Category Archives: Dell Inspiron 1420

How to Enable Dual Headphone Jacks Inspiron 1420 on Ubuntu 8.04

Open Volume Control by double clicking the sound icon.

1. Edit -> Preferences

2. Check the Surround

3. Unmute it!

4. Done

It’s just in the setting of the ALSA-mixer. 🙂


Enable Internal/External Microphone Inspiron 1420 on Ubuntu 8.04

I wanted to use VOIP, but the mic didn’t work. How did I enable it?

First, I was able to use the internal mic, thanks to this post.
OK, so now how do I use my own mic.
In the volume control,

1. Click Edit -> Preferences

2. Check the Input Source

3. Change the Digital Input Source to Analog Inputs

4. Select Front Mic as Input Source.

Tested on the Sound Recorder, fixed.

Install Ubuntu on Dell Inspiron 1420 Part II – Upgrades

After installation, Ubuntu asks for an update. I think it would be better to upgrade to 8.10, they have many bug fixes.

Compiz-fusion is enabled by default (I’m using the Intel Integrated), but the settings manager have to be installed. Search compiz on the Add Software App. Pretty much everything works already. Ethernet, sound, USB, 3D Windows. I haven’t tested the Wireless yet. There is a workaround for the internal mic here. If the speaker volume is too soft, check the volume control, and in the Edit -> Preferences, check the Front.

Dell Media buttons?  Works like charm.

I’m so glad I got Ubuntu up and running. It feels so much better than the other OS, and Compiz-fusion is simply fun and great!

PS: see next posts for common issues fixes

Install Ubuntu on Dell Inspiron 1420 Part I – Live CD

My academic semester have just finished, finally I have time to do what I’ve been wanting to do, install Linux on my laptop. That other OS has shown its unstableness once again, slowing down heavily after each semester. Before I begin, here are my specs:

Intel Core2Duo T7300 (2.0 GHz, 4MB Cache, 800MHzFSB)
Intel Wireless 3945ABG
Intel X3100 Integrated Graphics
Japanese Keyboard, Webcam, DVD-RW

If we were to install the Standard Ubuntu, we should expect to install the drivers one by one. Which is time-spending, exhausting, and one of the reasons why Linux isn’t popular for notebooks yet. So, we should use the “Dell-remastered” Ubuntu version. They can be found here. This is the 7.10 version, which has many bug fixes from the previous 7.04. It’s all in DVD, ~4,3GB! But I assure you it’s worth downloading and burning it, it saves your precious time. Choose the right platform and video card.

After burning the DVD, boot it by pressing F12 at the BIOS Screen, then choose the CD Drive.
The Live CD will boot, and it takes some time. During this mode, the ethernet works. I also have backed up all of my data, so I didn’t have to worry on using the guided partition format.

After the installation finishes, choose to reboot, and don’t boot into the DVD again.

Fixing Japanese Keyboard Layout Dell Inspiron 1420 Ubuntu 8.04

After installing Ubuntu on my Dell laptop, one of the problems encountered was the keyboard. I have an uncommon Japanese keyboard layout since I bought the Inspiron in Japan. But hopefully the info is useful for modifying the keyboard in Ubuntu.

The first thing to do would be to go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboards, and choose the appropiate layout. Also click the Layout Options button and modify the Alt-Win behavior, choose to use the Win key as Super. I needed this to activate some cool Compiz animations comfortably 🙂

Then we’re going to need these three utilities: xev, xmodmap, xkeycaps. If you don’t have the xkeycaps, install it by:

sudo apt-get install xkeycaps

Xkeycaps is the GUI for xmodmap, use it first because it’s easy to modify. Just click and click. But you may encounter some keys that are not detected in xkeycaps, thus we must modify it manually through xmodmap. By the way, if you’re looking for the Fn key, it can’t be mapped because it modifies the key value through the BIOS/hardware.

Using xmodmap seemed hard, but turns out it’s not that scary. First, get the keycode of the button you wish to modify through xev. I think it’s self-explanatory. Then, modify the button with xmodmap, using the following syntax:

xmodmap -e “<expression>”

The <expression> field can be filled in with such expressions:

add <modbit> = keyvalue
remove <modbit> = keyvalue
keysym <value> = <another keysym value>
keycode <value> = <keysyms value>

Confused? Hopefully in most cases we won’t need to touch modbit. To map a key, we only need the simple last expression. Remember/note down the keycode-s to be changed. These keycodes are fixed to a certain button.

Now, change the “output” of that button by the keysyms value. Look it up on google, or in here.
In my case, my backslash-underscore button was like a dead button. I couldn’t type an backslash nor underscore, not very nice 🙂 This is what I typed in the terminal:

xmodmap -e “keycode 211=backslash underscore”

Easy as that, my “Super” (Win) key now works, and I can type underscores: ___ (Hooray)

PS: You may notice I use the nice Mac4Lin Theme. 🙂


Complete keysym list:

PS again: Please see the following link on how to make the changes run on every startup!!

It tells you how to put those commands in a file named .xmodmaprc in your home. It will be read everytime you login.