Category Archives: Fedora

Fedora 20 on the Omnibook 4150B

I successfully upgraded this pre 2000 laptop to Fedora 20. Everything went smooth. You can hardly see a difference.

Still, the laptop is missing a usage because of its slowness. Even watching videos became hardly possible after some acceleration drivers for the old mach64 chipset had been removed from Xorg.

The situation will become worse when the drivers for old graphic chips will be purged completely in Fedora 21. From then on only VESA drivers will be available for showing a desktop.

If someone still wants to run a desktop on such an old machine, the current debian stable release is probably a much better choice.

Fedora 20 with Gnome 3.10 works again on the wetab

After having input problems in Fedora 19 (previous post) which made the Gnome desktop unuseable – I can now happily confirm that the problem is solved in Fedora 20. I can work with Gnome 3.10 as you expect it on the touchscreen.

The system is running quite slow nonetheless. This may be caused partially with the SSD slowing down during write access – but what can you do about that with an SSD without TRIM support?

Fedora 19 on hardware of the last century

Another six month have passed, so my good old laptop from pre-20IMG_220900 got another update.  I updated the already running fedora 18 to fedora 19 by using the fedUp tool.

The update took longer than on more recent systems (of course) but it worked flawlessly.

After that I booted into the LXDE desktop of Fedora 19. Everything worked as before. The machine is still too slow for most uages, even webbrowsing is painful. Work with libreOffice is probably doable.

Still, one big downside of modern linux distributions is that there is no video acceleration for this old graphic chipset anymore. So most videos can not be played. On the positive side, I was surprised to find that suspend to ram and suspend to disk both worked flawlessly on Fedora 19. Good work to remain compatible with APM (pre-ACPI)!

Ubuntu 13.04 and Fedora 18 on the Wetab

You might remember this tablet that came out from Germany in parallel with the iPad. It’s more or less a netbook with a touchscreen but without a keyboard. It hat some drawbacks, the worst in my opinion is the bad screen. You can switch the small SSD in it, but you cannot replace the screen. Bad. The device ended not being used anymore shortly after I bought a used one.

Anyway, I wanted to use the wetab as a (network) tv display wall-mounted in the kitchen. That’s why I started to throw a modern linux distribution on it. I always used the 64-bit images because they are known to run faster on the CPU (at the cost of slightly increased memory usage).

Ubuntu 13.04

In short: Ubuntu was not running on the wetab for me.

Long version: The install image is loading correctly from a usb stick. Everything looks good – unity is not a bad touch experience. The downside comes after you have installed Ubuntu on the wetab. The system does not get to a usable system. The desktop is visible (in a wrong resolution) but there is no reaction to input. Even if you connect a keyboard to the tablet, you cannot do anything. The keyboard is not initialized correctly.

I was not able to find out the source of the problem. Examining log files made clear that the Vesa graphics driver is loaded instead of the intel one. That’s wrong and explains the wrong resolution with which the desktop is started. However it does not explain why the tablet does not react to any input. Why Ubuntu works from usb but not when being installed remains a mystery.

I tested Ubuntu 12.04 too and it had exactly the same problem. So I don’t expect a fix for this any time soon.

Fedora 18


I gave Fedora 18 a try afterwards. To my surprise it was fully functional out of the box. After installing it boots into a Gnome 3 desktop. I found Gnome 3 less attractive than unity in this touch usecase, but as far as I know Gnome 3 is the only touch friendly desktop in Fedora. I can live with it.

Fedora 18 and Gnome need some more finishing touches than Ubuntu. The default installation is not really lightweight. But you can turn of some programs and services after installation. If you do that, you can bring memory usage in the area around 300 MiB. The remaining RAM should be enough for watching video streams and some surfing.

My browser choice fell on Chrome. While the low memory available on the wetab (1 GiB) suggests using Firefox with its lower memory footprint, Chrome is able to use some acceleration for displaying webpages. As the wetab is not planned to do many things at the same time but is supposed to do one task as fast as possible, the choice was clear for me here. Chrome has a nice touch extension which really makes it fun to use.

The performance of gnome 3 on Fedora 18 on the wetab is acceptable. What impressed me most is that the screen is rotated automatically when you turn the tablet. This works out of the box.

All in all I find the wetab to be really good supported by Fedora 18, what is surprising after the big problems that showed up with Ubuntu.

Fedora 18 running on hardware of the last century

An update to the story of the fifteen years old HP omnibook 4150 laptop I still keep running for fun. Well – it is still running quite well.


I changed the linux distribution to Fedora 18. I found it to be running a little bit better than Linux Mint. It can be stripped down very well. I got memory usage on a freshly started lxde session down to 70MiB.

Installation was quite tough. The built in DVD-drive is has big problems with self-burned CDs. Installation from an install CD failed always because of this (remember, you cannot boot from something else than HD/FD/CD with this old BIOS). I managed to do the installation of Fedora 17 by using online package repositories instead of the CD. It tool several hours.

Fedora 17 (and Ubuntu) failed starting an X-Server with this old ati chipset. That problem could be solved easily at least on fedora by installing the xorg-x11-drv-mach64 driver which was missing.

So this old graphics chipset is still supported by the newest X-Servers.

Still, there is not much you can do with this machine. It has not enough memory, a much too slow harddisk and not enough processing power. Even a raspberry pi feels much faster. Surfing is painfully slow – office work is somehow doable. Even as a server it is no good choice. Too much power usage for very modest processing power – and you’ll have a problem connecting storage to it.

The only useful application I found for this laptop was displaying video streams from the network.

Fixing ath9k on resume

When I buyed my eee-pc 1005-HA two years ago, the built in Atheros chipset was a pain. With the drivers of that time, the connection quality was bad. Exspecially after resuming from suspend or hibernate, the wireless simply was not able to connect anymore. Unloading and reloading the ath9k module always fixed it.

Luckily the problem disappeared in newer kernel version – just to reappear now in Fedora 15 with Kernel 2.6.38. But there is a workaround as you can trigger the un- and reload of the module automatically. In Fedora just add this file to your system /etc/pm/config.d/unload_modules

Add the following line to it:


After doing this you should have no problems when coming from suspend with atheros wireless chips that run with ath9k.