Fedora Core 6 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 drive60GB, 7200RPM; Hitachi HTS721060G9AT00
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, Red Hat 9.0, and Fedora Core 3 on my Inspiron 8200. Here I describe my experiences installing Fedora Core 6 on that machine. I did a clean install on a shiny new disk.

Bottom line summary: The system looks great and runs great after a few tweaks.

Installation Steps:

  1. I booted the machine with FC6 CD 1 in my DVD drive. I took the opportunity offered to verify all the CD-Rs. 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 used the supplied video driver, and I get the 1400x1080 resolution the display is capable of.


Suspend/resume is a deal-breaker for me. It simply must work. Initially I had trouble with suspend/resume, because the system self-configured to use ACPI. I'm guessing ACPI in this particular machine is poorly implemented. Taking a hint from a page I saw online, I turned off ACPI and turned on APM (acpi=off apm=on in grub.conf) configuration. After that, suspend/resume worked just great.

Other Notes

The i8k module did not seem to be available in the stock kernel RPMs I installed. After some back-and-forth on the linux-dell-laptops Yahoo! group, I was advised to download and install a new kernel RPM, which I did. That provided the i8k module, as well as cpuspeed.

I was baffled by weird behavior of my trackpad. Every so often, when I moved my finger across the trackpad, the window would start to scroll. Eventually I discovered what's going on. The right side and bottom of the trackpad are scroll regions. Slide your finger up and down on the right side, and you scroll the current window up or down. Likewise for the bottom and horizontal scrolling. Once I realized what was going on, I was quite pleased. I like this feature!


Installing FC6 went very well. I'm impressed.


This site has a really terrific set of helpful hints for setting up FC6 in general.

TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs and Mobile Phones

Dave Kristol, dmk-yahoo@kristol.org
Last modified: 31 January 2007
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