Fedora Core 9 on a Dell Latitude D610
Updated 28 July 2008


Introduction
The purpose of this document is to provide information about running Fedora Core 9 on a Dell Latitude D610 with a specific focus on hardware support. As such, the information contained on this web page should be useful for other computer models which contain the same or similar components as the Dell Latitude D610.

CPU Pentium M
Graphics Card ATI Mobility Radeon x300
Hard Drive 80 GB SATA
Wireless Network Card Intel ProWireless 2915 ABG
Pointing Device Alps GlidePoint/StickPointer
Laptop Specific Function Keys
Wired Network Broadcom 57XX Gigabit Integrated Controller
Audio Sigmatel STAC 975X AC97
Power Management
Modem Conexant D110,MDC,1.5,v.92


CPU
Intel Pentium M Processor
Fedora Core 9 supports the Dell Latitude D610's Pentium M processor out of the box and does not require any additional configuration. Fedora Core 9 does support dynamic CPU scaling out of the box which helps to conserve power and lengthen battery life. CPU scaling is enabled by default but can be easily disabled by accessing the service configuration. To access the the service configuration panel click "System" on the upper tool bar, point to "Administration", and click "Services."
System Service Configuration Dialog Showing Cpuspeed

Graphics Card
ATI Radeon Mobility x300
Fedora Core 9 has basic support for the ATI Radeon Mobility x300 graphics card out of the box. Fedora Core 9 does not support 3d acceleration for the ATI Radeon Mobility x300 out of the box, but the opensource driver included with Fedora Core 9 should be sufficient to perform most common tasks. In order to fully utilize the capabilities (such as 3d acceleration) of the ATI Radeon x300, the best option is to install ATI's proprietary Linux driver. Unfortunately, the ATI drivers are not yet compatible with Fedora Core 9. The good news is that ATI updates their Linux drivers frequently. The ATI Linux driver is usually updated several times each month so it may be worth while to check if the ATI proprietary Linux driver is functional on Fedora 9 yet. For those who wish to attempt using ATI's installer, the ATI Proprietary Linux Driver can be downloaded from ATI/AMD. ATI provides instructions for installing the driver. There may be a number of other methods for installing the proprietary Linux ATI driver. One of which will probably be to use an installation method available at fedorafaq.org. This will probably be the easiest way to install the proprietary Linux driver for users who don't have much experience installing software on Linux.


Hard Drive
The Dell Latitude D610 uses a Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive. As as result of the way Linux handles the SATA bus, the partitions will be labeled in the fashion sda1 as opposed to hda1. No special configuration as a result of the hard drive is necessary.

802.11abg Wi-Fi Card
Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG
(Also applies to: Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG)

The driver for common Intel wi-fi cards (Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG/2200BG/3915ABG etc.) is included with Fedora Core 9, but users will need to install the firmware for these cards as the firmware is proprietary and thus not shipped with Fedora Core 9 and many other Linux distributions. There are two good options for installing the Intel firmware. The first is to download the firmware from Intel's 2200BG Linux driver project page and follow the instructions provided on the same page. Note: The Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG and the Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG use the same driver and firmware on Linux. The second (and simpler) installation method is to download an RPM from ATrpms which can be used on Fedora Core or RedHat. The RPM only needs to be double-clicked after it is downloaded to perform the installation of the necessary firmware. In either case you will want version 3.0 of the firmware for use with the Linux driver included in Fedora Core 9. The Dell Latitude D610's Wi-Fi indicator light does not illuminate but this does not have any impact on the function of the Dell Latitude D610's wireless network card.
Dell Branded Wireless Cards
Some Dell Latitude D610s include a Dell branded wireless card instead of an Intel wireless card. Computers that have an Intel wi-fi card will carry the Centrino branding; those that lack a wi-fi card or have one produced by some other manufacturer will have a Pentium M sticker instead of the Centrino sticker on the right palm rest. Over the past few years most wireless cards that carry the branding of the computer manufacturer have been Broadcom cards although they could be just about anything. Unfortunately there is not a native Linux driver for the Broadcom cards because Broadcom hasn't provided the necessary information to produce one. Fortunately, there is a fairly successful project known as NdisWrapper which allows wireless card drivers for Windows to be used on Linux. I don't have any experience using NdisWrapper; however, I would recommend visiting the NdisWrapper project home page for information about the project and using NdisWrapper.

If you are buying a new computer and are interested in using any type of Linux on it, it is definately worth paying a little bit more to get an Intel wireless card or one you can verify has well supported Linux drivers available for it. In my experience, selecting a different wireless card for a laptop will at most only cost ~$15-$35 US more than the default configuration (if you have to pay more at all). Avoid Broadcom wireless cards if you want to use Linux. The Intel wireless cards also have much better support and the drivers are more reliable on Windows. If you wanted to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista (or some other version in the future) it would be a safer bet that the Intel wireless cards will have the drivers you need than some Dell/HP/Gateway/whatever branded Broadcom wireless cards.

Connecting to a Wireless network
To connect to a wireless network, left click the network icon in the system tray which is located in the upper right corner of the screen. Click on the network you want to connect to. If necessary, there is a dialog which automatically detects the appropriate encryption type and prompts users for the network key.
Connecting to a Wireless Network on Fedora Core 9

Pointing Devices / Mouse
Alps GlidePoint/StickPointer
Both the pointing stick (the blue thing that looks like an eraser) and the touch pad along with corresponding buttons work normally out of the box. Additionally, a USB mouse can be simply plugged into the Dell Latitude D610 and will function immediately with no additional configuration necessary.

Laptop Specific Function Keys
Almost of all of the laptop specific function keys on the Dell Latitude D610 are supported by Fedora Core 9 out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. Among these are the shortcuts to control screen brightness (Fn+up arrow/Fn+down arrow) and the shortcut to enable/disable the wireless adapter (Fn+F2) as well as many others. The volume control keys and mute key located above the keyboard are also supported out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. The support for these specialized keys is notably good in comparison to other popular Linux distributions such as openSUSE 10.3.

Wired Ethernet Network
Fedora Core 9 supports the Dell Latitude D610's wired network card out of the box with no additional configuration necessary.

Sound Card
Sigmatel STAC 975X AC97
The audio system on the Dell Latitude D610 works out of the box with no additional configuration necessary. As with many other Linux distributions, Fedora Core 9 can detect when external speakers or headphones are connected. As a result, Fedora Core 9 has separate volume controls for headphones and a laptop's internal speakers. The external speakers are controlled by the "Master Volume" settings and headphones (or external speakers) are controlled by the "Headphone" settings.
ALSA Mixer Volume Control on Fedora Core 9
Note: To access the Volume Controls on Fedora Core 9, double click the picture of a speaker on the system tray in the far upper right corner of the screen.

Power Management System
Fedora Core 9 supports dynamic frequency scaling on the Intel Pentium M processor out of the box. The keyboard shortcuts used to adjust the screen brightness on the Latitude D610 (Fn+up arrow/Fn+down arrow) also function properly without installing any additional software. One notable annoyance of Fedora Core 9's default management settings is that when the computer has been idle for a long period of time, Fedora Core 9 "blacks out" the screen rather than turning off the screen. The problem with this is that the back light remains on and no energy is saved! so it is pointless and wasteful. Other than that, Fedora Core 9 seems to have fairly typical power management capabilities for a modern operating system. Fedora Core 9 also seems to do about as well as other Linux distributions and Windows XP when it comes to conserving power while operating on battery power. At least if you are using the computer the whole time it is on. Since Fedora Core 9 "blacks out" the screen rather than turning it off it will waste significantly more energy than other operating systems when users are not actively using the computer.
Power Management Preferences on Fedora Core 9
Note: To access the power management settings in Fedora Core 9, click "System" in the system tray at the top of the screen, point to "Preferences", point to "System", and click "Power Management."

Modem
Untested


See also:
Index of Linux related documents
Running Ubuntu 8.04 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running Ubuntu 8.10 on a Dell Latitude D610
Running openSUSE 10.3 on a Dell Latitude D610

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