Dell Inspiron 1720



Messages: 24

my mac book recently suffered a untimely death, so to day i started looking for FreeBSD compatible 386 lap top computer and found out that The dell Inspiron 1720 was compatible.

Are there any known gotchas with freebsd 8.o on the aforementioned model in the Inspiron n ote book series?



Messages: 39

Don't know about 8, but 7.2 works almost flawlessly

So I can only assume most of that works in 7.2 would also work in 8x branches. Said assumption takes into consideration things are known to break.

This laptop was a challenge with the 6x series, but 7x has only made it more tempting for me to nuke the WinXP partition forever. Just can't seem to rid myself of my UT3 addiction. That said, my 1720 has a 256MB Nvidia 8600M, 3GB RAM (with 4, X would never start. Limitations of x86 arch, I've been told), 500GB SATA drive, and so on. Funny thing with this laptop: Vista won't install with Flash Cache enabled in the BIOS. FreeBSD and XP have no issues with whatever "Flash Cache" is. Not that I would ever curse this beautiful laptop with Vista, anyway. Or 7, for that matter.

Here's my kernel config:

cpu		I686_CPU
ident		corben

makeoptions     COPTFLAGS="-O2 -pipe -funroll-loops -ffast-math"

options 	SCHED_ULE	
options 	PREEMPTION	
options 	INET		
options 	INET6	
options 	SCTP	
options 	FFS		
options 	UFS_ACL		
options 	UFS_DIRHASH	
options 	UFS_GJOURNAL	
options 	MD_ROOT		
options 	NFSCLIENT	
options 	NFSSERVER	
options 	NFSLOCKD	
options 	NFS_ROOT	
options 	MSDOSFS		
options 	CD9660		
options 	PROCFS		
options 	PSEUDOFS	
options 	GEOM_PART_GPT		
options 	GEOM_LABEL	
options 	COMPAT_43TTY	
options 	KTRACE		
options 	STACK		
options 	SYSVSHM		
options 	SYSVMSG	
options 	SYSVSEM		
options 	STOP_NMI	
options 	AUDIT	

# To make an SMP kernel, the next two lines are needed
options 	SMP			# Symmetric MultiProcessor Kernel
device		apic			# I/O APIC

# CPU frequency control
device		cpufreq

# Bus support.
device		eisa
device		pci

# ATA and ATAPI devices
device		ata
device		atadisk		
device		ataraid		
device		atapicd		
device		atapifd		
device		atapist		
options 	ATA_STATIC_ID	

# SCSI peripherals
device		scbus	
device		ch	
device		da	
device		sa	
device		cd	
device		pass	
device		ses	

# atkbdc0 controls both the keyboard and the PS/2 mouse
device		atkbdc	
device		atkbd	
device		psm	
device		kbdmux	
device		vga	
device		splash	

# syscons is the default console driver, resembling an SCO console
device		sc

device		agp	

# Add suspend/resume support for the i8254.
device		pmtimer

# PCCARD (PCMCIA) support
# PCMCIA and cardbus bridge support
device		cbb		
device		pccard		
device		cardbus		

# Serial (COM) ports
device		sio		
device		uart		

# Parallel port
device		ppc
device		ppbus		
device		lpt		
device		plip		
device		ppi		

# PCI Ethernet NICs that use the common MII bus controller code.
# NOTE: Be sure to keep the 'device miibus' line in order to use these NICs!
device		miibus		
device		bfe		

# Wireless NIC cards
device		wlan		
device		wlan_wep	
device		wlan_ccmp	
device		wlan_tkip	
device		wlan_amrr	
device		wlan_scan_ap	
device		wlan_scan_sta	

# Pseudo devices.
device		loop		
device		random		
device		ether		
device		sl		
device		ppp		
device		tun		
device		pty		
device		md		
device		gif		
device		faith		
device		firmware	

# The `bpf' device enables the Berkeley Packet Filter.
# Be aware of the administrative consequences of enabling this!
# Note that 'bpf' is required for DHCP.
device		bpf		

# USB support
device		uhci		
device		ohci		
device		ehci		
device		usb		
device		ugen		
device		uhid		
device		ukbd		
device		ulpt		
device		umass		
device		ums		
device		urio		
device		uscanner	
device		ucom		
device		uark		
device		ubsa		
device		ubser		
device		uftdi		
device		uipaq		
device		uplcom		
device		uslcom		
device		uvisor		
device		uvscom		

# FireWire support
device		firewire	
device		sbp		
device		fwe		
device		fwip		
device		dcons		
device		dcons_crom	

# Sound Support
device		sound
device		snd_hda

And my xorg.conf:

# nvidia-xconfig: X configuration file generated by nvidia-xconfig
# nvidia-xconfig:  version 1.0  (buildmeister@builder65)  Thu Apr 16 19:28:41 PDT 2009

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"

Section "Files"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/misc/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/misc/"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic/"
    FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/"

Section "Module"
    Load           "dbe"
    Load           "extmod"
    Load           "type1"
    Load           "freetype"
    Load           "glx"

Section "InputDevice"

    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/sysmouse"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

Section "InputDevice"

    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "keyboard"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Unknown"
    HorizSync       28.0 - 33.0
    VertRefresh     43.0 - 72.0
    Option         "DPMS"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    VideoRam	   256000
    Option         "RenderAccel"           "True"
    Option         "UseFBDev"              "True"
    Option         "AllowGLXWithComposite" "True"
    Option         "AddARGBGLXVisuals"     "True"
    Option "NoRenderExtension"             "False"
    Option "NoFlip"                        "False"
    Option "UseEdid"                       "True"
    Option "NvAGP"                         "1"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "AddARGBGLXVisuals"     "True" # Added
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24

# I added this
Section "Extensions"
    Option         "Composite" "Enable"

And the /boot/loader.conf:


And of course, the /etc/rc.conf:




I use a simple script in rc.d to connect to my wireless. Yes, I know the AP is in the script, and I don't care. I'm a soldier stationed in Iraq, and if you want to go through the trouble of coming over here to hack it, more power to you ;)

ifconfig wpi0 ssid "iConnet-P105L9"
make it executable, and dhcp in rc.conf will take care of the rest. Nice thing is, the wireless switch on the left side of the laptop actually works, as does the WiFi LED light on the right side of the number pad.

The only thing I haven't gotten to work on this thing are the built-in webcam and the SD card reader. But I suppose I really haven't tried that hard. If I really, really must see my wife and daughters back in Germany, I can head down to the MWR for a free video teleconference session. Now that I think of it, I believe I did get the webcam working with the help of qemu a while back. But that's not the same as native support.

Sound was a little tricky. had to add hint.pcm.0.config="gpio1" to device.hints. and then run "mixer vol 100" to actually hear anything. A pleasant change from 7.0 and 7.1 to 7.2 was that the snd_HDA driver actually mutes the speakers when you plug in headphones. I suppose if the driver hasn't been totally rewritten in 8 you could expect the same behavior.

Video support with the Nvidia driver from ports renders a luscious desktop with Gnome + compiz. Crashes every now and then, but I'm known for pushing this thing pretty hard and compiz has never been known to be rock solid. Video performance has been excellent overall.

Feel free to ask me as many questions about this laptop as you can think of. Keep in mind though, I don't track the 8 branch. I'm not that daring, and all it does is piss the forum moderators off with all the questions it generates. If the guys who made the OS say 7.2 is stable for everyday use, then I'll take their word for it.


Active Member

Reaction score: 21
Messages: 219

There's something I'd like to know, does ACPI work for you?

I specially interested on s3 and s4 (suspend to ram and suspen to disk).

Thanks for you informative post




Messages: 39


Haven't been brave enough to try it :p

Give me a day or two to test it and I will get back to you. Right now I'm running portupgrade -aRr, and I'm sure you know how long that can take...



Messages: 39

Test results

Okay, here's my findings:

added "device acpi" to kernel config, recompiled, rebooted. From Gnome, opened term and changed hw.acpi.lid_switch_state=s4 and closed the lid. Crash, crash, crash. No dump, just a reboot. I don't believe this model supports S4BIOS, but I think I saw a knob for it that I might try when I feel a little more comfortable with it. It might produce different results...

However, hw.acpi.lid_switch_state=s3 rendered a nicely suspended-to-RAM system that sat there, patiently waiting for me to open the lid. When I opened the lid, it continued to sit there, looking at me. I hit the power button. X crashed and dumped me to a login term, but I think with some fiddling it might actually work the way it was supposed to (meaning, bring back the state it was in when I closed the lid, with Gnome running and so on). For what it's worth, hitting the sleep button on this lappy also produced the exact same effect with the same X crash upon resume. So, looks like suspend-to-RAM needs to be done from a term environment. Hope this helps!


Active Member

Reaction score: 21
Messages: 219

Thanks for the reply !
Pretty informative ...

So, basically, ACPI on the Dell Inspiron 1720 is just as hosed as on the Dell Inspiron 1318 :/

I wonder if it throws a "Fatal trap 9" if you boot it up without ACPI ...

Best Regards