Zsolt Kira

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When I first got my Inspiron 5100 laptop, I put linux (Fedora Core 1) on it and detailed the problems and some solutions I came across. By now core 6 is out, and this is well outdated. However, it seems to come up for many google searches, so I'm leaving it up. Hopefully it answers your questions :)


I'm not responsible if any of these instructions damage or blow up your computer! These instructions worked for me, but you might have different kernel/hardware/software/etc versions.

So, I've recently purchased a laptop and put Fedora Core 1 on it. I still haven't gotten many things to work, but I thought it might be helpful if I posted some info on what I did get. This will be a continually changing page. See other guides (which have proven very helpful) here.

  • Inspiron 5100,15.1 XGA, 2.8GHz-P4
  • 384MB,266MHz 2DIMM
  • 32MB ATi Mobility RADEON 7500
  • 30GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive
  • USB Memory Key - 64MB
  • Integrated NIC
  • Internal 56K Modem
  • 24X CD-RW/DVD Combo
  • Fedora Core 1: 2.4.22-1.2115 kernel

The installation was rather straightforward. After wiping the harddrive, I first installed Windows XP from the original CD and made the necessary partitions. I gave 10GB to windows, 10GB to linux, 8GB to a shared fat32 partition (that the two OSs can both access), and the rest for the linux swap partition. The Fedora installation went smoothly. The Display should be set as "Dell 1024x768 Laptop Display Panel" (for 15" XGA), and for the touchpad you can just select a normal two button PS/2 mouse.

Because the TrueMobile 1300 is notorious for not working in linux (at least as far as I could find online), I specifically asked for a TrueMobile 1150 pcmcia card. This card is supported by the 2.4.22 kernel version of the drivers (orinoco_cs), and so it worked without modifying anything. Fedora automatically created an ethernet connection for it, which is wrong since you cannot change the wireless settings like that, so I deleted it and created a new Wireless Connection. Simply create a new wireless connection (Network configuration [redhat-config-network] -> New -> Wireless Connection, and fill in the WEP key settings, etc.

Supposedly, if you want it to try to connect to a list of Access Points automatically, edit /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts and add the configurations for each access point. This did not work for me.

Hence, annoyingly, the wireless connects to any old access point, unless you supply an SSID and key. If you want multiple configurations (e.g. for when you're at home or school), you have to add multiple connections (as shown above using redhat-config-network) with different nicknames, SSIDs, and keys. One thing to note is that this will NOT work unless you have at least one connection with a nickname of "eth0" (or whatever device it's on). Also, make sure they are all added to the current profile! If all else fails, you can add the connections manually in /etc/sysconfig/networking/devices and /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts, following the files that are there already (e.g. ifcfg-eth0), and changing the nicknames and keys (note that each connection has its own key file, e.g. keys-eth0).

In order to use software such as Airsnort and kismet to find wireless access points, the card has to support "monitor mode". The orinoco_cs driver I had does not support it, so it had to be patched:

  • If you don't have it already, install the kernel-source-2.4.22-1.2115.nptl.i386 package
  • Get the source and the patch for your version of orinoco_cs driver here (mine was 0.13d)
  • Extract the source to any directory, cd to it, and patch using the "patch -bp0 < orinoco-0.13d-patch.diff" command from the source directory (use patch --dry-run -p0 < orinoco-0.13d-patch.diff to see if it works before doing anything).
  • "make" and "make install"
  • Reboot or restart the orinoco_cs module (not sure how to do this)
  • "iwpriv" command (as root) should have a "monitor" line. If it does, the patch worked and you can install and run airsnort and kismet
  • NOTE: The patch page says that the latest cvs supports monitor mode, but I tried installing it and it does not put it as a private ioctl, and so airsnort and kismet do not seem to work with it (at least the versions I was using).

I had no problems with the ethernet. It was detected automatically, and works flawlessly.

In order to install various multimedia support for mozilla, see this page. The only trouble I had is that xine didn't install until I got the alsa-lib-1.0.2-2.fr.i386.rpm (from the FreshRPMs site). Also, sound for xine and xmms didn't seem to work until I installed the esound-devel package. I saw some web page that stated this has to be installed for esound to work, although I'm not sure what versions that's for.

  • Clock problems: gnome clock applet shows UTC time sometimes, for some odd inexplicable reason. (problem disappeared after kernel upgrade from up2date).
  • ACPI (battery indicator, etc.) - Tried to recompile the kernel to add support to this (per instructions in the other guides), but failed miserably.
  • Hotplug of usb key
  • Keyboard (function, windows, etc)
  • Hardware acceleration of video
  • CD writer, dvd, modem
  • Mounting network drives (samba)
  • Rsync to sync all computers
©2009 Zsolt Kira