Linux on Laptops

Sponsored by LinuxCertified Inc.

Home | New | Models | Submit        

Fedora 12 Linux on Dell Latitude D430

I've been a Linux user since 1993, when I was a student at university. Until 1998, I had a partition on my home system to run some Windows games, and since 2002 I've been fortunate enough to run Linux full-time at work. I didn't have any issues exchanging documents with others at work, and certainly my previous bosses didn't mind.

But times change, I suppose. For reasons I won't go into, I've been asked to move back to Windows, at least for work.

While I thought this meant the end of the road for me running Linux on my work laptop - that turns out not to be the case! I bought an 8GB USB drive, and have installed Fedora. Works great! Now I have a subnotebook running Linux again.

I installed Fedora 12 on November 22 2009.

Here are the specs for my particular system (purchased 2008):

  • Intel Core2 CPU @ 1.20GHz
  • 2GB memory
  • 8GB flash drive @ 30 MB/s [internal hard drive not used for this install]
  • MediaBase has CDRW/DVDRW [not used for this install]
  • 12.1 inch wide @ 1280x800 display
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Intel 3945 802.11a/g

Install

The installation process itself was very easy. I manually created my partitions, and didn't let the installer set up a default scheme with Logical Partitions. Just plain partitions. Since this is running on a flash drive, I'm not likely to need to extend the filesystems.

  • /boot
  • /(root)
  • swap [disabled after install]
  • /home [encrypted]

Even though I have a 1GB swap partition on the drive, I have it commented out in my /etc/fstab. I'll use it only if I happen to boot this on a system that is low on memory. Hopefully that will never happen.

In case I ever lose the flash drive, I wanted to encrypt my data. Just as in previous releases, the Fedora 12 installer makes encrypting your system very easy. During setup, just check the box to encrypt your stuff, type in your passphrase, and the installer does the rest!

Installation didn't take long, about 20 minutes.

I should also mention that Fedora boots very quickly. To boot the system (from BIOS), login, bring up Firefox, and display a web page (Google) takes just over 1 minute on this system. Pretty fast!

Software

The Fedora 12 Desktop Edition installs AbiWord as your "office" environment. No spreadsheets, though. I occassionally need to do work from home. I gave AbiWord a try with some of my documents from work. Mostly they came up fine, but a few documents with complicated formatting didn't look right (colors messed up, tables not right, etc.) Fortunately, it's easy enough to go into "Add/Remove Programs" and remove AbiWord, and install OpenOffice Writer.

For what it's worth, OpenOffice Writer is able to open all my documents just fine, both DOC and DOCX files. Formatting looks correct, even on the documents with complex styles. AbiWord may be fine if you just need to write the occasionally Christmas letter, but I think I'll stick with OpenOffice for work stuff.

Sound

Sound worked right away under Fedora 12. No tweaking.

Graphics

Everything "just works" under Fedora 12. The video mode on the built-in display was selected correctly at 1280x800.

Network

The Fedora 12 installer automatically configured the on-board Broadcom network adapter, and the wireless network device. I didn't have to do anything to get this to work. In fact, after booting my system for the first time, it correctly detected the wireless network and let me set up a connection.

Other stuff

Update your system: It's important you update your system right away after install. Not only does this make sure you have all security patches applied, you also get the latest software and drivers. It's easy! To do this, login as your usual user and you'll soon see a dialog presented by the system, asking you to click a button to apply all the updates automatically.

Turn off unnecessary services: In other Linux installs, I'd make a big point here about disabling any services that you don't need. More as an experiment than anything else, I left the default services running after installing. I didn't notice a performance problem. But neither did I check to see what default services were running. You may want to look at your system and see if you should disable anything. Your mileage may vary.

Flash videos: This was easy! The first time I tried to view a Flash video (on YouTube, for example) I got a friendly message that I didn't have the plugin installed, with a link to Adobe's web site to get Flash. The only trick is in knowing what installer type to get. You want .rpm for Linux. Just download the RPM file, open it using Package Manager (Firefox may give you this option.) Package Manager installs the RPM automatically. You'll need to exit/restart Firefox for the change to take effect.

Summary

My grade: "A"

  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG supported using ipw3945
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 works "out of the box"


Cheap Laptop Rugged Laptop Case Gaming Laptop Lenovo Linux Laptop
Linux on Laptops is copyright © 2011 linux-on-laptops.com
Privacy Statement  Contact us at linuxonlaptops (at) gmail.com
  Advertise on linux-on-laptops.com

No Warranties: This information is provided "as is" without any warranty, condition, or representation of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, any warranty respecting non-infringement, and the implied warranties of conditions of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. All logos or trademarks on this site are the property of their respective owner. In no event shall linux-laptop.net, linux-on-laptops.com, or any directors, trustees, associates, or employees thereof be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential or other damages howsoever caused whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of the information contained on this web site.