Taking Fedora Core 2 for a spin

The new Windows XP desktop system the computer guys rolled out at work just didn't fit the way I work, so I decided to install Fedora on the box instead (2.4 GHz Dell Optiplex GX270). Too many constraints on their desktop model, including a 30 MB limit on your login profile which apparently includes all your data files as well. Heck, my stored mail alone takes up more than 30 MB.

Like Fedora Core 1, Core 2 was a pretty easy install, and the 2.6 linux kernel seems much peppier than 2.4. Compiling GCC 3.4 took hardly any time at all. The only glitch I ran into was the BIOS version on the computer caused the XOrg server problems with detecting the proper graphics card settings, leaving the display stuck at 640x480.

Argh. Spend a couple of hours trying to troubleshoot the X server and figure out how to make it do different screen resolutions. Google search yielded several promising posts and web pages that said the GX270 BIOS version A03 was the source of the problem and and upgrade to the latest version would fix it.

Download the latest BIOS version (A04) from Dell and copied it to a floppy. Uh oh, the BIOS flashing program only runs under Windows.

No problem, I'll just make a DOS boot disk, boot off the floppy and run the flasher from the disk.

Well, then I discover that you can't make bootable floppies with Win2K (the only other Windows machine I had around).

Crap. Stoopid Windows. I guess MS has decided nobody needs to boot off floppy disk anymore.

Stumble around trying to come up with a way to get around this. Finally I remember that I have a Win2K CD! But that means I have to wipe out the FC2 that I just installed. Well, nothing else to do so I break down, install Win2K just to flash the BIOS, then reinstall FC2. PITA.

But finally, I have a working, stable (at least until I start hacking at it) installation of Fedora. And so far I like what I see. Working on getting Apache properly configured and migrating stuff over from my old Sparc20. I think I'll even try using it to replace my Win2K box for a while and see how it goes with OpenOffice.

This is going to be fun...:)