Configuring FC4 on the Dell Latitude D610

I recently installed Fedora Core 4 on a Dell Latitude D610. Here are some additional things I am doing to configure it:

Host name
The default host name is localhost. This PC needs a proper host name. To set the host name, I select Applications/System Tools/Network Device Control. Click the Configure..., and the Network Configuration window appears. Click the DNS tab. In the Hostname: box, type the host name you want. Select File/Save, and you're done.

I notice that X has problems when you change the hostname while it is running, so I log out and log back in, and then all is well.

I like to log in as a regular user, and use sudo to run commands that require root privileges. To do this, I have to log in as root one last time and edit file /etc/sudoers:

$ su - root
# emacs -nw /etc/sudoers

I find these lines:

# User privilege specification
root ALL=(ALL) ALL

and I change them to:

# User privilege specification
root ALL=(ALL) ALL
kasper ALL=(ALL) ALL

I save the file, log out as root, and use sudo forever after.

VNC client
I use VNC Viewer to work on remote computers. Installing VNC is a piece of cake:

$ sudo yum install vnc

To run the VNC client, I select Applications/Accessories/VNC Viewer.

Incoming ssh
Sometimes I use ssh or scp to access the new laptop. To make this work, I have to allow incoming ssh connections. I select Desktop/System Settings/Security Level, and the Security Level Configuration window appears. In the Trusted services area, I check SSH. I click OK, and I'm done.

Evolution + Exchange
My work email and calendar server runs on Exchange. Evolution has an Exchange connector, but it's not installed with FC4 out of the box. To install the connector:

$ sudo yum install evolution-connector

To configure the connector, I run Evolution. I select Edit/Preferences. In the Mail group, I click Add. In the Receiving Email window, I enter these settings:

Server Type: Microsoft Exchange
Username: my.username
OWA URL: http://my.exchange.url.com/exchange/

A window appears, displaying this text:


Ximian Connector requires access to certain functionality on the Exchange Server that appears to be disabled or blocked. (This is usually unintentional.) Your Exchange Administrator will need to enable this functionality in order for you to be able to use Ximian Connector.

For information to provide to your Exchange administrator, please follow the link below:


I passed this on to my Exchange administrator. He made the adjustment, and on my second try, it works.

WiFi I have the PC connected to a wired Ethernet. It would be nice to go wireless so I can use it more easily on the road.

lspci tells me about the adapter:

03:03.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 2200BG (rev 05)

The driver for this adapter is called ipw2200. It apears to be precompiled for and distributed with the current FC4 kernel ( 2.6.14-1.1653_FC4). I load the kernel module and look at the configuration:

$ sudo modprobe ipw2200
$ iwconfig eth1
eth1 unassociated ESSID:off/any
Mode:Managed Channel=0 Access Point: 00:00:00:00:00:00
Bit Rate=0 kb/s Tx-Power=off
RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Power Management:off
Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

I set the SSID and WEP key:

$ sudo iwconfig eth1 essid MySSID key my-wep-key

Unfortunately, that's as far as I get. I can't get the card to connect to the access point. I'll have to work on this some more later.

Typing break
10 or 15 years ago, I had a tool that would pop up a window on my screen telling me to take a typing break. It doesn't work so well in the era of multiple desktop work spaces, so I haven't used it in a long time. Now I have a suitable replacement.

I select Desktop/Preferences/Keyboard In the Keyboard Preferences window, I click the Typing Break tab. I check Lock screen to enforce typing break, and I use these settings:

Work interval lasts: 60 minutes
Break interval lasts: 3 minutes

I check Allow postponing of breaks.

Now, whenever I type for 60 consecutive minutes, I am reminded to take a short break. Great!

Nightly log email
I leave the PC running over night in case I want to log in from home. Every night, it sends the log file summary to root. I want the log file summary, so I set the root email alias to my email address:

$ sudo emacs -nw /etc/aliases

In the aliases file, I change

# Person who should get root's mail
#root: marc


# Person who should get root's mail
root: my-address-AT-example-DOT-com

I save the file and type

$ sudo newaliases

The next morning, the log file summary is in my email box.

Printer config
I need to print documents. To define a print queue, I select Desktop/System Settings/Printing. I click New, and the Add a new print queue window appears. I click Forward. In the Queue type window, I specify that the queue type is Networked Windows (SMB) and I click Specify.... In the Authentication, I specify my Windows workgroup login, the Windows name of the printer server, and the Windows printer share name. I click OK, and then I click Forward. In the Printer model window, I select HP in the manufacturer drop down. In the list of printer models, I select LaserJet 8100. I click Forward and Finish, and my print queue is ready to use.

Remote Desktop
When I log in from home, it's nice to have the same desktop available that I use in the office. I used to use VNC Server for this. VNC Server is less than ideal because it creates a new desktop that runs in its own window, rather than sharing the one true desktop. Vino to the rescue! Vino is the VNC Server sharing your native desktop. You can use an VNC client to connect to, display, and control the desktop remotely.

To enable remote desktop sharing, I select Desktop/Preferences/Remote Desktop. In the Sharing section, I check Allow other users to view your desktop. In the Security section, I uncheck Ask you for confirmation because I won't be in the office to answer the question. I check Require the user to enter this password: and type a password in the box. I click Close.

Next, I open the firewall to allow incoming VNC connections. I select Desktop/System Settings/Security Level, and the Security Level Configuration window appears. In the Other ports: (1029:tcp) box, I enter 5900:tcp. I click OK, and I'm done.

Toggle external display
I assume that the external display draws battery power when the PC is disconnected from AC. In addition, I sometimes want to hide what I'm doing on the desktop when I'm giving a presentation on a big screen. I need to be able to toggle the external display.

I previously installed the radeontool. It offers this command to turn off the external display

sudo /etc/acpi/actions/radeontool dac off

and this command to turn it back on:

sudo /etc/acpi/actions/radeontool dac on

If I were really cool, I would figure out how to assign these command lines to the external display key on the PC. Until then, I create two simple panel applets, one to turn off the external display, and one to turn it back on. To create an applet, I right-click the top panel and select Add to Panel.... I select Custom Application Launcher and click Add. In the Create Launcher, I enter these settings:

Name: External display on Generic name: External display on Command: sudo /etc/acpi/actions/radeontool dac on

I choose an icon, and I check Run in terminal.

I repeat these steps to add an applet that turns off the external display. This time, I specify this command: command: sudo /etc/acpi/actions/radeontool dac off.

I added the CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor applet to the panel and was naively surprised by the result. According to cat /proc/cpuinfo, I have a 2.13 GHz CPU. Why does the CPU monitor report that it is running at 800 MHz?

It turns out that to conserve battery power, the CPU various its speed based on the system load. Here's an easy way to put a load on the system and watch the CPU meter rise from 800 MHz to 2.13 GHz:

$ while true; do echo foo; done

Kill that load, and it's fun to watch the CPU speed gradually decrease in the CPU speed applet.

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