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Install Fedora Core 6 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)
Works Had no problem using my CompUSA USB 3.5" floppy drive.
Integrated 10/100 Network Card Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal 56k V.92FAX/Modem Reported To Work 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 Core 6 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 2.6.18-1.2798.fc6

Basic Installation of Fedora Core 6:
  • Why to use Fedora Core 6
    Simply put:
    -- it's stable & runs well
    -- requires little work to setup/configure
    -- all hardware appears to be supported
    
  • Obtaining Fedora Core 6
    -- Download ISOs directly from RedHat (http://fedora.redhat.com)
    -- Make install DVD/CDs from the ISOs downloaded
    -- Use DVD/CDs to install Fedora Core 6 to the laptop
    
  • Installing
    -- Nothing special.  Install the OS normally.
    -- Unlike my FC4/FC5 write-ups, I had no problems which prevented use of the GUI installer with FC6.
    -- As such, use of the text install mode (by typing 'linux text' at the boot prompt) was not necessary.
    -- Also no special kernel parameters are needed, to make things work correctly.
    
  • Post-Install modifications/tweaks
    -- login as 'root'
    -- setup necessary YUM repos
    -- reboot
    -- as 'root', run commands 'yum -y update', and then 'yum -y upgrade'
    -- reboot
    -- follow steps below to setup the WLAN
    
Setting up additional features for Fedora Core 6
  • Fixing CPU Speed

    This is due to the wrong kernel being installed by default. There are 2 ways to fix this issue:
    -- You can follow the noted steps in the Fedora Project Wiki - Common Issues section.
        (This method gave me some problems. I recommend using the 2nd method below.)
    -- Or you can easily update the kernel from the 586 to 686 version via YUM.
        (run "yum -y update kernel.686" as 'root')
    -- Once you boot into the 686 version kernel, CPU Speed will work perfectly.

  • Getting Wireless LAN to operate correctly

    Use the below steps to get the NetworkManager Applet to work correctly with your Wireless LAN.
    (* NOTE: do all the following while logged in as 'root')

    -- download NdisWrapper
        (I used ndiswrapper v1.27 - since it was the most current version)
    -- install all necessary dependency packages
        (i.e. kernel-header, kernel-devel, gcc, wireless-tools, wpa_supplicant, etc...)

    For Example, these are some of the packages I have installed, according to YUM:
    
    kernel.i686              2.6.18-1.2798.fc6      installed
    kernel-devel.i686        2.6.18-1.2798.fc6      installed
    kernel-headers.i386      2.6.18-1.2798.fc6      installed
    gcc.i386                 4.1.1-30               installed
    gcc-c++.i386             4.1.1-30               installed
    gcc-java.i386            4.1.1-30               installed
    wireless-tools.i386      1:28-1.fc6             installed
    wpa_supplicant.i386      1:0.4.8-10.1.fc6       installed
    

    -- Sometimes you have to symlink the modules directory to this directory:
        ln -s /usr/src/kernels/`uname -r` /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build
    * NOTE: where "`uname -r`" is automatically replaces with the name of the directory returned by ls /usr/src/kernels/ of the kernel you are using. Also the "`" is NOT an apostrophe, but is the back tick character. This character typically shares the key for the tilde ("~") character. Normally you will find this key next to the "1" key on your keyboard]).
        (I used YUM to download all of these necessary packages. Just make sure all kernel packages use the same ix86 version [i.e. the kernel I used was an i586 version, so I needed to install the i586 kernel-devel & kernel-header packages specifically. As such, if you download the i686 packages for an i586 kernel, you will have problems compiling/usage ndiswrapper])
    -- download the Acer Aspire 3002LCi Window XP wireless driver.
    -- unzip the ndiswrapper tarball & the wireless driver some place on your hard drive
    -- in the ndiswrapper folder, run commands 'make distclean', 'make' & 'make install'
    -- then change directory to your wireless driver folder
    -- run command 'ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf'
    -- then go into System ==> Admininstration ==> Services
    -- in the Services window, check NetworkManager & uncheck NetworkManagerDispatcher, then save the settings
    -- close Services window
    -- then go into System ==> Administration ==> Network
    -- in the Network window, under the Devices tab, remove any references to any wireless configuration
        (this should simply leave 'eth0' [the hardware ethernet connection] listed)
    -- in the Network window, under the Hardware tab, remove any references to any wireless hardware
        (this should simply leave 'Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS]' [the hardwire ethernet hardware] listed)
    -- save the changes in the Network window & close that window.
    -- reboot
    -- run the 'start_wlan.bat' batch file (see below) as root.
    -- run command 'ndiswrapper -m'
    -- run command 'ndiswrapper -ma'
    -- run command 'ndiswrapper -mi'
    -- reboot & login normally
    -- from this point, you can use the NetworkManager applet to connect to your wireless LAN.
        (by clicking on the NetworkManagement applet [next to the clock] & using the 'Connect To Other Wireless Network' option, to login to any wireless network)
    or you can use the start_wlan.bat batch file below.
        (ensure you disable wireless option in the NetworkManager applet, by right click the applet icon and uncheck the Enable Wireless option, before you run the start_wlan.bat batch file.)
  • 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
    -- I have verified this has been fixed in FC6, when doing a new/clean install of FC6.
    -- However you will need to upgrade to the BIOS to version 3A32, before installing FC6.
    -- You can download the BIOS from the Acer Euro Support Site or directly from their FTP site.
    -- In order to update the BIOS, you will need to use the winflash utility from Acer (you will need Windows for this app) or you can use OpenDOS and the phlash16 application (this is how I upgraded mine).
    -- NOTE: the meter battery issue is not automatically fixed if you upgrade from FC4 to FC6.
    -- I was told that you can manually fix this, if you edit your dsdt file, after upgrading to BIOS version 3A32 or 3A24. I was also told instructions on how to manually fix this issue is here.
  • Anything else that raises concern
    -- AIGLX/Compiz Desktop Effects (System ==> Preferences ==> Desktop Effects) does not seam to work at this time. All information seams to point to a 3D support &/or DRM Module issue with the SiS video card driver.
    -- 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'
    
    /sbin/modprobe -r bcm43xx
    
    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 file assumes 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   35G  4.3G   29G  14% /
    /dev/hda1                         99M   11M   84M  12% /boot
    tmpfs                            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)
    00:02.5 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] AC'97 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 BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller (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 or 662/761Gx PCIE VGA Display Adapter
    
  • ndiswrapper -l
    Installed drivers:
    bcmwl5          driver installed, 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     Scan completed :
              Cell 01 - Address: 00:18:39:73:CB:23
                        ESSID:"YOUR_SSID"
                        Protocol:IEEE 802.11g
                        Mode:Managed
                        Frequency:2.422 GHz (Channel 3)
                        Quality:92/100  Signal level:-37 dBm  Noise level:-96 dBm
                        Encryption key:on
                        Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s
                                  11 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s; 24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s
                                  48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
                        Extra:bcn_int=100
                        Extra:atim=0
    
    Setting Wireless LAN To Managed Mode...
    Setting WEP Encryption Key...
    Setting Specific Wireless Network Access Point...
    Bring Up Wireless LAN Interface...
    Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client V3.0.4-RedHat
    Copyright 2004-2006 Internet Systems Consortium.
    All rights reserved.
    For info, please visit http://www.isc.org/sw/dhcp/
    
    /sbin/dhclient-script: configuration for wlan0 not found. Continuing with defaults.
    /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/network-functions: line 78: 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
    DHCPNAK from 192.168.1.1
    DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 3
    DHCPOFFER from 192.168.1.1
    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 78: wlan0: No such file or directory
    bound to 192.168.1.5 -- renewal in 82856 seconds.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    * Note: Above MAC address, SSID & Channel info was changed for security reasons
    
    
  • 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 boot-up. 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 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 & then reboot. Reinstalling the Windows XP driver should not be necessary, as it should remain after reinstalling the same version of Ndiswrapper to your new kernel.
    -- Upgrading from FC5 to FC6 with the CDs is straight forward. However I had problem with upgrading certain packages. Also on 1 machine, the upgrade locked up at about 15% into the package upgrading process. I recommend doing a clean install of FC6 for best results.
  • My Acer 3002LCi Laptop Review (short, sweet, & to the point)
    I like this laptop for general purpose usage, especially 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 in some forums that after-market batteries can be purchased to nearly double the battery life. However I have never seen any for sale online. 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 scenes without the RAM upgrade. After the RAM upgrade, DVD playback & overall graphical performance was much smoother. 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 with 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! ;-) After a while you just get used to typing on it, and the jumping cursor is not as much of an issue. 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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