Fedora Core 8 on Dell Latitude D820


Fred Welland ( f.welland at verizon dot net )  
Created on:  Sunday November 11, 2007
Last update on:  Wednesday, November 21, 2007
  1. Introduction
  2. Disc Prep
  3. Hardware Matrix
  4. The Install
  5. Video  (current driver: NVIDIA 169.04) 
  6. Touch pad
  7. Wireless
  8. Some Annoyances 
  9. Java!
  10. Services And Deamons
  11. Screen Saver -- Becareful
  12. My SMOLT page:    http://smolt.fedoraproject.org/show?UUID=ff8cd718-0170-43e1-be1c-a314972f7e76
  13. Links & Links
  14. Current Kernel: #1 SMP
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 some 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!   (with iwl3945) 
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


This laptop has been through FC5, FC6, and FC7.     So why not FC8?

Like before, portions of this are just a copy-n-paste from my other pages.   These older pages are still somewhat relevant; so readers may want to check those pages out.

The FC8  install, just worked for me and my hardware.   As you can see from the above matrix, all my hardware was deteched and suitable or working drivers were installed.   FC8 has been the smoothest to install RedHat/Fedora release yet!

Disk Prep

I didn't change my partition scheme from the FC7 install.   Go there to see what I did.   Again, the only prep step I took before the install, was to back up my FC7 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).     Someday, I hope to do a write up on my NAS thing; it really makes these sorts of upgrades go much smoothly.

I did let the installer reformat the partitions.

The Install

Basically, I stuck the F8, DVD in and rebooted into the installer and let it rip.

There is not much to add; I just followed the intaller making my selections and then let the install 'do its stuff'.   Well one note:   during the package selection stuff (I always do 'custom' and select the stuff I want), I did select to include the 'Additional/Extras'.   This was good and bad.    Good in that I had tons more stuff that I normally install later, installed initially.  Bad, in that it take way longer to browse through all that stuff picking the package you want.   Bad in that, when you select something not on DVD,  then installer sometimes has long pauses, while it is downloading RPMs, where it almost looks like the installer is hung.  

On first boot I did do the following:
  • Disabled SELinux  (FYI:  I still have no reason to do this other than I don't know if SELinux brings me anything.  My assumption is no.  Please enlighten me otherwise).
  • I futzed with the firewall some too.  

Some Annoyances

No beebs!   That means I have nothing to say here.     Wait, on 11/17/2007 I noticed the beeps again!  So here is how to suppress 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/gnome-terminal (<ctl><alt>F1 and other consoles), edit /etc/inputrc and make sure 'set bell-style' is set to 'none'  (just uncomment the line). 
While you are editing inputrc, add the following to turn on VI style command line editing (if you are into that):

set editing-mode vi
set keymap vi

Wait  here is something else that is annoying:   F8 has weirdo package dependancies.   I bunch of stuff got installed; even stuff that I had explicitly ommitted during package selection!     I didn't worry too much about it, during the install; thinking that I must have made a mistake and I would remove them later.    Well, after the first few reboots, I spent some time with yumex in attempts to remove a bunch of packages that I don't want/need.     I was surprised to see stuff like NetworkManager depending on package like Evolution-dataserver.    Yeah I know packages often install libs that get used by lots of other things, but arguably, they should be broken up differently....such as it is...

Touch Pad

It just works.    Only tweak that I did was add SHMConfig to my xorg.conf file.   This will allow Gsynaptic to run.  My input section of xorg.conf looks like:

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier  "Synaptics"
        Driver      "synaptics"
        Option      "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
        Option      "Protocol" "auto-dev"
        Option      "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
        Option      "LeftEdge" "120"
        Option      "RightEdge" "830"
        Option      "TopEdge" "120"
        Option      "BottomEdge" "650"
        Option      "FingerLow" "14"
        Option      "FingerHigh" "15"
        Option      "MaxTapMove" "110"
        Option      "VertScrollDelta" "20"
        Option      "HorizScrollDelta" "20"
        Option      "MinSpeed" "0.3"
        Option      "MaxSpeed" "0.75"
        Option      "SHMConfig" "true"


I continue to use the NVIDIA proprietary driver on my D820.    Currently, I am using the NVIDIA-Linux-x86-100.14.23-pkg1.run package from NVIDIA.  It works OK/WELL.   There is some good stuff related to the NVIDIA drivers on my older pages, if you get curious -- especially the F7 page.      

COMPIZ Works Nicely
I didn't try to see if the 'nv' driver can handle compiz -- I don't think it can.   Simply installing the nvidia driver didn't allow compiz to work either.  Using the tweaks I made under F7, works fine.  Basically I just re-used my F7 my xorg.conf file.      I'll be trying compiz-fusion soon -- I had it woking OK under F7......  

....Well, I have been running compiz-fusion for a week or so; it seems stable and is quite nice.   To run compiz fusion, I did:
  • YUMMed/YUMEXed up the following packages: 

  • Turned of the whatever compiz that was installed initially via the System->Preferences->Look And Feel->Desktop Effects  
  • Added a new Startup program to the Sessions applet at  System->Personal->Sessions.   The new Startup program has this attributes:
Name:   compiz-manager/fusion
Command:  /usr/bin/compiz-manager
  • I enabled this startup program.
  • Logged off and logged back in
I use the tool System->Preferences->Look And Feel->CompizConfig Settings Manager  To tinker with various settings for compiz-fursion.  
On 11/19/2007, I upgraded to the 169.04 beta driver.   I am pleased to say it works well!   I has appeared to clear up some of the full screen flash/flickers that I have been experiencing from time to time.   These flickers seem harmless -- no crash and X/Gnome/compiz all appear fine.

(11/21/2007) Turns out those  flashes and flickers I spoke of above, have not gone away.   There may be some driver issues/bugz related to nVidia 7xxx GPUs and multi-core processors.   For me, this flickering is just an annoyance and doesn't cause any crashes or freezes.  Here are some references:


The F8 installer did find my Intel 3945 card and installed the iwl3945 driver.   I had mediocre results with iwl under F7 and actually switched back to ipw3945 (see here for details).   Well iwl3945 seems just fine with F8!   Granted, I have only used it for a couple of days.  But so far, the 'speed' seems the same or better as ipw3945 under F7; and I have fewer connection problems  (this maybe due to NetworkManager improvements).

NOTES & Questions:  
  • [Still open issue for me under f8]  NetworkManager doesn't appear to have support for assigning static IPs to network connections (for example, on wireless network A, I want DHCP; but on network B,  I want this IP, gateway etc).   Yes,  you can use some of the fedora and command line tools, such as system-config-network and ifconfig to handle static IPs for the interface.    BUT does anybody know of any other ways to trick NM to maybe run a chuck of script or something when bringing an if up?
  • [Still open issue for me under f8]  On my D820 under iwl3945 the wifi led never lit up - which I was mostly ok with -- I could see it working via NetworkManager.  Why doesn't iwl3945 light up the led?   For some reason, when I am hard wired to a LAN, I feel like I shouldn't be letting my radio continously scan (95% of the time I run AC - so battery isn't much of a concern).   With iwl3945, this didn't really bother me much because there is no visual clue it is scanning.   But it is highly annoying with ipw3945.    Apart from annoying flicker, are there any downsides to just letting my radio scan for hours on end while hard wired to a LAN.
  • As of 11/16/2007, I am pleased to say that I have had good luck with iwl3945.   Much better than with iwl3945 under F7.  I'd say on par with ipw3945 under F7.   I have had good luck running Cisco VPN client and run rdesktops, all via wireless!


There is some voodo bug going on with X and Sun JDKs.    See here:  http://bugs.sun.com/bugdatabase/view_bug.do?bug_id=6532373  for some details.    The bug report says that it is fixed, and it may related to multi-monitors and Xinerama or something to that affect.       At any rate, the methods discussed starting here:  http://fedoraguide.info/index.php/Fedora8#Sun_Java_.28Method_1.29 seem to work.    Without any fixes/hack when you run a java program that does something X-related you may get:  java: xcb_xlib.c:50: xcb_xlib_unlock: Assertion `c->xlib.lock' failed.    If so, you probably need to follow the hacks.

I have both Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_03-b05)  and Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_13-b05) installed.   Both JDKs were installed from the .bin installers.  Finding and hacking the file libmawt.so with the following sed (in both JDKs directories) fixes the problem:  

sed -i 's/XINERAMA/FAKEEXTN/g' libmawt.so

Note:   I haven't experience the Swing drawing problem discussed here:  http://mysite.verizon.net/vze2j8bn/D820-F7.html#Java -- but I only tested with SwingSet2 demo application.  Also the above hack doesn't install or configure the browser plugin -- that is a different step.

Well, Netbeans 6 Beta 2 would not install with JDK 1.5.  Running the installer via something like sh netbeans-6.0beta2-javaee-linux.sh caused window redraw problems.  I am pretty sure the netbeans installer comes with its own JVM for installation so on default install probably was running into the same issues as F7.   When I used the --javahome (pointing to my JDK 1.5)  switch on the installer caused this problem.  Even If I used the export AWT_TOOLKIT=MToolkit (solution for window redraw issues under F7) that would bring back the c->lib.lock problem.    

Using JDK1.6 (via --javahome option while running the installer) worked fine (w/o AWT_TOOLKIT hack).   In the few minutes that I have used it, it seems to run quite well under 1.6.  The 1.6 vs 1.5 isn't too much of a problem, most of my serious works is built via ANT anyway where I strictly control the VM I compile with.

Services & Deamons

I like to try and trim all the services down to the bare minimal.  There are several things that should be obvious as to weather you need them.   A few of the things that I feel are safe to disable (that are maybe not as obvious)  are:
  • bluetooth  (I currently don't have or use any bluetooth stuff -- YMMV)
  • anacron
  • nasd  
  • sendmail  
  • firstboot  (I am pretty sure this is only needed once -- I have always disabled with no appearant problems) 
  • mdmonitor  
As always Mauriat Miranda has good info about Fedora and services.  Here the F8 page about services:   http://www.mjmwired.net/resources/mjm-services-f8.html .

Beware of the Screensaver

So being a sucker for eye candy, I installed lots of screen saver stuff.   Well,  I used the gnome screensaver widget to select a different saver module than 'fade to black'.  After previewing a few - HANG!   The bad kinda hang that require a hardware reboot.  

Long story short, using some of the 3D or openGL screensaver cause a hang condition if you run compiz.   No I have no links to bugs or forum posts about this issue; but the problem isn't unique to me.    Worse yet, even previewing the screensaver in the small window in the screensaver applet causes the problem.   Further, once focus selects a screensave module from the left hand side list box, it is 'set'.   So you are hosed:  when the screensaver kicks in -- hang.  When you go to change the module in the screensaver applet -- hang!  

After a few hard reboots and thinking a bit, it dawned on me:  
  1. turn off compiz
  2. go to screensaver applet
  3. pick a safter module
  4. turn compiz back on

Lots 'O Links