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Install Fedora Core 4 on Acer Aspire 3002LCi

General Hardware Specifications of Aspire 3002LCi:

Hardware Components
Status under Linux
Notes
Mobile AMD Sempron processor 2800+ (1.6 GHz) Works No special procedure required during installation.
15.0 XGA TFT LCD Display Works Select Generic LCD Display in Installer (1024x768 @ 70Hz)
Max: 24-Bit Color (16.7 Million Colors)
Integrated SiSM760GX Video Card - Shared Video Memory
(BIOS select to 32MB, 64MB or 128MB)
Works No special procedure required during installation.
256MB PC2700 DDR 333MHz SoDIMM RAM
(Max 2GB [1GB x 2])
Works No special procedure required during installation
40 GB Ultra ATA, 2.5" Hard Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Floppy Drive - NONE
(Purchase/use a USB Floppy Drive, if needed)
Unknown Not Tested
Integrated 10/100 Network Card Works Requires 'apm=off acpi=noirq ec_burst=1' to be added to kernel parameters in '/etc/grub.conf'
Internal 56k V.92FAX/Modem Unknown Not Tested
24x (CD-RW) / 8x (DVD) Integrated Combo Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal Broadcom Corporation 4318 (rev 02) 802.11b/g Wireless Networking (Wi-Fi Certified) Works Requires 'NdisWrapper' & Acer's Windows XP Driver
(See below for how to setup & activate.)
Lithium-Ion Battery (1.5 hour battery life) Works No special procedure required during installation
DirectSound Sound Card Works No special procedure required.
Fedora Code 4 installs both ALSA & OSS

Misc Specifications:

Input Device
  Keyboard
  Touchpad
  4-Way Scroll Button

Interface Provided
  1 Display / Video VGA
  3 Hi-Speed USB
  1 Audio Line-in / Microphone
  1 Audio Line-out / Headphones
  1 Modem Phone Line
  1 Network Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX

Slots Provided
  2 Memory Banks (1 Free)
  1 CardBus [PCMCIA] Type II Slot

Dimensions & Weight
  Depth   11 in
  Height  1.5 in
  Weight  6.2 lbs
  Width   14.3 in

This laptop is operating under Kernel version 2.6.14-1.1653_FC4

Basic Installation of Fedora Core 4:
  • Why to use Fedora Core 4
    Simply put:
    -- it's stable & runs well
    -- requires little work to setup/configure
    -- all hardware appears to be supported
    
  • Obtaining Fedora Core 4
    -- Download ISOs directly from RedHat (http://fedora.redhat.com)
    -- Make install CDs from ISOs downloaded
    -- Use CDs to install Fedora Core 4 to the laptop
    
  • Installing
    -- There were some problems which prevented use of the GUI installer.
    -- Use the text install mode (by typing 'linux text' at the prompt) when installing from the CDs.
    -- Apply the extra kernel parameters after you install Fedora Core 4, if you like. (That is what I did...)
    
  • Post-Install modifications/tweaks
    -- Ensure you added the extra kernel parameters to '/etc/grub.conf'.
    -- Enable all commented options in '/etc/sysconfig/harddisks' to increase harddisk access speed. (optional)
    -- reboot
    -- as 'root' run commands 'up2date -u', 'yum -y update', and then 'yum -y upgrade'
    -- reboot
    -- follow steps below to setup the WLAN
    
Setting up additional features for Fedora Core 4
  • Getting Wireless LAN to operate correctly
    -- goto NdisWrapper - Wiki
    -- follow their instructions on how to download/install the NdisWrapper
    -- once the NdisWrapper is installed, run the batch file below as 'root' to activate the WLAN when needed.
  • Getting Suspend-to-Disk to operate correctly
    -- never tried this
    -- default is immediate shutdown (same as running 'shutdown -h now' as root)
  • Getting the touchpad to operate as more than a PS/2 mouse
    -- touchpad was auto-detected and worked correctly immediately upon installation.
    -- touchpad center button works as a center button and can scroll (up/down & left/right) in most programs.
    -- in Firefox, you can do special navigation tricks when you tap/slide the touchpad in certain ways.
  • Any other additional features you can think of
    -- the PCMCIA card slot was detected, but I never tried to use it.
(Un)resolved issues
  • Problem setting the Shared Video RAM in BIOS to 128MB
    -- upgrading RAM resolved this issue
  • Sound may come out distorted
    -- upgrading RAM seamed to help resolve this issue
  • Computer randomly hangs (uh-oh)
    -- upgrading RAM seamed to help resolve this issue
    -- ensure you updated your packages via 'yum' & have added the extra kernel parameters to '/etc/grub.conf'
  • Battery meter doesn't function correctly
    -- haven't figure out how to fix this yet
    -- research seams to indicate that a decompile & recompile of the ACPI may be necessary
  • Anything else that raises concern
    -- LAN network issues are typically fixed by adding the extra kernel parameter noted above.
    -- WLAN network issues are typically fixed by reinstalling 'NdisWrapper' after upgrading to a new kernel.
Configuration Files
  • Any Configuration files that you needed to modify

  • Well this is not exactly a config file, but the following batch file is what I use to activate the wlan.
    -- paste the below into a file named 'start_wlan.bat'
    -- chmod the file '755'
    -- run as 'root' when you want to connect
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    #!/bin/sh
    echo 'Starting Home WLAN'
    
    echo 'Setting Dependency Mod...'
    /sbin/depmod -a
    
    echo 'Mod Probing ndiswrapper...'
    /sbin/modprobe ndiswrapper
    
    #echo 'Scanning For All Wireless LAN Access Points...'
    #/sbin/iwlist wlan0 scan
    
    echo 'Setting Specific Wireless Network Access Point...'
    /sbin/iwconfig wlan0 essid YOUR_ESSID
    
    echo 'Scanning For Specific Access Point...'
    /sbin/iwlist wlan0 scan
    
    #echo 'Setting Wireless LAN To Managed Mode...'
    #/sbin/iwconfig wlan0 mode Managed
    
    echo 'Setting WEP Encryption Key...'
    /sbin/iwconfig wlan0 key restricted YOUR_WEP_KEY
    
    echo 'Setting Specific Wireless Network Access Point...'
    /sbin/iwconfig wlan0 essid YOUR_ESSID
    
    echo 'Bring Up Wireless LAN Interface...'
    /sbin/ifconfig wlan0 up
    /sbin/dhclient wlan0
    #/sbin/dhcpcd wlan0
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Replace 'YOUR_ESSID' with your Wireless LAN's ESSID.
    Replace 'YOUR_WEP_KEY' with your Wireless LAN's WEP key.
    
    * Notes:
    -- This batch script assumed your WLAN is setup with DHCP & uses WEP security
    -- If you don't use WEP, then you can comment out that line.
    -- The rest of the lines are comments for making the commands clearer &/or to test under different WLAN configurations.
    
More Specific Information. Specific stuff such as:
  • df -hl
    Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00
                           36G  3.6G   31G  11% /
    /dev/hda1              99M   19M   76M  20% /boot
    /dev/shm              569M     0  569M   0% /dev/shm
    
  • lspci
    00:00.0 Host bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 760/M760 Host (rev 03)
    00:01.0 PCI bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SG86C202
    00:02.0 ISA bridge: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS963 [MuTIOL Media IO] (rev 25)
    00:02.1 SMBus: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS961/2 SMBus Controller
    00:02.5 IDE interface: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 5513 [IDE]
    00:02.6 Modem: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] AC'97 Modem Controller (rev a0)
    00:02.7 Multimedia audio controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] Sound Controller (rev a0)
    00:03.0 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.0 Controller (rev 0f)
    00:03.1 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 1.0 Controller (rev 0f)
    00:03.2 USB Controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] USB 2.0 Controller
    00:04.0 Ethernet controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS900 PCI Fast Ethernet (rev 91)
    00:06.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1410 PC card Cardbus Controller (rev 02)
    00:0b.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation: Unknown device 4318 (rev 02)
    00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
    00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
    00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
    00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 661/741/760 PCI/AGP VGA Display Adapter
    
  • ndiswrapper -l
    Installed ndis drivers:
    bcmwl5          driver present, hardware present
    
  • 'start_wlan.bat' Output Example
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    # ./start_wlan.bat
    Starting Home WLAN
    Setting Dependency Mod...
    Mod Probing ndiswrapper...
    Setting Specific Wireless Network Access Point...
    Scanning For Specific Access Point...
    wlan0     No scan results
    Setting WEP Encryption Key...
    Setting Specific Wireless Network Access Point...
    Bring Up Wireless Lan Interface...
    Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client V3.0.2-RedHat
    Copyright 2004 Internet Systems Consortium.
    All rights reserved.
    For info, please visit http://www.isc.org/products/DHCP
    
    /sbin/dhclient-script: configuration for wlan0 not found. Continuing with defaults.
    /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/network-functions: line 51: wlan0: No such file or directory
    Listening on LPF/wlan0/0a:1b:2c:3d:4e:5f
    Sending on   LPF/wlan0/0a:1b:2c:3d:4e:5f
    Sending on   Socket/fallback
    DHCPREQUEST on wlan0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67
    DHCPACK from 192.168.1.1
    /sbin/dhclient-script: configuration for wlan0 not found. Continuing with defaults.
    /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/network-functions: line 51: wlan0: No such file or directory
    bound to 192.168.1.2 -- renewal in 109262 seconds.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    * Note: MAC address was changed for security
    
    
  • Other Relevant/Useful Info
    -- Despite some posts that I've read to the contrary, you do not need to hold down or press the WLAN button on the front of this laptop to make the WLAN hardware initialize at the time of bootup. The batch file provided is all you need to activate the WLAN.
      * UPDATE: If after installing the NdisWrapper & running the batch file, however still cannot connect to your WLAN, you should press the WLAN button once & then re-run the batch file. With some of the newer FC4 kernels, I found this may be necessary...
    -- Pay very close attention to the NdisWrapper setup instructions. If you skip steps, your WLAN will not work correctly.
    -- Keep a copy of the NdisWrapper setup instructions, source code & Windows XP WLAN drivers files on your laptop's hard drive. You will need to use it again...
    -- When you install a new kernel (even via an APT or YUM upgrade) you will need to reinstall NdisWrapper to make the WLAN work once again.
      * UPDATE: You should not need to redo everything. You should only need to run the 'make distclean', 'make' & 'make install' commands. Reinstalling the Windows XP driver should not be necessary, as it should remain after a reinstall.
  • My Acer 3002LCi Laptop Review (short, sweet, & to the point)
    I like this laptop for general purpose usage, especialy when running linux. After rebates, I paid a little over $400 [RAM upgrade excluded]. It's no gaming machine, but that is not the reason why I purchased it. Adding additional RAM greatly enhances the performance of this system. Battery life is sad (only 1.5 hours at best), but I've read that after-market batteries can be purchased to nearly double the battery life. General Sound & MP3 playback (via XMMS with the Enhanced Stereo module enabled) is good. DVD playback via Xine was good, but jerked a little during heavy action sceens (DVD tests done without the RAM upgrade). The laptop fan doesn't seam to come on nearly as much or as loud as some claim. My only annoyance with this laptop is that the touchpad. It is very sensitive. Slight touches or vibrations while typing will cause the pointer/cursor to jump. There is no way to adjust this, so type carefully! ;-) Other then that, I like the laptop for my everyday usage. Overall I would give this laptop a 8.5 out of 10.
Useful Links:

Plus other useful things I may have forgotten

YUM Repositories Used:
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