These are Debian installation notes for:

Regulatory TypeP28F005
Marketing NameDell Inspiron 15-3531
ProcessorCeleron N2830 2.16 NHz

I don’t normally do laptops. I lean more towards the camp of having a computer available wherever you need one - especially now that those possible locations include your pocket, I don’t run across many situations that scream out for a laptop.

Twice now I have run into special occasions that forced exceptions to my rule. Both times I bought the cheapest laptop I could find, swapped out the drive for an SSD Linux install, and unloaded the machine after the conference. The first time was in 2011. I recall the installation on the Toshiba Celeron 925 went smoothly. I expected last months repeat on a Dell Celeron N2830 to go as well.

Well, it didn’t. I list the particular issues here, with my work-arounds, in case it might help someone else.

BTW, the computer works fine once the installation problems are worked out. I do not see the performance problems reported for the stock Windows install - it is quite responsive with the SSD and XFCE. Battery life is a solid 5 hours on a charge.


This is my first time encountering this. I disabled Secure Boot in the BIOS Advanced section of Setup, and enabled the Legacy ROM, for the quickest way past the problem.

USB Compatibility

This computer doesn’t ship with support for removable media. The installation required USB support. USB installation media boots fine, but the current stable (wheezy) installer couldn’t see it - apparently related to the new Celeron. The testing installation (jessie) saw the installation media, and could procede, but…

Jessie installer WPA support

… I was unable to get the testing/jessie installer to authenticate against my well-established-and-fully compliant ‘N’ router. I was only able to connect to remote repositories by disabling all authentication on the router. After that, the process went fine, installing the currently standard XFCE desktop…


… but I prefer GNOME. Upgrading/transitioning to GNOME broke the install. I reinstalled to XFCE and let it alone after that.

“mmc0: got irq while runtime suspended”

/var/log/messages was getting hit with the above log message a half dozen times per second. I didn’t even realize that the system had a card slot until after I disabled the driver, to stop the log spam…

# cat /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist 
# eliminate the mmc0: got irq while runtime suspended
# multiple times per second.

XFCE Wallpaper

So now the system works OK, but there is a problem with the wallpaper. It is reset to a standard mouse mascot background on every login, which only covers part of the screen. To fix, I toggle a wallpaper every time. (Update 11/14 - the problem derived from multiple overlaid monitors fighting for wallpaper updates - disable the monitor tied to the external display port, or set all monitors to the same size)

Honestly, this is the kind of experience I expected 10 years ago, when we were only a few years into the “Year of the Linux Desktop”. Nowadays I expect better.