Dell Optiplex G270 with Linux – i865 on Fedora and Debian

Dell Optiplex G270 with Linux – i865 on Fedora and Debian

Successfully installed Fedora Core (1 and 2) to Dell Optiplex G270. Also the integrated display adapter Intel 82865G (i865) works on all display modes with a Free driver.

New: Fedora Core 3 works out of the box with i865 and GX270. I added patch for Debian Sarge in the end of this document.

This is not a buying recommendation for Dell computers. At least in Helia, Dell computers
break a lot more than competing products. Also their service is very bad.

Copyright Tero Karvinen.

Network interface card, Intel 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet Controller, worked out of the box. Fedora automatically selected e1000 driver for it. Probably because of network peculiarites in local network , I had to /etc/init.d/network restart a few times to get an IP-address from DHCP. I only tested the network card with a 100 Mbit/s network, as I did not have a gigabit switch at hand.

Sound card (Intel 82801EB AC’97 Audio Controller) worked out of the box, tested by playing an OGG with xmms.

Of course, optical USB mouse and ps/2 keyboard worked out of the box.

Display adapter, Integrated intel 82865G, was problematic at first. After installation, it displayed only 640×480 mode. Forcing higher resolution and colors crashed X Window System. Changing BIOS Settings (BIOS Setup (boot-f2): Integrated Devices: Onboard Video Buffer: 8 MB) helped slighly, but resolution and colors were still unacceptably low.

Integrated 82865G display adapter – HOWTO

So, this is how to make the Integrated display adapter 82865G work. This probably works for any Intel 865.

Boot Computer. Press F2 to enter BIOS Setup. Integrated Devices: Onboard Video Buffer: 8 MB. ESC, ESC, Save Changes.

Let Fedora Core start normally, log in, start command prompt and

su -
rpm -Uvh
init 3 && init 5

The patch is open source Free software, source rpm is available.

Choose main menu (bottom left corner): System Settings: Display. Select resolution “1024×768” (optimal resolution for Dell E152FP TFT display) and Color depth: “Millions of Colors” (24 bit ie “32 bit”).

Log out, restart X Window System (alt-ctrl-backspace), Log in.

Your display should work now, very good.

Many pages found from the Net said that it is impossible to make 82865G work with linux, especially with BIOS revision A03. That is not true, system worked very nice with this (open source) patch.

865patch, RPM and DEB are the work of Anglete (Dell 500m on redhat 9 and fedora), Christian Zietz (865patch), Marc Seil, Josh Vanderhoof and Joe Lazaro .

Helia students on my linux courses and some brave ones in Helia IT center have used this patch successfully. Rob Lenihan/System Support from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, reported success with FC1 and FC2.
Unrelated to this document, Florida Museum of Natural History reports success with Intel i865 and Fedora Core 1.

Debian Sarge, i865 and GX270

The integrated i865 display adapter worked on Debian Sarge after installing the patch:

$ wget
$ su -
# dpkg -i 865patch*.deb
# init 3
# init 5
# exit

The patch used to be available on, but the whole site seems to have dissappeared. But no worries, I made a mirror of
the patch. I did not compile this deb nor read its source, I simply grabbed it from the website when it was still up.


Todo: publish automatic script to install rpm only if computer has this chip and ks.cfg to call this script.

Tested on 2004-04-21 with Fedora Core 1 Yarrow, installed from HelNux kickstart. Machine: a new Dell Optiplex G270, BIOS revision A03. Tested 2004-09-01 on Fedora Core 2.

Copyright 2004-04-21 (initial release) 2004-09-02 (works on FC2) 2005-03-08 (Works out of the box with Fedora Core 3, patch for Debian Sarge) Tero Karvinen. GNU Free Documentation License.
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