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SL302 Installation on a Dell Latitude C810

Some notes related to the installation of SL302 on a Dell Latitude C810 laptop.

This laptop has long be a dual boot W2K-Linux. It's a 1.13 GHz Pentium III machine, 512 MB memory, 20 GB disk, and a very nice flat screen (1600x1200). The only drawbacks are its weight (I do have 2 batteries) and two quite noisy fans.

I moved to SL302 from a Fedora Core 1 (and before that I was running RH7.2).

Note: I'm using this laptop both at work, where it is docked (the dock station having its own NIC), and at home (undocked).

The Good

Installation process went mostly ok, meaning I was able to boot afterwards and have something to play with ;-)

yum (which I discoverd using FC1) is really a nice tool to handle package installation and keep a machine up to date !

The Bad

XFree86 driver "nv" is not really adequate for my needs, e.g. I never suceeded to make it work with my docked screen. But this problem is not SL specific, I had it with both RH7.2 and FC1. So I'm using NVidia drivers directly.

afs installation was not really smooth (but it finally works fine)

The unknown

I do have a WiFi PCMCIA card, which used to work under FC1, but I've not tried it yet on SL302.
Same thing for my Wacom Graphire 3 tablet.
I have never tested IrDA.

Extra Steps Needed

I use some home made scripts to manage my "profiles" (both networking and graphics, as my docked screen is rather old and has a much lower resolution than the laptop screen (!)) : at home using my ISP's dhcp, at work being docked, or anywhere unplugged from any network.

lspci (while docked)

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82815 815 Chipset Host Bridge and Memory Controller Hub (rev 04)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82815 815 Chipset AGP Bridge (rev 04)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82801BAM/CAM PCI Bridge (rev 03)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp. 82801BAM ISA Bridge (LPC) (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82801BAM IDE U100 (rev 03)
00:1f.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801BA/BAM USB (Hub #1) (rev 03)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV11 [GeForce2 Go] (rev b2)
02:03.0 Multimedia audio controller: ESS Technology ES1983S Maestro-3i PCI Audio Accelerator (rev 10)
02:06.0 Ethernet controller: 3Com Corporation 3c556 Hurricane CardBus [Cyclone] (rev 10)
02:06.1 Communication controller: 3Com Corporation Mini PCI 56k Winmodem (rev 10)
02:08.0 Ethernet controller: 3Com Corporation 3c905C-TX/TX-M [Tornado] (rev 78)
02:0f.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4451 PC card Cardbus Controller
02:0f.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4451 PC card Cardbus Controller
02:0f.2 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments PCI4451 IEEE-1394 Controller



I installed from CD I've burnt from the ISO I've got from here. I was undocked at that time.

Monitor was not probed by anaconda, but installation was graphical anyway, though the screen was a little bit tiny wth a huge black border (as the resolution was probably only 800x600 instead of the 1600x1200 available on the laptop screen).

The touchpad was detected as "generic 3 button PS/2 mouse" and works ok like that.

I chose "Workstation" installation type (though if I ever redo it from scratch I would choose custom as I then missed a lot of packages, see below).

I let the automatic partition do its job on my pre-existing single linux partition, and then tweaked it a little bit to get a separated /home. My hda disk is a HITACHI-DK-23DA-20, size 19077 MB.

I selected firewall, and let ssh go through it. Nothing else.

721 packages were to be installed (2578 MB) and it took roughly 30 minutes to complete. Only disk 1 & 2 of the distribution were required.

Note: My sound card (ESS Maestro3) was correctly detected and is running fine, using maestro3 module.

Post installation

Using chkconfig, I disactivated the yum update.

I've switched to KDE instead of Gnome.

First thing I did as root was to launch "updatedb" to be able to easily "locate" things...

I then changed my default runlevel to 3 in inittab (kind of a must to be able to play with X configuration later on).

At that point I was stuck when trying to dock my laptop as I could not get X at all.

I removed the following packages which I do not use (I prefer the most recent firefox and thunderbird) :

  • mozilla-nspr
  • mozilla-nss
  • mozilla
  • mozilla-mail
  • mozilla-chat
  • gaim
In preparation for X driver compilation, I installed kernel-source (using yum, of course).

I disabled mdmpd service (using chkconfig) as I don't know what it is for...

yum update kernel

Then compiled and installed nvidia driver, as per nvidia instructions, w/o any problem.

Then patched the /etc/rc.d/init.d/cups to open port 631 in my firewall (otherwise I do not see my lab printers)

yum install xemacs (I cannot live w/o xemacs !)

upgrade yum by hand to the latest to be found under ftp://.../SL302/contrib/RPMS

AFS installation was not really smooth. Here's the final recipe, I've got using very valuable help from the scientific-linux-users mailing list:

  • yum groupinstall "OpenAFS Client"
  • yum install kernel-module-openafs-`uname -r` (as the previous one picked the wrong module)
  • patch /usr/vice/etc/CellServDB to change rhic to
  • apply a local patch to /etc/rc.d/init.d/afs otherwise afs service won't start
I believe the last 2 steps won't be necessary in SL303

I do have a digital camera and I like to handle it through the digikam KDE application. I downloaded digikam-0.6.2.tar.bz2 and digikam-plugins-0.6.2, and had to install the following dependencies to be able to compile using (after a configure --with-qt-dir=/usr/lib/qt-3.1 --prefix=/usr) :
  • yum install qt-devel
  • yum install kdelibs-devel
  • yum install arts-devel
  • yum install gphoto2-devel
  • rpmbuild --rebuild libexif-0.5.12 (and libexif-devel) from DAG rpms.
  • yum install kdesdk
Installed by hand Acrobat Reader 5 (in /usr/local/Acrobat5)

Made rpms for Firefox 1.0PR and Thunderbird 0.8 and installed them

yum install tetex-latex

Installed from src rpm graphviz (required yum install tck-devel tk-devel) to be used with doxygen

Installed by hand in /opt :

  • python-2.3.4
  • Zope-2.7.2
  • Plone-2.0.4
  • CMFBoard-2.1.2
I do have an S-Talent 256 MB USB key. I had to change /etc/updfstab.conf.default so /etc/fstab is updated when I plug it in :

device diskonkey {
    partition 0
    match   hd diskOnKey
    match hd "Flash Drive" <--- Added this line


To ease transitions from various working places, I like to have my grub presenting me a list of profiles : e.g. "Home", "Docked", "Windows".

I based this on the network profiles to be set up using the redhat-config-network tool, so my grub changes are limited to duplicating the normal linux kernel line there to :

kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.21-15.0.4.EL ro root=LABEL=/ hdb=ide-scsi netprofile

The, I do have a home-made /etc/rc.local :

# This script will be executed *after* all the other init scripts.
# You can put your own initialization stuff in here if you don't
# want to do the full Sys V style init stuff.

touch /var/lock/subsys/local

# Source functions library
. /etc/init.d/functions


# Need a given file hierarchy to work
if [ -f $PROFILEDIR ]; then
exit 0

echo -n "ERROR : " >> /root/rc.local.log
echo -n `date` >> /root/rc.local.log
echo "$PROFILEDIR/$CURRENT_PROFILE does not exist" >> /root/rc.local.log
exit 0

echo -n `date` >> /root/rc.local.log
echo "current_profile is $CURRENT_PROFILE" >> /root/rc.local.log


if [ -f $COPYLIST ]; then
while read source dest; do
cp -f $dest $PROFILEDIR/$CURRENT_PROFILE/backup/$source
cp -f $PROFILEDIR/$CURRENT_PROFILE/$source $dest
done < $COPYLIST

if [ -f $SERVICELIST ]; then
while read service what; do
/sbin/service $service $what

which uses a special home-made directory /etc/sysconfig/profiles to look for :

  • files to be copied from the profile to system directories (e.g. XF86Config)
  • services to be started in that profile (e.g. ntpd, sendmail)
Here's an example of such a directory :
# ls /etc/sysconfig/profiles/docked/
copylist ntpservers servicelist XF86Config
ntp.conf step-tickers
# cat copylist
XF86Config /etc/X11/XF86Config
ntp.conf /etc/ntp.conf
ntpservers /etc/ntp/ntpservers
step-tickers /etc/ntp/step-tickers /etc/mail/
# cat servicelist
sshd start
ntpd start
afs start
sendmail start
cups start

Note that the services in servicelist must not be configured to be started by default (e.g. a chkconfig --level 2345 [service] off must have been issued at some point) upon boot.

The NIC configuration itself is handled by redhat-config-network tool and the relevant files are under /etc/sysconfig/networking/profiles, e.g.

# ls /etc/sysconfig/networking/profiles/docked/
hosts  ifcfg-eth0  ifcfg-eth1  network  resolv.conf
# cat ifcfg-eth0
# 3Com Corporation|3c556 Hurricane CardBus
# cat ifcfg-eth1

In that case, eth0 is my laptop NIC (not used), and eth1 is my docking station NIC, which is used.

Created by dawson
Contributors : aphecetc
Last modified 2004-11-30 12:55 PM

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