Installing SuSE 10.1 on Dell Latitude 620N Laptop

Last updated: 20 December 2006

Layout of this web-page is roughly in accordance with guidance on "" (4 December 2006)

Laptop Capabilities (Provided by hardware and software)

Refer towards bottom of this page to see actual hardware configuration of the purchased unit.


Status Under SuSE 10.1



Works on unecrypted networks

Having problems with WEP at Internet Cafes (2006-12-15)

Haven't looked at WPA at all

The following was a very good source of information when I was working on getting the wireless interface to go.

post #4 garfield1228 (time 04-20-2006, 12:42 PM)

post #1 garfield1228 (time 04-18-2006, 08:10 AM)

Loaded ipw3945d using SuSE>System>Configuration>Install Software

The wireless maps to eth1


Make sure hardware switch (on side panel, left-hand side of laptop) is ON (moved towards front end of the laptop)

I suspect while experimenting with getting wifi to go I created several instances of daemons and became confused what I was working on. I did the following to clean up the environment

Activate KGuard (SuSE>System>Monitor>KSysguard)

Looked for all instances of applications going

Killed of all processes through the ProcessTab

Note that KGuard will lose the eth1 when the Wireless is disabled via hardware switch. Need to sort out switch issue and open a new instance of KGuard

If I have troubles with the WiFi, I use KConsole and log into as su (with password) to get the <#> (hash) prompt

# modprobe -r ipw3945 (to disable the WiFi interface)

# modprobe ipw3945 (to enable the WiFi interface)

Additional reference (last checked 2006-10-17)

Additional Reference (Found 2006-12-15)

Search for 3945ABG will point to

Refer below for links on WEP and ipw3945

Wired Ethernet (Eth0)

Works well.




I cannot get the sound to go to the earpiece jack at all.

The hardware volume control buttons above the keyboard on the laptop (less, more and mute) don't work.

Soon after installation, I could see the CD Player and Sound card worked. I was able to play .wav file off the disk (AmarooK).

It took me some mucking around to connect the CD drive to Sound card (through PC bus). I had to play with levels on AmarooK and KMix. The controls on KMix (specifically Master and HDA Intel) seem interact with each other.

Sometimes need to fiddle to kick the sound into life.

Have been able to listen to Podcasts and streaming radio.


Works well. I have used it consistently, often with OpenOffice Applications open and no bad experiences.

Laptop sometimes forgets the display is 1440 by 900 pixels and displays as 1024 by 768 pixels (SuSE>Personal Settings>Peripherals>Display>Size & Orientation>). Have to do a Logout>Restart to get the original settings back. I think there is a command line in the early startup to overcome this issue.

Once I had problems connecting the laptop after Resume to a wired ethernet network (via eth0). I had to Logout>Restart the laptop and all was well.

Dual Processors

Appears to work well

Using KPowersave have seen processors operate at 1000MHz and 1667MHs and flip load when an application has gone into a loop and crashed.

Other test was doing a search over the whole of a 67GB partition saw load switching, speeds of 1000MHz, 1333MHz and 1667MHz.


The Dicky Blue button (between G, H and B keys) works OK.

Touch pad OK but touchy (I mean that it is really sensitive!).


USB Ports

All four ports work well

To thumb-drives (memory sticks, etc)

EasyIDE (USB to IDE HDD Caddy) and

a Digital TV Tuner (with MythTV).



Seems to provide the advertised duration for OpenOffice applications and the Power meter indications (KPowerSave) look OK.

I bought the 9 Cell Li-Ion battery. It was made in Korea so was not subject to recall. Dell website was very useful.

CD/DVD Player and Recorder

Works well

Ripped CD music track to MP3 and .wav files and play back MP3 sound files successfully.

Played three Commercial DVDs (History Channel DVDs).

Recorded 500MB data to a Verbatim 700M CD-R and checked some files

Hardware Buttons

SOUND buttons (Soft, Loud and Mute) at top of the laptop do not work.


Function Keys

(<Fn> Key in conjunction with Keys with Blue Text)

Some keys work

These are the keys I know work.

<Fn> and <Esc (Standby)> is Suspend

<Fn> <Up Arrow> make screen brighter

<Fn> <Down Arrow> make screen duller







Back to Top

Basic Installation of SuSE 10.1

I am a Linux newbie and this is my first laptop in 10 years. I have very limited access to the Internet (only wireless and not keen on it because of it's complete lack of insecurity) and have never published to the web. I bought the Dell laptop in July 2006. I intend to update this data to the end of March 2007.

My acquisition strategy was to buy a recent model laptop that is sold widely and use the latest distribution of Linux. I selected SuSE because I knew there were about 15 people in this region who were potentially able to help me with my transition and had the time and willing to help. I studied reports of similar machines on the various web-sites from sites like to Thanks for a great service. When purchasing, I was able to talk to a bloke at at Dell Kiosk in Sydney who owned his own Dell Latitude and demonstrated that it could run a couple of distributions of Linux.

An experienced Linux user loaded SuSE 10.1 from a network. This was easily done. I had problems loading from a DVD but it is generally accepted that a batch of locally available SuSE10.1 DVDs were corrupted. Most things worked "out of the box" though I had teething problems with sound and WiFi. The sound issues came good after playing with levels. WiFi was more problematic and I achieved success with information provided in posts by "garfield1228" (details above). Thanks.

Here is my basic configuration, noting that I did not install the i686 version (still learning).




Linux i686


SuSE Linux 10.1 (i586)


3.5.1 Level "a"

The HDD partition table is in the following table. This is not a good configuration. When I have sufficient things going, I intend to reconfigure the laptop so there is another 10GB to load another OS (maybe Kubuntu, particularly in light of recent politics with Novell and Microsoft).


Size (GB)

SuSE Device

SuSE Directory






10G Media



/dev/sda2 /


67G Media

General Use














Personal note to check out partitions on HDD:

Back to Top

Setting up Additional Features for SuSE 10.1

I spent a lot of time installing Mythtv with a little assistance. I am able to receive and record digital TV transmissions. I don't use the XML TV listings.

Link to My MythTV webpage

Back to Top

Unresolved Issues

Audio Out

Can't get the sound to the earpiece in lieu of the laptop speakers. This limits my use of the laptop in cafes and other public places.

Back to Top

Canon Scanner

I can't get the laptop to scan using a Canon (Canoscan) LiDE30 scanner. The people at SANE (Scanners Are Now Easy!!) are looking at the problem.

Back to Top

Wide Screen

Need to find out how to ensure that my screen configuration is reliably restored (correctly using the wider screen 1440 by 900) after Suspend and then Resume.

Back to Top

Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) and Wireless

Working on this around 20 December 2006. A list of interesting posts that people may find useful.

Back to Top

Configuration Files


Back to Top

More Specific Information

Hardware (As Purchased)

The configuration of laptops do change greatly over the years. Here is my build.

Part Number



Dell Latitude D620 N


Latitude D620 Intel Core Duo Processor T2300E (1.66GHz)


High Definition Audio Codec


Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet


Integrated 2MB ON-DIE L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB


14.1" Wide Aspect Ultrasharp XGA+ (1440x900) Display


D620 Integrated Base Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950


Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 (802.11 a/g) MiniPCI Card


1GB (1x1GB) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM


80GB SATA (5400RPM) Hard Drive


Integrated Intel 945GM Chipset "??" For UMA


8X DVD+/-RW Combo Drive


9-Cell Li-Ion Primary Battery


65W Adapter

Back to Top

Contact Information



@ where

Back to Top


Linux On Laptops

Back to Top