Linux: Fedora 11 on a Dell Inspiron 530



Note: This document has become partially obsolete due to the migration to Fedora 14.

This page contains a description of the installation and customisation of Fedora 11 ("F11") on my Dell Inspiron 530 desktop computer. It is a kind of follow-up to my Fedora 8 page and a part of this text is a simple copy of said page. - Again, this document has been "anonymised" in a few places; in particular public IP addresses have been replaced by XXX or YYY.


My Dell Inspiron 530 is equipped with an Intel E4500 Core Duo 2.20 GHz processor with 800 MHz FSB, 3 GB RAM, 320 GB Seagate ST3320620AS harddisk (SATA 3.0 Gb/s, cache 16 MBytes, 7200 rpm), a DVD burner HL-DT-ST Model DVD+-RW GSA-H73N (HLDS Inc.), a Teac 19-in-1 media card reader, Intel 3100 onboard graphics and a Dell E228WFP 22" widescreen display.

Since it is a server and router for my home network, it is equipped with a second network card. The machine has performed flawlessly under Linux since its acquisition in early 2008. Initially I used it with Fedora 8 for about 1.5 years, then upgraded to Fedora 11 (and later on to Fedora 14).

Linux Installation and Setup

Installing Fedora 14

The actual installation was performed as described below.

Starting with F11, the Fedora live CDs now use the ext4 filesystem. A slight bug of these CDs is that you cannot use them to install a system based on ext3, so I had indeed to prepare a DVD for the installation.

Once the system is up, I went for the installation, using a custom disk layout. Essentially, I preserved all the existing partitions, only the new root partition for F11 was formatted (still using ext3).

Partition Type Filesystem Label mount point Comment
/dev/sda1 primary vfat DellUtility /mnt/dell Dell Utilities from factory install, left unchanged
/dev/sda2 primary 20 GB ext3 F8 /mnt/F8 This is (was) the root filesystem of F8. Will be used when updating the system in the future.
/dev/sda3 primary 20 GB ext3 F11 / This is the root filesystem of Fedora 11.
/dev/sda4 extended       This holds the following partitions.
/dev/sda5 logical 100 GB ext3 home /home This is huge, but I frequently work on huge data files
/dev/sda6 logical 100 GB ext3 share /mnt/share Local NFS export. Music, images, downloaded stuff, etc
/dev/sda7 logical 5 GB swap swap swap Swap space
/dev/sda8 logical 60 GB ext3 vbox /mnt/vbox VirtualBox files

Once the base system is installed, I modify the package selections to suit my needs. While I am very much in favour of Fedora's policy of using only Open Source Software, the real world still needs some workarounds: I cannot watch videos on DVD, or listen to music files in the car without using some proprietary or otherwise "sensitive" code. Most of this material is available from, a few specific rpm (such as libdvdcss) from livna:

rpm -ivh                             
rpm -ivh
rpm -ivh                                                                          
rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-livna

yum now supports incremental (differential) updates:

yum install yum-presto

In the next step, clean up and removed un-used stuff:

yum remove koffice* kaffeine-libs kaffeine kdeaccessibility kdegames xmms xmms-mp3 xmms-faad2 totem

... then install more packages and update the complete system:

yum install vim wget unison gftp bluefish firefox tidy gimp xfig perl-Image-ExifTool xsane-gimp \
gthumb lyx tetex-tex4ht xpdf pdftk glabels gnuplot mc easytag jpilot sitecopy yum-utils \
perl-CPAN perl-XML-DOM gutenprint-cups gutenprint-foomatic gutenprint-plugin bogofilter kdirstat \
aspell-de aspell-fr subversion \ \
gpsbabel sharutils java-1.6.0-openjdk java-1.6.0-openjdk-plugin kdesdk djview4 hugin autopano-sift-C \
avidemux mathomatic
yum update
yum clean all

Backup is done to tape (using my backup2tape script), so:

yum install star mt-st 

Now for the multimedia stuff:

yum remove mplayer mplayer-gui mplayerplug-in mencoder
yum install amarok amarok-extras-nonfree gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-ffmpeg vorbis-tools \
xine-lib-extras-nonfree lame totem-xine totem-xine-plparser mozilla-totem-xine libdvdcss \
libdvdnav xvidcore transcode madplay k3b-extras-nonfree mozilla-vlc  

Codecs are from the mplayer repositories, identical to F8:

mkdir -p /usr/lib/codecs
tar -jxvf all-20071007.tar.bz2 --strip-components 1 -C /usr/lib/codecs/

Using Fedora's "Install Packages" software, I deselect Games and install Development Tools. Here, you want to make sure that the kernel devel package matches your existing kernel: the "PAE" kernel headers are different from the standard kernel and may lead to errors e.g. when setting up VirtualBox.

yum install binutils dkms gcc make patch libgomp glibc-headers glibc-devel kernel-headers kernel-PAE-devel

Fine-tuning Fedora

While the system is updating (or afterwards), I edit some of the system files. In many cases I could simply copy the existing configuration files from the F8 installation (such as /etc/cups/cupsd.conf, /etc/hosts, /etc/exports), but in some cases the location of the file changed.

In the bootloader configuration file /boot/grub/grub.conf, I remove the splash screen and rhgb stuff.

In /etc/rsyslog.conf, the most important events shall be logged to console 9 and 10:

*.info;mail.none;cron.none          /dev/tty9
kern.warn,*.err;authpriv.none      /dev/tty10

Besides using the firewall, I use the /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny pair to restrict access to the system. Access will be granted when a (daemon,client) pair matches an entry in the /etc/hosts.allow file. The file allows login on all services via the local network and ssh from my workplace. Astonishingly, the "" entry is now required to get NFS export working, otherwise you will get a message like "RPC: server localhost requires stronger authentication":

ALL: LOCAL 192.168.XXX.
sshd: YYY.YYY.

Furthermore, access will be denied when a (daemon,client) pair matches an entry in the /etc/hosts.deny file. Since I do not allow any access to the machine except for the entries in the /etc/hosts.allow file, it is enough to state ALL: ALL (to be on the safe side and prevent logging myself out, I use ALL: ALL EXCEPT LOCAL here ;-). A special treatment is reserved for those who try ssh connects:

sshd: ALL EXCEPT LOCAL : rfc931 : spawn (/usr/sbin/safe_finger -l @%h | mail -s %d-%h root) & \
                         : twist /bin/echo "Access prohibited by system administration. Go away."

Of course, sshd is set up rather restrictive (see also; some key entries in /etc/ssh/sshd_config are:

Protocol 2
PermitRootLogin no
PermitEmptyPasswords no
PasswordAuthentication yes

If you run sshd on a non-standard port, you will obviously want to adjust the firewall (iptables) settings, too;-)


By default, Fedora activates a number of services that I do not need or want.

For a stationary machine, I always enable the service network (so that I can use a remote login via ssh), but disable NetworkManager and NetworkManagerDispatcher since they only activate the network connection once the user is logged in. Exactly the opposite is applied on a laptop; here I usually do not need remote login but I want the network to come up only when I log in.

Here is the list of running services:

#  /sbin/chkconfig --list|grep ":on"
acpid           0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
auditd          0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
avahi-daemon    0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
cpuspeed        0:off   1:on    2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
crond           0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
cups            0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
dhcpd           0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
dkms_autoinstaller      0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
haldaemon       0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
iptables        0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
irqbalance      0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
messagebus      0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
netfs           0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
network         0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
nfs             0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
nfslock         0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
ntpd            0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
portreserve     0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
restorecond     0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rpcbind         0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rpcgssd         0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rpcidmapd       0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rsyslog         0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
smartd          0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
sshd            0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
stinit          0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
udev-post       0:off   1:on    2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
vboxdrv         0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
xinetd          0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off

If you want a list of all services that are available but disabled, use the following command:

/sbin/chkconfig --list|grep ':off' | grep -v ":on"

Hardware issues

Module handling

F11 no longer supports the /etc/modprobe.conf file. All modules should be called from individual files in /etc/modprobe.d/.

Adaptec SCSI card

For the Adaptec 2940 SCSI card, I created a /etc/modprobe.d/scsi.conf with the following content:

alias scsi_hostadapter aic7xxx

Palm Synchronisation

In F11, synchronising with my Palm Z22 and T2 works - finally! - out of the box. Simply use usb: as the communication port.


Configuring the router

Having figured out the router and firewall setup in F8, I basically copied the configuration files from F8 to F11. This includes the two files /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 and /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1, and verification of the following:

In /etc/modprobe.d/network.conf, the modules for both network cards are loaded:

alias eth0 e1000e
alias eth1 pcnet32

In /etc/sysconfig/network, verify:

NETWORKING_IPV6=no # I do not need nor use this

In /etc/sysctl.conf:

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1     # this is a router!
net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 1
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_source_route = 0
kernel.sysrq = 1
kernel.core_uses_pid = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies = 1

... and here is /etc/sysconfig/iptables:

-A PREROUTING -i eth0 -j MARK --set-mark 0x9
-A POSTROUTING -m mark --mark 0x9 -j MASQUERADE
:RH-Firewall-1-INPUT - [0:0]
-A INPUT -j RH-Firewall-1-INPUT
-A FORWARD -j RH-Firewall-1-INPUT  # This is key for name resolution
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -i eth0 -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -p icmp --icmp-type any -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -p 50 -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -p 51 -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -p udp --dport 5353 -d -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited

Caveat: I have seen it happen that Fedora updates would overwrite this file without asking! Thus, if your internal network starts to behave strangely (e.g. name resolution no longer works), you may want to check if this file is still the same.

DHCP and News Server

Since the system is used as primary server in our home network, I provide a DHCP server and a local news server:

yum install dhcp leafnode

Make sure the dhcpd service is running in runlevel 3, 4 and 5.

In /etc/sysconfig/dhcpd, bind the DHCP server to the internal network card:


The content of the DHCP server configuration file is identical to the previous version, but the file is now at /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf. The actual numbers have been hidden:

ddns-update-style none;

log-facility local7;
default-lease-time 60000;
max-lease-time 604800;
option domain-name-servers XX.XX.XX.XX, YY.YY.YY.YY;     # my ISP's DNS
option routers             192.168.XXX.XXX;
option broadcast-address   192.168.XXX.255;

subnet 192.168.XXX.0 netmask {
        ddns-updates on;
        range                   192.168.XXX.205 192.168.XXX.229;
        range dynamic-bootp     192.168.XXX.230 192.168.XXX.250;
        option nis-domain       "localnet";
        option domain-name      "localnet";
        use-host-decl-names     on;

The configuration files for leafnode can be copied from the F8 system, but file ownership needs to be adjusted (chown root:news /etc/leafnode/*) since the ID of user news has changed. The cronjob for fetchnews can be copied from /etc/crontab as is.

Akonadi trouble

Several users of the KDE desktop environment have recently (mid-2010) reported trouble with the akonadi server. Since I have experienced the same problems, here is a workaround that I found - it simply means removing the old akonadi directory, since it is not needed anyway:

cd ~/.local/share/ && mv akonadi/ akonadi-old/

If you already started kmail before, chances are that some akonadi services are still running, so kill these first:

for i in `ps -A|grep akonadi| awk '{print $1}'`; do kill $i; done

Packages not provided in the Fedora repositories

A number of applications that I use are not available in the Fedora repositories, for various reasons. Generally, I download all such "non-packaged" software into /usr/local/src, follow the instructions in the README and INSTALL files and install into the /usr/local/ tree. - Compiling and installation of a number of packages may require the installation of development headers and tools. I recommend to install the full set of development packages.


A very useful script to create PDF documents from LyX and LaTeX files. Instructions on configuring Lyx to use tex2pdf are given in the accompanying README file.

tar xvzf tex2pdf-3.2a.tar.gz
chmod +rx tex2pdf-3.2a/tex2pdf
cp tex2pdf-3.2a/tex2pdf /usr/local/bin/

Acrobat Reader, Flash Plugin

Acrobat Reader is "the" PDF reader and the Flash plugin is needed to display animations on many websites. Download and install from the Adobe website are straightforward:

rpm -ivh
rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-adobe-linux
yum install AdobeReader_enu flash-plugin

Google Earth

Download from the Google Earth website, then run the installer, then adjust SElinux:

sh ./GoogleEarthLinux-5.0.bin
semanage fcontext -a -t textrel_shlib_t /opt/google-earth/
restorecon -R /opt/google-earth/

The default fonts look ugly on my KDE-based system, due to some duplicate libraries. To fix this (according to a posting on, rename the libraries:

cd /opt/google-earth/
for i in libQt*.so.4; do mv $i `echo $i| sed s/4/4.orig/`; done

Initially I had quite some trouble with the slooow display speed (Intel 3100 onboard graphics); with Google Earth 5.1.3533.1731 this problem disappeared :-)

MS Core Fonts

Please refer to the instructions in the Unofficial Fedora FAQ.


A PCB layout editor.

yum --nogpgcheck localinstall eagle-lin-eng-4.16r2-1.i586.rpm

After installation, you have to launch eagle once as root to activate the license. Just select "run as freeware"; you do not need to create the directories.



I use VirtualBox to run an instance of Microsoft Windows as "guest" inside the Fedora 11 system. For details, please refer to my GPS software page.