Saturday, 14 November 2009


This is my guide for installing CentOS 5 on a Dell 1555 laptop. This is based on installing CentOS 5.4 i386 on a system with 4G RAM (hence PAE kernel). I'm sure it would work equally well with non-PAE systems or using the x64 install with the appropriate modifications.

1. Install development tools
To install the required software and modules, you'll need to do a bit of compiling, so first step is install the required development tools and libraries:

yum install rpm-build gcc gcc-c++ kernel-PAE-devel

2. Setup Wireless Card
Good instructions for installing wireless drivers on CentOS are available here. The Dell 1555 has Intel Corporation Wireless WiFi Link 5100 card so you need to follow the instructions to install the iwl5000 firmware and reload the iwglan driver.

rpm -ivh iwl5000-firmware-5.4.A.11-2.rf.src.rpm
cd /usr/src/redhat/SPECS
rpmbuild -bb iwl5000-firmware.spec
rpm -ivh /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/noarch/iwl5000-firmware-5.4.A.11-2.rf.noarch.rpm
modprobe -r iwlagn
modprobe iwlagn

I use NetworkManager to manage the wireless card - follow these instructions to enable NetworkManager and disable the standard network scripts.

3. Sound Card Configuration
The alsa drivers for the intel card are installed by default but modprobe.conf needs updating with the model - edit /etc/modprobe.conf and replace this line:

options snd-hda-intel index=0


options snd-hda-intel model=dell-m6

You'll need to either unload and reload snd-hda-intel module or reboot to pick up the new settings. Then update Gnome Menu -> Administration -> Soundcard Detection and test that sound works.4. X Windows Configuration
My laptop has the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570. The Vendor ATI drivers work fine.

First step, install the dependencies:

yum install compat-libstdc++-33

Download ati drivers from ATI - run install and generate package.

chmod 755
sudo ./

Select Generate Distribution Specific Driver Package and Continue. This will create an RPM which you can then install:

rpm -ivh fglrx_6_9_0-8.661-1.i386.rpm  

Installing the RPM should create /lib/modules/fglrx/fglrx.ko - if it doesn't exist you'll need to build it using the scripts in /lib/modules/fglrx. Insert the module then regenerate /etc/X11/xorg.conf to use the fglrx driver:

sudo /sbin/modprobe fglrx
sudo aticonfig --initial

You'll need to either restart X by logging out and in again, or reboot the laptop to pick up the new settings.

To enable desktop effects, install compiz:
yum install compizThen use Gnome Menu -> Preferences -> Desktop Effects :

To disable the mouse in X while typing, update the InputDevice section for synaptics in xorg.conf with SHMConfig:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
Option "SHMConfig" "on"

Start syndaemon and add syndaemon -d to Sessions Startup Programs in Gnome. You'll need to restart X to pick up the new settings.

5. Enabling Multimedia

Follow instructions here on enabling multimedia. I install the yum priorities plugin to manage rpmforge RPMs.

6. Coretemp Modules
The Intel coretemp module isn't installed by default - Phil Perry has information on his website
on building the kernel modules. (I had to modify the spec file slightly to get it to install - if you skip the kvariants option and install the other devel kernel dependencies, it should run fine).

yum install lm_sensors
rpm -ivh
rpmbuild -ba --target=`uname -m` --define 'kvariants "PAE"' /usr/src/redhat/SPECS/coretemp-kmod.spec
rpm -ivh /usr/src/redhat/i686/kmod-coretemp-PAE

To enable the coretemp module on boot up, create the file /etc/sysconfig/modules/coretemp.modules with the following content:
# Load the coretemp module.
/sbin/modinfo -F filename coretemp >/dev/null 2>&1
if [ $? -eq 0 ]
modprobe coretemp >/dev/null 2>&1

7. MSFT Core Fonts

The fonts that come with CentOS are OK - Microsoft's truetype fonts provide an alternative. provides instructions and a spec file which allows you to install them.

8. Things to do...
Couple of things don't work - bluetooth and hibernation - need to work on those...

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