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Installing Kubuntu/Ubuntu “Dapper Drake” on Dell Inspiron 1300

Last updated: 17-Jun-2006

Installing Ubuntu/Kubuntu on this laptop is actually far more straightforward than the existing guides suggest. Pretty-much all of the broken/unsupported features can be fixed by simply using apt-get to install a relevant package. Unless I explicitly state otherwise, please assume that installing a package is done via 'apt-get update' followed by 'apt-get install packagename'. Please also note that some packages may require the Universe and Multiverse repositories. As some of the packages in multiverse don't have proper open source licences, the Ubuntu developers warn that you should verify your eligability to install those packages, however I can't see the vast majority of users having a problem. That far as work/business use goes: if in doubt, chicken-out.

General Hardware Specifications of laptop:

Hardware Components

Status under Linux


Intel Celeron Processor, 1.4 GHz


No special procedure required during installation.

14.1” Widescreen LCD display panel

Works with minimal adjustments

Don't bother compiling and adjusting source code, just use apt-get. Make sure 'universe' repository is enabled, and run 'apt-get update && apt-get install 915resolution' to get the correct 1280x800 resolution on your display panel. Sorts out your X config file, etc. automatically. No more messing needed! :)

Intel 915 Video


Works with the X “815” driver out of the box, however to support the widescreen 1280x800 resolution, see the point above.



No special procedure required during installation

60 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive


No special procedure required during installation, however for other versions of Linux (mainly Fedora) I noticed that the installer would fail if the hard drive was set to run in the quiet acoustic mode, in the BIOS. On most PCs, accessing an ext3 partition is a lot quieter than accessing an ntfs one, however the reverse is true on this laptop. I don't notice much difference on most pcs, but disk access is dramatically quicker in Ubuntu than windows, on this laptop.

USB Floppy Drive

Not yet tested

I'd suggest leaving it plugged in during installation if you have one, to ensure that it's detected.

Integrated Network Card (10/100 RJ45 Ethernet)


No special procedure required during installation

Internal 56k Modem

Doesn't Work out of the box – but easily fixable

As stated on the French Ubuntu site, download the Linuxant HCF drivers.

DVD+/-RW drive

Works for some people

No special procedure required during installation, however some users report errors when trying to burn CDs/DVDs. Solution is to enable DMA transfers for the drive (should be enabled anyway). I think this was a bug with the dvd writing tools that has been fixed, but I'll have to thrash the drive a bit more to be sure...!

Internal miniPCI Dell Wireless Networking (Broadcom BCM43xx)

Doesn't Work out of the box – but easily fixable

Ubuntu tries to load a new open driver for this wireless card, however the firmware appears to be missing (licence issues?).

Reports are that if you can find the firmware, this driver works a treat so by all means try to get it working. It should be simpler, and is a more open solution. However, I couldn't find the firmware, so I did the following:

The solution is to 'apt-get install ndiswrapper-utils' and then load the windows driver for this card. The drivers from the Dell website, your windows partition, your emergency CDs and the French Ubuntu guide all work flawlessly. Be sure to blacklist the bcm43xx driver in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist so it doesn't conflict with ndiswrapper.

Lithium-Ion Battery


No special procedure required during installation

Sound Card

Works due to extremely recent fix

No special procedure required if using ALSA from the final release of Dapper. Older ALSA drivers detect the card but can't put sound through it. 'apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade' should fix it if you don't get sound.


Works if you wait to let it do its stuff

Standby/suspend/hibernate, battery meter and button/lid events all work perfectly out of the box, however standby/suspend/hibernate seem to take a minute or so to happen, and so the first time you try them you initially think it's failed.

This laptop is operating under the Kernel on the Kubuntu installation CD (2.6.15?)

Basic Installation of Kubuntu:

Why Kubuntu?

Obtaining Kubuntu


Post-Install modifications/tweaks

Setting up additional features for Kubuntu

Configuration Files


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