Installing Red Hat 9 on a Dell Inspiron 5150

Basic Red Hat install

The base Red Hat install (from CD, after booting from the CD) was quite painless, as usual. I used text mode install, out of habit.

The X server setup within the installer worked fine, once I told the setup program that the screen was a Dell 1400x1050 laptop display (or something like that) and actually told it to use 1400x1050 (for some reason it wanted to default to 1024x768). It didn't detect the DPI correctly, and since I'm picky about that, I added "-dpi 116" to the X server arguments in /etc/X11/gdm/gdm.conf (in the [server-Standard] section -- I also like to add "-nolisten tcp" for an extra layer of security) and changed the DPI to 116 (for Xft) in Preferences | Font.

There were a few problems, though.

Network card

The kernel doesn't ship with a driver for the Broadcom 4401. There seem to be two drivers floating around: one written by somebody at Broadcom, and a second (correctly designed, they say) that's going to be incorporated into the kernel. I used the former because it was easier to install.

I built and installed the Broadcom driver (from their driver download page) using the makefile provided (make and make install, if I recall), added alias eth0 bcm4400 to /etc/modules.conf, rebooted, and Red Hat's hardware detection took care of the rest during the next bootup.

Power management

To be figured out and written. Discussion of problems on similar laptops:

Update: With Fedora Core 2, I have a working battery meter, but not suspend and resume. With Fedora Core 1 I hade the same, after turning ACPI on.

Update: The default CPU speed is half speed, and you must use cpuspeed if you ever want it to increase. On Fedora Core 2, I added the following to /etc/cpuspeed.conf:

OPTS="-i 2 -t /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/*/temperature 75"

(Note that the -i 2 is to work around a bug.

Update: Using two pages (one, two) on the Dell D600 I was hoping to get suspend/resume working. The kernel alone, plus rmmod of the usb drivers, wasn't sufficient, but I may investigate more.


See also how I set up sendmail on this machine.

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(Back to Linux, David Baron)