While the default Dell Studio XPS 1640 is fast and is a decent work laptop, it needed to do one extra thing, run virtual machines (VMs). I spend a lot of my time debugging, hacking and otherwise trying to make software behave in ways that the developers had not intended.
Tools like VirtualBox, VMWare, Xen and QEMU make this job less tedious. The problem is that with the Intel T7350 CPU, I cannot run 64 bit VMs. Turns out that T7250 is a 64 capable chip, but without the VT-x extension which allows for hardware assisted virtualization.
The very first thing I did when the company I work for gave me a laptop, a Dell Studio XPS 1640, was to install Ubuntu Karmic on it. No need for windows on this thing, I plan on working, not playing.
Dell is very good about their laptops. Whenever I had a question, everything I ever needed to know about their hardware I could easily look up on the online. The 1640 is no exception with their manual.
So tried my hand at getting Linux up and running on a hand me down laptop that I’ll be doing a lot of work on. It is a Dell Latitude D505 with 1.2 Gigs of DDR ram, 1024×768 15in LCD, Pentium-M 1.5Ghz, Intel based wireless (802.11b), 120Gig Drive, and Intel based video card.
Started off wired to the Internet, Debian 3.1 install CD, linux26 install and everything was smooth sailing during install process. I selected http for getting my apt sources, wrapped up the install, rebooted. Once logged in, I immediately added testing and performed a aptitude dist-upgrade. This bumped me up to Debian 4.0. I installed the latest kernel 2.6.22 as it comes with the ipw2100 driver automatically. The earlier kernels do not and require you to compile yet more source code.