Install log for Linux Fedora 10 x86_64 on a Compal IFL 90 PM2


Important Note

I do not take responsibility for any problem that occurs in your system. Use this information at your own risk.

Introduction

I bought this laptop a year ago. When I bought it I installed OpenSuse 10.3 x86_64 (see references for more information about this). It was now time to upgrade to a new distribution. I decided to give Fedora 10 a try.

This page describes what you can expect of this combination.

The install process went very smoothly. I used the Fedora Core 10 x86_64 DVD. After the installation is complete please update your system:
yum update

This will get the latest versions of all packages.

References

The page I wrote when I installed OpenSuse 10.3:
OpenSuse 10.3 x86_64 install guide on a Compal IFL 90

This is a great page with tons of information about Ubuntu Linux on this hardware platform (much of it can be applied to Fedora):
Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon installation on a Compal IFL 90

An install guide for Fedora Core 10 with information about adding support for mp3, codecs, software, etc. This information is beyond the scope of this page. Anyway, is very useful:
Personal Fedora 10 Install Guide

Hardware description

Here goes the description of the Compal configuration I bought:


Compal IFL 90 PM2 Barebone

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 Ghz (T7500) “Santa Rosa” FSB 800Mhz

Chipset Intel 965+ICH8M

Wireless:Intel 4965AGN

Ram: 2GB 667 Mhz

Nvidia 8600 GT 512 Dedicated Ram

Hard-drive: 250GB 5400rpm

Screen: 15.4" WXGA+ Glare Type TFT 1440 x 900

No turbo memory as the machine is to be used with Linux only. No Vista here :)


BIOS

I installed the latest available BIOS version (v 1.19).

What will work out of the box

Graphics with correct resolution (but no 3D acceleration)

Soundcard (except microphone)

Touchpad

Keyboard

Wireless interface

Ethernet interface

Bluetooth

Hibernation (to disc)

USB ports

Web Cam (tested with Skype2)

Card reader

What will not work without work:

Nvidia 3D acceleration


What I still can't get to work:

Hibernation (to ram)
Built-In Microphone support
Fingerprint reader

Untested


Built-in Modem


Procedure to get 3D acceleration

In order to enable the 3D support, the latest Nvidia driver must be installed. This is a straight forward process. 

I followed the process described in the NVidia site (go to runlevel 3 and then run the nvidia script).

There are many ways to install the proprietary driver. See this page for detailed information.

Brief notes on Suspend (to RAM)

I still can't get the suspend to RAM to work correctly. The laptop will suspend correctly (it will turn off with the power light blinking) but on resume, it will lock. The LCD back lit will be turned on but nothing appears and the keyboards is locked too (CAPS LOCK does not work).

I tried several tweaks but none seems to work.

By using s2ram I sometimes can get the laptop to resume correctly. It fails 1 in every 5 times.

I'm using:
s2ram -f -a3

The only way I can get suspend to work is to go to runlevel 3 before suspending it. By doing this, the above command seems to work every time.

I will report here any news about this issue.

Update 2009-02-20: It is working!!!
After an update of both the kernel and nvidia driver, the suspend to ram seems to be working fine. Versions installed:
kernel:  2.6.27.15
nvidia driver: 180.29

Hard Drive Aggressive Power Management Problem

Sometime ago, there was a story on the web about a "bug" that would cause the hardrive heads to park too often on recent linux distributions. I believe that it was initially reported for Ubuntu. This would only happen on laptops that were in power-save mode (disconnected from the power cable). This aggressive policy would wear down the hard drive too quickly shortening it's life.

Here is a page about this issue.

I don't really know if this is a kernel bug or a combination of the BIOS, etc. What I do know is that after Fedora was installed, as with OpenSuse 10.3, I could clearly hear the hard drive clicks every 10 seconds or so.

You can easly check if you have this problem by running the command (as root):

smartctl -A /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count

Run this command several times over some minutes. If you see the counter go up, you have the same problem.


I solved the problem by adding this line to /etc/rc.local (so that it is run everytime the system boots):
hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda

This will set the power management less aggressive and it seems to solve the problem.

Final Words

Hope that this report is useful to you.

If you need to contact me, do so here: tiago[dot]estima[at]gmail[dot]com



Last Update 2009-02-11
Linux On Laptops