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Fedora Core 6 T42 Setup

Bill Moss
October 26, 2006


Partition Table
Kernel Devel
FAT32 Partition
Truetype Fonts
Browser and Mail
Suspend to RAM
Maple & MATLAB
DVD Playing
Maple Menu Item
Subpixel Rendering

Introduction. The purpose of this note is to outline the dual boot setup of Fedora Core 6 (FC6) on a Clemson Laptop Program IBM T42. Discussion is limited to issues not completely covered in several excellent online articles. We first point out two two failures in the install process which we encountered.

Installer Bugs

  First, a custom install of the non-server packages produced a kernel panic on the
  first boot.
  Next, a custom install of the minimal set of packages installed the i586 kernel
  instead of the i686 kernel. Some users report the i586 kernel is installed with
  i686 kernel-devel.
  Check: /boot/config-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6
  Check: /root/install.log
  Download kernel-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6.i686.rpm
  rpm -e kernel-devel-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6 (if installed)
  rpm -Uvh --replacefiles --replacepkgs kernel-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6.i686.rpm

FC6 comes with the standard Fedora Core yum repository files which can be found in /etc/yum.repos.d. In addition, I have used the Livna repository. Add the Livna yum repo files by installing the following rpm.

  # rpm -ivh

Partition Table. Here is the partition table I have used beginning with FC2.

Parted Partition Table

Pri/Log Partition Type Label Size Start End
primary /dev/hda1 ntfs C 12.0GB 32.3kB 12.0GB
primary /dev/hda3 ext3 /boot 101MB 12.0GB 12.1GB
primary /dev/hda4 ext3 / 10.5GB 12.1GB 22.6GB
extended /dev/hda2     17.4GB 22.6GB 40.0GB
logical /dev/hda5 linux-swap swap 543MB 22.6GB 23.2GB
logical /dev/hda6 fat32 D 13.5GB 23.2GB 36.6GB
logical /dev/hda7 /ext3 /home 3397MB 36.6GB 40.0GB

Matt Saltzman recommends using LVM if you are partitioning from scratch. LVM allows dynamic resizing of filesystems. Here is his partition table.

  /dev/hda1 - Diagnostics (39MB)
  /dev/hda2 - C: (16GB)
  /dev/hda3 - /boot (128MB)
  /dev/hda4 - Extended
  /dev/hda5 - D: (8GB)
  /dev hda6 - Linux LVM (rest of the disk)
  /dev/hda7 - E: (FAT32 a couple of GB) 
  Inside the LVM, there is a single VolGroup00:

  LogVol00 - / (8GB)
  LogVol01 - /usr/local (4GB)
  LogVol02 - /opt (4GB)
  LogVol03 - swap (2GB)
  LogVol04 - /home (rest of the disk).

Monitor and Resolution. Unlike FC5, first boot setup did not allow the choice of monitor type or resolution. After the first boot, these settings were made with the system administration display utility.

  Monitor: IBM 9514-B TFT Panel
  Resolution: 1024x768

Radeonfb Video Module.

Power-drain during a suspend is still a problem with FC6 and certain Thinkpad models. The following steps will install the radeonfb module.

  Add to /etc/modprobe.conf
  options radeonfb force_sleep=1

  Create /etc/sysconfig/mkinitrd containing

  Rebuild the initrd for any kernels you already have
  # /sbin/mkinitrd -f -v /boot/initrd-$(uname -r).img $(uname -r)

Note that mkinitrd is run by a scriptlet in the kernel RPM, so future kernel RPM installs should automatically include the radeonfb module.

After completing the above steps which worked for FC5, the resolution of the display was stuck in at a low setting. The log /var/log/Xorg.0.log revealed errors due to the default assumption that an external crt monitor is attached. Turning off the MergedFB option in xorg.conf fixed this problem. However synching to an external LCD monitor failed if the monitor was attached after boot. It turned out that a radeon MonitorLayout option was a better fix (see the radeon man page).

I have included some additional options that turn on and configure acceleration.

  Section "Monitor"
          Identifier   "Monitor0"
          ModelName    "IBM 9514-B TFT Panel"
   ### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
          HorizSync    48.0 - 65.0
          VertRefresh  60.0 - 75.0
          Option      "dpms" 

  Section "Device"
          Identifier  "Videocard0"
          Driver      "radeon"
          BoardName   "ATI Technologies Inc Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]"
          Option      "BIOSHotkeys" "on"
          Option      "DynamicClocks" "on"
          BusID       "PCI:1:0:0"
          Option      "AGPMode" "4"
          Option      "Accel"
          Option      "AGPFastWrite" "on"
          Option      "EnablePageFlip" "on"
  #       Option      "MergedFB" "off"
          Option      "MonitorLayout" "LVDS,NONE"
          Option      "DDCMode" "on"

Wireless. The FC6 distribution includes stable version 1.1.2 of the ipw2200 driver for the Intel Pro 2200BG wireless card. Because the firmware is proprietary, you will have to install it (version 3.0) yourself.

  Download ipw2200-fw-3.0.tgz
  unarchive in /lib/firmware
  or to install all firmware versions
  # yum install ipw2200-firmware

Make sure you install the correct firmware version. The firmware web site links to the firmware by ipw2200 version. Make sure that the firmware files are in /lib/firmware and not in a subdirectory. You can manually install the latest stable version by following the instructions in another article.

Kernel Devel. To compile the the latest ipw2200 driver, the kernel development package is needed. It is part of the FC6 Core distribution.

  # yum install kernel-devel

Network Setup. The wired interface is setup at installation and assigned the device eth0. Additional options can be set using the system administration network utility.

After the first couple of boots I noticed that the wired interface was often named __tmp1804289383 instead of eth0. The work-around for this bug seems to be

  make sure the network service is on (on by default)
  create the file /etc/iftab containing
  eth0 mac 00:0D:60:B2:19:9D
  eth1 mac 00:0E:35:14:60:D0

NetworkManager. NetworkManager is an optional component for FC6. This application is great for managing network interfaces on a laptop. You can also use it along with vpnc to make a vpn connection to Clemson from off campus. A detailed separate article explains the setup.

FAT32 Partition. To mount the FAT32 D partition, do the following.

  Add to /etc/fstab
  /dev/hda6 /mnt/windowsd vfat rw,nouser,auto,uid=500,gid=500,umask=077 0 0

  # mkdir /mnt/windowsd
  # mount /dev/hda6

Truetype Fonts. The article

  Optimal Use of Fonts on Linux

is highly recommended.

Browser and Mail. Mozilla Firefox is included in FC6, while Thunderbird is available for installation.

  # yum install thunderbird

Go to the menu item

  System -> Preferences -> More Preferences -> Preferred Applications
to set the default mail client to Thunderbird. A previous article dealt with the sharing of Firefox bookmarks and Thunderbird mailboxes between Windows XP and FC.

Java. The FC6 release comes with an open source implementation of Java. Sun Java can also be loaded and the alternatives utility can be used to switch between them.

Follow the installation instructions at

Suspend to RAM. Suspend to RAM is supported in FC6. The directory /etc/pm/hooks contains scripts for suspending particular applications.

Maple & MATLAB. Installation of Maple and MATLAB were covered in previous articles. Two compatibility packages are needed for FC6.

  yum install libXp
  yum install compat-libstdc++-33-3.2.3-61.i386  

Services. Unneeded services eat up system resources. To see your list of services

  System -> Administration -> Services

Here is the list of services that I am currently running in level 5.

  NetworkManager, NetworkManagerDispatcher, acpid, anacron, apmd, atd, autofs, 
  cpuspeed, crond, cups, dhcdbd, gpm, haldaemon, hplip, ip6tables, iptables, 
  mcstrans, messagebus, network, readahead_early, readahead_later, restorecond, 
  smartd, syslog

Printing. Gnome printer setup can be done with the system administration printing utility. Clemson Mathematical Sciences users should obtain PPD files for department printers. Import the corresponding PPD files when you set up each printer.

The only other information needed is the ip address of each printer.

Playing DVDs.

Playing DVDs continues to be a challenge for FC6 users since licensing issues do not allow the distribution of all required components.

Install Mplayer.

  # yum -y install mplayer mplayer-fonts mplayerplug-in mplayer-doc mplayer-gui
  # yum -y install libdvdcss libdvdplay libdvdnav

Download and install codecs.

  Download essential-20061022.tar.bz2
  # gtar xjvf essential-20061022.tar.bz2
  # mkdir /usr/lib/win32
  # mv essential-20061022/* /usr/lib/win32

Install the Clearlooks skin to match the default FC6 Gnome theme.

  Download clearplayer-0.8.tar.bz2 from 
  Extract in /usr/share/mplayer/skins.
  Use the 'Skin browser' in the context menu to set the default.

Use Preferences in the context menu to set the audio to the ALSA sound system and the video to X11/Xv.

Install GStreamer Files.

  # yum install gstreamer*

The FC6 default movie player is totem. Additional gstreamer files are required to play a DVD. My default movie player is mplayer and it is set to autoplay when a DVD is inserted. To play a DVD with totem, start totem and open the location dvd://.

Note that both mplayer and totem played a test DVD satisfactorily.

Modem. The modem in the Clemson T42 is an IBM product based on the Conexant chip set and requires an HSF driver. A free 14.4K driver is available from

The Clemson T41 modem is an Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Modem Controller. It can be controlled by the slmodem-alsa RPM from Livna. To allow regular users to operate the modem, add them to the uucp group. Then chkconfig slmodemd on (and service slmodemd start), and use system-config-network to define the modem device (/dev/ttySL0 in this case) and set the interface to user-controllable. No kernel module is needed.

Maple Menu Item. To add Maple Standard to the system-wide menus and add file and icon associations, complete the following steps.

First, copy the Windows ICO icon file for Maple Standard to your home directory and then use the gThumb Image Viewer to convert to a 32x32 PNG image file maple.png. Copy this icon to your Maple installation directory. Mine is /usr/local/maple10.

Second, create the following desktop file and update the default applications list.

  [Desktop Entry]
  Append to /usr/share/applications/defaults.list

Third, set up the mimetype.

  Create the file /usr/share/mime/packages/Overrides.xml
  <?xml version='1.0'?>
  <mime-info xmlns=''>
    <mime-type type="application/maple">
      <comment xml:lang="en">Maple Worksheet</comment>
      <magic priority="100">
        <match value="&lt;Worksheet&gt;" type="string" offset="0:50">
      <glob pattern="*.mw"/>

Fourth, set up the icon association.

  cd /usr/local/maple10
  cp maple.png /usr/share/icons/gnome/32x32/mimetypes/

Finally, update the desktop, mime, and icon databases.

  update-mime-database /usr/share/mime
  gtk-update-icon-cache -f /usr/share/icons/gnome

Gnome file sniffing presents a challenge here. Maple MW files are XML files. Without the magic and match tags and the high priority in the Overrides.xml file, Maple MW files would be identified as XML files.

Subpixel Rendering. FC6 can do subpixel rendering using the freetype package. After trying a number of cases, I found these two setups satisfactory.

  Windows XP default fonts
  96 DPI
  Tahoma   9
  Verdana  9
  Tahoma   9
  Trebuchet MS Bold  11
  Lucida Sans Typewriter  10
  Subpixel smoothing
  Hinting Medium
  Subpixel order RGB


  FC6 default fonts
  96 DPI
  Sans   10
  Sans   10
  Sans   10
  Sans Bold  10
  Monspace  10
  Subpixel smoothing
  Hinting Medium
  Subpixel order RGB

When using medium hinting, I found only a slight difference between subpixel rendering and grayscale for the default FC6 fonts and the fonts used in Windows XP. Grayscale looked just slightly bolder. The subpixel order did not matter.

When using full hinting, there were stark differences between subpixel rendering and grayscale. Also, the subpixel order made a big difference. Full hinting did not produce as good a result as medium hinting.