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Linux Miscellaneous

If You're Installing Fedora 8 on a Dell Inspiron 530S

I recently bought four machines for a test lab I’m configuring. Each is a Dell Inspiron 530S that comes without an operating system. (Well, technically it comes with FreeDOS.) So I set about to install Fedora 8 on it. If you’re installing Fedora 8 on a Dell Inspiron 530S, here are some tips for you:

Tip 1: Add “irqpoll” on installation

For whatever reason, running the Fedora installer using all the defaults does not work. The installer would get stuck when loading the SCSI drivers, even though that was apparently not the issue.

So, at the installer, press the tab key. This will allow you to modify the kernel command line parameters. To the end of the kernel command line parameters, type “irqpoll” (without the quotes, of course). Then hit enter. This allowed the installer to recognize everything properly and installed Fedora.

Tip 2: Have a copy of the e1000 NIC drivers handy

The Inspiron 530S comes with an on-board 10/100 NIC. Unfortunately the version of the e1000 driver that ships with Fedora 8 (and Ubuntu 7.04) is outdated and does not recognize the NIC. The official response from Dell is to “Install [the] new e1000 driver.” Unfortunately, you have to have the driver handy on a physical medium (such as a CD/DVD or a USB device). Here are the steps that worked for me:

  1. On another machine, go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/e1000 and download the latest version of the “e1000 stable” driver. As of this writing, the latest version is 7.6.5.
  2. Copy the Tar file to your physical media. For me, the easiest thing to do was burn it to a CD.
  3. On the Inspiron 530S, mount your physical media.
  4. Untar/zip the tar file: tar xzf e1000-.tar.gz
  5. cd e1000-/src
  6. make && make install && modprobe e1000
  7. You’ll then need to add and activate the network card using either the GUI tools or the command line.

Other than that it was a smooth ride…