Dell 5150 with Redhat 9.0

This is the second Dell laptop I have owned. I have been VERY satisfied with both. Both arrived at my door before the estimated arrival date. Both are greate machines. The first was an Inspiron 4100 1.13Ghz. The second (current) is

UPDATE about overheating
After 6 months I noticed the temperature in the laptop starting to average higher and higher. It was averaging about 52* at idle and over 70* when at full load. This is way higher than the starting point of 32* when I bought the laptop. A little bit of research and looking at the laptop itself and I found a cooling problem....dust of all things. The heatsink for the cpu was covered in dust and this was preventing air from blowing across the fins and cooling the cpu down.

solution: a couple big puffs of air into the air vent at the back of the laptop (when the laptop was off). This blew couple rather large puffs of dust out other parts of the laptop case. immediately after this "procedure" the idle temp dropped to 32* and about 54* at full load. A change of 20* for a little puff of air. I am still happy with the laptop, but will remeber to clean the dust out every now and then.

First thing to do was to install linux, Redhat 9.0. No problem.

Second thing to do was network. No problem, download broadcom driver from, followed direction and it works.

Third thing was X. No problem. VESA worked immediately after the install. To get all that I could from the system, I downloaded the nvidia driver from, followed the direction and it works.

Forth thing was sound. No problem, worked immediately after the install. xmms won't play mp3s, but a lot of other tools do. I will have to figure out why xmms does not. It is not the pattent issue, I got a newer version of xmms.

Fifth thing was ACPI (battery, temp, speed switching, suspend). Some problems, 2.4.20-8 that comes with Redhat 9.0 does not have ACPI support. So I downloaded, Compiled and installed kernel 2.4.24 with ACPI support. (NOTE: I had to redo the second and third steps after booting with the new kernel)

Cpu speed switching to save power and lower temperature works in WinXP, with average temperature about 32. It should also work in linux. I found cpudyn which did cpu freq switching, and it worked pretty well. It lowered the temp under linux from on average 48 to 40. With a little bit of looking (and some source code changes) I was able to get it to use the performance interface in /proc/acpi/processor/CPU0/performance. This lowered the average temperature from 40 to 32.

My modified source for cpudyn is here. Like all free software, it is use at your own risk...and beware the commandline arguments have been changed a little. I use the following commandline for cpudyn
"-performance -d -l 5 -u 4 -i 1 -p 0.5 0.90 -t 120 -h /dev/hdc "

Let me ( know if you find the modified cpudyn useful. real work, since my company product runs on linux. Check is out if you are a developer in need of an SCM (Software Configuration Management) system.