When I first bought the Dell Mini 9, I was working for Red Hat. Therefore,
I put the Fedora on it. With its pokey SSD drive, low memory, and tiny, tiny
screen, it was impossible to feel comfortable running GNOME or, Heaven forbid,
Being a Window Maker man since time immemorial, I had no problem finding a
properly lightweight and configurable desktop.
Like many people in our spoiled age, I had grown accustomed to many of the
niceties provided by the fatter desktops. Like having the laptop go to
sleep when you closed the lid or being able to connect to wireless networks
without being a Dungeon Master.
This is an old guide, but you may find some nuggets of value in it.
The purpose of these tips is to have critical system functions like sleep
and easy networking available regardless of which window manager is used.
The topics covered are:
- Trackpad configuration
- Laptop sleep when closing lid
- Multi-app sound without a sound server
- Wireless networking
- Easy mounting/unmounting removable media
Currently, Fedora is heavily oriented towards GNOME, with a nod in KDE's
direction. This is fine for Fedora, since its role as Red Hat's
experimental branch demands it. However, on limited hardware like netbooks,
running deep user environments like GNOME is not particularly attractive.
"Trackpad-Tap" is probably my most-hated feature of anything, ever. To get
rid of this irritation, enable the SHMConfig feature of the xorg X11 server,
and set the MaxTapTime to 0.
First, create the file
with the following contents:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<match key="input.x11_driver" contains="synaptics">
<merge key="input.x11_options.SHMConfig" type="string">On</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.MaxTapTime" type="string">0</merge>
man synaptics for the options available to the Synaptics driver.
Restart the haldaemon, then restart X11. To tweak other settings, like
tracking speed or acceleration, you can run the program gsynaptics. I
haven't found a way to make such settings permanent within GNOME, without
editing the 11-synaptics-options.fdi file directly.
The goals here are:
- to setup sound so that multiple applications can play sound simultaneously
- mixer levels can be adjusted as desired
- no sound server or wrappers are necessary for normal usage
Sound can be a real issue under Linux, and Fedora 10 has its problems. The
Dell Mini 9 has a particular sound chipset that requires an entry in
/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base to be recognized by the driver:
options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=dell
The second line disables OSS emulation in ALSA. Read on to discover why we want to do this.
Fedora 10 defaults to using the PulseAudio soundsystem, which is a sort of
next-generation ESD or aRTsd service. I'm sure if you're into GNOME or KDE
you love PulseAudio, but for anyone else it just adds complexity. In my
initial setup, sound worked. The mixer levels, however, were not correct,
and tended to get out of sync. This required firing up alsamixer on the
command line constantly to raise sound levels.
Removing PulseAudio is straightforward; just remove the package "pulseaudio" and restart the machine:
yum remove pulseaudio
shutdown -r now
This will delete the ALSA plugin for PA, and get you back to using a minimal
ALSA setup (i.e., things will "Just Work". Well, they will just work if you
also disable OSS emulation, as mentioned above.)
One big issue that seems to keep coming up under Linux is the sound hardware
being locked by one application, preventing others from using it. The Adobe
Flash plugin, for example, will attempt to exclusively lock the default OSS
/dev/dsp first before moving on to an ALSA-based device. This is
wrong, but try and get Adobe to fix it. The workaround is to disable OSS
completely. OSS-only software should be updated to the 21st century (which
is almost 10 years old, folks), but in the meantime may work with some sort
With ALSA OSS removed, and PA uninstalled, the Mini 9 lets you run xmms in
the background while watching YouTube videos in Firefox with sound.
The Mini 9 sleeps well under Linux. If you're using the GNOME or KDE
desktops, their respective power applets will control the sleep function in
case of ACPI events, such as the pressing the sleep button or closing the
Fedora on its own, without the desktop environment, uses the acpid service
to react to these events. To configure it to handle the lid closing event,
create the following two files:
sleep.sh, just copy the existing power.sh file and change
/usr/sbin/pm-suspend. This will prevent conflicts in case either
the GNOME or KDE power managers are running.
Ethernet works out of the box, but the Broadcom wireless will need the
proprietary driver. Add the RPMFusion repository, and install the
rpm -ivh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm
rpm -ivh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
yum install broadcom-wl
You'll need to reboot after this.
Once the drivers are loading, use NetworkManager to control the wireless
interface. This will require running docker, so that the NetworkManager
applet has a place to live:
yum install docker
From the command-line, run
docker -wmaker &
And drag the resulting application icon to the Clip. Right-click on the
icon, choose settings, and make sure the command is shown as "docker
-wmaker". Otherwise, it will not properly arrange the icons (but should
still work, otherwise).
You can use the NetworkManager applet to configure your wireless. I have
put the following in my autostart file, just in case:
But I'm not sure if it's strictly necessary.
Mounting and unmounting drives is a chore under Linux, albeit one you get
used to doing. If you'd like to avoid seeking out the device nodes,
sudo-mounting and unmounting, try thunar-volman, from the Xfce project.