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Least supported laptop for FreeBSD under $1k



On Wed, Dec 31, 2003 at 06:11:17PM -0500, David Gilbert wrote:
> 
> I'll nominate the Inspiron 1100 from Dell.  Dell ACPI never works
> out-of-the-box (on any model I've tried).  The mouse on the 1100
> doesn't even work until basic fixes are made to the ACPI code.
> Suspend doesn't work (not even S1).

I have never gotten ACPI to work on my Dell Latitude C840.  I'm
told that it can be made to work after a BIOS upgrade and ACPI
changes.  Unfortunately, Dell's own BIOS upgrade won't run on it,
for some unknown reason.  I decided to run 4.9 with APM on it
instead.  The battery status is reported more or less correctly,
and it doesn't overheat.  I've never even tried suspend.

> XFree86 doesn't work without a hack.  The default is only 840K of
> video memory.  The hack sets this amount to some arbitrary amount.  So
> X works, but could use some hacking.  It's the intel 845 chipset.

The C840 has nVidia "GeForce4 440 Go".  Works okay with x11/nvidia-driver.
If you close the lid on the computer and open it back up again, the
horizontal scan is messed up; it looks like you're looking at the
left half of a display that has been stretched to twice the width
of the real thing.  I can fix it by using Ctl-Alt-F1 and Ctl-Alt-F9.
Also, if I start the X server, exit out of it, and start it again,
it hangs without showing even the nVidia splash screen.  I've tried
using the FreeBSD AGP driver instead, but it has the same exact
bugs.

> The ethernet is bfe (recently added driver) and works.  IIRC, you can
> have an internal mini-pci card installed (not positive on that).
> Dell's USB bluetooth (which is internal) doesn't appear to be
> supported.

C840 uses xl for Ethernet and works.  Never bothered with the
built-in modem.  Instead, I have a 3Com PCMCIA non-Winmodem that
will be pried from my cold dead hands.  USB is uhci (Intel 82801CA/CAM)
and works okay, but with 4.9 I only get USB 1.0 speeds.  OTOH, the
4-wire firewire port (Texas Instruments PCI4451) works fabulously
well.  Sound works.  Everything else works.  NTP drift is excessive.
I have a problem with the touchpad occasionally going wild, but
it's that way under Windows, too, so it's probably a hardware
problem.  It's bad enough for me to consider getting my low-bidder
maintainer to maintain it, but they won't even fix things that are
hard broken, much less things that misbehave maybe once an hour.
I don't do games or 3-D intensive apps with this machine.

I have no idea how much this box costs now or cost then.  It is
"outsourced" and doesn't really belong to me or my employer.

-- 
J. Porter Clark      <jpc_(_at_)_suespammers_(_dot_)_org>

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