Fedora 5 on Dell Latitude D820
Fred Welland (f.welland at verizon dot net )  
Last update on:  Tuesday, January 2 2006  (This page was started sometime in May 2006)
  1. Introduction
  2. Disc Prep
  3. The Actual Install
  4. Some Relevant Command (lspci, etc) Output
  5. Hardware Matrix
  6. Links O'Interest
  7. Big Yum Update w/kernel (2.6.18-1.2239.fc5smp)
  8. Misc
NEWS:  I have installed Fedora Core 6 on this Laptop.  See here for the details.  I probably will not be making any more updates to this page.

Hardware Matrix

Quadro  NVS 110M
128MB dedicated
CPU Intel CPU  T2500  @ 2.00GHz Works
1920 x 1200
Hard Drive Hitachi HTS721010G9SA00
100 GB
Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller
SigmaTel STAC9200
Works (required tweaks)
Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Works (required tweaks)
CPU Scaling
Seems OK
Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme
BCM5752 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
Sony DVD +/- DW-Q58 Works - needs tweaks (needs further testing)
Suspend to Ram
Don't Know
Don't Know
Don't Know
AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint
Keyboard Works (with some easy tweaks)


This is my second DELL laptop that I put Fedora on and my fourth laptop I have put RedHat or Fedora on.  In general I have had pretty good luck with RH/Fedora on the 4 laptops I have used with linux.    

This is my first laptop that I purchased for my personal and SOHO use.   My choice to buy a DELL came after much research.    Basically DELL was the only manufacturer that allowed me to customize the laptop with the 'stuff' that was the closest match to what I wanted (and at a pretty good price).   Their shipping/delivery was significantly faster than what their estimates were.   Basically the whole transaction went smoothly.

Disc Prep

My D820 is dual boot with WinXPsp2 and FC5.  I spent the extra $70-$80 or so on XPPro (with media)  because I do use this laptop for some business use where I can't do Linux (for various reasons).   Looking back at the last 2 weeks with this laptop and few years with other laptops; my linux laptop useage has been probably about 90% linux.   If I were to do it again, I may think a bit harder about plunking down the extra $$ on something that I will hardly use.   And so it goes....

I used GParted and it's liveCD to slice up the drive.   Basically, I just got the gparted liveCD ISO, burned it, rebooted and resized it.  I left the 55MB DELL fat16 'utility' partition alone.  I resized the XPPro/NTFS partition down to 26GB.  The rest was left unpartition for FC5

The Install

Basically, I installed FC5 three times; the third time, it worked.  The first 2 times, hung while copying stuff from CDs to disk.   The problem had to do with FC5 installer (or more likely the installer + drive) not liking the media I had burned the ISOs on.   So, I downloaded the DVD iso, burned that to a DVD-R.  That installed fine.   Here are some comments:
Disk /dev/sda: 100.0 GB, 100030242816 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 12161 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1           7       56196   de  Dell Utility
/dev/sda2   *           8        3322    26627737+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3            3323        7146    30716280   83  Linux   (/)
/dev/sda4            7147       12161    40282987+   5  Extended
/dev/sda5            7147       10970    30716248+  83  Linux   (/opt)
/dev/sda6           10971       11926     7679038+  83  Linux   (/home)
/dev/sda7           11927       12161     1887606   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Relevant Command Output


00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile Memory Controller Hub (rev 03)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PCI Express Graphics Port (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller (rev 01)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 01)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 01)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 01)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 4 (rev 01)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #1 (rev 01)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #2 (rev 01)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #3 (rev 01)
00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #4 (rev 01)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 01)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev e1)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 01)
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7 Family) Serial ATA Storage Controllers cc=IDE (rev 01)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 01)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Unknown device 01d7 (rev a1)
03:01.0 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. Unknown device 7135 (rev 21)
03:01.4 FireWire (IEEE 1394): O2 Micro, Inc. Unknown device 00f7 (rev 02)
09:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5752 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (rev 02)
0c:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Unknown device 4222 (rev 02)

uname -a

Linux odiapus 2.6.16-1.2096_FC5smp #1 SMP Wed Apr 19 05:31:55 EDT 2006 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
dmesg output related to ipw3945

ieee80211: 802.11 data/management/control stack, 1.1.13
ieee80211: Copyright (C) 2004-2005 Intel Corporation <jketreno@linux.intel.com>
ipw3945: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945 Network Connection driver for Linux, 1.0.0
ipw3945: Copyright(c) 2003-2006 Intel Corporation

Video & LCD 

As was mentioned earlier,  FC5 defaults for the LCD weren't very good.   I think it was displaying in 1024x876 something like that, and X was using the Xorg 'nv' driver.   Visually wasn't too bad; but the fonts were sometimes hard to read; and the LCD/GPU is capable of much more.    On some random linux/laptop/dell webpage, I found someone with a very similar if not the same LCD as mine, and the 'Monitor' section from that person's xorg.conf.   After hacking mine to match, and restarting X, I was now in  1920x1200 mode; it was quite nice.  

I am not a gamer or demand super-duper graphics - but I  do like nice and speedy 3d graphics performance on the rare times that I used 3d video/graphic stuff.  GLXGears gave pretty mediocre performance using the standard 'nv' driver from Xorg.  So I grabbed the NVIDA from here.  Basically, I just followed the directions and it installed the nvidia driver and tools flawlessly.   After an X restart, I had beautiful graphics and my glxgears number were way up.  

The nvidia driver comes with a handy configuration tool that allows you to tune/tweak the card/driver.  I have started it and played around with it.  But haven't really updated any settings - whatever the defaults are - they work well.

Here is the MONITOR, DEVICE, and SCREEN sections of my xorg.conf file:
Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Monitor Vendor"
    ModelName      "LCD Panel 1920x1200"
    HorizSync       31.5 - 90.0
    VertRefresh     60.0 - 60.0
    ModeLine       "1920x1200" 161.8 1920 2016 2048 2184 1200 1202 1208 1235 +hsync +vsync
    Option         "dpms"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Videocard0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "Videocard vendor"
    BoardName      "nVidia Corporation Unknown device 01d7"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Videocard0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    SubSection     "Display"
        Viewport    0 0
        Depth       24
        Modes      "1920x1200"


Over 4+ laptops and a few desktops, I have always found sound support the hardest to get working under linux/FC/RH.  This laptop was no exception.    FC5's installer correctly detected a HDA Intel card with a SigmaTel STAC9200 chip - but no sound.    Fiddle, Fiddle, Fiddle - no sound.    Search/Google/Search/Google/Fedora Forums/Search - hmm, looks like there is some sort of 'issue' with hda-snd-intel and no sound.    There are people reporting success when all the moons are aligned - but lots of un-happy campers.

There is hope!  Some random post somewhere suggests that kernel 2.6.16 and ALSA 1.0.11 is a working combination.    On my D820, this combo works like a champ.   I just downloaded  1.0.11 release of ALSA and did a configure/make/make install.  

Here is the configure command line I used (for the driver):

./configure  --with-cards=hda-intel --with-sequencer=yes --with-oss=yes --with-pcm-oss-plugins=yes

I built and installed:  alsa-driver-1.0.11, alsa-oss-1.0.11, alsa-lib-1.0.11, alsa-tools-1.0.11, alsa-utils-1.0.11.  You probably don't need all of this.  After a successful 'configure->make->make install' of all of this, I ran 'alsaconf' program.  Which did about the same as system-config-soundcard.  I had no sound after alsaconf - but a reboot later - sound worked!

Recently (the week of 6/5/2006), another FC/D820 guy pointed out a RH/Bug entry related to this:  https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=186190 .

A few other tweaks I did to sound/alsa:
  1. Turned off ESD & GNOME sounds.  I haven't figured out if GNOME sounds can be implemented via ALSA directly or only via ESD.   I did this because a few apps I use, still use OSS and seemed to want to exclusively grab sound resources.  This would block ESD/Gnome. 
  2. Finally figured out how to use ALSA dmix plugin correctly/better.   I updated my /etc/asound.conf file as shown below.   
  3. Updated some scripts and shortcuts to invoke OSS applications with aoss.   I think Firefox + flash seem to be one of the big culprits causing hangs in GNOME/ESD - using aoss to launch firefox has cleared this up.
Here is my /etc/asound.conf file

pcm.!default {
    type plug
    slave.pcm "dmixer"
pcm.dsp0 {
    type plug
    slave.pcm "dmixer"
pcm.dmixer {
    type dmix
    ipc_key 1024
    slave {
        pcm "hw:0,0"
        period_time 0
        period_size 1024
        buffer_size 8192
        rate 44100
     bindings {
        0 0
        1 1
ctl.mixer0 {
    type hw
    card 0

After doing all this stuff, most everything I use can play sounds & music and alsa mixes it just fine.

Recent (5/26/2006) happenings on Sound on my D820:   Alas, all my sound problems are not gone.   Occasionally, when plugging in external speakers or head phones, I loose sound entirely.   This is even after sound is working fine from the built in speakers.    As root, doing an /etc/rc.d/init.d/alsasound restart fixes this.  Sometimes I have had to issue this a couple of times before sound will get 'routed' to the speakers.   Love to hear from anyone if  there is a solution for this little problem.

CPU Scaling

So far, CPU scaling seems fine.   This laptop replaces a Latitude D600 (Pentium M based laptop), which had a small issue with scaling.  If you started up the D600 and boot into FC (it was FC4 not FC5) with the battery only, the cpu would be stuck in 600MHZ 'mode'.    Basically my old D600 did exactly what is described here and here.

I have not noticed this issue with my D820.  But, I have only had it running for about 2 weeks and seldom use it without it plugged in.


The Intel 3945ABG, is apparently too new to be 'in' FC5 by default.   However I had really good luck with ipw2200 drivers on my old D600 and was confident the ipw3945 would work as well.   It does!  No point in elaborating on what I did, because I simply followed the directions that came with the ipw3945 driver.  

Recently (6/10/2006), someone asked about versions of the ipw3945 packages I was using.   It was then I realized I forgot some info:
cd /root/ipw3945Stuff/ipw3945-1.0.0
sleep 1

Recently (8/4/2006)  I got the bug to try and get WPK-PSK working.   I got Verizon FIOS to my house and with the install,  VZ gives you (or me at least)  a pretty decent DLINK DI-624 4Port Wireless router.   Since I have 2 other Wireless AP/routers and have those set up with WEP and working well with my FC/D820, I decided I could experiment with this one using WPA.     I will spare the 3 hours of details and trial and error to I went through and just list out the working recipe.  

  1. Googled and read up on wifi-radar, and wpa_supplicant wireless security in general.
  2. Upgraded to ieee80211: 802.11 data/management/control stack, 1.1.14  (Not sure if this was needed, but I was having some trouble compiling ipw3945).
  3. Upgraded to ipw3945: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945 Network Connection driver for Linux, 1.1.0d  On the ipw3945 site, this was only lists as 1.1.0 - but dmesg output says 1.1.0d. 
  4. No I never did get the make file for ipw3945 to quite complaining about some symbol problem with ieee80211 and my kernel source tree.  I did what the make file suggested but that never made the message go away.   I was to lazy to rebuild my modules and symbols (frankly not really sure how to do this w/o a full kernel build/install - which I wasn't prepared to do.  Any hints on this would be appreciated.).  Finally I did a make IEEE80211_IGNORE_DUPLICATE=y and ignored the subsequent compiler warnings.    The resulting driver seems fine.
  5. I did use "GNOME UI for YUM"  to update my wpa_supplicant and dhcp packages to the latest versions (in my YUM):  wpa_supplicant-0.4.8-10.fc5,  dhclient-3.0.3-28,  dhcdbd-1.12-1.FC5.2.   I don't know if these updates were needed; but I did read some messages that suggested XYZ was fixed in blah a.b.c.  Besides it is an experiment - what could possibly go wrong. 
  6. Used wpa_passphrase to build a section for my /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file.   Very simple, just do what it says and read the man page a bit.
  7. Loaded ipw3945 (like mentioned above) and connected to one of my 'regular' AP (as configured via  system-config-network tool).
  8. Goofed off with WiFi-RADAR some.  Neat tool - interesting to see all the AP/networks around me.   Couldn't get it to bring up my if and connect to my router with WPA-PSK turned on.
  9. Used this command to start wpa_supplicant (as root in a gterm window):   wpa_supplicant -ieth1  -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf   -D wext  It took me a couple of tries to get this right, but eventually the console output read:  
Trying to associate with <hex digit mac addr> (SSID='xxxxx' freq=0 MHz)
Associated with <mac addr>
WPA: Key negotiation completed with <mac addr> [PTK=TKIP GTK=TKIP]
CTRL-EVENT-CONNECTED - Connection to <mac addr> completed (auth)

  1. Great connected!   But no networky/internet.    ifconfig says there is no IP!
  2. Open up another root/gterm and just typed in 'dhclient' - boom got an IP and off I went. 
I will probably script up the relevant steps like I did above.    My /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf looks like this:


        scan_ssid=0   #read in some random post that for ipw wifi cards this was needed.  I can't say one way or another.
        #psk="the phrase I type in to wpa_passphrase"   #which matches the phrase I added as my PSK to my router.
        psk=the magic hex string it creates


Recently (the week of 6/5/2006), another FC5/D820 guy contacted me about:  jerkey DVD playback and DMA on the DVD drive.     Long story short, it looks like there are some problems related to DMA on IDE/ATAPI devices that installed on machines with SATA.     Here is what we found out:


I got curious enough to try to ID the modem.  I knew it was a WinModem of some sort.  So go to Linuxant and grab their list modem tool from here.   Give it a run and see what you get.   Hope you have better luck than I.  The listmodems.sh I downloaded had some syntax error.   A hack or 2 later, no sytax error, but no worky either - so if you figure out anything about this modem - feel free to clue me in.  5/30/2006 - I  recently got an email from another  D820 user running  Debian/Linux, he appears to have the  modem working.  Check out  his D820  install page here.


On  about 6/12/2006, another FC5/D820 guy emailed me about the 'special' keys on the keyboard.   These would be the vol up, vol down, mute buttons to the left of power on button.   Xev 'sees' this keys and reports on their codes and such.  I had planned on finding a way in metacity, Xorg, or the like - to plumb in these codes to call a script where I put whatever.    But then I found 'gnome-keybinding-properties', in the gnome menu 'System.->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts'.    I havent' messed around with this widget too much, other than I found that it has a list of predefined actions (such as "Volume Up" and "Mute"), and shortcut key that action is bound to.   Find mute, hi-light the record, and press the special mute button, the value for the shortcut should change (for me, it is 0xa0).    Once I existed gnome-keybinding-properties, pressing the mute button, toggled on and off sound muting.    Simple!    I repeated this for 'Volume up' and 'Volume down', works exactly how I would expect.    I don't think this will work for KDE or other WM/DM users - but it works great for gnome/metacity.

I haven't tinkered around with the Fn+blue keys too much.   The brightness up/down seem to work fine.  So too does the brightness-auto.    None of these 3 combinations generated any events in XEV.    So, I guess this  key combo is 'burned' into the hardware.   I tried the Fn+standby - and my D820 seemed to go into standby mode.   I hit the power button, and the screensaver's password box came up (I gave my password, and was back in FC5 were I left off).     So this seems to work too.   But when I repeated this processes, the power button wouldn't revive my D820.    I had to hold the power button on for like 10 seconds, before my D820 did a total shutdown.   At this point, I could start from scratch.    So be careful using this key combo - it isn't a huge problem for me - since I seldom use standby/hibernate on laptops.

Links O' Interest

Big YUM  Update

On a desktop, I did a clean install of FC6 on a desktop.   While messing with that, I flipped on  AIGLX and compiz/desktop-effects -- neat eye candy!    Unfortunately my desktop has an ATI card which has poor support for AIGLX in the proprietary driver - besides the ATI drivers are tricky to install.    Be that as it may, I want desktop-effects on my D820!   Well,  I found this link and that one and decided to give it a try.   One of the first steps was to 'yum update'.   Hmm, that means new kernel, X, and ALSA, to name a few things.  Doing this upgrade will probably break, my ipw3945, my existing NVIDIA driver, and maybe  ALSA (which is still a bit flaky).  But those desktop effects sure are pretty....  I bit the bullet, and did it.  Yum updated about 505MB of stuff -- I rebooted.

Yep it broke IPW3945 and my nvidia driver;  but I had the fore thought to get the latest nvidia driver 1.0.9629 before I did the 'yum update',  and I still had sources for 1.1.2 IPW3945.  Here is how I recovered:
  1. When GDM failed to start, I switched to VT1 and just ran the nvida '.run' script.   Followed my nose and answered the questions carefully.  Since I had no network - I let it build its own kernel module.  Once it was done, I killed gdm and it restarted right in to X/GDM.  
  2. I tried to recompile 1.1.2 ipw3945,  it complained about an argument mis-match with something in IEEE.   
  3. Dug up a long Ethernet cable and went about googling for why ipw3945 doesn't compile.    Not as much luck as I would hope.
  4. Figuring no harm could be done, I got the latest IEEE  (ieee80211-1.2.15) and compiled and installed that.   I basically let the installer for ieee do what it wanted.
  5. After the ieee80211-1.2.15 upgrade, I got the duplicate symbols issue with IEEE80211.   I had seen them before, and don't know what causes this and I am too lazy to figure it out;.  But make IEEE80211_IGNORE_DUPLICATE=y  seems to work fine.  I didn't do a make install since I have a few scripts that use the supplied load/unload scripts and the load/unload scripts seem to work in place.
  6. Ran the load script and my wireless interface came up.   

All told, this took about 1 hour to do.   Afterwards I was on the latest FC5 kernel, latest NVIDIA proprietary driver, latest IPW3945 and IEEE80211 drivers.   ALSA seemed fine -- it was upgraded to 1.0.11-4.rc2; so far I haven't experience lost sound problem (described above).  On the downside, I haven't achieved my goal of getting AIGLX and/or compiz/desktop-effects working (yet).