Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HP dv2810US and Fedora 10

Over the summer I purchased the laptop because I wanted something lighter for my motorcycle adventures. It has served me well so far. But having recently finished a large development project I started making upgrades to my computer systems before I have to get into the next project coming in January.

My desktop was first, it got upgraded from my old HP DV8000t laptop with 2 extra screens to a new tower machine with a quad core AMD Phenom 9850 processor, Asus motherboard with 3way SLI support, and two dual port Nvidia 9500 GT 512mb cards to drive my three 24 inch screens. It was the first machine that I loaded Fedora 10 onto and finding the right version of the Nvidia drivers was the most difficult part.

So yesterday I had some time so I thought I'd go ahead and upgrade the laptop to F10. First things first, I copied the entire /home and /etc directories onto a spare hard drive so I could find all of my tweaks I had performed to the laptop since this summer. And besides, dropping my home directory back in after the install made things a lot easier.

I knew I was in for a challenge when I booted up the laptop with the install DVD and it couldn't start the graphical interface. So it performed a text install instead. No big deal though, I could just install the Nvidia driver once the install completed but I made sure to chose the development package option during the install so I'd have the compiler and kernel sources installed. So after the installation completed and the laptop rebooted I inserted a USB thumb drive and mounted it manually (the automount doesn't work when you aren't in X windows). I logged in as root since I was going to be working on several things at the system level.

# sh

I followed the prompts and let it build the module and install it. When it prompted me to change my X window configuration file I said YES instead of no. This set up an xorg.conf file me to get started. Then it was easy enough to run startx to make sure things worked. They did, so I continued on.

Besides not finding the video card properly, the installation process also had problems with the wireless card, a Broadcom 4310. No problem, I simply reviewed my posting from July. The steps are pretty much the same but I did have to install the rpmfusion repos before I had the ndiswrapper packages available.

** Save yourself some time. Before messing with the video or the wireless, besure to boot up with a network cable plugged in. Then log in as root and run a yum update and let it install all the new updates. It'll save you at least one or two reboots. In my case I got to install the Nvidia drivers twice since the update installed a new kernel.

When I was working on my desktop machine I found a really helpful guide on setting up various applications at Here are the links to keep pages for me:

Adobe Acrobat:
Adobe Falsh (64-bit) & Video plugins:

The next thing on my list was to install my Zend Studio for Eclipse. It's simply a matter of extracting the .bin file from the tar.gz file and then running sh ZendStudioForEclipse-6_1_0.bin as my regular user. However after installation it would not start. So I had to tweak a few things.

First I wanted to change the version of Java it was running:

su -c 'yum install jre.i386 libgtk-java.i386 # To get the 32bit version of Java and gtk
cd ~/Zend/ZendStudioForEclipse-6.1.0 # Where I installed it
mv jre jre.sun1.5
ln -s /usr/java/jre1.6.0_11 jre

Presto! Now my ZSE works correctly.

Next I had to get my Google Repository installed:

su -c 'sh'
yum install google-desktop-linux

There are plenty of other google things to install like picasa, but I like to start with the google-desktop so I have the quick CTRL CTRL short cut key to do a new google search. Google-gadgets may be a great thing if you like the gadget feature of Windows Vista. But when I'm on my tiny little 15" laptop screen I feel like I'm really cramped compared to the (3) 24" monitors running side by side at 1920 x 1200 on my desktop.  Yes, that's 5760 x 1200. I have the capability to add another 3 screens so I could have a 5760 x 2400 desktop but then I'd have to give up my shelf above the monitors.

One other thing, my Novatel U727 USB Wireless card for Sprint. It has a builtin flash that is supposed to look like CD-rom drive when inserted into a Windows machine. On a linux machine it doesn't work so well and you have to eject the cdrom device, usually with "eject /dev/sr1". However, with a little googling back in October I found a better way.

Create a file in /etc/udev/rules.d and add a rule:

sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/99-novatel.rules

add the following as a single line

ENV{ID_CDROM}=="?*", ENV{ID_SERIAL}=="Novatel_Mass_Storage_#your_serial_number#-0:0", RUN+="/usr/bin/eject /dev/%k"

Be sure to put your device's serial number where I listed #your_serial_number# above.

Now when I insert the usb card, there's a slight pause and then the Novatel is ready to place calls. Setting up the connection in the Network Manager is a peice of cake. Just go to "edit connections" and click on the "Mobile Broadband", then just add a new connection. The only thing I had to set up was the phone number, #777. The rest I left blank. The next time I inserted the Sprint card it was in my list of available connections. I tried doing the same thing with my Verizon Wireless HTC Touch Pro but since I don't have the tethering service with them it won't work.

1 comment:

mike said...

Hi Brian,

Great postings on getting your laptop running on Fedora as it has helped me in the past with Fedora 9 on my HP DV2845SE laptop (we have the same wireless). I wanted to let you know that you needed go through the same ndiswrapper exercise if you connect up through your wired connection to the RPMFusion repositories. After you do that you can now find the Broadcom STA driver package in there, and use PackageKit or Yum to install it for you, instead of unzipping and manually using ndiswrapper.

Keep up the good posts, and I hope this helps in the future.