Here are some steps that I performed after installing Ubuntu 5.10 ("Breezy Badger") on a Dell Inspiron 1300. It might work for you, or it might not. It might work on other distributions and/or other machines, and it might not. This is mostly meant as a note for myself, but if you can make any use of it, feel free to do so.
By default, Ubuntu doesn't have password enabled for the root account. For security reasons you should enable this immediately after installation (this is not specific for Dell computers; should be done on all Ubuntu installations):
sudo passwd root
The apt-get repositories that are enabled by default only offer a very limited range of packages. I found that after doing the following, a very wide range of packages are available.
Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and make sure that the following lines are there and that they have no # in front of them:
deb http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy main restricted deb-src http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy main restricted deb http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-updates main restricted deb-src http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-updates main restricted deb http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy universe deb-src http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy universe deb http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse deb-src http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security main restricted deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security main restricted deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security universe deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security universe deb http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy multiverse deb-src http://dk.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy multiverse deb http://pkg-boinc.alioth.debian.org/ubuntu breezy universe deb-src http://pkg-boinc.alioth.debian.org/ubuntu breezy universe deb http://packages.freecontrib.org/ubuntu/plf/ breezy free non-free deb-src http://packages.freecontrib.org/ubuntu/plf/ breezy free non-free
The driver for the wireless network card in the Inspiron 1300 doesn't come with a Linux driver, and there is no such to find. Fortunately, the ndiswrapper project makes it possible to use a Windows driver on Linux. They have a great guide on how to make it work on Ubuntu.
Note that the Ubuntu guide tells you to install the drivers as explained in their general installation guide section "Install your Windows drivers". In fact you also need to perform the steps "Load module" and "Running at Startup" in that same general installation guide (linked from the Ubuntu guide).
For easy reference for Inspiron 1300, the PCI ID of the wireless network card in my machine is 14e4:4318. It worked for me with this driver (file bcmwl5.inf). But follow the guide mentioned above anyway, since the card in your Inspiron 1300 might be another one! Here's the lspci output that I got when I followed the guide:
$ lspci (many irrelevant devices skipped) 0000:02:03.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation: Unknown device 4318 (rev 02) $ lspci -n (many irrelevant devices skipped) 0000:02:03.0 0280: 14e4:4318 (rev 02)
Most likely you will only be able to select 1024×768 (which isn't a widescreen resolution, so things get all distorted) from the Gnome screen resolution utility. Here is what I did to enable the native resolution 1280×800:
Download and install 915resolution, which is a hack to the Intel graphics chip driver that enables widescreen support:
wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/main/9/915resolution/915resolution_0.5-1_i386.deb dpkg -i 915resolution_0.5-1_i386.deb
Add the following line to /etc/init.d/bootmisc.sh:
915resolution 58 1280 800
Edit /etc/default/915resolution and set MODE=58, XRESO=1280 and YRESO=800. Reboot the system and the correct resolution should be enabled (if not, you should be able to select it from the Gnome utility).
If it still doesn't work, check that in the Section "Screen" in /etc/X11/xorg.conf, for every SubSection "Display", the only mentioned resolution is "1280x800". For some reason it didn't work here with other resolutions mentioned.
If DVD playback is "jumpy", try turning on DMA for the DVD drive. I had to do this to get satisfactory DVD playback. Following this simple guide actually didn't quite do the job for me, so here's a slightly modified version of it that works here. I assume that the DVD drive is /dev/hdb since it is here.
Check whether your DVD drive has already DMA enabled:
sudo hdparm /dev/hdb
If you get something like using_dma = 1 (on), DMA is already enabled and you needn't do anymore. Otherwise put the following in /etc/init.d/bootmisc.sh:
hdparm -d1 /dev/hdb
Reboot and check that DMA actually was enabled.
sudo sh /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/examples/install-css.sh
Use this guide to be able to connect to the Internet through a Bluetooth/GPRS enabled mobile phone (not yet tested!).
When you plug in a set of headphones, you'd expect the internal speakers to mute—however that doesn't happen. The problem doesn't seem to be restricted to Ubuntu, and a lot of Dell laptop models seem to suffer from this. Basically, the problem seems to lie in the fact that the sound driver doesn't allow separate volume control of the speakers and the headphone jack. Although some seem to have been able to turn off the internal speakers completely, leaving only the headphone jack working, there doesn't seem to be a satisfactory solution to this problem. Apparently, this will be solved in the next release of Ubuntu.