This document describes my installation of Redhat 8.0 on a Dell Inspiron 2650C laptop.
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
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.
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" EndSection Section "Device" # no known options Identifier "VESA driver (generic)" Driver "nvidia" VendorName "VESA driver (generic)" BoardName "VESA driver (generic)" Option "NoLogo" "on" EndSection Section "Screen" Identifier "Screen0" Device "VESA driver (generic)" Monitor "Monitor0" DefaultDepth 24 SubSection "Display" Depth 24 Modes "1400x1050" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480" EndSubSection EndSection
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 linmodems.org 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:
to fix the console.
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:
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 email@example.com
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More information about Linux and laptops can be found at tuxmobil and Linux on laptops