Fedora Core 6 on Dell D620

Dell D620

I recently purchased a new Dell D620. The specs are as follows:

  1. Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5500 1.66 GHz
  2. 1 GB 667 MHz RAM
  3. 60 GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Disk
  4. NV 110M Graphics Card with 256 MB RAM
  5. Intel Integrated Graphics
  6. 10Mb/100Mb/1Gb Ethernet Card
  7. Intel IPW3945ABG Wireless
  8. Infrared
  9. 4 USB ports
  10. 1440×960 resolution monitor
  11. 24x CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive

Fedora Core 6

Everything worked (as far as I know) except the modem (windows modem, untested) and the infrared port (also untested).
This laptop came pre-installed with Windows XP Home edition. After spending quite a few days grabbing updates and applications to make it as UNIX-esque as possible, I gave up trying to do science on this laptop as is and installed Fedora Core 6 via the network install option.

I first downloaded and burned a bootable disc from http://gparted.sourceforge.net/. This disc provided a nice graphical installer to partition my NTFS hard disk to install Linux. The 60 GB hard disk is actually about 56 GB formatted and so I divided the disk into approximately three partitions. The first was the 27 GB NTFS, a 2 GB fat 32, and a 27 GB Linux partition.

I then downloaded and burned the Fedora core 6 CD, chose the appropriate web directory from the closest mirror (NC State’s mirror was closest) and installed Fedora Core 6. The install went quite easily and my laptop was quite usable instantly.

I first went and installed the suitable RPM files from rpm.pbone.net for the IPW3945. However, I would have to reinstall the kernel modules every time. Consequently, I remembered how this worked for an older laptop I had that had the IPW2100. If I could get the firmware, the ucode module, and the daemon it would work for any kernel like a champ. This has proved so.

I then went and installed updated all of the software via yum (package manager) as root with “yum update”. After several hundred MB of downloads the install was complete.

I visited Nvidia.com and downloaded the latest NV Linux drivers. After exiting X and changing to runlevel 3, I installed the NV driver flawlessly and saw improved graphics performance instantly. The shell script has an automatic “xorg.conf” configuration editor which is very handy. I am using the monitor at 1440×960.

I then went and downloaded both the Livna RPM for yum repos and the kde-redhat.sourceforge.net yum repository and again issued the update commands.

Energy Use

One of the last major things I did was to start working on power saving features of Linux. In Windows, I was getting approximately 5:30 of battery life and so I thought I should get similar amounts in Linux. After reading, I uninstalled klaptop_acpi and installed kpowersave which works with the HAL daemon. I get around 5 hours now.