Gentoo Wiki




Note: This is a work in progress. I have notes from my install, and I am in the process of moving them to the wiki.

The Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop is somewhat tricky to install Gentoo (or any distribution) on. There are problems with the Linux kernel recognizing the SATA hard drive properly. The soundcard is not detected properly by default, and to get the wireless card working, you may have to use ndiswrapper.

The following is a step-by-step procedure for anyone slightly familiar with Linux that would like to get it working on this particular laptop. This wiki article does not go into detail on aspects already covered in the Gentoo Handbook.

First : Get the live CD and boot up for the install.

BIOS Adjustments

You will need to enter the BIOS and change the device boot order so that the live CD will boot before the hard drive (or else you will get Windows).

Enter the BIOS:

Hard Drive

The Linux kernel does not recognize the hard drive controller that comes with the 1501. Therefore, you have to apply a "hack" to get it to work properly.

Adjust Boot-time Parameters:

Code: Kernel Options

gentoo pci=nomsi

This kernel boot option ("pci=nomsi") is only required for kernel versions prior to 2.6.21 (see here for details).

Install the basic system:

Grub adjustments:

Kernel Configuration

To get sound and wireless card working, you will have to make some adjustments in the kernel. The livecd uses the genkernel. Be sure to read the kernel documentation to learn what sources are right for you. I suggest gentoo-sources rather than the monolithic genkernel. To upgrade to gentoo-sources, perform the following:

Code: gentoo-sources upgrade
emerge gentoo-sources

While upgrading your kernel, now is a good time to enable the features for your sound card and your networking card. Note: This document is only addressing sound and networking, you may have other configurations that you should do to your kernel.


The modem is supported by the hsfmodem. See this guide.

External Links

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Last modified: Tue, 09 Sep 2008 01:41:00 +0000 Hits: 11,600