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. So unfortunately, Fedora 10 is the last update I'll make to this "Linux on Dell D420" page. Sorry.

This had been my laptop for work, since around August/September 2006. Previously, this laptop was the topic of Fedora Core 7, then Fedora 8, and Fedora 9, which all worked really well. Before I was forced to switch to Windows (a move I'm still not happy about) I upgraded to Fedora 10 on January 15, 2009.

Here are the specs for my particular system:

Purchased in 2006.

Partitioning

Booting the Fedora 10 install DVD, one of the first steps is to partition the hard drive. I decided to go with the standard disk setup for Fedora 10, rather than setup my own partitions manually (as I usually have done.) Starting in Fedora 9, and continuing into Fedora 10, the installer can automatically set upan encrypted filesystem. It's easy! Just check the box that encrypts your filesystem, enter your new passphrase, and it's done.

I let the installer use its own layout, so the disk was setup with Logical Partitions.

Software

Since all I ever use the laptop for is editing office documents ("Word" and "Excel"), doing my email, and browsing the web, I used the standard components for a "Office" installation (including GNOME, OpenOffice, Firefox, etc.)

Sound

Sound worked right away under Fedora 10, with model Corporation 82901G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller. No tweaking necessary.

Graphics

Everything "just works" under Fedora 10. The graphics card is correctly identified using the intel built-in driver. The video mode on the built-in display was selected correctly at 1280x800 (interestingly, font DPI was set correctly for my Dell 1905FP display, even though the external monitor has a different DPI than the built-in display. Didn't test with the internal display, however.)

One nice feature in Fedora 10 is the display manager. It automatically detected that I had two displays connected to my system, and easily let me select which was active, and define the resolution for each. My internal display is 1280x800, but my external display runs at 1280x1024. Again, it "just worked" here, although I did need to logout/login after changing the external display resolution in order for the desktop to be aligned properly. Not a big deal.

Network

The Fedora 10 installer automatically configured the on-board Broadcom network adapter, and the wireless network device as an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945. 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 network and obtained an IP address automatically. I also got a message that wireless networks were available, and when I (intentionally, as a test) unplugged the network cable, the laptop automatically connected to the wireless network.

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.

Installing extra software: I haven't installed any extra software, but maybe you want to. If so, here's a hint on how to do that: visit the Fedora 10 Tips & Tricks page for lots of great suggestions for how to make Fedora more usable to the average user. There's also a handy tip to add new repositories of extra software.


Summary:

Overall:



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