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Install Ubuntu on Dell Dimension e510 with a 19 inch Ultrasharp 1907FP Digital Flat Panel moniter and 256MB PCI Express x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon X600 SE HyperMemory video card

Filed under: Linux, Open Source — Hogg @ 4:41 pm

I got a new computer a few months ago.

As you may have guessed, it didn’t have Ubuntu on it. I wanted Ubuntu. But every time I tried to install it, I was met with many obstacles. I received messages such as “I’m not going to start X, and I won’t tell you why” and “I won’t display this resolution for other unnamed reasons” from my beautiful new Dell.

I scoured the internet high and low, and after a difficult search and some trial and error, I found the information I needed to successfully install Ubuntu on my Install Ubuntu on Dell Dimension e510 with a 19 inch Ultrasharp 1907FP Digital Flat Panel moniter and 256MB PCI Express x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon X600 SE HyperMemory video card.

Before I begin, I want to say that I am 99% sure that there is a better way to do this. I, however, do not know what that way is, so I want to tell you how I got it to work so that the next poor soul like me who comes along might be able to stumble upon this post and have some of his or her pain relieved.

As of the time of writing this post, the latest version of Ubuntu available is 6.10 The Edgy Eft. Edgy, and its predecessor Dapper, both use a GUI for installation. This is where my problem was. I couldn’t get X (which runs the GUI) to start correctly. I needed to edit xorg.conf, but couldn’t since it was running off of the CD and a reboot lost any changes I made.

Luckily for me, I had an old Breezy disk laying around. I popped that in just for kicks and to see what would happen. Problem 1 solved. Breezy doesn’t use X for it’s installation, so I was able to install Ubuntu on to my hard drive.

However, I still couldn’t start X. So, I booted up in recovery mode to the command line. The problem was with my driver. It was using the “ati” driver by default. To get a driver that would work, I needed the fglrx driver.

sudo aptitude install xorg-driver-fglrx

Got it. Then, to enable it, I had to reconfigure X.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

I selected “fglrx” as my driver. Then, when it asked what type of monitor configuration I wanted to do, I selected “medium” and then “1280×1024 @ 60 Hz,” restarted, and I was off and running in Ubuntu 5.10.

UPDATE:I forgot one thing. Before I continued below, I had to update from 5.10 to 6.06. THEN, use the command below.

One more problem. I want 6.10, not 5.10 6.06. No big deal. At a terminal, type gksu "update-manager -c" and let ‘er rip.

If you’ve got any questions, or know of a better way to do this, leave a comment.

By the way, only one more week of football and I’ll be back to regular blogging (I hope).

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  1. You know, you could have just gotten the “Alternate” installation CD, which has a text mode installer option. It’s really stupid that it’s not on the normal CD.

    Comment by Withheld — 11.5.06 @ 12:13 pm

  2. I wish I had known that. I did know that there HAD to be an easier way.

    Comment by Hogg — 11.5.06 @ 5:56 pm

  3. I couldn’t get the Alternate install CD to work either. It just hangs after “starting syslog”, when it is trying to set up the framebuffer, I think.

    Comment by mp — 11.6.06 @ 3:30 pm

  4. what is this fglrx driver?
    i usually just edit xorg.conf to read vesa instead of radeon

    Comment by James — 11.7.06 @ 3:41 pm

  5. James,

    I honestly don’t know much about drivers. At that point I was just doing trial and error to find something that worked. I saw something on one of the Ubuntu forums that said they had used the fglrx driver, so I gave it a shot and it worked.

    Comment by Hogg — 11.7.06 @ 9:19 pm

  6. oh ok what ive done in the past is just edited the config file – change the driver to vesa (generic) then install atis one one off of thier website (you need some dependencies first)

    also a usual problem with the dell is that the built in graphics card gets confused with the pcii express one

    Comment by James — 11.8.06 @ 4:18 am

  7. What is the Refresh rate of the screen. According to the monitor specifications it should be 60.

    Comment by tech22 — 11.9.06 @ 12:07 pm

  8. That’s what I had it set at.

    Comment by Hogg — 11.9.06 @ 1:38 pm

  9. For me on an Optiplex GX620 with an X600 PCI-e card, using the alternate install CD didn’t work either, I got a totally garbled console (although the normal install CD didn’t work graphically but had normal consoles, go figure!).

    I had to install using the alternate install CD *and* press F4 at the boot screen, to select a VGA mode (I used 1280x1024x24). Then it installed, and after install I could update the driver (for me I just changed ati to radeon in /etc/X11/xorg.conf).

    Hope this helps anyone.

    Comment by Stijn — 11.14.06 @ 5:32 am

  10. […] Original post by unknown and software by Elliott Back […]

    Pingback by Technews » Blog Archive » Comment on Install Ubuntu on Dell Dimension e510 with a 19 inch … — 11.14.06 @ 1:25 pm

  11. I am looking at
    $ 1199 –
    $ 1149 –

    and cannot decide on which is a better buy and/or can work better in Linux.

    any recommendations?

    Comment by Mic — 11.15.06 @ 7:36 pm

  12. I would go with the AMD. You get a bigger monitor, a bigger hard drive, and a DVD writer. You should definitely upgrade the memory to at least 1GB.

    But you should ask around. I’m no hardware expert my any means.

    Comment by Hogg — 11.15.06 @ 8:11 pm

  13. You may want to take a look at this blog, hope its helpful

    Comment by Mic — 11.22.06 @ 8:04 am

  14. THANKS!! I have a Dell gx620. I upgraded from the onboard video to a PCI express ATI x600 vid-card. My computer would boot half way then error out and drop to a terminal log in.

    I followed your post and now I am back up and running. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    _________________THIS WORKED__WHEN NOTHING ELSE WOULD________

    sudo aptitude install xorg-driver-fglrx

    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg


    Comment by Twizler — 10.11.07 @ 10:03 pm

  15. Thanks it worked !!!!!

    Comment by Andres C — 10.30.07 @ 5:30 pm

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