Fedora Core 7 on Dell Latitude D820

Fred Welland ( f.welland at verizon dot net )  
Created on:  Tuesday July 24, 2007
Last update on:  Saturday, November, 17 2007
  1. Introduction
  2. Disc Prep
  3. Hardware Matrix
  4. The Install
  5. Video
  6. Gnome-Sensors
  7. Wireless (with monitor mode support)
  8. Some Annoyances (e.g. System Beep -- again!!!)
  9. Links & Links
  10. (Warning) USB & Flashdrives  -- FIXED with UDEV updates 
  11. JAVA
  12. Big YUM update on 8/2/2007
Once again, I have moved to the latest and greatest from Fedora.   Here is my Fedora 8 page.    

Hardware Matrix

Video Quadro  NVS 110M
128MB dedicated
Works out of the box with x.org 'nv' driver.  Graphical installer works well too.  compiz/'Desktop Affects' required tweaks
CPU Intel CPU  T2500  @ 2.00GHz Works
1920 x 1200
Works out of the box at 1920x1200 resolution
Hard Drive Hitachi HTS721010G9SA00
100 GB
Sound Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller
SigmaTel STAC9200
Works out of the box
Wireless Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG works OK to poorly  to get better operation tweaks are needed
Ethernet Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme
BCM5752 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
Works out of the box
DVD RW NEC DVD +/- RW ND-6650A CD seems OK -- DVD & Write tests still pending
IRDA Do not know (not sure I care)
Modem Do not Know (not sure I care)
Touchpad AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint Works out of the box
Keyboard Works out of the box


Yet again, I 'upgraded' perfectly good linux laptop to the latest and greatest from Fedora:  Fedora 7.     If you poke around,  you'll see that I have been through FC5  and FC6 with this laptop.  I have had pretty good luck with FC and RH so why not upgrade?  

As you see, much of this page is a copy-n-paste job from my FC5 and FC6 pages.   In fact much of what was done for FC5 and/or FC6 still applies to FC7.     Reading those pages can be helpful and some details of things maybe omitted from this page, but mentioned on the other pages. 

Also, since much F7 was 'just stick in the DVD and let it rip', I am going to highlight some stuff that may not be strictly related to installing F7 on my Dell D820 but might be helpful to someone.

Finally, this 'howto' or 'my experiences' page, was started about 4-6 weeks after I installed F7.   I think becuase, I waited to write this, it covers somethings that I did after the initial install that I otherwise may not have documented. 

Disk Prep

Since I already sliced up this disk for the FC5 install and for the FC6 install, at least from a WinXP vs FC perspective,  I didn't need to do much here (already had a place for Fedora and WinXP).  But then again, why did I have all these partitions under FC5 & FC6?  

I don't recall utilizing my FS in such a fashion that lots of partitions provided some 'advantage'.  Since I like to start with a fresh install, I decided to collapse the partitions into one root, and of course one for swap (and leave the WinXP partition alone).  

The only step I took before the repartition, was to back up my FC6 stuff to my home-grown NAS thing.  Once again, I didn't back up anything in my WinXP partition -- there really wasn't anything of value to loose there if things went wrong (they didn't).

Here is how the partitions turned out:

The Install

Basically, I stuck the F7, DVD in and rebooted into the installer and let it rip.  Like I did for FC6, I used my desktop FC6 box, to BT grab the DVD ISO.  The ISO was burned to a DVDr via a LG DVD burner in a USB enclosure.   I just used the gnome burner widget to make the DVD.  It seems that F7 only officially comes as a DVD.  This didn't pose any problems for my D820, but did for the desktop I made the DVD on when I went to install F7 on that box.  See here for details.

There is not much to add; I just followed the intaller making my selections and then let the install 'do its stuff'.  

On first boot I did do the following:

Some Annoyances

Just like FC5 and FC6, F7 has lots of beebs.  I turned a bunch of them off doing the following.

Here is how I killed most of them:
    1. run System->Preferences->Sound  applet
    2. select the 'System Beep' tab
    3. uncheck 'Enable System Beep'
    4. get rid of beeps in a console (<ctl><alt>F1 and other consoles), edit /etc/inputrc and make sure 'set bell-style' is set to 'none'.   


I use the NVIDIA proprietary driver on my D820.  In general, I am frustratingly pleased with this driver and NVIDIA graphics hardware under Linux/Fedora.   For details on how I install the driver, refer to the FC5 and FC6 pages.    BUT, here are some things (as of July 26, 2007), that may not be unique to F7 or a D820, but I encountered while installing F7 on my D820:

NVidia Installer
I use the NVIDIA 'run' installers.  I do not use the RPM/YUM stuff that is out there for the NVIDIA drivers.   There is lots of 'talk' that says you should use the RPMs not the installer.  I haven't had too many problems with the NVIDIA installer and see no reason to switch from something that is working to something that probably works (but I don't know).   YMMV...

X Shutdown Hangs with Compiz
X will hangup when you logoff or shutdown if you have had having compiz/metacity running and using one of the 100.14.* series drivers.   The slightly older versions, 1.0-9755 and 1.0-9762, do not have this problem.    I also experienced the same exact problem with my desktop.   It seems to be a fairly prevelant problem; this (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=93001)  is one of many forum threads on this.

Rolling back to 1.0-97xx driver
For whatever reason, if you install one the the 100.14.* series drivers, under F7 rolling back to a 1.0-97xx driver doesn't work just right.   The 1.0.-97xx doesn't really complain about anything unusual (that I saw).  But when you restart your X, you will get a 'nvidia' module not found in the XOrg log file in /var/log.   After scraping through NVNEWS forums some (especially the shutdown thread from above), I found the following command line used to start the NVIDIA installer resolves the problem (so maybe I should use the RPMs...).

sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-9762-pkg1.run --x-module-path=`X -showDefaultModulePath 2>&1 | cut -d, -f1` --x-library-path=`X -showDefaultLibPath 2>&1`

Building libXNVCtrl.a (GPU Temp and GNOME sensors)
The gnome-sensors applet has the ability monitor NVIDA GPU temps.   In order do this you need libXNVCtrl.a.  The lib is part of the NVidia settings package; it also maybe part of or is linked into the NVIDIA Server settings application that gets installed with the driver.   However, gnome-sensors will need the .h files; so I found that the NVIDIA settings package is needed even if the lib is hanging around somewhere.   Here is a play by play on how I compiled libXNVCtrl.a
  1. Get NVIDIA settings  (ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/nvidia-settings/nvidia-settings-1.0.tar.gz)
  2. You don't need to build all of it (you already have the application if you installed the NVIDIA driver), just the lib part.  So untar it and cd to nvidia-settings-1.0/src/libXNVCtrl and read the file README.LIBXNVCTRL. 
  3. Do what the directions in README.LIBXNVCTRL say.  Notice that those directions and build do not work. 
  4. Go read this thread (if you want). 
  5. In the nvidia-settings-1.0/src/libXNVCtrl directory make a new makefile with the following contents (call it whatever you want):
libXNVCtrl.a : libXNVCtrl.a(NVCtrl.o)
        ranlib $@

NVCtrl.o : NVCtrl.h nv_control.h NVCtrlLib.h

clean ::
        rm -f libXNVCtrl.a *.o
.PHONY: clean

  1. Run the makefile you made in step 5.   (use something like 'make -f mymakefile').
  2. To 'install' this lib and .h files, I copied libXNVCtrl.a to /usr/local/lib and copy nvidia-settings-1.0/src/libXNVCtrl to /usr/local/include/NVCtrl  (you will probably need to create /usr/local/include/NVCtrl).
  3. (optional) Do somthing useful with libXNVCtrl.a such as use it by lm_sensors and gnome-sensors.
COMPIZ Works Nicely
Or at least a bit nicer than under FC6.   I don't recall all the tweaks I did to get it to work, but here is my xorg.conf for reference.


Becuase they are there, I wanted to get some feed back from hardware temperature sensors.   I actually don't have any reason to believe that I have heat problems or stuff like that; I just wanted to get them to work.    There are a few tools for monitoring the sensors; I chose to just use gnome-sensors.

Gnome-sensors seems to able to get sensor data from several places.  The two (or three) that are of interest (at this moment) are GPU and CPU core temperatures (the 3rd is ACPI which will expose some temperture to gnome-sensors w/o doing anything -- but is not clear what this temperature is).  The easiest way to get lm_sensors working is:  http://www.lm-sensors.org/wiki/iwizard/1



The F7 installer did find my Intel 3945 card and installed a driver.  With minimal fuss, I was able to use it!   Also, since it wasn't easily obvious how to turn on/off  (i.e. load/unload) this driver  like I had done with ipw3945 under FC6, I started using NetworkManager.    Once I got used to it, NetworkManager works well.  It is much more gooder/friendlier  to tinker with NetworkManager's little applet for futzing with wireless settings than it is to fiddle with the scripts that I used to use.

All is not perfect!   F7 uses the new iwlwifi drivers.   Go here for more details about this driver.   I think is supposed to replace the older ipw3945 drivers, in the near future.    One positive part about this driver is there is no need run the regulatory deamon like is needed by ipw3945.   However, I think the driver is a bit under cooked and seems sluggish:  
  1. web browsing seemed 'slower' than with ipw3945
  2. had no problems using Cisco VPN and rdesktop via ipw3945, but  iwl3945 really struggled to adequately do rdesktop via vpn. 

I ignored these for about 4 weeks (well I resorted to wired ethernet with VPNing), untill kernel came out and I upgraded:  iwl3945 stop working.

iwl3945 had an YUM update with a day or two of the .22 kernel, which I presume fixed the problem - but I switched (back) to ipw3945.   For me ipw3945 just works better:  seemingly faster browsing and no problems VPNing and rdesktoping.    I mostly followed these http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forum/showthread.php?t=157205 directions to set up my ipw3945.    Here is what I did to install ipw3945 under with F7 that it will load at startup and NetworkManager behaves nicely with it:

  1. go to http://ipw3945.sourceforge.net/
  2. get ipw3945 source code  (I am using ipw3945-1.2.1  -- http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/ipw3945/ipw3945-1.2.1.tgz?download)
  3. get ipw3945 regulartory deamon  (I am using  ipw3945d-1.7.22 -- http://bughost.org/ipw3945/daemon/ipw3945d-1.7.22.tgz)
  4. get ipw3945 firmware    (I am using ipw3945-ucode-1.14.2  -- http://bughost.org/ipw3945/ucode/ipw3945-ucode-1.14.2.tgz
  5. validate that your ieee80211 is OK.   It needs to be version 1.1.11 or newer.   Kernel appears to have git-1.1.13 of ieee80211.
  6. build ipw3945  (a simple 'make' should do it)  
  7. copy all the ipw3945 parts to the correct places:
    1. cp ipw3945-ucode-1.14.2/ipw3945-ucode /lib/firmware && cp ipw3945d-1.7.22/ipw3945d /sbin
    2. 'make install' in the ipw3945 intall directory seemed to copy the dirver into the correct place (/lib/modules/
  1. black list the iwl3945 stuff by adding two lines, blacklist iwl3945 blacklist mac80211, to the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file.    Are there other ways to tell Fedora to not load a driver?
  2. get or make a ipw3945 startup script and put it in /etc/rc.d/init.d.  As per the link above, I got one from:  http://fedoraos.org/ipw3945/ipw3945 (make sure it is executable)
  3. register this ipw3945 start up script with something like:  chkconfig --add ipw3945 && chkconfig ipw3945 on   (not entirely sure what these two commands do - but it will make ipw3945 show up in the System->Administration->Server Settings->Service).  
NOTES & Questions:  

Warning:  USB And Automounting

Kernel has introduced some evilness such that some/lots (maybe all) USB devices/drive are not automounted.   My D820 suffers from this.   As of 7/29/2007, this is still the case and the lastest '33' kernel still seems to have problems.     See http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=160556 for some details.

On 8/2/2007 and 8/3/2007, there emerged some 'noise' on the above thread about this problem.  Please go and read the thread; but the abbrieviated version is that is look like the issue is really a udev issue and a fix is due any day now.  Some folks report success with tweaking udev rules.  

If you are following thism, especially the thread mentioned above, then you may already know that UDEV package udev-113-8.fc7 appears to fix the problem with automount USB flash devices.    For me, the update does indeed work!


Java/SWING programs have redraw problems under compiz & beryl.    Here is a bug about the problem:  http://bugs.sun.com/bugdatabase/view_bug.do?bug_id=6429775.   If you poke around the web you'll find lots of people with this problem, running a variety of VM's.    Maybe it is fixed in 1.6 JDK, but I am sticking with 1.5 for a bit more.  One work around, that I have had good results is by adding:    export AWT_TOOLKIT=MToolkit to my environment before running a SWING application.   This, of course, require that some version of MOTIF be available (this variable appears to tell SWING/AWT to use the motif toolkit rather than ...whatever else it can use).    I just YUMEX'ed lesstif.   I installed lesstif-0.95.0-15.fc7 and lesstif-devel-0.95.0-15.fc7 and was able to run SWING stuff.

YUM Update to Kernel

After the USB problems introduced by, I have been gunshy to take kernel updates.  For me fedora kernel updates have always been pretty painless but that changed somewhat with    Throwing caution into the wind, I accepted about 20 RPMs via YUM on 8/3/2007, including kernel   Some spelunking revelealed that it probably didn't fix USB problem and I was curious why I was even bothering...well I did it and am please to say it is fine.   Like 'usual' I had to rebuild the ipw3945 driver and re-run the NVIDIA installer; but after that, things on my D820 are fine.   

Lots 'O Links