Fedora Core 3 On Dell Inspiron 9200

This page is no longer maintained as I have upgraded to FC4. FC4 works quite well. Some of the information here may still be of use for FC4. I have also experimented with Fedora Core 5 Test 2. FC5T2 took a small amount of effort to get installed due to video issues during installation.

Recent modifications: Additional references:

Basic installation of Fedora Core 3 went smoothly. There are still a few kinks to be worked out. The biggest problem was that after every other boot, the laptop froze. See below for a fix.

Overall, I am very pleased with this laptop running Fedora Core 3.

Warning: Some of what is written below is from memory and may contain mistakes. Let the buyer beware.

What works

Hardware Component Status Under Linux Notes
Pentium M 1.60GHz Yes Speed step works.
17" 1920x1200 UWGA Display Yes Sparkles!
ATI RV350 - Mobility Radeon 9700 M10 Yes Reported as 9600. 3d acceleration with ATI drivers.
NEC DVD+/-RW ND-6500A Yes CD read, DVD read, DVD write tested.
Firewire - Ricoh R5C552 IEEE 1394 Controller Untested.
Ethernet 100Base-TX Broadcom BCM4401-B0 Yes.
Internal Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Yes. With ipw2200 drivers.
Bluetooth Untested.
Sound Card: Intel 82801DB/DBL/DBM - AC'97 Yes.
ALPS Glidepoint Touchpad Yes! Works fully with 2.6.11 kernel and modified xorg.conf.
USB Yes. Wireless mouse, flash card reader, iRiver H340, Wacom tablet tested.
Suspend to RAM Yes. May not work with 3d acceleration.
Suspend to Disk Untested


I shrunk the Windows partition and created Linux partitions with tools from www.sysresccd.org. I chose to have a 6 Gb Fat32 partition to share data between Windows and Linux, two 10 Gb Linux partitions so I could install two different versions of Linux at the same time, and one ~19 Gb partition for /home. I also have a 1 Gb swap partition. I left the Dell Utility and Restore partitions alone.
Disk /dev/hda: 60.0 GB, 60011642880 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7296 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1               1           6       48163+  de  Dell Utility
/dev/hda2   *           7        1026     8193150    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda3            6839        7295     3670852+  db  CP/M / CTOS / ...
/dev/hda4            1027        6838    46684890    5  Extended
/dev/hda5            1027        2301    10241406   83  Linux
/dev/hda6            3577        5945    19028961   83  Linux
/dev/hda7            5946        6710     6144831    b  W95 FAT32
/dev/hda8            6711        6837     1020096   82  Linux swap

Initial Fedora Installation

I used the four Fedora Core 3 iso CD's from fedora.redhat.com. I chose the workstation installation as I will do code development. Installation went without any problems.

I had to edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to use add a specification for the 1920x1200 display:

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Screen0"
        Device     "Videocard0"
        Monitor    "Monitor0"
        DefaultDepth     24
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     16
                Modes    "1920x1200" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     24
                Modes    "1920x1200" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

The following doesn't appear to be necessary following recent updates:

To fix the problem of the laptop freezing after every other boot:

This solution came from mattimeo90 via mmastron. It does have the side effect that auto-mounting of CD/DVD/USB doesn't work.


I followed the instructions on The Unofficial Fedora FAQ to set up yum. I disabled the "unstable" and "testing" entries (add "enabled=0"). I then did a full update as well as added all the additional packages listed. I could not add the mplayer plug-in (not found). To use the updated kernel, one may need to edit the file /etc/grub.conf (default=0).


I made two tweaks.

ALPS Touch pad

All the bells and whistles work with the 2.6.11 kernel (works in basic mode with pre-2.6.11 kernels). You have to modify your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. The relavent sections are listed below.
Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier     "single head configuration"
        Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
        InputDevice    "Touchpad"    "CorePointer"
        InputDevice    "Mouse0"      "SendCoreEvents"
        InputDevice    "Keyboard0"   "CoreKeyboard"
Section "InputDevice"
    Driver "synaptics"
    Identifier "Touchpad"
    Option "Device"               "/dev/input/mouse0"
    Option "Protocol"             "auto-dev"
    Option "LeftEdge"             "120"
    Option "RightEdge"            "830"
    Option "TopEdge"              "120"
    Option "BottomEdge"           "650"
    Option "FingerLow"            "14"
    Option "FingerHigh"           "15"
    Option "MaxTapTime"           "180"
    Option "MaxTapMove"           "110"
    Option "EmulateMidButtonTime" "75"
    Option "VertScrollDelta"      "20"
    Option "HorizScrollDelta"     "20"
    Option "MinSpeed"             "0.4"
    Option "MaxSpeed"             "1.0"
    Option "AccelFactor"          "0.02"
    Option "EdgeMotionMinSpeed"   "15"
    Option "EdgeMotionMaxSpeed"   "30"
    Option "UpDownScrolling"      "1"
    Option "CircularScrolling"    "1"
    Option "CircScrollDelta"      "0.1"
    Option "CircScrollTrigger"    "2"
    Option "TapButton1"           "1"
    Option "TapButton2"           "2"
    Option "TapButton3"           "3"
Note that these settings are NOT the same as for a Synaptics touchpad (even though the ALPS touchpad uses the same driver). And despite including lines for multifinger taps, the touchpad doesn't seem to support them.

ATI Radeon Drivers

ATI has just released (17 January 2005) drivers under x.org. Version 8.8.5 of the drivers needs to be patched for the 2.6.10 kernel. See the thread on www.i9200forums.com for details. For the mouse device, enter /dev/input/mice. The XConfig file generated by fglrxconfig needs to be edited: The new configuration file needs to be renamed xorg.conf. I may remove the driver if it causes problems with resuming from a suspend, as rumored.
livna-unstable yum repository now has rpms (I have not tried):

Wireless-Intel 2200

As of the 2.6.11 kernel(?), the drivers are included in the kernel. You still need to install the firmware. The first time I booted after upgrading to a 2.6.11 kernel the wireless connection failed to come up. After manually starting it once, it has worked fine since. I've also commented out the ipw2200 lines in the suspend.sh script. The wireless connection was not coming back automatically with the suspend... one had to open the Network Device Control panel, turn off the wireless connection then turn it back on. With the lines commented out, the connection is restored.

Instructions on how to install the Intel drivers can be found at ipw2200.sourceforge.net. I used the Fedora Core 3 packages from atrpm.net/dist/fc3/ipw2200. Download and install versions of:

Make sure that the kernel module (kmdl) matches your kernel (uname -a)! You may also need to install wireless tools if they are not already installed. After mucking around with the configuration program I finally got the wireless card to work. One thing I had to change manually was to edit the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1 to change "TYPE=ethernet" to "TYPE=wireless".

Suspend to RAM

As of 13 April 2005 fails with "mDNSResponder not stopped" error. I turned off with /sbin/chkconfig --level 345 mDNSResponder off as I can't imagine needing the service. I also turned of nifd the same way. Both appear to be useful for iTunes, which I don't and never will have.

Following an example for a Dell 600 I got the 9200 to sleep and wake up via a suspend to RAM. There was one problem with the wake up and that was that the clicking via tapping the touchpad (but not the buttons) stopped working. With the latest updates, this isn't a problem. I also had to add unloading and reloading of the ipw2200 driver, but this again is no longer a problem.

To get suspend to ram to work:
Create: /etc/acpi/events/lid.conf:

and /etc/acpi/events/sleep.conf:

Then create: /etc/acpi/actions/suspend.sh (don't forget to chmod +x):
# Script to drive the system to S3: suspend-to-ram
# Based on script by andersen_REMOVE_@_THIS_hep.phy.cam.ac.uk

# Step 1: Preparing sleep:

if (-e /suspending) then
 echo "Already in the process of suspending. Please be patient."
/bin/touch /suspending

# USB doesn't suspend without unloading first
/sbin/rmmod ehci_hcd
/sbin/rmmod uhci_hcd

# Ditto for wireless
#/sbin/rmmod ipw2200

# Save the system time
/sbin/hwclock --adjust
/sbin/service ntpd stop

# Step 2: Send sleep command via ACPI
echo mem > /sys/power/state

# Step 3: Wake-up and reload

# Restore USB
/sbin/modprobe ehci_hcd
/sbin/modprobe uhci_hcd

# Ditto for wireless
#/sbin/modprobe ipw2200

# Restart network time service
/sbin/service ntpd restart

rm /suspending
#xinit /bin/false -- :1

Note: I did not see any effect in commenting out the Load "dri" line in /etc/X11/xorg.conf as suggested. Also note, if a suspend fails then the file /suspending is left which prevents suspend from working later.

Media Keys

The volume controls can be made to work with Gnome via the Applications->Preferences->KeyBoard Shortcuts dialog. They do not seem to effect the subwolfer. The subwolfer can be controlled by the "Master Mono" control Applications->Sound and Video->Volume Control. It is turned down by default. Note, that there are several ways to control sound. If the Media keys don't work or the "Master" control in the Volume Control panel doesn't seem to work, check that you have the sound turned up in the Gnome applet.

The Start/Stop key will work with Rhythmbox but not the CD player.


An OpenAFS client is trivial to install thanks to packages from www.mattdm.org. You need to install only openafs-1.3.77-2.FC3.i386.rpm and openafs-client-1.3.77-2.FC3.i386.rpm. To start AFS as root type:
/etc/init.d/afs start.
It should automatically start if a network connection exists at boot. Note: check the kernel you are using. AFS is precompiled for specific kernels.

Things to fix

Created on 7 January 2005.
Last updated on 13 April 2005