Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Linux on a Dell Vostro 1710 laptop - don't try it [yet]

Recently my company needed a new laptop for one of our employees. After my great success with installing SuSE Linux on a Dell Vostro 1700 laptop, we decided to buy a Dell Vostro 1710, hoping that it would have better, newer hardware and still work with SuSE.


For this first time in my entire 11+ years of using Linux, the installer could not use the trackpad or even the keyboard. Yes, you read that right. I was able to complete the install with an external USB mouse and keyboard, but after the install finished and I rebooted the system without the peripherals (hoping that it was only the installer having trouble), the laptop's built-in keyboard and mouse still wouldn't work. I can't image what Dell has done to prevent detection/use of a simple keyboard.

I never bothered to try the other hardware (camera, etc) - we sent the 1710 back and bought a refurbished 1700.

I strongly suggest nobody buy a 1710 until at least another round of distros has been released this coming winter or spring. It was openSuSE 11.0 that I tried on the 1710 - perhaps 11.1 will work with the 1710, but I'm sure I won't be ordering another one to try it on.


Tayte said...
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Roelof said...

Sorry to see you send back such a marvelous peace of technologie, the dell vostro 1710 is the laptop wich has proven me for over a year great performance with ubuntu linux "Jaunty Jackalope".
The vostro is my first laptop where all of the equipment is fully regorgnised by linux no exceptions; cardreader, wireless lan, fancy touch buttons it all works out of the box.

JW said...

@Roelof: I'm glad to hear this. It has been quite a while since I wrote this post about the 1710 and it is common that new hardware is supported by later releases of the distros. It is quite possible that by now the machine works good with openSuSE also.