Zeth Green has provided instructions for accessing the BHAM Campus wireless network, for Ubuntu linux users, here http://zeth.net/Uobwlan
or here if that doesn't work: http://126.96.36.199:7070/Uobwlan
My desktop PC had lagged behind the laptop, and was still running FC6, so I decided to install F9, though usually I don't like to use a distribution that is so new. I did not wish to try F8 because the problems caused by Pulse Audio made that a nightmare on my laptop (see below).
F9 installed very easily from a DVD except for my typing the wrong DNS server address, and foolishly clicking on the optin to install some items over the internet. So everything froze when it tried to use the connection and got no response. I think there should be a button giving the option to abort the use of the internet or to change the settings, if it tries two or three repositories and fails to connect. That would have saved me the hassle of having to start from scratch again. (Including the very tiresome and slow process of selecting among the options available on the DVD. -- Partly made worse by the fact that many of the rpms are simply described by the name of the utility they provide, saying nothing about their functions -- eg. Tomcat, Smolt, ... so, in order to decide, you have to look them up on the internet using another machine.)
Apart from that I think everything installed more smoothly than using F8 (e.g. I did not have to add the "acpi=off" boot parameter to stop the installation freezing).
Added 1 Aug 2008:There's a very useful collection of tips and links relating to Fedora 9, by Gregory R. Kriehn here
Heed especially his advice on repositories:
His own Fedora 9 repository is here:
Nasty interaction between Firefox3 and Network Manager
(Added 25 Jun 2008)
I had recently started using Firefox 3. After switching to Fedora 9, a very nasty thing happened. I often use windows and tabs too keep hold my working memory (papers partly read, things still to be read, etc.). Normally I hibernate (using SWSUSP 2) and resume instead of shutting down and rebooting, so Firefox keeps its state. However if doing experiments, e.g. with a new graphic driver I have to kill X11 and that means killing Firefox. But the wonderful ability to restore all its windows and tabs meant that was not a problem. It worked well while I was running FC 6, and works with Fedora 8 on my laptop.
But after I converted my desktop to Fedora 9, Firefox3 always restarted in offline mode. I had to go to the 'File' menu to set it online, and then laboriously click on the 'reload' button on every tab. I did find a very nasty workaround: instead of starting Firefox3, just start Firefox2 (which I still have available). Then kill it and start Firefox3. That opened all the windows, but was not a satisfactory procedure. So I used bugzilla to report a bug in Firefox, and learnt that lots of people were suffering from this, and there were various theories about what was going on. Eventually I found a page explaining that it was due to Firefox3 interrogating Network Manager (if running) to determine whether the system was online or not, and if, as in my case, the network connection was static, Network Manager gave wrong information, since I was not using it. So I disabled Network Manager and since then Firefox3 always starts up properly. So beware if you run F9 and don't use Network Manager: it will run anyway by default and may screw some things up.For further information see the buzilla page
Pulse Audio problems again
Unfortunately, as with F8 on my laptop, I found I could not get sound to work at all (using an old but adequate Soundblaster card). There seemed to be permissions problem associated with Pulse Audio.
Having struggled once in vain, I decided not to trawl through web pages with suggestions that did not work, and went straight to the final solution that had worked in F8, namely
Reinstalling mplayer after removing pulseaudio
- Fetch 'synaptic' for F9 (using 'yum install synaptic').
- Run synaptic and ask it to identify all packages containing 'pulse'.
- Mark them for removal.
- Apply, and say yes to removal of things that depend on pulseadio (including, alarmingly, mplayer, which I had already installed, but gave no sound).
NB: I later found that I could use the 'yumex' program instead of synaptic.
After removing pulseadio packages and rebooting, I re-installed mplayer (and its gui and skins).
I was alarmed to find that that required one pulseaudio package to be installed,pulseaudio-libs-0.9.10-1.fc9.i386but I typed 'y' and the installation went ahead.
This time, after rebooting, sound worked for everything except skype, which I can now run only as root.
Other things that work include BBC iplayer, flash videos with sound, realplay and mplayer.
For mplayer I found a useful tip: start mplayer, then right click. Select Preferences in the menu, then click on Audio. It lists available sound drivers.
Click on 'Configure driver'. You'll get options for Device, Mixer and Mixer Channel. I ended up with 'default driver' for the first two and 'pcm' for the third, without understanding anything about what I was doing. But that works fine on the videos I have tried so far.
I have found that there are several web sites complaining about problems with pulseaudio, and in particular skype users are bitter.
The fedora installation process should provide the option to use pulseaudio or not, with a warning that it does not work with skype and can cause problems for other packages requiring sound. Having the same serious problem in two releases (F8 and F9) is inexcusable.
Nvidia driver for F9
My desktop uses an NVidia VGA graphic card (GeForce 6200). I normally download the latest driver from the nvidia web site and run the script to compile and install a module. However, unusually, this failed on Fedora 9, presumably because I had the wrong version of gcc or some other library. (I assume nvidia will fix that). However I then discovered that there is an nvidia package, which I fetched using 'yum install kmod-nvidia'.
F9 Gripes (nothing's perfect)I was amazed to find that 'xterm' is not included in the F9 rpms. However I was able to fetch one (xterm-235-1.fc9.i386). I do most of my editing, reading mail, programming in xterm windows. (The vt100/xterm emulation of gnome-terminal is seriously buggy, making it unusable for the purpose. 'rxvt' is also inadequate as a substitute, though useful for saving memory.)Title bar puzzle in F9
I don't like running gnome or kde (the ctwm window manager is very small, robust, tailorable, and does exactly what I want). So I was annoyed when editing /etc/inittab to specify "id:3:initdefault:" failed to make F9 boot up in console mode.
For some reason that worked after I fetched the 'hensler' swsusp2 kernels(I much prefer the 'tuxonice' hibernate to the default in linux: e.g. with SWSUP2 you get a simple graphical indication of what is happening, and I think it is faster. Also it seems to be better at restoring wireless connections and other things after resume than the default pm-hibernate.)Missing pdftk
I could not get pdftk to compile on F9. However, it turns out that there's an rpm for Fedora 9, provided by Gregory R. Kriehn:http://optics.csufresno.edu/~kriehn/fedora/fedora_files/f9/howto/pdftk.html
http://optics.csufresno.edu/fedora/9/i386/pdftk-1.41-5.fc9.i386.rpmFor some reason, in Fedora 9 title bars of windows when running the ctwm or twm window manager, were much deeper than previously, so they waste a lot of space. The same was true for the entries in the iconmanager.Both kudzu and hwconf not in F9
On a hunch I altered the file /etc/sysconfig/i18n to contain the following, which I had in an earlier version of linux:LANG="en_GB" SUPPORTED="en_GB.UTF-8:en_GB:en:en_US.UTF-8:en_US:en" SYSFONT="lat0-sun16" SYSFONTACM="iso01"instead of the default contents inserted by the F9 installer:LANG="en_US.UTF-8" SYSFONT="latarcyrheb-sun16"I don't really know why that fixed the problem.
Note added 25 Jun 2008: tgif problem
Even more puzzling: I was having font troubles with tgifFatal Error in OpenFont(): Cannot open the RulerFont '-*-courier-medium-r-normal-*-10-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-1'. Tgif aborted.despite having all the required fonts installed.
In desperation I tried reinstating the i18n default, in case the tgif problem had something to do with that.
To my surprise the titlebar problem did not recur with the restored i18n file, but it did not fix the tgif font problem. It must be an X11 problem not a tgif problem, because I can log in to this machine from my laptop running Fedora 8 and run tgif OK. But if I log in to the laptop from the Fedora 9 machine and run tgif I get the same error message.
A workaround to fix tgif(4 Jul 2008)
I fetched the sources for tgif-QPL-4.1.45 (available here), and changed one line in the file font.c. Namely I replacedruler_font_size = 10;withruler_font_size = 11;and then followed the standard instructions ('xmkmf; make').
The resulting executable works, and is available here as a gzipped binary file: tgif.gz
Since doing that I have written to Bill Cheng, the author of tgif, who pointed out that I could, instead, have put this in my .Xdefaults file:Tgif.RulerFontSize: 11
There must be a new mechanism for detecting changed hardware: kudzu is no longer available, and the file /etc/sysconfig/hwconf no longer exists. (Apparently HAL has made kudzu redundant.)
A partial replacement is in the two commands 'lspci' and 'dmidecode' (the latter requires root privilege).
UPDATE 27 May 2008: Suspend/Resume problems
(using swsusp2/tuxonice on Fedora 8)Using the latest 188.8.131.52-92_1.cubbi_tuxonice.fc8 kernel (with SWSUSP2 included) I found that hibernate/resume works once, but after that the resume does not complete properly and there are error messages, apparently relating to the ipw2200 device. I had found the same problem with 184.108.40.206-85, so I abandoned using that.
Going back to the earlier kernel 220.127.116.11-92_1.cubbi_tuxonice.fc8 avoids the problem, but I have also found that doing this seems to fix the problem:Put this line (or uncomment it): ProcSetting full_pageset2 1 in the file /etc/hibernate/suspend2.confI had previously had to use this fix in an earlier version, namely 2.6.18-1.2869_1.fc6.cubbi_suspend2.
I don't know what this is about. Can someone enlighten me?
UPDATE 11 May 2008: found wlassistant on F8Discovered that Fedora 8 on my laptop included a new (to me) utility 'wlassistant', which has proved very useful for temporary wireless connections while travelling. For my regular WPA access I prefer to use scripts as described here.
Although 'wlassistant' is a kde tool it does not require kde to be running. I use 'ctwm' as my window manager and ran 'wlassistant' (as root') in an xterm window.
UPDATE 15 Apr 2008: Fedora 8 (F8) on my Dell D610I'll add more details later, but here's the summary
- Installation fiddle
Basic installation from DVD worked well -- except for the design defect that makes it necessary to deal with the problem described clearly by 'nerdgirl' in http://www.nerdgirl.dk/linux/fc8/installation.phpI quote, with slight modifications:
When running the installation in graphical mode, the installer may hang at sbin/loader (this is a known bug).
To fix this add "acpi=off" with the grub boot loader, like this:
Insert the installation DVD and start the computer.
When the first menu appears, press [tab] and add "acpi=off" at the end of the command prompt. It should look something like this:vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img acpi=off
If the above is a known bug, why don't they fix it? That's exactly the sort of thing that can turn first timers off linux.
After that, installation is just a matter of answering a lot of questions. If you have a good internet connection it may be best to go for a minimal install then later use 'synaptic' to upgrade your system. (See below).
Once your system is installed, as superuser you will need to edit /boot/grub/grub.conf to remove the 'acpi=off' from the boot parameters, as otherwise various things like cpu-throttling will not work (I think).
- Poor descriptions in installation menus As usual with linux (and other things) if you do a custom install (which I did) many of the things offered are NOT described well in the menus; so it is too easy to add things you don't need or leave out things you do need but do not recognise from the terribly short explanations on the install screen. If you have lots of spare space on your hard drive (unlike me) you can just install everything, then later use 'synaptic' to remove things you don't need.
- A serious problem with (pulse) audio after upgrading to F8
After installation, everything seemed to work OK, including gmplayer, realplayer (with BBC News in Firefox), and flash, etc.
However, I then decided to let it do its default upgrade over the internet
Unfortunately, after Fedora 8 upgrades had finished I found that the sound system had been screwed up. Apparently a lot of stuff concerned with 'PulseAudio' had been added, and gmplayer had stopped working, along with everything else to do with sound, except system-config-soundcard which includes a test that worked fine, showing that the hardware had been recognised OK.
I then wasted many hours chasing up suggestions found on the internet, because many other people had also had their sound screwed up after upgrading, with problems about not being able to access the audio device, not being able to run mplayer, xine, alsamixer, etc.
Like several others I came to the conclusion that this was due to premature release of pulseaudio with bugs, or at least inadequate instructions/warnings on how to make things work with pulseaudio.
Eventually, after failing with that approach, like some others reporting this problem on the internet, I used 'synaptic' to remove everything to do with pulseaudio and mplayer then just reinstalled mplayer. Still no luck.
Other people suggested that the problem might be selinux, so I used system-config-selinux to turn selinux off completely. That did not help.
I discovered that the problem was very simple (which did not make it any less annoying): Something in the upgrade after installing Fedora 8 had changed permissions on the sound devices so that ordinary users could not access them, namely these:/dev/audio* /dev/snd/*So I used 'chmod go+rw' to change the permissions on all those devices and then everything worked again. I could have saved myself several hours.
I wonder who changed the system so that so many people would be clobbered after upgrading, and why?
I then remembered that some of the messages I had received when sound was failing referred to privileges and a group connected with audio. I tried adding myself to the group (why should that be necessary?) but it did not solve the problem.
There really should be better diagnostics to help naive users deal with such problems without wasting many hours.ADDED 16 Apr 2008
Found this in https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=299991Comment #8 From Douglas Campbell on 2008-03-22 17:04 EST Same problem, but with Intel 82801G on x86-64 (HP dv9033cl laptop). My current kernels for which problem occurs are 18.104.22.168-12.fc8 and 22.214.171.124-2.fc8xen. Sound works properly under the 126.96.36.199-42.fc8 kernel. Problem appears therefore to be kernel related.
- Added 16 Apr 2008: Problems on Fedora 8 with record, play and aumix in F8After I got sound coming out as explained above, I later tried recording from a microphone and using skype and could not get sound to go in! I ran 'audacity' for testing, and eventually after a lot of messing about found that under 'edit' it has a 'preferences' button that gives options for sound devices. (A shortcut is CTRL-P). There were five options for sound input and for some reason it was on option 3. However experimenting I found that option 1 (OSS) option 2 (ALSA) both worked but not the remaining options. After I selected option 2 and exited audacity, I could get skype to work, and also 'record' and 'arecord'. See below.
There are three programs for sound I have been using for some time which stopped working on Fedora 8 on my laptop.
recordI much prefer 'record' (by Gerd Knorr) to 'arecord' as it shows recording levels in an xterm window and makes it easy to start and stop recording. This was not available in F 8, so I copied over an old (2003) version of record, which at first complained about requiring /dev/dsp and /dev/mixer, neither of which existed on my machine (although both were present in Fedora 7).play
The solution was to define an aliasalias record 'record -d /dev/dsp3 -m /dev/mixer3'That works fine now.This does not have similar advantages over aplay, but in any case I got it working by means of an aliasUsing aumixalias play 'play -d /dev/dsp3'I have the fedora 8 version for this. It is a handy tool which can be run in an xterm window and allows keyboard control of playing volume and recording level.
However, it requires access to /dev/dsp and /dev/mixer, and as explained above neither existed after the upgrade to F 8. Also I could not find a combination of flags that would make it use /dev/dsp3 and /dev/mixer3 (Perhaps I did not understand the 'man' file.)
So in desperation I just made /dev/dsp and /dev/mixer symbolic links to dsp3 and mixer3. And now aumix works.
(I guess I no longer need the aliases for 'play' and 'record'!)
- The SWSUSP2 Kernels Provided by Matthias Hensler
After installing the appropriate 'repo' file
This provides faster hibernate and resume:188.8.131.52-64_1.cubbi_tuxonice.fc8 #1 SMP Thu Apr 3 11:15:44 CEST 2008
- I checked that NetworkManager works as indicated by Nerdgirl.dk, but since I don't use gnome or kde, but ctwm, which doesn't support the NetworkManager applet, I stuck with my scripts for running wpa_supplicant which I find more convenient than a graphical interface anyway. Fedora 8 still does not include wpa_gui, alas, but it is still available here.
- And now we have the 'synaptic' package manager on FedoraI have always thought the Redhat/Fedora upgrade manager 'pup' totally dreadful, since it makes it very hard to checkout information about available upgrades and to select what you want.
In contrast, Debian/Ubuntu users have had 'synaptic' which is far superior. So I was delighted to discover (I forget how) that synaptic has been converted for use on non-Debian systems that use rpm, and it made my life very much easier. For people who have not used it, it is worth exploring all the buttons including using right click and mark/unmark on selected items. It doesn't do anything until you click on 'Apply'.
- Booting to text console, not graphics
As usual I edited /etc/inittab to changeid:5:initdefault:toid:3:initdefault:so that I get text console on startup, not the graphical login. I use 'startx' after logging in to start the X window system controlled by this script ~/.xinitrc which specifies window manager menu options and programs to be launched at startup, e.g. thunderbird, xterm windows, clocks, etc.
The CTWM window manager works in F8 as it always has (very fast, very light on memory, very tailorable, and very robust), though for some reason they don't include it in the distribution nor on the fedora repositories.
Using ctwm I don't have to use gnome or kde or even fvwm to get all the functionality I want, since I do a lot of things with scripts or commands invoked from ctwm menus or the command line or keyboard instructions, rather than buttons on the screen that other people seem to like. (E.g. I set F1, when mouse is in the root window, to give me a new xterm window, and F2 to give me one with a smaller font taking up less space.) There is more on ctwm below.
Summary: Fedora 8 seems to be a great operating system
UPDATE 21 Dec 2007: Tips on burning DVDs (use growisofs)There are various tools for burning CDs on Linux including cdrecord, xcdroast and others. Burning a DVD is another matter.
Note Added 21 Dec 2007I have now found that the program 'k3b' makes it very easy.I previously wrote (7 Aug 2007):
I have been using xcdroast to burn CDs but found that in order to use it for burning a DVD I would need to fetch a new version of cdrecord which includes the utility cdrecord.prodvd. Using k3b did not require that: http://www.k3b.org/
I had much grief trying to do it until I discovered that this command could be used to burn an isofile called 'file.iso' onto a DVD+R:growisofs -use-the-force-luke=dao -dvd-compat -speed=4 -Z /dev/dvd=file.isoAlternatively, put that in a shell script replacing 'file.iso' with '$1'.
The source of my information was this very helpful web site:
UPDATE 1 Aug 2007: installing Fedora 7 (F7) on the Dell Latitude D610 (long)Before installing Fedora 7 it is a good idea to look ato the release notesHOW I INSTALLED F7
o the installation guide.
o The F7 FAQ list.
Additional documentation can be found at
- Installing F7 on the D610
- Firmware for ipw2200 wireless card installed automatically in F7
- Improved radeon graphic driver in X.org in F7
- Fixing problem booting with grub (my mistake)
- NOTE FOR FEDORA DEVELOPERS:
- Serious problem with freshrpms for F7 users
- Installing swsusp2 in F7
- Suspend to disk 'hibernate' works in F7 but not suspend to RAM (pm-suspend)
- Battery life using F7
- New default date format for 'ls' command in F7
- Problem with java on F7
- Operating-system Neutral Items (realplayer, wpa, vpn, email)Installing F7 while leaving /home and /usr/local untouched
I had previously installed FC5 about a year ago using the FC5 kernel with software suspend 2 prepared by Matthias Hensler, and was fairly happy with that configuration, except that occasionally I had problems with wireless connections.
Instead of attempting either an upgrade, or a full installation, I decided to do a pseudo upgrade by keeping my /home partition, which included /usr/local intact and installing everything in the old root partition, after making backup tar files of several key directories, especially /etc.
Installing F7 on the D610I downloaded the DVD Iso Image for Fedora 7, and the live rescue CD, from http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Distribution/Download and burnt a DVD and CD respectively. Installation was in some ways easier than any other system I had tried.
I had five partitions on the 60GB drive,
So I allowed the Fedora installer to take over the the boot and root partitions leaving everything else untouched. I could later then remount the other partitions, once F7 was running.
- a 6GB NTFS partition for Microsoft XP which I hardly ever use, apart from testing hardware and getting pictures off a NEC E540 phone.
(If anyone knows how to do this using linux please tell me: it is not a standard USB drive interface.)
- a 2GB swap partition,
- a small (about 140 MB) linux ext3 /boot partition (using grub),
- a 8.5 GB linux ext3 root (/) partition,
- and a 40 GB ext3 partition used for /home and also /usr/local and a few other things.
I.e. I mount /home/usrlocal as /usr/local, using this entry in /etc/fstab/home/usrlocal /usr/local none rw,bind 0 0This enables the /usr/local directory and the /home directory to share a large partition while appearing to be separate.Another option would have been to tell the installer not to touch the /boot partition, and to install everything in the root partition.
After installation, I could then have copied the new kernels and grub.conf entries from the new /boot to the temporarily mounted old /boot then removed the new /boot or renamed it as /fc7boot temporarily, before deletion. I could then create a new mount pointmkdir /bootwith an entry in /etc/fstab to mount the separate /boot partition:LABEL=/boot1 /boot ext3 defaults 1 2I would still have had to tell grub to use the old boot partition instead of the root partition. See note to Fedora developers, below.
I chose to install a basic workstation system to be upgraded later across the internet (in Ubuntu fashion), instead of choosing everything I needed from the DVD. It all worked very well, especially as getting wireless working was so easy, as explained below.
Firmware for ipw2200 wireless card installed automatically in F7One of the earliest pleasant surprises was finding that the latest firmware for my Intel IPW2200 wireless card was automatically installed with F7, whereas with earlier versions after every installation I had to use a cable connection until I had manually fetched the firmware and set up the wireless card. (I still had to copy over saved settings from the old /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1 file and the WEP key stored in etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/keys-eth1.
This time, although I started off using an ethernet cable connected to the router I quickly disconnected it and continued the installation using wireless.
(I eventually changed to using WPA2 for my wireless connection at home late in 2007).
Improved radeon graphic driver in X.org in F7Another surprise was that I did not have to bother getting the graphics driver from ATI for my 1400x1050 display (using ATI Technologies Inc M22 [Radeon Mobility M300] graphic card). The 'radeon' driver installed by F7 and referenced in the default /etc/X11/xorg.conf works very well, even allowing the 3-D glxgears demo to run, which was not possible with the previous radeon driver provided by X.org. However I had to download and install RPMs for openmotif and openmotif-devel because these are no longer provided with Fedora, and Lesstif still has some bugs.
Fixing problem booting with grub (my mistake)There was a small (or big, depending on your viewpoint?) blip because during installation I somehow chose the wrong option regarding booting, so that after installation grub had not been properly installed on /boot and the machine would not boot.The Fedora installer should not have allowed me to do that without any warnings.So I booted up the F7 rescue CD, and gave grub commands to set up booting from the /boot partition, using suggestions helpfully provided here:
(See note for Fedora developers, below.)http://www.sorgonet.com/linux/grubrestore/I hand-edited the /boot/grub/grub.conf file (linked to menu.lst) so that it gave me the options of booting either F7 or XP. I had previously saved the contents of /boot before the upgrade, just as I had saved the contents of /etc and various other things, so it was easy to copy over some of the text from the old grub.conf.
More information on fixing booting is available here
NOTE FOR FEDORA DEVELOPERS:The on-screen installation instructions about booting options should be made much clearer for people who really don't know anything about boot loaders, MBR, grub, etc.
The instructions could separate different cases that are likely to arise, described at a high level (e.g. which partitions are used for which operating systems, etc.) and provide instructions to select one of the cases, and perhaps fill in a few options, such as whether the new OS should be made the default boot option in grub.conf or not.
E.g. one of the important cases that should be handled explicitly would support people who not only have a windows installation but also want to run more than one linux installation (e.g. Fedora and Ubuntu, for testing). This would specify use of a separate /boot partition that should be USED for the new installation but NOT completely overwritten. I.e. the new kernel files should be installed there along with the old ones (which might be used for another linux installation, using a different root partition) and instead of the grub.conf file being totally replaced, the installer should merely insert (at the top, as the new default) an entry for the newly installed kernel. That's what kernel upgrade RPMs do anyway, so the code for editing grub.conf must already exist.
Of course, if there is an existing entry for a windows partition that would also be left untouched.
Specifying an option at that level of functionality like that would be much better than asking people what they want to do about MBR, grub, etc. I suspect it would prevent a lot of grief (expressed in many online pleas for help with booting problems after a new linux installation which is why there are web sites like http://blog.abmas.biz/2007/05/06/howto-reinstall-the-grub-boot-loader/ ).
It would be particularly useful to ask whether you want the old grub.conf to be used with a new entry for the latest installation.
For most people the instructions here in the Fedora installation guide will not tell them what to do as it presupposes far too much low-level technical knowledge: http://docs.fedoraproject.org/install-guide/f7/en_US/sn-bootloader-advanced.html
Serious problem with freshrpms for F7 usersAnother, more serious, blip came a few hours later. I had added the livna repository as recommended for installing mplayer using yum:yum install mplayer mplayer-gui mplayer-fonts mplayer-skinsThat worked fine. However, at a later stage gmplayer stopped working and further attempts to upgrade or install software by using 'yum' or 'pup' kept generating errors, including"Error: Missing Dependency: libdts.so.0 is needed by package mplayer"I soon discovered that there were lots of users reporting this problem. Eventually I read that the cause was an inconsistency between the F7 packages provided by freshrpms and by the livna respository. The freshrpms site had provided an upgrade for the lib libdca which both overrode the one previously installed from livna and moreover broke many things because it did not include the required libdts.so.0 library. So
After that everything worked again, including yum and pup. However I fear that some automatic upgrade may reinstall the buggy libdca from freshrpms. I must find a way to prevent that. (I have to watch carefully what the automatic update program 'pup' offers for update. and always say no to libdca from freshrpms).
- I used 'rpm -e' to remove mplayer, mplayer-gui, mplayer-fonts and mplayer-skins
- then used 'rpm -e' to remove the newer version of libdca
- fetched from the livna site this package, and installed it:libdca-0.0.2-3.lvn7.i386.rpm
- Then used yum to reinstall the four mplayer packages.
The people responsible for the freshrpms web site should remove their version of libdca: it causes many problems.NOTE (9 Aug 2007):
I have found an inconclusive discussion of some of the incompatibilities here:
That web page refers to a project to merge the different RedHat/Fedora 'third-party' respositories:
Installing swsusp2 in F7I installed the kernels with Software Suspend 2 available from Matthias Hensler's web site by following his instructions. To make yum work follow instructions in this file http://mhensler.de/swsusp/repository_en.php
In particular you can copy this file http://mhensler.de/swsusp/download/suspend2.repo edit out the 'developers' section at the end (unless you want to test development versions) then install the file in/etc/yum.repos.d/You can then doyum install kernel-suspend2 kernel-suspend2-devel(Sometimes installing a package that has to be compiled requires the kernel '-devel' extension to have been installed even though it is not needed for running the kernel.)
Suspend to disk 'hibernate' works in F7 but not suspend to RAM (pm-suspend)Suspend to disk (hibernate and presumably also pm-hibernate, which I have not tried) works fine. (I had to put an entry in /etc/sudoers to make it possible to run hibernate without becoming superuser.)
When I tried 'suspend to RAM' (pm-suspend), the machine would not resume and I had to reboot. There is probably a fix that involves changing a configuration file somewhere. However that is of less importance for me than suspend to disk, which works very well.One of several web sites suggesting things to try to get suspend to RAM to work is here http://people.freedesktop.org/~hughsient/quirk/quirk-suspend-debug.html
Unfortunately, it did not help me. With some of the suggested commands I managed to get pm-suspend to work once, but after it resumed, the next time I suspended to RAM it would not resume.
However since suspend to disk works I can shut down the machine at night, and then wake it up in the morning with all the previous windows open. My virtual desktop is an extension of my memory, with various partly completed tasks in different windows.
Battery life using F7With FC5 I had good battery life (with a second battery replacing the removable CD/DVD drive). For several years, one of my reasons for using the Hensler kernels with SWSUSP2 included was that in addition to suspend and resume being noticeably faster, I also found that batteries lasted longer without AC power.
After installing F7, I did my usual test: removing external power with both batteries fully charged and screen brightness set to the minimal level, and the wireless card turned off. I then left the machine doing nothing. The time was 14:33. At intervals I checked, and eventually found the battery warning light flashing at 20:41, with a total of 568 mAh left. So it can run for over six hours, without recharging, a record for this machine. That was using two-year old batteries. Of course, if I had been using the machine to do any work, the time would have been considerably shortened. Leaving the wireless connection running, and having more daemons running, could also add to battery consumption.
On previous tests I got under 6 hours, usually closer to 5.5 hours.
During the test I was running the X window system with the ctwm window manager, which is small and fast (I don't like either gnome or KDE, though I use some of their utilities). I had three xterm windows open, one of them running the poplog editor Ved, but not doing anything.
New default date format for 'ls' command in F7I found I could no longer compare output of ls -lt in xterm windows logged in to different machines because in F7 the default format for date and time has changed. OLD FORMATProblem with java on F7drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Dec 26 2006 cbq -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 177 Dec 3 2006 clock drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Nov 28 2006 console -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 512 Feb 26 16:32 crondNEW FORMAT (Fedora 7) (Also in more recent versions, e.g. Fedora 9)drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2007-07-31 17:35 cbq -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 178 2007-08-02 21:57 clock drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2007-06-25 17:57 console -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 512 2005-02-25 18:41 crondThere has apparently been much discussion of the change, e.g. here
It turns out that you can easily get the old format restored in F7 globally or temporarily by setting the environment variable LC_TIME E.g.for csh/tcsh shell: setenv LC_TIME POSIX for bash/sh shell: export LC_TIME=POSIX
Even after fetching the latest Java from Sun I could not get java to work. I noticed there were complaints about missing libstdc++.so.5
I found these installed/usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6.0.8 /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6But not the required version. So I looked at a machine running FC6, and found these two (the second is a link to the first):/usr/lib/libstdc++.so.5.0.7 /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.5I copied those across to the laptop, and after that Java worked, including the java applet test here:
If anyone needs those two files I have made them available in a tar file here libstdc++.so.5.tar.gz
To install, just untar that and move the file and link to /usr/lib.
You will have to restart browsers like firefox before they can use this.
[There is probably a more principled solution! I did not try 'yum install libstdc++.so.5']
For more information regarding Java on Fedora 7 seehttp://optics.csufresno.edu/~kriehn/fedora/fedora_files/f7/howto/java.html
[TO BE CONTINUED]
PRIOR TO FEDORA 7What follows is a collection of items mainly relevant to older systems (RedHat 9, Fedora Core 3, Fedora Core 5). Some of the items are OS independent and I have moved them higher up the file.
UPDATE 18 Jan 2007: problem with swsusp2 (using FC5) -- and a workaroundAfter I upgraded the kernel on my desktop PC to 2.6.18-1.2869_1.fc6.cubbi_suspend2 (a Fedora core kernel packaged with sofware suspend 2 available from Matthias Hensler's web site) the hibernate command stopped working. It complained about a wacky driver, and told me to read the dmesg file. But nothing made sense. Fortunately a colleague had read the answer somewhere, so I am posting it here:> Put this line into your /etc/hibernate/suspend2.conf > > ProcSetting full_pageset2 1 > > to prevent the "clearing" of pagesHere's some googlebait to help people searching for a solution:- Suspend was aborted (see dmesg). - Freezing processes failed. Wacky driver problems :( (see dmesg) Couldn't extract useful information from dmesg. Not logging here.
UPDATE 20 Aug 2006: Moving to FC 5Notes on upgrading to Fedora Core 5 (with Software Suspend) on my Dell Latitude D610
I installed FC5 (using the DVD iso) and had good results, though some additional work was required to restore my previous environment and get everything working, as described below.
- New install of FC 5, not upgrade
I had previously found that using the 'upgrade' option when installing linux produced unsatisfactory results, because the upgrade software is not sufficiently intelligent at deciding what exactly needs to be upgraded, especially after many extras have been installed. So I decided to do the following.Leave unchanged the hard drive partition /dev/sda6 on which I had installed the /home directory and also /usr/local --- though I backed them up as a precaution, and also the contents of /etc and /root.
Inform the installation process that it should ignore that partition and the XP partition on my hard drive, and install FC5 using only the root, boot, and swap partitions. It completely over-wrote those partitions. After the installation I remounted the saved /home and /usr/local partitions. It did not take long to restore the bulk of my previous environment.
This was more feasible on a laptop with a 60GB drive than on my previous laptops with much smaller hard drives.
After that I went through the following steps.
- Post-install automatic kernel update on FC 5
The kernel installed from the dvd was version 2.6.15-1.2054_FC5. After installation 'yum update' installed a newer kernel 2.6.17-1.2157_FC5. Later I needed kernel header files, and found they were not included. So I used yum to install the kernel-devel package, and then found an incompatibility: yum had foolishly got the latest version of kernel-devel instead of the version matching my current kernel. So I had to uninstall (rpm -e) the kernel-devel package, and explicitly fetch the rpm for kernel-devel-2.6.17-1.2157_FC5 myself and install it.
Almost everything worked after the installation. I was even surprised to find that 'suspend to ram' worked (invoked by 'pm-suspend'). But not for long. After I got wireless working, suspend to ram ('pm-suspend') stopped working. The resume process just froze. But software suspend works and does not use up battery power. Video was slow so I fetched and installed the ATI fglrx driver for my video card as described below. (No longer required for F7).
- Wireless driver for IPW2200 wireless card and wireless-tools
I found from warning messages printed by 'iwconfig' and 'iwlist' that the latest FC5 kernel has a driver for the Intel IPW2200 wireless card that was compiled against a later version of of the wireless-tools than that supplied with FC5, which indicates inadequate version management.
Fortunately google quickly led me to the solution. I fetched, compiled and installed the latest version (29-pre10 Beta) of wireless tools from http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_Tourrilhes/Linux/Tools.html
Simply untar the file, then, as root, type 'make' and 'make install'. By default it installs the tools (ifrename iwconfig iwevent iwgetid iwlist iwpriv iwspy) in /usr/local/sbin. To prevent clashes with the old versions I removed them from /usr/sbin and installed symbolic links to the versions in /usr/local/sbin. You may prefer to change the Makefile instead, to make it install in /usr/sbin. I prefer the symbolic links as a reminder that those files came via a non-standard route.
That change seemed to remove some problems attaching to wireless networks. The wireless card now works perfectly.
I've noticed that instead of wep keys going into this file/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1there is now a separate file keys-eth1 in the same directory, containing keys in this format:KEY=............I have also got wpa_supplicant working as described here for the University of Birmingham wireless network.
- Webcam problem in FC5: updated PWC driver (fixed in F7)
There is a version of the pwc driver (for Philips Web Cam and compatibles, e.g. several Logitech webcams) included with FC5, but it did not work with my logitech webcam. Google soon led me to the latest version of the driver on Luc Saillard's website from which I went to the 'snapshots' directory and downloaded pwc-v4l2-20060815-042701.tar.bz2 (now superseded by later snapshots!). I untarred the file, ran 'make' then 'make install' and everything worked. It works well with spcaview and setpwc, for example.
The installation had to be repeated when I upgraded the kernel to get swsusp2, as described below.make clean make make install
- Install ATI drivers for the video card (Not needed for F7)
My D610 has the Radeon Mobility M300 video card. After upgrading to FC5 I found that it was much slower at playing videos than it had been when I was using FC3. So I decided to fetch the ATI linux driver (which I had probably done previously and forgotten).
Select 'Drivers and Software', then choose the Linux option, then 'Notebooks with ATI Graphics' or 'Mobility Radeon' if available.
Then follow the 'New installer instructions' link (perhaps in a new tab or new browser window) for installation instructions: read them carefully, and note the Custom installation options.
Then go back to the drivers page and select this option:ATI Driver Installer Download 52.7 08/18/06 Version: 8.28.8That fetches a script that you can download then run. When you run it, it gives you the option to build and install a 'Custom Driver'. Choose the custom option, follow the 'custom driver' installation options, and select the X.org option rather than the XFree86 options. (Unless you still have XFree86.)
After installing the driver and rebooting, and fixing the xorg.conf file in /etc/X11 before starting X, I found things much improved. E.g. using mplayer to show videos worked much better. The 'glxgears' test also worked fine: use arrow keys to control it. Kill with 'Ctrl C' in the invoking command line window.
(My xorg.conf file as of 19 Aug 2006 is here. Do not use it without checking all the details: not everything may be appropriate for your machine.)
However using the ATI driver (fglrx) caused problems with SWSUSP2. See how that was fixed below. (Not needed in F7)
NOTE: the downloaded ATI driver installation file is worth saving as it needs to be re-run after any kernel upgrade. Users of Nvidia graphic cards can also get files from the Nvidia web site that install proprietary high speed drivers for those cards. Those also have to be reinstalled after any kernel upgrade.
- Software Suspend in FC5 Linux Kernel: Mostly fine, but a bit slow, and missing option before resume
Using FC5 I found that software suspend (suspend to disc), invoked by the command 'pm-hibernate' worked very well. I could reliably suspend and resume. However there were two problems.
- I was used to the speed of SWSUSP2, which I had been using with FC3, and the new SWSUSP was slower, though still bearable. The second problem was much more serious.
- Unfortunately the authors of SWSUSP decided that they should make the suspend process change grub.conf so that you get no option to boot anything else. This is presumably because booting any other version of linux could cause unpredictable corruption of your files.
However, it does not allow for the possibility that someone has another operating system that does not share any disc partitions with linux, e.g. windows. The removal of the boot option will stop such people suspending linux, starting windows, and then later resuming linux. (I have seen several messages on the web complaining about this.)
I hardly ever use XP, though occasionally if I want to check hardware or if I have some software package that works only on windows (e.g. the utility to download photographs from my NEC mobile phone!) I need XP, alas. It is very annoying not to be able suspend linux, run XP, then resume linux, so as to restore my linux state (e.g. open browser pages, open editor pages, etc. after). (I often go for months using only suspend and resume without rebooting linux -- not only to save time, but more importantly to save state: I suspend with browser pages open, editor files open etc. so that the suspended process is an extension of my own memory.)
I had not had that annoying restriction when I used SWSUSP2, so I reverted to that, as described in the next section. (I might have been able to solve the problem by editing or bypassing the 'pm-hibernate' script, but did not wish to waste time finding out how to do that.)
- Going back to SWSUSP2 solved two problems (using FC5)
For several years I have been very happily using SWSUSP2 available from Matthias Hensler's web site as described in my notes on using FC3 on a Dell D600. So I tried installing his latest kernel for FC5 and SWSUSP2, namely version 2.6.17-1.2174_1.rhfc5.cubbi_suspend2.
The new installation process using 'yum' as described on his web site worked very smoothly. I edited my /boot/grub/grub.conf file so as to specify the swap drive 'resume2=swap:/dev/sda3' like this (the kernel line is one long line in the file)title Fedora Core (2.6.17-1.2174_1.rhfc5.cubbi_suspend2) root (hd0,1) kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.17-1.2174_1.rhfc5.cubbi_suspend2 ro root=LABEL=/1 rhgb quiet vga=0x31B resume2=swap:/dev/sda3 initrd /initrd-2.6.17-1.2174_1.rhfc5.cubbi_suspend2.imgThe 'vga=0x31B' bit makes it boot up using the full resolution of the screen (1440x1050), which is very convenient when doing work in console mode.
The 'hibernate' command just did what I expected, namely shut everything down very quickly, and on rebooting gave me the option to resume linux or run XP. It worked significantly faster than 'pm-hibernate', though I have not done precise measurements.
After installing that kernel I had to reinstall the PWC driver for the new kernel, as described above, and also the ATI video driver, as described below. (Both will always need to be reinstalled after any further kernel upgrades: No longer required for F7).
Problem suspending with ATI driver fglrx [Not a problem in F7]
Everything worked fine until I decided that the graphic performance was too slow and installed the ATI driver as described above. The graphic driver worked very well, but the hibernate command stopped working. It would get as far as the 'atomic copy' output and then freeze, requiring power off and full reboot.
Problem suspending with ATI driver Solved
Fortunately others had reported this problem and I found the solution here (thanks google), namely to add the following line to /etc/hibernate/suspend2.conf:ProcSetting extra_pages_allowance 8000I have no idea what's going on but offer my thanks to Niel Lambrechts. His message was dated 2006-08-12, i.e. only 7 days ago.
All of this helps to illustrate yet again the wonderful amount of mutual support available for open source systems enabling problems with new software to be fixed very quickly, and the fixes found easily by those who need them, with the help of google! (Even though the ATI software causing the problem was proprietary.)
SWSUSP2/hibernate bonus: '-r' flag
Using the 'hibernate' command of SWSUSP2 instead of 'pm-hibernate' produced another bonus. You can use the '-r' flag with the former to cause an immediate reboot after suspend. This is useful both when testing the configuration and also if you wish to switch to another operating system before resuming linux. It saves waiting for the system to power down so that you can switch it on again.
I could not find any way to tell 'pm-hibernate' to reboot after suspending. In fact as a mere user who has used both systems, my impression is that the SWSUP2 kernels and hibernate scripts from Matthias Hensler's web site provide a much more mature and well thought out package than the pm-hibernate facility that comes with FC5, in addition to being faster. I have the impression that the linux kernel people have chosen to standardise on the wrong version of software suspend.
Residual 'hibernate' mystery.
There is a remaining mystery. After 'hibernate' has finished I get this message displayed (only with FC5):/usr/share/hibernate/scriptlets.d/suspend2: line 529: /sys/power/suspend2/last_result: Permission deniedI have looked at the suspend2 script mentioned in the message and and not found any way of preventing that occurring. However it does not seem to have any effect on the behaviour of suspending or resuming.
Entries before installation of FC5 on D610
The rest of this file is concerned with earlier linux releases.
UPDATE 30 Jul 2006: Firewall scripts addedAlthough this has nothing specific to do with the laptop, I've added two files containing firewall scripts originally given me by Simon Thompson, which can be used in a linux machine acting as an internet gateway separating a private network from a connection to the external world (e.g. via cable modem). The files are
I put those on my laptop as a precaution, since I sometimes use it while travelling and connecting to hotels (remember to edit the firewall script if using eth1 as your interface to the internet e.g. via wireless).
- Iptables service script
This should normally go in /etc/rc.d/init.d/iptables
Commands like 'service iptables start' 'service iptables stop' use this script.
- Firewall configuration script used by the iptables script.
Unless the iptables script is edited, this should go in /etc/sysconfig/firewall
You may wish to edit it to suit your configuration.
UPDATE 19 Mar 2006: problems with saved images on Fedora Core 4 and 5Problems due to Poplog saved images randomly not starting up on FC 4 and FC 5 as a result of security measures added by RedHat have a solution described here
UPDATE 14 Nov 2005: Comments from Liz Hays on various problems with 2.6.12-1.1380_FC3 on D600.
Problems with mouse pointer lost and wireless not working after hibernate on FC3 with SUSP2.
UPDATE 8 Oct 2005: Acquired Dell D610I have acquired a Dell Latitude D610 with 2ghz Pentium M, ATI X300 Graphics, 1400x1050 screen, 2x512GB SDRAM, 60GB 5400rpm drive, Intel ProWireless 2200 802.11b/g mini PCI card. Because I was buying through a university account Dell were able to sell it without an operating system. So I installed FC3 as described for the D600, and everything has worked perfectly including Software Suspend, USB connection to external hard drive (see Freecom problem using D600 below).
On the D610 with the more recent ATI card, the radeon driver worked perfectly and whereas I never managed to get more than three resolutions on linux with the D600 (1400x1050 1152x864 640x640), I get about 12 different resolutions on the D610 (1400x1050, 1280x1024, 1280x960, 1152x864, 1152x768, 1024x768, 832x624, 800x600, 720x400, 640x480, 640x350, 640x400) and I can switch between them instantly using xvidmode (with commands mapped to a mouse menu in ctwm).
The only (nasty) problem in the D610 [Now fixed in Fedora 7] is that the two mouse buttons above the touch pad do not work (whether in windows XP or linux), though the two below the touch pad work, albeit rather clunkily. All four buttons worked on the D600. I have taken to using a Microsoft cordless USB mouse, which works very well. (Microsoft seem to be much better at making hardware than software.) I think the problem with the D610 mouse buttons above the touch pad is that they work only if pressed hard. It seems to be a hardware problem, not a software problem.
In general I would say that the D610 is the machine Dell were trying to produce when they produced the D600!
UPDATE 19 Jun 2005: Created web file with information on how to deal with problems copying, reading or writing ISO CDs. here.
UPDATE 30 May 2005: Now using Fedora Core 3 with Software Suspend.Suspend and resume now work fine with a pre-packaged 2.6.11 kernel including the software suspend mechanisms. FULL DETAILS HERE
UPDATE 22 May 2005: Web CamsThe following reports my experience with three webcams, drivers and other tools http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/threecams
UPDATE 29 Mar 2005: Shell script to check battery status regularlyHaving lost work more than once because I forgot to plug in the AC adaptor when starting up the laptop I decided to write a little script that occasionally checks the battery status and issues warnings or reminders as appropriate, and if either battery is critical and lid is shut, then invokes hibernate.
A first draft version of the script is in this file
UPDATE 5 Mar 2005: Use of Freecom FHD-2 Pro 60GB USB-2 DriveThe combination of the 2.4.26 kernel and SWSUSP 2.0 described below has served me well since about October 2004. I hardly ever reboot the D600 now: I merely suspend and resume.
Having previously discovered using a USB pen drive how easy it was to replace the Windows file system on a drive with linux ext3 filesystem, I bought the compact (127x79x15mm) Freecom FHD-2 Pro 60GB external USB-2 drive. On my desktop linux machine I deleted the windows (FAT32) partition supplied, and replaced it with two linux ext3 partitions (30GB and 25Gb) leaving just under 5GB for a FAT32 partition for compatibility with windows users. Having found how well this worked on my desktop machine, I was very disappointed to find that the USB power supply on the Dell D600 was unable to get it working, even with the extra cable supplied to provide power from an additional USB port.
The documentation claims that a free AC adaptor is available, and I've written to claim one, but that will reduce the usefulness of this drive in connection with a laptop. However USB memory sticks/pen-drives work perfectly so most of the time one of those will suffice (e.g. I recently bought a 1GB lexar USB pendrive for under GBP 50 and converted it to use ext3 filesystem.)
I would be interested to learn if anyone else has the same problem with the Freecom external drives using the D600.
Note added 8 Oct 2005: Freecom drive works on D610Freecom have still not sent me the promised AC adaptor. I shall never buy anything from them again.
I recently tried the Freecom on a Dell Latitude D610, and it worked perfectly. I conclude that Dell screwed up with the USB ports on the D600. Is there any redress? I have been informed by another D600 user that even with an AC-powered external drive in an Nspire encloser the D600 could not cope (running windows XP). More evidence that the problem is a buggy USB interface on the Dell D600?
UPDATE Sep 2004 (modified 7 Oct 2004) [Out of date]Installed the latest stable version of XFree86, namely V4.4
This was downloaded from the web site, and cured a number of resume/suspend problems described below.
More information is available at http://www.xfree86.org/.
- I can now use the latest version of Firefox, which, for some reason did not work previously.
- Screenblank now turns off the backlight. E.g. the command
xset dpms 0 0 300
makes the screen go blank after 5 minutes without activity, including turning off the backlight, saving a significant amount of battery power. I have set my window manager to make it easy for me to change the time before it blanks, so that I can prevent it blanking during presentations.
NB: for that to work, the /etc/X11/XF86Config file has to include, in
the lineOption "DPMS"
- Playing videos (e.g. Xine) now almost always works after resume/suspend. If it doesn't, another resume/suspend fixes it without re-booting.
- Other problems requiring rebooting after resume have gone away.
Pre-compiled binaries suitable for linux on PC are available as described here http://www.xfree86.org/releases/rel440.html
After running the 'check' test provided I fetched binaries from here ftp://ftp.xfree86.org/pub/XFree86/4.4.0/binaries/Linux-ix86-glibc23/
(I fetched all the compulsory files and some of the optional files).
Then, after making backup tar files for the directories involved, I ran the install script, which asked me various questions, to which I always answered yes. It installed the new system and the whole process took only a few minutes, and went very smoothly. The only minor glitch was that it could not insert a symbolic link in /usr/include/GL because the directory existed, so I subsequently renamed the directory and made the link.
I had to update the font settings in XF86Config, namely, replacingFontPath "unix/:7100"withFontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/CID/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/"
OUT OF DATE CONTENTS (Dell D600 using RH9 FC3 and FC4)
- Introduction: my Dell D600
- Superseded Updates
(Reporting problems cured by upgrading kernel, or version of XFree86 or, version of SWSUSP.)
- System Specification
- Initial installation of RedHat 9 mostly worked
- Problems remaining after installation:
- Solving the problems:
- Playing CDs and DVDs
- Still unsolved problems
Introduction: my Dell D600My first laptop, bought in October 1999, was a Dell Latitude Cpt with 400 mhz celeron CPU. At that time it was the fastest machine in my office. It mostly worked well, using first RedHat 6.2, then 7.2, then 7.3, then 8.0 then 9, each version giving noticeable improvements (e.g. Suspend to RAM became more reliable). When it developed an obscure hardware fault about a year ago, which eventually became intolerable, I looked for a replacement, and after reading many reviews concerning laptops running linux decided on the Dell Latitude D600, which was still a new model, and offered the promise of high performance along with good battery consumption, as it was based on the Intel Pentium M (as in 'Centrino', though this is not a true centrino model because it uses a Dell wireless card (TrueMobile 1300)).
At that time there were very few Pentium M systems with a 14inch screen and higher resolution than 1024x768. Most with so-called SXGA displays were 15 inch models, which I did not want. The only other 14 inch model was IBM's centrino thinkpad. However, that was ruled out by its cost, despite excellent reviews.
The D600 was acquired in August 2003 from Dell Outlet UK who claimed to be giving a £450 'promotion' discount, which I later discovered was much exaggerated, by comparing prices with normal Dell sales.
System SpecificationDell Latitude D600
[Note: since reporting this I have obtained a Dell Latitude D610, mentioned above, which is superior in several ways, except that that the two mouse buttons above the touch pad do not work unless pressed very hard.]CPU: Intel Pentium M 1.4GHz (1MB on-die L2 cache) Memory: 512MB DDR, 266MHz [1X512MB DIMM] Hard Disk Drive: 30GB IDE Hard Drive (4200 rpm) SCREEN: 14.1inch TFT SXGA (1400x1050) ATI RADEON 9000 High performance graphics controller with 4x AGP support Video Memory - 32Mb DDR Video SDRAM Integrated DualPoint - TouchPad & PointStick pointing devices (Two 'mouse' buttons below keyboard, and two buttons below touch pad) [I would have preferred a third button, though 3-button emulation works with linux: pressing both buttons emulates middle button. I need to increase the default delay from 30ms to about 200ms to make it usable without mistakes.] 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN on Motherboard (Broadcom) Modem: Internal 56K V.92 Modem on Motherboard (winmodem) Installed operating System: Microsoft. Windows. XP Professional (SP1) (using NTFS file system) [Not used by me. See below.] DVD Drive: 8x DVD Drive (Media Bay Module) 'Smart' Advanced Lithium Ion 6 cell battery pack with ExpressCharge Dell TrueMobile 1300 Wireless 802.11 b/g Mini-PCI card (Based on Broadcom) Ports: Parallel, Serial, VGA, S-video out, 2 x USB 2.0, IR (IrDa v.1.1), RJ-11, RJ-45 Second battery: replaces DVD drive while travelling D-Family Classic Nylon Carrying Case 3 years International Next Business Day On-Site service (Free Second 65W A/C power adaptor provided in Dell outlet package) Other combinations are available for D600, including faster cpu, larger hard drive, more memory etc.
Initial installation of RedHat 9 mostly workedI have no use for the Windows XP operating system except occasionally to check hardware and initially also for occasional use of the dial-up modem. So using 'partition magic' I reduced the XP partition to 6Gb leaving the rest for linux. I made a 1Gb linux swap partition, in case I later added more memory.
Installing RedHat 9 was easy, and basically I then had a usable linux laptop, including a Gbit ethernet card. I could get only three screen resolutions to work, but they were fine for me:1400x1050 1152x864 640x640(With maximum resolution, most projectors seem to cope, slightly shrinking the display, but a few older ones complain that the scan frequency is too high.)
The machine was then usable, and surprisingly fast (the 1.4Ghz Pentium M cpu seemed to be approximately comparable to a 2.4Ghz pentium 4). However I had some disappointments most of which were eventually overcome as explained below.
Problems remaining after installation:
- No 'suspend' facility for Latitude D600 in RH 9
My previous laptop had suspend to RAM, allowing the battery to keep only memory alive with everything else shut down, for several days. This is not supported on the D600 apparently.
- I could use an external wireless card (pcmcia) but not the internal wireless card, as no linux driver was available. (This was fixed later, using the linuxant driverloader).
- I could not use the dial-up modem, as no linux driver was available. This was not needed often, but it could be useful occasionally, e.g. when travelling. This was also fixed later, using a modem driver from linuxant.
- Battery life was not as good as I had expected: 5-6 hours with two batteries: not enough for a working constantly on a two-stage flight from Birmingham to California without time to re-charge in the middle.
(Fortunately I don't do that often!)
- The power lead provided on the charger was much shorter than on the older model. A standard power lead could not be used because Dell have their own socket geometry. The short lead can often be very inconvenient when the only power socket is not close by. (I believe Dell also sell a much bigger and heavier AC adaptor with a longer lead. All I want is the longer lead!).
One problem I had was that shutting the lid with X running made the screen blank completely, and opening it did not undo that. However, CTRL+Alt+F2 took me to a text-only console mode and shutting and opening in that mode worked. After that CTRL+ALT+F7 restored the X display.
This was a minor inconvenience that went away after I upgraded the kernel to 2.4.22 and added ACPI patches as part of my effort to get suspend working. However, after that I could never get the screen to blank completely -- until I added the patches mentioned below. See comments about battery life below.
Current kernel is 2.4.26. I also tried 2.6.6 and found that I could boot but various things did work. So I abandoned that. May try 2.6 again later.
Solving the problems:Addressing these problems required a lot of web browsing. I discovered that Owen Cliffe at Bath University had an almost identical Dell D600 and found his web page very useful: http://www.cs.bath.ac.uk/~occ/laptop/
He also kindly answered some of my questions, including telling me how to upgrade a kernel and install the SWSUSP package to provide 'Suspend to Disk'. He had additional requirements (3-D graphics) that were not relevant to my needs. As a result of his help and other things found on the web I now have the following very satisfactory situation.
Most of the problems are now solvedAs a result of steps that I'll later put into a separate file (watch this space) I know have a working version of Redhat 9, upgraded with the 2.4.26 Linux kernel (which Alan Cox assures me includes all of his patches often referred to as the 'ac' patches on web sites). On top of that kernel I installed the CPU Frequency Scaling patches (CPUFREQ), to improve power management when running batteries, and the Software Suspend (SWSUSP) patches. The config file used (not claimed to be perfect) is here http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/laptop/config.2.4.26.txt (last updated 13 Jun 2004). It's possible that you will have to change this if you have a different wireless card, or some other hardware difference.
- Software suspend (suspend to disk) now seems to work (almost) perfectly.
This writes information about the current state to the swap area. When you next reboot it detects that the system was suspended and restores the current state, including all applications that were running. (Do not restore a different Linux kernel after suspending: you risk corrupting files, though the ext3 journalling file system seems to recover quickly from all such disasters.)
This suspend facility is excellent for saving work in progress, allowing you to continue later without a full reboot. I also use it for preparing a presentation and then having it ready without having to boot up and start everything.
Unlike suspend to RAM, the state can be saved indefinitely -- even when the battery level is low, e.g. after a long journey. Also if you suspend, then run XP, then return to linux, you get back the linux state, which would not be possible with suspend to RAM.
However, software suspend is significantly slower than suspend to RAM. Software suspend takes about 8-10 seconds, and restore takes about 20-25 seconds on the configuration I have tested. Times probably depend on what is running when you suspend. A faster CPU or a faster hard drive might speed up suspend and resume. Having more programs active could slow it down.
Of course, these times are considerably less than the time required to reboot and manually get back to a configuration with X and several applications running.
I use ctwm as my window manager rather than Gnome or KDE which seem to be huge and slow by comparison. Maybe that's why suspend and restore are reasonably fast for me. I could save some time by reducing the number of services restarted when travelling (e.g. network and sendmail need not usually be restarted on every suspend/restore).
There was a frustrating period where not everything worked after suspend. E.g. for a while, USB devices (mouse, memory stick) did not work, and also I could not get the wireless card to work after a suspend, unless I rebooted. However, after several upgrades, each adding some improvements, I eventually installed the 2.4.24 kernel [now using 2.4.26] and the latest SWSUSP package to go with it and then everything was fine, including restoring the X graphical display, all USB devices working after suspend, wireless card and modem also working. Some of this required careful editing of /etc/suspend.conf to ensure that various modules (e.g. concerned with USB devices) were unloaded before suspend and restored after. My suspend.conf file is here: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/laptop/ suspendconf.txt It is a bit messy, I am afraid.
Warning: after a suspend, do not shut the lid while restoring. This seems to stop the graphics working properly.
When almost everything was working with the 2.4.24 kernel, I did not get the expected improvements in battery life, which some web sites suggested required the 'ac' kernel patches. So I switched to 2.4.26 when there were SWSUSP patches for that. That kernel seems to work very well, though I still do not get the battery life that I expected. (More details on power saving below).
Note: SWSUSP requires two patches to the kernel, one specific to your kernel version and one general, applied after that. Both sorts can be found at http://swsusp.sourceforge.net/. In my case the most recent patches installed were:software-suspend-linux-2.4.26-rev1-whole.bz2 software-suspend-core-2.0-whole.bz2
- The Linuxant 'Driverloader' solved the wireless card problem.
Linuxant www.linuxant.com provide a package called 'driverloader' which uses configuration files for the Dell Mini-PCI wireless card that are available in the XP software installed, or can be fetched from the web. Linuxant's package can be tested free for a month. I tried it and found it produced excellent results with the internal Dell TrueMobile wireless card (mini-PCI), so I was happy to pay $19.00 for a permanent licence, allowing me to download upgrades indefinitely.
NOTE: because I had an upgraded kernel I downloaded the tar.gz version of driverloader rather than an rpm version. Instructions were simple and worked.
Having paid once I can apparently download the latest version at any time. I have recently installed this: driverloader-1.71.tar.gz
At one point, after installing the latest upgrade from linuxant I got this a warning message from 'iwconfig' of this form:Warning: Driver for device XXXX has been compiled with version XXI reported this to linuxant who suggested that I use Wireless Tools version 27 or later, which fixes this, available here http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_Tourrilhes/Linux/Tools.html
Other wireless cards for which linux drivers are not available are also supported by Linuxant, including the Intel 'centrino' integrated wireless chip. See the Linuxant web site. The web-site explains why they have to charge for their software. I have found their responses to email queries very prompt and useful.
I have been told that there is also a free driver loader, but someone who had tried it on the D600 did not have success. It may have improved since then.
- Linuxant winmodem package now allows me to use dial-up
Linuxant (www.linuxant.com) provide two varieties of modem driver software (HCF 'controllerless' and HSF 'softmodem') for Conexant winmodems for Linux. Apparently many on-board modems use the Conexant technology. Both the Linuxant drivers are available free of charge indefinitely for trial use, but work only at 14.4kbd in that form. By paying $14.00 you get a 'key' which can be used to upgrade the installation to work at full speed.
NOTE: because I had an upgraded kernel I downloaded the tar.gz version of driverloader rather than the rpm version. Instructions were simple and worked.
Linuxant provide a tool ('listmodem') to help you identify the type of modem on your system. It failed to recognize mine, but I downloaded and tried the free HSF driver and it worked at 14.4kbd (using WVDIAL to make the dial-up connections). So I was happy to upgrade to get the maximum speed dial-up access (56kbd) + FAX (which I am unlikely to need.) Their website states:This package contains Linux drivers for the Conexant (formerly Rockwell) HSF Softmodem family.NOTE: There are graphical tools for dialling up, specifying possible ISPs, etc. but I use a light-weight window manager (CTWM), and, where possible, I prefer command line and text editor, for simple tasks. E.g. to configure the system to use the winmodem, I ran wvdialconf, which set up a template text file /etc/wvdial.conf which is very easy to edit to provide the phone number, user name and password for several different dial-up accounts. Each one is given a name which can be used as a 'flag' for the wvdial command to specify which ISP to dial.
The drivers should work on most current Linux distributions, with the 2.4 or 2.6 kernels. A Pentium processor with the MMX enhancements is required. Some systems may require kernel recompilation with special ACPI patches.
[I think all the ACPI facilities I needed were already in the 2.4.24 and 2.4.26 kernels.]
Before dialling up, I used these two commands to disable the current network service:ifdown loAfter plugging the modem cable in, making the laptop dial up merely required running wvdial with a flag to indicate which specification to select from wvdial.conf: e.g.
ifdown eth0wvdial isp1CTRL-C makes wvdial disconnect gracefully: no fancy menus needed.
This worked perfectly for two ISPs but not for dialling up Freeserve.com. It made a connection and then claimed that the host dropped the connection. I don't know why: maybe because the account has not been accessed for months, or maybe because I used a cable phone service rather a BT line.
Anyhow, the modem worked perfectly dialling up britishlibrary.net, www.names.co.uk and quickdial.co.uk.
I noticed in the /var/log/messages file that there was a warning about a missing module: "Can't locate module ppp-compress-21". With help from google I learnt that I needed to enable "CONFIG_PPP_BSDCOMP=m" in the kernel config file, and then in /etc/modules.conf insert
alias ppp-compress-21 bsd_compsince ppp-compress-21 is apparently another name for bsd_comp.
Getting nameserver properly configured after dialling upI found that after a ppp connection had been set up, the nameservers provided by the dial-up site are to be found in /etc/ppp/resolv.conf So I created a little script which is run before attempting to use wvdial to connect by phone. The script uses ifdown to turn off eth0 and lo (loopback) network connections as above and then does,cd /etc/ rm resolv.conf ln -s ppp/resolv.conf .There is probably a cleaner mechanism, but this works on my machine. The script for restoring my normal network configuration removes the symbolic link.
Residual problem with modem:I have not been able to get software suspend configured in such a way that the dial-up modem works after suspend/resume. I don't know if this is a software problem, concerned with loading and unloading modules, for instance, or a hardware/bios problem. The symptom is that after resume, the sound of dialling is wrong, and the connection is unsuccessful.
Fortunately, I very rarely need to use the modem facility.
- Extending battery life using RH 9
I tried the cpufreq and cpudyn packages without success at first, but with the 4.2.26 kernel I seem to have a successful solution. I think cpudyn is the preferable option.
In some sense it worked: cpufreqd was certainly able to slow down the CPU when I disconnected the AC power supply, but it made no difference to battery consumption, even though programs ran about 4-5 times more slowly.
I also tried the cpudyn package, available here http://mnm.uib.es/~gallir/cpudyn/ (dated 30 May 2004)
Perhaps the most useful instructions for use can be found here http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~nino/Linux/cpudyn.html
It compiled, installed and started itself off without complaint and claims to control the drive as well as cpu. Yet although I noticed reduced processing speeds, I did not notice any increase in battery life, until I upgraded to the 2.4.26 kernel (with the CPUFREQ and SWSUSP patches added).
Now that power control seems to be working I have yet to decide between cpufreqd and cpudyn and other power-management utilities. I don't yet know how to optimise the parameters they are given. One problem with cpudyn is that it seems to switch between only two cpu speeds.
There are links here that I have not had time to look at carefully: http://mrl.nyu.edu/~danielk/linux/cpufreq.html
Apparently reducing power consumption on this machine requires the use of some Centrino specific 'speedstep' mechanism which presumably requires specific software.
Some web pages suggest that the 'ac' kernel extensions are needed, but they never say where to get them. I finally tracked that down to this web site http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/alan/ but the patches seem to be bundled only for versions of 2.4 up to 2.4.22 and I was using 2.4.24 for long time. (The www.kernel.org web page should be more informative about what is available in the depths of the web site.)
Some packages work only with the 2.6 kernel, which is reported to have superior power-management support to 2.4. However I will not switch to 2.6 (e.g. SuSE 9.1, or Fedora Core 2) until I hear that SWSUSP works perfectly on 2.6, which it apparently does not yet, at least not on all platforms.
I wrote to Alan Cox who informed me that all the 'ac' patches were in versions 2.4.25 and later. So I have now installed 2.4.26, as explained above, and some preliminary tests using that kernel, combined with the use of mechanisms to completely blank the display (described below), and cpudynd appears to make a difference to battery consumption, when the machine is not in use. It doesn't seem to make a big difference, alas. That may be because cpu power consumption is a small proportion of the total (screen, hard drive powering up and down controlled by daemons, memory, wireless and ethernet cards, fan, ....). However with two batteries I can get between 5 and 5.5 hours uptime, or possibly a bit more if the screen brightness is kept low.
Update: /etc/sysconfig/harddisks no longer used
The following information was inserted when I was still using RedHat9. Since Fedora Core 4 or 5, the file /etc/sysconfig/harddisks is no longer used. So anyone wanting to use the powersaving options described here should instead insert commands using 'hdparm' in the file /etc/rc.local
The original information was:Alan Cox also mentioned to me the powersaving options provided by the 'hdparm' command. So I edited/etc/sysconfig/harddisksinserting at the endEXTRA_PARAMS="-B32 -W1 -u1 -S12"Where the parameters are as explained in the man file for hdparm:
I shall have to experiment with the parameters. The timeout seems to be working as I now often notice a very slight delay when accessing the drive after a gap in use.
Turns on advanced power management and the numeric parameter specifies the balance between performance and power saving (maximum performance is 255).
Disable/enable the IDE drive's write-caching feature. (1 turns it on).
Get/set interrupt-unmask flag for the drive. A setting of 1 permits the driver to unmask other interrupts during processing of a disk interrupt, which greatly improves Linux's responsive-ness and eliminates "serial port overrun" errors. (To be used with caution: see the man file.)
Set the standby (spindown) timeout for the drive. This value is used by the drive to determine how long to wait (with no disk activity) before turning off the spindle motor to save power. A value of zero means "off". Values from 1 to 240 specify multiples of 5 seconds, for timeouts from 5 seconds to 20 minutes. There's more in the man file. So -S12 should make it time out if not used for 60 seconds.
With all those measures, the battery discharge rate seems to have dropped from about 17000 mW (or more) to around 10300 mW when the machine is doing nothing and the screen is blank.
However on most linux machines there are log files and journalled file system updates very frequently, so nothing is gained by powering down the hard drive. Experts can find ways to reduce the amount of logging, and then the disk power management tools can save battery power.
- Screenblank Problem -- finally fixed in XFree86 version 4.4.
THE FOLLOWING DESCRIPTION IS NOW OUT OF DATE: IT APPLIED TO EARLIER VERSIONS OF XFree86
Owing to a defect in the radeon drivers provided in the XFree86 package, the X11 screenblank does not actually turn off the power consumption of the screen: it goes dark, but the back-light remains on, continuing to drain the battery. However by using the 'Fn' plus up and down arrows I can vary the brightness and use lower levels do make the batteries last longer. But complete screen blanking requires more.
I tried installing the radeon driver from ATI, available at http://mirror.ati.com/support/drivers/linux/radeon-linux.html but that does not help anything and does not appear to work with SWSUSP.
I tried following a tip on Volker Braun's web page on the IBM T41: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~vbraun/computing/T41/power.html which provides two pre-compiled files http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~vbraun/computing/T41/radeon_drv.o and http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~vbraun/computing/T41/ati_drv.o which provide radeon_drv.o and ati_drv.o which you can put in /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/ (after saving the originals somewhere). Then edit your /etc/X11/XF86Config file. In the section headed
Section "Device"which includes the line
Driver "radeon"Insert another line:Option "DynamicPM" "True"Then in your startup file, or in some menu options, you can insert commands to make the screen go completely blank after a certain number of seconds, e.g. commands to blank after 1, 5, or 10 minutes:xset dpms 0 0 60 xset dpms 0 0 300 xset dpms 0 0 600instead of using the 'xset s 60' format. See the 'xset' man file.
All of that worked fine --- until I tried running gxine or gmplayer. These crashed the X server completely with the message:Symbol miRegionEqual from module /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/radeon_drv.o is unresolved!I had to remove the two driver files and restore the originals. (Maybe they were compiled for 2.6, or a different version of X).
So I had to go back to incomplete screenblank, though the 'radeontool' still worked, as follows [Until I upgraded XFree86 making all this unnecessary.]
Radeontool [No longer used, since installing XFree86 version 4.4]
The radeontool program available at http://fdd.com/software/radeon/radeontool-1.5.tar.gz here, can be used to force the backlight off or on. Commands to turn back-light on and off areradeontool light on radeontool light offA brief experiment shows that after turning it off, switching between the X display and a text console turns it on (e.g. CTRL+Alt+F2, or CTRL+Alt+F7.
Utilities to link invocation of radeontool to screenblank are mentioned here http://fdd.com/software/radeon/ but I have not tried them.
NOTE on screen blanking
Curiously, the default configuration when I first installed redhat 9 did allow the screen to be completely blanked when the lid was closed. But, as indicated above, that behaviour disappeared after I upgraded the kernel and installed ACPI and SWSUSP patches.
For comparisons of drivers for radeon cards see http://homepage.hispeed.ch/rscheidegger/atilinux/ati_linux_comp.html However this says nothing about laptops with 1400x1050 resolution, and is not concerned with power-saving, only performance, e.g. in 3-D games.
Playing CDs and DVDsPlaying audio CDs worked fine with the 'cdp' command, though it required a symbolic link from /dev/cdrom to /dev/hdc
In order to get dvds to play I had to make a link from /dev/dvd to the same deviceln -s /dev/hdc /dev/dvdAfter that, I inserted a dvd, ran gmplayer, used the right button menu to select dvd, and it just worked. ('f' toggles full screen mode). The sound is not too bad for such a tiny machine. I have not tried earphones or external speakers.
Still unsolved problems
Installing a version of 2.6 with full support for software suspend and power management can wait. Later I'll switch, perhaps using Fedora Core 2, or SuSE 9.1 as a base, though some friends strongly recommend Mandrake!
- The volume control buttons near the power button are ignored when Linux is running. I expect there is some software fix for this, but I've not found it. Tools like xine and gmplayer provide graphical volume controls that work. It would be a bit more convenient to use the buttons on the machine.
NOTE added 5 Mar 2005: the aumix utility allows simple command line commands to vary volume and other sound settings. This means that since the X window system recognises pressing and releasing of volume keys, it is easy to map them onto aumix commands.
- The Fn+Setup key and Fn+Battery key do nothing.
When I first installed Redhat 9, Fn+Battery key gave me a battery display, after which ALT+P cycled me through the other bios displays.
After I upgraded the kernel to get software suspend to work, even Fn+Battery stopped working. However I can interrogate the battery levels from software now using/proc/acpi/battery/*/info
- The Fn+F2 key does not seem to do anything
That combination is apparently supposed to turn wireless facilities on or off. My simple tests (with iwconfig) suggest that it works, though it would be useful to have an indicator of the state, other than running iwconfig!
I believe there are patches available to make the volume control buttons work, and I may try them later.
Things to be addedI use grub rather than lilo and having changed (I installed RH 9: which did everything for me) now prefer grub. There are a few funnies about what has to be specified in the boot configuration file.
On one occasion had a mysterious kernel panic ('no init found'), when trying to boot a new kernel. The cause turned out to be as follows:
This meant that the mechanisms for reading the startup files where not available when the kernel was booting. While trying to fix this I searched google and found that many people had reported this sort of kernel panic and asked for help, causing lengthy discussions about possible causes on mailing lists, most of which had nothing to do with the solution I eventually found (following one of the comments about journalling file systems). Maybe whoever is responsible for the 'panic' message should make it print out more suggestions, including the suggestion to check whether a journalling file system package (ext3, reiserfs, xfs) should be in the kernel not in a module.
- I use EXT3 journalling file systems
(Switched to EXT 4 in Fedora 12 and 13, 2010).
- My kernel config file had 'CONFIG_EXT3_FS=m' instead of 'CONFIG_EXT3_FS=y'. I.e. the 'ext3' package was not in the kernel itself but in a loadable module.
Maintained by Aaron Sloman A.Sloman@cs.bham.ac.uk
Created: 14 May 2010
Last updated: 14 May 2010; 27 Jun 2010