Installing RedHat Linux 7.0 (Guiness) on a Dell Inspiron 8000

This article describes the installation of RedHat 7.0 on a Dell Inspiron 8000 notebook. The notebook came with Windows Millenium edition pre-installed.

Redhat Linux installation steps

Initial situation: 18.2GByte Windows Me FAT32 partition
  1. Created a Windows System Disk - via Add/Remove programs
  2. Copied on fips.exe from the RH7.0 CD
  3. Defragmented the HD
  4. Reboot & hold down Fn + Setup to change BIOS settings to allow boot from CD
  5. Booted from Windows System Disk, chose minimal option
  6. Ran fips.exe, made new partition ~ 9.1GByte
  7. Rebooted with Redhat CD
  8. Enter 'text' at the boot: prompt
  9. Repartitioned the new partition with fdisk to have 256MByte Linux swap partition, a 5000MByte home partition and the remainder of the disk for the Linux root partition
  10. Made Linux boot disk
  11. Chose custom installation - installed everything
  12. [Some error from LILO came up towards end of installation]
  13. Reboot from Linux boot disk - don't allow kernel to load PCMCIA support (will cause a kernel panic), all other ok.
  14. X will not run properly at this point (despite choosing a generic 1400x1050 LCD display) - replace the Xconfig4.0 file with this one from Dell
  15. Remove pcmcia from start of all run levels (as I didn't need it)
  16. Modified 'linear' in LILO conf to 'lba32' (as suggested by the error message)
  17. Should boot up ok...

Further steps to get sound working:

I downloaded the following ALSA files:


widely available at various mirrors, or from Advanced Linux Sound Architecture home

Untarred them to /usr/local/src or similar, and then followed the instructions in the included INSTALL readmes. Couldn't get the alsa mixer to work, so used gmix instead to unmute everything. I think I also had to run the script the installation places in /etc/rc.d/init.d to get things going.

Further steps to get the internal [wl]inmodem working:

  1. Downloaded the LTmodem code from here
  2. Untarred to /usr/local/src
  3. make
    make install
  4. Set the ISP settings using the RH Dial up settings shortcut on the desktop

RedHat errata for xinetd

I found that the xinetd configuration was not working properly for some ports, the xinetd- from RedHat fixes this.


There are several good sources of information on installing Linux on the i8000:

Nathaniel Ward's page on installing RedHat Linux on the i8000
Joël Wijngaarde's page RH 7.0 and Windows 2000

Or try one of the many links from the Dell section of linux on laptops

Discussions on running Linux on Dell notenook computers and a useful FAQ can be found on the busy Yahoo newsgroup Linux on Dell laptops

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