Fedora Core 3 Install on Dell Inspiron 8200

The Hardware

Processor1.8GHz Pentium 4 M
BIOSPhoenix BIOS A10
Display15" SXGA+ (1400x1050) @24bit
Video Card32MB DDR 4X AGP NVidia NV17 (GeForce 440 Go)
Hard drive40GB, 5400RPM; Hitachi DK23EB-40
Floppy driveDell
Fixed optical24X CD-RW/DVD combo; Samsung CDRW/DVD SN-324B
Modemv.92 56Kb internal softmodem; PCTel 2304WT V.92 MDC
LAN10/100Mb LAN; 3C920 (3C905C-TX compatible) controller
WLANDell TrueMobile 1150 wireless mini-PCI (has Agere MPC13A-20/R chip)
FirewireIEEE 1394 (Firewire/i.Link); TI OHCI Compliant controller
USB2 slot USB 1.0; Intel 82801CA/CAM
PCMCIA2 slot; TI PCI-4451 controller
AudioCrystal WDM Audio Codec (Cirrhus Logic CS 4205)

The Process

I previously described my experiences installing Red Hat 8.0 and Red Hat 9.0 on my Inspiron 8200. Here I describe my experiences installing Fedora Core 3 on that machine. (I did not do an upgrade.)

Bottom line summary: The system looks great and runs great after a few tweaks, but ultimately I abandoned it and went back to RH 9, because I could not get suspend/resume to work at all satisfactorily.

Installation Steps:

  1. I booted the machine with FC3 CD 1 in my DVD drive. I took the opportunity offered to verify all the CD-Rs. (A good thing, too! My CD drive wrote multiple unreadable CDs, and I had to burn the bad ones again on a different machine.) I did a graphical Workstation install and chose all the defaults that the install presented me. I configured my network interfaces, etc., as part of the install process. Then I let 'er rip.
  2. When the install finished (about an hour total), I immediately ran up2date and updated everything, including the kernel. The update went well, though it took awhile.
  3. I rebooted to see how the install/up2date went.

How'd It Go?

For the most part, things went quite well. The first thing I did was to change the entry in /etc/inittab to set the run level to 3, not 5, so I suppressed graphical login. I expected to get poor screen resolution when I started X, and I did.
  1. I downloaded and installed the latest nVidia driver (6629). Once I followed the install instructions and tweaked the xorg.conf file (replacing XF86Config), the screen looked wonderful.

    I had to fuss a bit to get the system to load the nvidia module. I don't understand why I needed to do this. I did not have to do so for RH 9.

  2. The mouse/touchpad worked out of the box. Unlike in RH9, the Mouse System Preferences screen actually adjusted the touchpad's response, and it "stuck".
  3. Sound works great out of the box.


I just could not get it to work. I got suspend to work, but resume left me with a non-functioning machine. After a process of elimination, I eliminated the video driver and (I think) the wireless driver as culprits. I turned off ACPI and turned on APM (acpi=off apm=on in grub.conf configuration. In the end I concluded there was something odd happening with the disk controller or drive, because it seemed that, after resume, the system locked up with the first physical disk access.

Because I consider suspend/resume to be essential for my use of the machine, I reluctantly had to abandon FC3 and go back to RH9.

Other Notes

Because it was well down on my list of interests, I never determined whether I could get the softmodem to work.


Installing FC3 went very well. I'm impressed. But I'm very disappointed that I could not get suspend/resume to work and that I had to abandon FC3 in favor of RH 9.


My /etc/X11/xorg.confxorg.conf

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Dave Kristol, dmk-yahoo@kristol.org
Last modified: 15 January 2006
$Id: i8200-fc3.html,v 1.2 2006/01/15 18:41:21 dmk Exp $