Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [linux-dell-laptops] Fedora 4 on Dell XPS M140

Expand Messages
  • Herman
    Honestly, I would not willingly install Fedora on anything, but installation thereof is very easy. You just insert the first CD and follow the prompts. You
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Honestly, I would not willingly install Fedora on anything, but installation thereof is very easy.  You just insert the first CD and follow the prompts.  You should end up with a mostly working machine.

      Important considerations are:
      a. Partitioning:  By default, Fedora puts everything in one partition.  This is fine, till the day you want to upgrade - it is better to have at least at separate /home partition.
      b. Encryption:  Notebooks get stolen.  Fedora doesn't provide the ability to encrypt the /home and /swap partitions, Mandriva does.
      c. You wil probably run into some issues with Suspend to disk, WiFi and the modem, irrespective of the distribution you use.
      d. Instruction set: FC uses the i386 instruction set, which makes your machine slow.  Mandriva uses the i586 instruction set.

      The trouble with FC is that it makes a brand new machine that you just spent oodles of money on, feel like something that is already 3 years old, slow and clunky - your call though.

      Cheers,

      Herman


      Tux-Guy ;-) wrote:
      parenthetically_yours/Herman,
       
      Thank you for the feedback on Fedora 4. I can't wait until I get my laptop this week. I just need to find a howto for installing it on that laptop. Would any of you know a good place to look for it? I look threw google plus also the linux laptop . I don't see my model for F4.
       
      Plus installing it on a dell would that be hard? I want to keep Xp on it also too. So I think that I will have a dual OS on it, in case I need it for school .
       
      Thank you once again for repling.

    • parenthetically_yours
      Tux-Guy, I ll try to give some tips on your forthcoming install. Herman I m shocked at your FUD... But practical help first. When I got my Inspiron new it had
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Tux-Guy, I'll try to give some tips on your forthcoming install.
        Herman I'm shocked at your FUD... But practical help first.

        When I got my Inspiron new it had an 80Gb drive with three partitions
        filling the disk. The first was a small Dell diagnostic partition -
        you can boot to this if you have problems and do diagnostic things.
        The second was the WinXP partition and filled most of the disk. The
        last one was a recovery partition.

        I removed the recovery partition and resized the WinXP partition to
        20Gb, leaving the diagnostics in place. Here's what I did: first check
        the Dell manual which tells you how to burn a recovery disk. Make one.
        Then the manual tells you how to remove the recovery partition. I then
        used RIP (a lightweight linux rescue system) to shrink the XP
        filesystem and it's partition. You could use other free tools (eg.
        Knoppix) or something like Partition Magic. This left me with plenty
        of space for a linux install.

        (RIP: http://www.tux.org/pub/people/kent-robotti/looplinux/rip/)

        Since the machine comes with a full disk you will have to do something
        like the above no matter which distro you choose, and it's well worth
        knowing about the partition layout (for example if you chose to keep
        the first partition and blow away the rest you would lose XP and have
        a nice diagnostics partition to boot to!).

        Now a word or two on the FUD!

        > a. Partitioning: By default, Fedora puts everything in one partition.

        Nope there's usually a separate boot, swap and the rest is a LVM
        partition. This makes sense unless you think a naive user will know
        how big to make the home partition. If we're not talking about naive
        users then Fedora still gives you the chance to partition manually -
        so where's the beef?


        > b. Encryption: Notebooks get stolen. Fedora doesn't provide the
        > ability to encrypt the /home and /swap partitions, Mandriva does.

        That's nice but recent Dells give you the ability to password protect
        the computer and the disk - many people won't use it though because
        it's a pain if you want to move the disk from the machine. I suspect
        for most users encrypting the disk will be more trouble than it's worth.

        > d. Instruction set: FC uses the i386 instruction set, which makes your
        > machine slow.

        It sounds impressive but it's not that much of a performance
        difference - the full discussion of the pros and cons was had recently
        on another list. The gist of it was that the small performance
        improvement would cost lots of hassle in finding compatible pre-built
        software and would cause hassle for people that build software. Also
        the important multimedia apps already have code to detect different
        CPUs and make the most of them. Not worth the hassle. Contrast this
        with support for 64bit CPUs which is worth the effort.

        Finally, if you decide to go for Fedora, it's well worth joining the
        fedora users mailing list:

        https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-list

        /PY
      • Herman
        Oh good grief - consider that I have 10 Mandriva, 7 Fedora and one Ubuntu machine at last count (and countless Windoze machines). ... What I mean is that by
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Oh good grief - consider that I have 10 Mandriva, 7 Fedora and one
          Ubuntu machine at last count (and countless Windoze machines).

          parenthetically_yours wrote:

          >Nope there's usually a separate boot, swap and the rest is a LVM
          >partition.
          >
          What I mean is that by default everything of importance is in /.
          Therefore, when you want to re-install the system and have to format /,
          your home dir is also formatted and all your data is wiped. It is very
          easy to create a /home during installation and resizing partitions later
          is easy too. Then you can re-install without having to reformat /home.
          So, just be careful during the install of FC - don't just blindly accept
          all defaults.

          >I suspect for most users encrypting the disk will be more trouble than it's worth.
          >
          >
          Encrypting the /swap and /home partitions is very easy with Mandriva.
          The system asks you for your passphrase at startup and after that it is
          transparant. See this: http://www.aerospacesoftware.com/raid-howto.html
          and scroll down to the heading Encrypted File Systems.

          It works on servers too. If a server would reboot due to a power
          failure, then the passphrase request will timeout. You can then later
          log in via SSH and mount /home manually, at which point the system will
          ask for the passphrase.

          The Dell password system is useless - a 10 year old can rip the disk
          drive from a machine and read it on another...

          >The gist of it was that the small performance
          >improvement would cost lots of hassle in finding compatible pre-built
          >software and would cause hassle for people that build software.
          >
          Sorry, it is a performance hit and what is that about difficulty with
          finding software? My Mandriva 2006 mirror occupies almost 30GB. That
          is the opposite problem of having a shortage. Anyhoo, source code is
          processor independent.

          BTW, all my Fedora machines are running standard kernels downloaded from
          kernel.org and compiled for i586. That happened due to a SSL problem in
          FC4. I had to re-install and recompile a shedload of stuff to make FC4
          work. Overall, I am extremely unimpressed with FC4 - it cost me a hell
          of a lot of time and money, but the client wanted it...

          Cheers,

          H.
        • parenthetically_yours
          Herman I hope we re on the same side here - pro linux on Dell laptops. To be honest I have nothing against Mandriva, but I find your anti Fedora comments
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Herman

            I hope we're on the same side here - pro linux on Dell laptops. To be
            honest I have nothing against Mandriva, but I find your anti Fedora
            comments unhelpful.

            > Oh good grief - consider that I have 10 Mandriva, 7 Fedora and one
            > Ubuntu machine at last count (and countless Windoze machines).

            Fine - I would have thought that gave you a more balanced viewpoint.

            You suggest disk encryption, which will cost a 2% performance hit
            (according to the link you gave). It will also make it harder to reuse
            the home partition with other installations of linux.

            You recommend using i586 optimised binaries on an i686 which will give
            you what performance improvement over typical i386 code? I'm guessing
            you'd struggle to get 2% without fiddling the benchmarks. Try harder,
            read the kernel docs and go pester your distro for i686 binaries :)

            Now bear in mind that most processes are IO-bound (rather than CPU
            bound). I'll take my 2% performance boost by having unencrypted disk
            access, thanks.

            Finally, you say the Dell HDD password is useless, I disagree, you'll
            find that it's cheaper to replace the HDD in a stolen notebook than
            send it off to get the HDD password reset. Yes it's possible to
            circumvent but the disk won't just work in another machine, and the
            average 10yo won't be much help. It also protects the whole disk,
            including the windows partitions, with no overheads (unlike software
            encryption of specific partitions).

            (ref: http://www.pwcrack.com/harddisk.shtml,
            http://www.vogon-forensic-hardware.co.uk/forensic-hardware/data-capture/password-cracker-pod.htm)

            /PY
          • Herman
            ... You can t replace the HDD in a stolen notebook - the machine is gone - you don t have it anymore. Unless you are the asshat whole stole the notebook...
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              >Finally, you say the Dell HDD password is useless, I disagree, you'll
              >find that it's cheaper to replace the HDD in a stolen notebook than
              >send it off to get the HDD password reset. Yes it's possible to
              >circumvent but the disk won't just work in another machine, and the
              >average 10yo won't be much help. It also protects the whole disk,
              >including the windows partitions, with no overheads (unlike software
              >encryption of specific partitions).
              >
              >
              You can't replace the HDD in a stolen notebook - the machine is gone -
              you don't have it anymore. Unless you are the asshat whole stole the
              notebook... ;-)

              The purpose of encryption is to prevent the person who stole the
              machine, from reading your accounting and other sensitive data.
              Mandriva uses AES encryption. Without the passphrase, a thief cannot
              access your data. The only thing the thief can do, is format and
              re-install. (I had an IBM Stinkpad stolen and got an $8000 credit card
              bill a couple of months later - since then, I'm using encryption
              religiously!).

              The Dell BIOS password doesn't help in this regard, since it is trivial
              to circumvent. As I mentioned, simply insert the disk drive in a
              desktop machine and read it. The password may be good protection
              against your little kid sister who doesn't know how to use a screw
              driver, but it sure won't help against my teenage son... :)

              Cheers,

              H.
            • parenthetically_yours
              Herman Not sure if you re aware of the Dell passwords. There are three, user, admin and a separate HDD password. The HDD password does pretty much what you
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                Herman

                Not sure if you're aware of the Dell passwords. There are three, user,
                admin and a separate HDD password.

                The HDD password does pretty much what you describe, and more. It
                prevents the disk from being used outside the machine. IT WON'T WORK
                IN A DESKTOP WITHOUT THE PASSWORD. A thief can't even reformat and
                reinstall which is why I say it's cheaper to replace the locked disk
                than read it. The links I posted give more details.

                You mention being defrauded after losing a thinkpad - out of interest,
                why did you feel the need to store information that could let you be
                defrauded in the first place? If you knew you had lost such
                information surely you'd have to do the same things you'd do for a
                lost wallet (cancel cards etc.)?

                /PY
              • herman@aeronetworks.ca
                parenthetically_yours wrote .. ... OK, wasn t aware that Dell now use those kind of disks. However, all you need to do to recover the data, is replace the
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  parenthetically_yours wrote ..
                  > prevents the disk from being used outside the machine. IT WON'T WORK
                  > IN A DESKTOP WITHOUT THE PASSWORD.
                  OK, wasn't aware that Dell now use those kind of disks. However, all you need to do to recover the data, is replace the controller card. If a perp has hardware access to the disk drive, then only encryption can keep the data safe.

                  Only the paranoid will survive... :-)

                  > why did you feel the need to store information that could let you be
                  > defrauded in the first place?
                  I run Quickbooks on my notebook, since I work all over the place, this is handy. Older versions of Quickbooks work on CxOffice.

                  However, I think what the perp accessed was a scan of a credit card statement, which was still on the desktop. Fortunately, the damage to me was only $50, thanks to state law.
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.