This document describes my installation of Redhat 8.0 on a Dell Inspiron 2650C laptop.

Hardware Configuration:


Unfortunately, I decided that I wanted to keep WinXP installed in case I had a problem with the laptop and Dell could refuse to help. parted won't modify NTFS filesystems and I didn't want to shell out money for partition magic just to use once but I came across BootItNG. Download the free trial version and make a bootdisk. When it asks you to install, hit cancel and select edit partitions. Resize as you see fit.

Here is my modified parititon table:

Disk /dev/hda: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 3648 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1             1         4     32098+  de  Dell Utility
/dev/hda2   *         5      1788  14329980    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda3          1789      1854    530145   83  Linux
/dev/hda4          1855      3648  14410305    5  Extended
/dev/hda5          1855      1887    265041   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda6          1888      1953    530113+  83  Linux
/dev/hda7          1954      2593   5140768+  83  Linux
/dev/hda8          2594      3648   8474256   83  Linux

hda3 = /, hda5 = swap, hda6 = /var, hda 7 = /usr, hda 8 = /home

After that, installation of Redhat went literally by the book

Video and touchpad:

I purposely chose the NVidia card because of their graphics drivers. I installed NVidia's 3D drivers (4191) without a problem. I did have to modify my monitor refresh settings and if I switch to console mode after loading the drivers, I get massive flicker
The touch pad is seen as a simple 2 button PS/2 device so select that.

XF86Config settings:

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier   "Monitor0"
        VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
        ModelName    "Generic Laptop Display Panel 1400x1050"
        HorizSync    29.0-65.0 
        VertRefresh  59.0 - 60.01
        Option      "dpms"

Section "Device"
        # no known options
        Identifier  "VESA driver (generic)"
        Driver      "nvidia"
        VendorName  "VESA driver (generic)"
        BoardName   "VESA driver (generic)"
        Option      "NoLogo" "on"

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Screen0"
        Device     "VESA driver (generic)"
        Monitor    "Monitor0"
        DefaultDepth     24
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth     24
                Modes    "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

If you get a lot of flicker when you shutdown X or switch to a virtual console, you need to go into your BIOS and change the display to only use LCD instead of LCD/CRT.


I've burned several CDRs with cdrecord at 10x without a hitch. I installed xine with libdvdcss and playing DVDs works wonderfully.


The LAN card works flawlessly with the 3c59x driver. I achieve 7-11MB per second across my LAN


I have yet to try, but I've read the Conexant driver from works


I did have some problems with sound immediately after install. I upgraded the kernel and sound now works properly with the i810 audio drivers

kernel i8k driver

I decided to install the i8k driver from linux 2.4.20-pre. Upon loading the module, my console shrank to about 1/4th the normal size. Reloading the module would cause the size to revert to it's correct state. However, I picked up the i8kutils package. Compile the package and run:
smm a6
to fix the console.

Other distros:

Shortly after installing Redhat, I couldn't stomach GNOME 2 any longer so I decided to build my usual (modified) Linux From Scratch (LFS) distro on the laptop. Everything works as you would suspect and I'd be glad to elaborate on my install process with LFS if anyone is interested.

UPDATE: May 24, 2003:

Linux 2.5:

I just installed linux kernel 2.5.69 on the 2650C. Using ALSA, I can now play sound on the console without ESD loaded and can also get my battery status information (though it brock my ac_adapter status, I think the battery status is more important). Here's my 2.5.69 .config for the laptop. You can pick up the latest patches for the NVidia driver and 2.5 here

If you have any further questions, feel free to email me at

Go to my main page

More information about Linux and laptops can be found at tuxmobil and Linux on laptops