Fedora on a DELL i9400:

System:
Inspiron 9400, Intel Core Duo Processor T2300 (1.66GHz/667MHz FSB)
17 inch UltraSharp TrueLife Wide-screen WUXGA, for Inspiron 9400/E1705
1GB, DDR2, 533MHz 2 Dimm, for Inspiron 9400/E1705
Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 950 GM, for Inspiron 9400/E1705 (more on this later)
60GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive for Inspiron 9400/E1705
Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem, for Inspiron
8X DVD+/-RW Drive, for Inspiron 9400/E1705
Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Mini Card (54Mbps) for Inspiron 9400/E1705(more on this later)
80 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery, for Inspiron 9400/E1705


Installation:

Installation was straight forward. I used the DISK 4 of the Fedora set, the rescue disk, and typed "linux" when it gave me the boot splash screen.

Note: choose http install, it takes less than a third as long as the ftp install.

I always do "install all" so I don't have to worry about missing a package I want later that doesn't show up in the dependencies check. With http or ftp install, it's easy as you just walk away for the actual install.

Partition table, these work for me, choose your own:
/dev/sda7 20G /
/dev/sda1 99M /boot
/dev/sda3 9.7G /home
/dev/sda2 19G /usr/local
/dev/sda5 3.9G /var

VIDEO CARD ISSUE:
When the installation is finished, the machine reboots and starts the X configuration.
I set it to "Generic LCD 1900X1200" and Generic Video Card.
The installer will not be able to find a mode it can use and you will be asked if you want to see the logs, extended logs and if you want to run the X configurator. I tried this way, I tried straight booting, and I tried automatic configuration. None work all that well.

Solution, boot into run level three. Here's how:
when you boot and see "Booting Fedora (...) in 5 seconds" hit enter
when you see the menu that comes up, the top kernel will be highlighted, hit the letter "e" (no quotes)
go down to the second line in the new menu and hit the letter "e" again
you are now editing the boot line of this kernel. at the end of the line, type "init 3"
hit the escape key and then the letter "b"
you now boot into command line mode. Log in as root. You've got to do this anyway, so you might as well do it now, type "yum -y update" and let it run. This will take an hour or so depending on your connection.
After the update is done, reboot the machine.
NOW, you'll be able to boot into run level 5, the graphical display. The letters and display will be HUGE. Reset them to 1600X1200 and log out or kill the X server with CTRL+ALT+BKSPCE.
There, we have something that you can actually see and use.
See the 1920x1200 section below for an update
During one of these boots, get into the BIOS (f2 during the DELL splash screen) and disable the wireless hot keys. This will save you a bit of frustration for the next segment.
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Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Mini Card Issue:
Notice this laptop does not have PCMCIA card slot? It doesn't. I've tried a couple USB 802.11g adapters to no avail. I didn't try long as an answer came to be the next day.
Go and read the (rather simple) instructions and follow them on this page: Intel's Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Driver for Linux
The installation is painless and the card gets up and running as soon as you type "load" as the last step.
I have mine connected to an 802.11g WAP with WEP encryption by only using the graphical network settings that come with Fedora.
I did this with the development driver included in these files from that Sourceforge page:
ieee80211-1.1.12.tgz
ipw3945-0.0.70.tgz
ipw3945d-0.7.16.tgz
ipw3945-ucode-1.13.tgz

tar zxvf ieee80211-1.1.12.tgz
tar zxvf ipw3945-0.0.70.tgz
tar zxvf ipw3945d-0.7.16.tgz
tar zxvf ipw3945-ucode-1.13.tgz

cd ieee80211-1.1.12
make
(answer yes to all questions)
make install

cd ../ipw3945-0.0.70
make
make install

cd ../ipw3945-ucode-1.13
cp ipw3945.ucode /lib/firmware

cd ../ipw3945d-0.7.16
cp x86/ipw3945d /sbin
./load

Now you can use the graphical networking setup if you wish or manually edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1

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I see that the bluetooth is found and the driver is working but I have no bluetooth devices to try it out. I may have to get a wireless keyboard/mouse and try that out.

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As of now the best I get is 1600X1200 using the VESA driver. As soon as I see a way to get the 1920X1200 I will post it
UPDATE 1920X1200!!
Thanks to this page I now have 1920X1200 resolution.
Turns out the Dell, or INTEL, video has the modes hard coded into the BIOS. That's why 1920x1200 did not appear to be a legit mode.
If you go HERE and download the latest version of the 915resolution hack, you can rewrite the BIOS offerings.
The latest version, 0.5.2, worked for me without recompile and showed me why I was unable to get full resolution.

# 915resolution -l
Intel 800/900 Series VBIOS Hack : version 0.5.2

Chipset: 945GM
BIOS: TYPE 1
Mode Table Offset: $C0000 + $269
Mode Table Entries: 36

Mode 30 : 640x480, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 32 : 800x600, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 34 : 1024x768, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 38 : 1280x1024, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 3a : 1600x1200, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 3c : 1900x1440, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 41 : 640x480, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 43 : 800x600, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 45 : 1024x768, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 49 : 1280x1024, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 4b : 1600x1200, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 4d : 1900x1440, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 50 : 640x480, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 52 : 800x600, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 54 : 1024x768, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 58 : 1280x1024, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 5a : 1600x1200, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 5c : 1900x1440, 32 bits/pixel

The VESA driver does not see a 1920x1200 resolution available for it to use.
Run:
# /sbin/915resolution 3c 1920 1200 24

The output will be:
Intel 800/900 Series VBIOS Hack : version 0.5.2

Chipset: 945GM
BIOS: TYPE 1
Mode Table Offset: $C0000 + $269
Mode Table Entries: 36

Patch mode 3c to resolution 1920x1200 complete

NOW, we can use the 1920x1200. I've tried 24 bit and it looks HORRIBLE. There is what looks like a 1600x1200 black and white screen and it wraps around and redisplays at the right side of the screen.
32 bit doesn't show up at all and gives you the "could not start X, do you want to run the XConfigurator?" prompt
16 works. May not be the most intense graphics around but I'm not doing video editing or any other intense graphics. Pictures show up great and xine plays movies just fine with this setting.
Now, when running the listing it comes up with this:
Intel 800/900 Series VBIOS Hack : version 0.5.2

Chipset: 945GM
BIOS: TYPE 1
Mode Table Offset: $C0000 + $269
Mode Table Entries: 36

Mode 30 : 640x480, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 32 : 800x600, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 34 : 1024x768, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 38 : 1280x1024, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 3a : 1600x1200, 8 bits/pixel
Mode 3c : 1920x1200, 24 bits/pixel
Mode 41 : 640x480, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 43 : 800x600, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 45 : 1024x768, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 49 : 1280x1024, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 4b : 1600x1200, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 4d : 1920x1200, 16 bits/pixel
Mode 50 : 640x480, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 52 : 800x600, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 54 : 1024x768, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 58 : 1280x1024, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 5a : 1600x1200, 32 bits/pixel
Mode 5c : 1920x1200, 32 bits/pixel

This does not survive reboots, so you have to put it somewhere in the startup scripts to get it every time. I copied the binary to /sbin and put it in /etc/rc.d/rc.local:

/sbin/915resolution 3c 1920 1200 24

Now, I have my proper resolution after booting in the video BIOS before X starts.

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TOUCHPAD in X:
This was annoying. When you tap the pad, it acts like you hit the center button and pastes into the active window. I would prefer a tap be a left button click, so in /etc/X11/xorg.conf I have this as the appropriate section:
Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
Option "LeftEdge" "1900"
Option "RightEdge" "5400"
Option "TopEdge" "1900"
Option "BottomEdge" "4000"
Option "FingerLow" "25"
Option "FingerHigh" "30"
Option "MaxTapTime" "180"
Option "MaxTapMove" "220"
Option "MaxDoubleTapTime" "180"
Option "ClickTime" "100"
Option "FastTaps" "0"
Option "EmulateMidButtonTime" "75"
Option "VertScrollDelta" "100"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "100"
Option "MinSpeed" "0.09"
Option "MaxSpeed" "0.18"
Option "AccelFactor" "0.0015"
Option "EdgeMotionMinZ" "30"
Option "EdgeMotionMaxZ" "160"
Option "EdgeMotionMinSpeed" "1"
Option "EdgeMotionMaxSpeed" "400"
Option "EdgeMotionUseAlways" "0"
Option "UpDownScrolling" "1"
Option "TouchpadOff" "0"
Option "GuestMouseOff" "0"
Option "LockedDrags" "0"
Option "RTCornerButton" "2"
Option "RBCornerButton" "3"
Option "LTCornerButton" "0"
Option "LBCornerButton" "0"
Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "TapButton2" "1"
Option "TapButton3" "3"
Option "CircularScrolling" "0"
Option "CircScrollDelta" "0.1"
Option "CircScrollTrigger" "0"
Option "CircularPad" "0"
Option "PalmDetect" "1"
Option "PalmMinWidth" "10"
Option "PalmMinZ" "200"
Option "CoastingSpeed" "0"
EndSection

Now I get my tap as a left button click

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Linux On Laptops