As does the NIC. I have not tried the modem, firewire, or s-video output.


The install went well, Gentoo will take a long time to install everything up to and including X (about 2 days). PCMCIA worked, once I had downgraded the firmware of the Cisco Aironet 350 series wireless pcmcia card to the 4.x series which is supported. USB works, sound, video, etc all work.


1. No APM/acpi (power management) after normal install of gentoo, so far at least I haven't really bothered with this yet, because it isn't all that important to me at this point.