I have been setting up a new high-end Intel Core 2 Duo laptop with all the bells
and whistles. It's apparently one of the first Intel "mix-and-match" laptops
that's built from standard parts like a regular desktop computer -- buy the
clamshell, buy the motherboard, (etc) and put it together. And a mighty nice
computer it is, indeed. However, because it's a custom-built machine, it has
no model number that I'm aware of. (It also didn't come with Windows, or any
OS at all. Which suited me just fine. It did come with some Windows drivers
on a CD.) It seems to have the very latest version of "everything", which is
probably the cause of the situations listed below.
Plan A was to install Centos 5 on it. My usual method of installing Centos or
Fedora is to boot off of a boot CD and then point it to my fileserver and do
the installation from there. I quickly discovered that booting the Centos
installation disk didn't give me anything but a text-mode screen, and I had no
network access. Accordingly, I installed Centos 5 on it from a series of CD's,
but after installation I still had nothing but text (no X) and no network card.
I tried installing F8/i386 on it. The boot CD started and showed me the
graphic installer screen. However, it got as far as the line that says
"loading installer" and sat for several minutes, then continued and allowed me
to tell it to do an install from NFS. At the stage where it normally says
"loading image" (the first step of the actual install) it hung up. The "F3"
console told me that it cant' load image/stage2.img.
I then tried installing F8/x86_64 on it. Joy -- the boot CD started,
went past "loading installer" without the long pause (maybe only one or two
seconds this time) and showed me the graphic installer screen and I had network
access to install the rest of the operating system. Or so I thought. Same
problem. Telling it to do a NFS install from my fileserver also stalls at the
same place as the F8/i386 setup, with the same error.
I then checked the Fedora mirrors list and tried a direct FTP install of
F8/i386 over the Internet. No joy -- exactly the same experience (including
the long pause during the CD boot-up) that I had before.
I then tried a direct HTTP install over the Internet of the F8/i386 version and
it got a lot further -- up to the stage where it normally says "gathering
package information." In this case, it told me there is a problem with the
package list (I can't remember the exact wording) and gave me the options of
"retry" or "reboot". "Retry" gave me the same error over again, and "reboot"
I then tried a direct HTTP install over the Internet of F8/x86_64 (using
gulus.usherbrooke.ca) and that worked fine and I got the operating system
installed and running perfectly.
It took me most of a day re-writing /etc/modprobe.conf and rebooting before I
managed to get the sound to work.
alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
options snd-card-0 index=0
options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba
Why toshiba? Beats me. I don't think this laptop has anything to do with
Toshiba; I tried that option out of desperation and it worked.
I anticipated a similar round of joy when attempting to get the Intel wireless
networking to work, but after following Craig White's suggestion to get Network
Manager running, and by using System-Administration-Network to check off that
any user can enable the connection, use DHCP, and changed the mode from Auto to
Managed, it just started working by magic.
Two questions arise from this:
First, has anyone else had any problem with getting a NFS installation to
work? I know that it works on other computers -- I installed F8/x86_64 onto
this computer from my fileserver, for example. Is there something special
about laptops in general, or perhaps this laptop in particular, that causes it
to not work?
Second, are my current networking settings correct for most or all wireless
access points? In other words, if I take this thing to a location that offers
wireless Internet access, can I expect it to "just work" like it now does with
my own router, or will I have to fiddle around with the mode settings or
something else? (As a side note, if changes would be or could be required, can
a "mere user" make those changes, or would you require the root password or
some sort of a sudo setup to allow that?)