Installing Linux on a Dell Inspiron 5150 (Fedora Core 2)

Purchased July 2004; specs: Mobile P4 (2.8GHz), 2x256Mb RAM, 30Gb hard
drive, 32Mb nVidia GeForce FX Go5200.

Also a Netgear WG511T PC card was separately purchased to use with a
Netgear DG834G wireless router.

Linux distribution to be installed: Fedora Core 2 (http://fedora.redhat.com/)

(Update 12th July 2005 – now working with Fedora Core 4).

Summary:

HardwareWorks?
USB
optical mouse
No
known problems; auto-detected
Graphics:
nVidia GeForce FX Go5200 (32Mb)
No
known problems; needs nVidia’s binary drivers for full 3D performance.
Ethernet:
Broadcom Corporation BCM4401 100Base-T
No
known problems; auto-detected
Touchpad:
Synaptics Touchpad
No
known problems; auto-detected
Wireless:
Netgear WG511T (Atheros AR5212 802.11abg)
No
known problems; can require manual compilation of drivers from source
Processor:
Intel Mobile Pentium 4 2.8GHz
No
known problems (i.e. automatically scales processor speed);
auto-detected
Audio
Controller: Intel 82801DB (ICH4) AC’97
artsd
under KDE sometimes fails to start and has to be started manually-
otherwise no problems; auto-detected
Firewire:
Texas Instruments PCI4510 Controller
Untried.
No plans to test it.
Mini
PCI controller
Untried.
No plans to test it.
Modem:
82801DB (ICH4) AC’97 Modem Controller
Works with slmodem 2.9.9 from Livna.

1. Resize the Windows XP partition

This step is only necessary if you want to keep the Windows XP
installation.

a) Boot Knoppix, and use qtparted (running as root).

http://www.hut.fi/~tkarvine/linux-windows-dual-boot-resizing-ntfs.html

To boot from CD, you may need to go into the BIOS (press F2). Be
careful to press F2 early, otherwise you’ll get to the Dell EULA screen
and accidentally agree to that (which could harm your chances of
getting a Windows refund later on).

Knoppix 3.3 didn’t work (CPU detection/SMP problem); for Knoppix 3.4 I used
“knoppix lang=uk xmodule=vesa screen=1024×768”; other tips suggested
using “nosmp” but it worked without for me (you may need this option if
your processor has hyperthreading).

There may be a Dell diagnostics partition; keep this. You can access it
by configuring GRUB with this item:

title=Dell Diagnostics

root (hd0,0)

chainloader +1

http://www.finnie.org/linux-dell-5150/

(This is something to do after Fedora Core 2 has been installed – I
mention it now because if you’re not aware of it then you may end up
erasing the partition, not realising its purpose).

b) Note the disk geometry:

Issue the command: “/sbin/fdisk -l” to print the current partition
table

to screen in non-interactive mode. There’s probably only one disk.

Write down the drive geometry as reported at the beginning of the
output

from fdisk. This is reported as number of Cylinders, Heads, and Sectors

(hence the name CHS). This is necessary to work around a Fedora Core 2
installer bug.

http://lwn.net/Articles/86835/

For me: 3648 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors.

2. Install Fedora Core 2

Ensure BIOS is booting first from CD; give the BIOS settings a
once-over.

When running the installation CD, run the installer with the known
geometry (only needed if you’re keeping the Windows partition):

Example: linux hdc=3648,255,63 (http://lwn.net/Articles/86835/)

I burnt CD 1, and then used an NFS installation using a server on my
other machine. NFS
server is easy to set up using system-config-nfs; don’t
forget to open the firewall ports. http://fedoranews.org/dowen/nfsinstall/

Command line was then “linux askmethod hdc=3648,255,63”

Configure XFree86 with generic Vesa driver (because of the need for
binary NVIDIA
drivers – nv driver won’t work).

http://www.livejournal.com/community/linux/528423.html?thread=4118311#t4118311

3. Update RPMs

Install the latest kernel. (NVIDIA and
Atheros drivers have version-dependent kernel modules).

Might as well update whatever else can be found too; I checked
/etc/sysconfig/rhn/sources and put in a UK mirror:

yum fedora-core-2
http://zeniiia.linux.org.uk/pub/distributions/fedora/linux/core/2/$ARCH/os/

yum updates-released-fc2
http://zeniiia.linux.org.uk/pub/distributions/fedora/linux/core/updates/2/$ARCH/

My desktop machine also has:

yum dag http://apt.sw.be/fedora/2/en/$ARCH/dag

yum freshrpms http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/2/$ARCH/freshrpms

yum fedora-us-stable-2
ftp://ftp.quicknet.nl/pub/Linux/ftp.fedora.us/fedora/fedora/2/$ARCH/RPMS.stable

yum livna-stable-fc2 http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/2/$ARCH/yum/stable

yum atrpms-fc2
http://ftp-stud.fht-esslingen.de/atrpms/download.atrpms.net/fedora/2/en/$ARCH/at-stable

You’ll need to install the repositories’ GPG keys before using them;
copies are in the “atrpms” package from http://www.atrpms.net.

Reboot.

4. NVIDIA drivers

Make sure that you’re running the same kernel version that you’re
installing for,

rpm -Uvh
http://download.atrpms.net/production/packages/fedora-2-i386/atrpms/nvidia-graphics6106-libs-1.0_6106-60.rhfc2.at.i386.rpm
http://download.atrpms.net/production/packages/fedora-2-i386/atrpms/nvidia-graphics6106-1.0_6106-60.rhfc2.at.i386.rpm
http://download.atrpms.net/production/packages/fedora-2-i386/atrpms/kernel-module-nvidia-graphics6106-2.6.7-1.494.2.2-1.0_6106-60.rhfc2.at.i686.rpm
http://download.atrpms.net/production/packages/common/atrpms/nvidia-graphics-helpers-0.0.5-5.at.i386.rpm

Configure Xorg to use the newly installed drivers.
/usr/share/doc/nvidia-graphics6106-1.0_6106/XF86Config.sample is
useful. (I booted into single user mode for this stage).

5. Madwifi drivers

http://www.fedoraforum.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-3452.html

http://madwifiwiki.thewebhost.de/wiki/MadwifiConceptronicC54COnRedHat9

rpm -Uvh
http://download.atrpms.net/production/packages/fedora-2-i386/atrpms/atrpms-56-1.rhfc2.at.i386.rpm

rpm -Uvh
kernel-module-madwifi-2.6.7-1.494.2.2-0.8.6.1-8.rhfc2.at.i686.rpm
http://download.atrpms.net/testing/packages/fedora-2-i386/atrpms/madwifi-0.8.6.1-8.rhfc2.at.i386.rpm

Those RPMs don’t work with the Netgear DG834G access point which I
have; you must
compile and install yourself with the following environment variable
set:

export COPTS=”$COPTS -DNO_WME”

Some information on this at:

http://article.gmane.org/gmane.linux.drivers.madwifi.user/3572

My command sequence was:

rpm -Uvh ftp://ftp.mirrorservice.org/sites/fedora.redhat.com/2/i386/os/Fedora/RPMS/sharutils-4.2.1-18.i386.rpm
# needed package

cd /tmp

cvs -z3 -d:pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot/madwifi co
madwifi

cd madwifi/

export COPTS=”$COPTS -DNO_WME”

make

make install

Add to /etc/modprobe.conf:

“alias ath0 ath_pci”

Create  /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ath0 :

STARTMODE=hotplug

DEVICE=ath0

BOOTPROTO=dhcp

WIRELESS=yes

MODE=Managed

ESSID=any (or SSID if it is not broadcast)

IPV6INIT=no

ONBOOT=no

USERCTL=no

PEERDNS=yes

KEY=your-key-here-if-you-use-encryption

Do “/sbin/ifup ath0”. In future, it should come up automatically; even
though you have “ONBOOT=no”, it is started by the PCMCIA hotplug
functionality.

Look at status with “/sbin/ifconfig ath0” and “/sbin/iwconfig ath0”. To
check your reception and hotspots, “watch -n 1 /sbin/iwconfig ath0” is
useful.

6. Miscellaneous/finishing off

– Install NTFS RPM if you’re keeping Windows: http://linux-ntfs.sourceforge.net/rpm/fedora2.html

(N.B. In the US, this may not be legal because of software patents – I
am in Europe).

– ‘/sbin/lspci’ shows an Intel AC’97 Modem Controller – I need to look
at http://www.finnie.org/linux-dell-5150/
to get it working. I haven’t done this yet. Update: many hours of
trying, but no joy.

Update: Works on Fedora Core 4 with slmodem-alsa package from http://rpm.livna.org
.

– ACPI doesn’t appear to work completely; in the default Fedora
configuration, pressing the power button is meant to invoke
“/sbin/shutdown -h now”, but in fact it does nothing. Battery/AC power
usage is detected correctly, though. by default, the function keys for
suspend and CRT/LCD do nothing, though I’ve not tried plugging into a
standard monitor so don’t know what would happen there.

THE END! Congratulations – you can now do some real work… or ask Dell
for your Windows refund… (I didn’t – they double charged me and it
was so much hassle to get a refund for the double charging that I had
no stamina left for anything else…)


Print This Page Print This Page

Leave a Reply