Sunday, February 19, 2006

Linux: Fedora Core 4 on Dell Inspiron B130

Rant warning:

If you're thinking about buying a Dell Inspiron B130 for use with Fedora Core 4, my initial assessment is don't:
  1. If you use the automatic partitioning, you'll get an exception during install. This may be Fedora's fault, though, because I've seen this problem before.

  2. After the installation actually started installing RPMSs, it just froze and died. It may have been display related, but I'm not sure.

  3. I installed in text mode (HTTP install) with the bare minimal number of packages. But then, when it tried to boot, it froze on the line, "Initializing hardware... storage network".

  4. I know that the display is hard to get working, but I've heard it just comes down to getting the right mode line, "Modeline "1280x800" 80.58 1280 1344 1480 1680 800 801 804 827".
Well, I will continue the battle tomorrow. It's too late for me to return this laptop. I'm not a happy camper at this moment. Apparently, very few people have installed Linux on this laptop so far. It doesn't even have its own Linux on Laptops page yet. I might also try Ubuntu because some people have reported success.

By the way, remember how I said Dell agreed to pay me back a small amount of money to offset the Microsoft tax? The money never showed up in my account. If I am stuck running Windows on this thing, I may just set fire to it and let it burn--not that I'm bitter or anything ;)

13 comments:

matt said...

JJ I know you like Fedora, but...

Go with Gentoo. I just installed it on my new thinkpad r52. Excellent documentation and easy to install new versions of software.... Though the install process takes a little more than a half hour....

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

Matt, thanks for your advice. Considering your day job, I respect it. However, I find Gentoo to be somewhat painful. Ubuntu worked out of the box (even suspend to disk!), with the exception that I had to fight to get it to support WXGA (i.e. 1280x800).

Leon Atkinson said...

At work, we recently gave up on Dell products. The quality is just not there. We're buying HPs now, and for less money.

At home, I've been very pleased with Falcon Northwest, but I definitely pay a premium for the high level of service. One example: my chipset fan started to get noisy. I emailed them for advice, and the FedEx'd me a new one for no charge. This was long after the 1 year warranty had expired.

robert moniot said...

The freezing on boot after installing fedora has something to do with probing the audio. I did not find a fix. I switched to ubuntu 5.10 which is working fine after following the hints I found about ndiswrapper (for wireless) and 800resolution (for 1280x800).

robert moniot said...

The freezing on boot after installing fedora has something to do with probing the audio. I did not find a fix. I switched to ubuntu 5.10 which is working fine after following the hints I found about ndiswrapper (for wireless) and 855resolution (for 1280x800).

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

> By the way, remember how I said Dell agreed to pay me back a small amount of money to offset the Microsoft tax? The money never showed up in my account.

Oops, looks they *did* pay me back, but on a different credit card (actually, my Dad's). Sorry for the confusion!

Anonymous said...

So what version do you recommend putting on a B130 -- that will give you minimal problems? I recently got one and downloaded Fedora Core 4 and realized it may not work so I googled and found this :( Hopefully someone can figure out a work around. Gentoo installs ok with no problems? Thanks guys.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

Check out my other post. I've been really pleased with Ubuntu.

Anonymous said...

I have Whitebox Enterprise Linux 4 working (mostly) on Dell B120/130's. This is a Free clone of Redhat Enterprise Linux 4, Installation went smooth, however after updating to the newest kernel the system stopped booting (hung on disabling IRQ's), rolling the kernel back one version fixed the problem for now. The only other problem I have is the screen not waking up, the work around at the moment is Ctrl-Alt-F1, then Ctrl-Alt-F7 to switch virtual screens. Perhaps your Fedora problem is related to this bug in the newer kernel.

gonzojrnalst said...

i just installed fedora core on my dell inspiron b130 and it worked great! i coulda fallen asleep and it would have been fine.. the only issue that i have is with my sound card and wireless internal modem.. i kinda knew something was going to be an issue.. but i can just hook up through my ethernet port and its pretty quick. i havent used any linix/unix anything in a while. i hadnt even heard of fedora until i saw that it was the new redhat.. i also had a bajillion problems trying to download a .iso from linuxiso.org i remember when i had a 33.6k and i downloaded mandrake and it installed perfect even though it took 2 days to download.. now that i have a highspeed internet connection i cant seem to download an iso that isnt tainted.. i ended up going and getting a book on linux for 50$ at a bookstore.. worked great! had the full install on a bootable dvd of fedora core.. im enjoying it..

gonzojrnalst said...
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Todd said...

openSUSE 10.1 has been a very positive experience for me on my B130, with everything setup properly out of the box except my Broadcom 4318 wireless card, which I got going with ndiswrapper. Sleep and suspend work, WXGA works, ... even most of the function buttons.

Bill said...

I have another guide for Linux on the Dell Inspiron B130 which I have written.