Here is a brief summary of what's working on this machine. (Basically everything is, except that I haven't tried the modem.)
|Widescreen 1280×800 display||Works||No special action needed|
|Accelerated graphics||Works||No special action needed|
|3D effects (Compiz)||Mostly works||Works fine under Gnome, but is unreliable under KDE|
|Sound||Works||No special action needed|
|DVD-ROM/CD writer||Works||Kernel parameters: "ide0=noprobe ide1=noprobe"|
|Touchpad||Works||No special action needed|
|Suspend to RAM||Works||No special action needed|
|Suspend to disk||Works||No special action needed|
|CPU speed scaling||Works||No special action needed|
|Ethernet||Works||No special action needed|
|Wireless||Works||No special action needed|
|External monitor/projector||Works||Requires editing of one configuration file|
|Modem||Untested||Never tried it, so I don't know whether it works|
Basically Fedora runs pretty nicely on this machine. A few small tricks are needed as described here. Complete installation should take you about an hour.
As usual, these notes are merely a document of things that worked for me. There's no guarantee they will work for you, and there are some things you could do while installing Linux that would really mess up your computer bad. I'm not aware of anything that will do that other than flashing your BIOS, which I don't recommend, but hey, you never know. You have been warned. All opinions expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily shared by the University of Michigan.
Windows came in a 60GB NTFS partition, which I resized to 15GB. There was another empty 10GB NTFS partition, which I deleted. Also there was a 5GB FAT partition. This partition contains an entire spare copy of Windows XP, in case you need to reinstall Windows. (Sharp provides this instead of a Windows CD.) The standard boot loader on the computer can reinstall Windows for you from this partition. (I think you hit F10.) However, installing Linux overwrites the standard boot loader with the Linux boot loader, which means you will no longer be able to reinstall Windows this way after you have installed Linux. To get around this, you can make a Windows recovery disk (actually four CDs), which as far as I know contains a complete copy of what's in the utility partition, and allows you to reinstall Windows at any later time. To create a recovery disk, get four blank CDs, boot Windows, and then follow the instructions contained in the computer manual. Once you create a recovery disk the reinstall-Windows-from-hard-disk-partition option is disabled anyway, so you might as well delete the utility partition, which is what I did, or you can reinstall Windows from the recovery disk, which deletes the partition for you.
This left me with 65GB of free space for Linux.
I did a network install using the basic boot CD, but installing from DVD should be very similar. I had to change the boot order in the BIOS to get the machine to boot from the CD drive – hit F2 as the computer is booting and use common sense. Then stick the disk in the drive and fire it up.
For some reason the Fedora 8 installer hangs on this computer, but there is
a simple fix: edit the boot options on first start-up and add the options
floppy.allowed_drive_mask=0 clocksource=acpi_pm. I have no
idea why this works – neither option sounds particularly promising
– but various people found that this works on other computers and it
does with this one too.
After that things proceed as normal. When you get to the part about partitioning the disk, you can accept the default partitioning or you may want to do a manual partitioning yourself, which is what I did. I made a 100MB /boot partition on /dev/sda2, a 1GB swap partition on /dev/sda3, and then an extended partition holding 10GB for / and the rest on /home.
The installer will also ask you about the boot loader. At this point click
the advanced options box, and when you get the advanced options screen
there's a box for general kernel options. Here you should type
ide0=noprobe ide1=noprobe. Without this, the DVD-ROM drive
doesn't work properly.
The rest of the installation is vanilla. When it's done installing it'll reboot and the first time it boots it will run through some setup stuff – creating a user account and so forth. After that you're done! Congratulations. You've installed Linux.
rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-8.rpmas root and you're good to go. (If you don't have a network connection, then you can't do this. On the other hand, if you don't have a network connection, then you can't use Livna at all. Or yum for that matter.)
Then you might want to update everything to the newest version. Type
yum update and wait a couple of hours.
In addition I installed a bunch of other things that I consider useful, including xfig, gv, xdvik, inkscape, scribus, acroread, amarok, mpg321, mplayer-gui, xemacs, ddd, octave, fftw, blas, lapack, grace, labplot, flash-plugin, sshfs, xcdroast, and audacity. (Note that acroread and flash-plugin have to be downloaded direct from Adobe, which provides them in the form of convenient RPM files for direct install on Fedora. Just do a Google search and you'll find them.) I also removed totem, which is mostly worthless and causes some annoying problems for playing media files.
Section "Monitor" Identifier "Monitor0" VendorName "Unknown Vendor" ModelName "Generic Monitor" Option "MonitorLayout" "CRT,LFP" Option "Clone" "true" EndSectionIt can go after the "Device" section, for example. Then add the single line
Monitor "Monitor0"to the "Screen" section in the same file. This fixes the problem with the image displacing to the left and also sets the external video connection to be on by default. If you later want to turn the external connection off for some reason, you can use the program
i810switch, which allows you to turn it on and off with a simple command.
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0". I also found the mouse buttons too fussy about timing when I was clicking both to emulate the middle button, so I added
Option "EmulateMidButtonTime" "100"in the same place.
yum install gtk-qt-engine. After installation you'll find you have a new menu item in the KDE Control Center under Appearance & Themes/GTK Styles and Fonts. Select this and click the buttons for "Use my KDE style in GTK applications" and "Use my KDE fonts in GTK applications". Then Firefox and friends will look just like everything else, fonts and all. Or you can select your own style, fonts, and sizes if you prefer.
That's about it. Overall, I really like this machine – it's very nice to use, has an excellent screen, it's fast, light, and well designed. I'd certainly recommend it if you're looking for a sleek and portable Linux machine.
Last modified: December 16, 2007