Installing Fedora 9
The initial Fedora 9 release didn't include support for the network adapter used in the Dell Mini Inspiron, so to get Fedora to boot and install you have three options:
- Install Rawhide
- Create a respin, or use Fedora Unity's respin
- Disable the ethernet in the bios for installation, and then install the latest kernel from koji via a USB device before turning the ethernet back on.
Obviously, you'll need to use an external optical drive or put Fedora on some other kind of removable storage to install it.
After you get Fedora installed, you'll find that the wireless doesn't work out of the box. This is because it uses the Broadcom bcm4310 card, which doesn't yet have a free driver. You can enable this card by using ndiswrapper, but this doesn't seem ideal. The best solution I have found is to replace the Broadcom card with an Intel one that can be picked up very cheaply (Mini PCI-E 3945).
For further information about how to do this, please see Dell's Support Documentation that includes a step by step guide.
Fedora 10 reports the wireless card as:
Network controller : Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g [14e4:4315] (rev 01)
Broadcom provide a driver for this card: http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php but it needs a minor patch to compile for 2.6.27.
Sound doesn't work by default when you install Fedora, but can be enabled by adding:
options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=dell
to /etc/modprobe.d/sound. This file doesn't exist by default, so just create it.
To use an external monitor with this device, simply plug it in and reboot. You'll then need to turn off the laptops screen to be able to get the external screen to display at the correct resolution. I haven't found out why the resolutions can't be set independently yet.