My New Old Dell Latitude D620

Out of the kindness of his heart, my good buddy, Andrew, has donated a gently used Dell D620 laptop to my collection. 

Not a super beast of a machine, but that’s not what I need it for.  As you can see, I currently have CentOS 6.5 installed.  I initially started with CentOS 7, but I couldn’t find wireless drivers anywhere for it, so I downgraded to 6.5 on a whim.  As you can see in that first picture, wireless works… out of the box.  Suspend works too!  So if you had any questions regarding the maturity of CentOS 6..  Here’s your sign.  As much as I might like the slickness of CentOS 7, functional hardware is more important.

Btw, output from LSPCI regarding the internal wireless:
Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN (rev 01)

Also, I just can’t say no to GNOME 2.  I’ve really missed it.  Its simple, functional, responsive, customizable..  Not that GNOME 3 is bad, but there’s a certain quaintness to GNOME 2.  This was the desktop environment that I used with Ubuntu when I first started using Linux, so there’s a bit of nostalgia, too.

No official Chromium (or Google Chrome) support at this point, but Firefox works well enough.  Besides, other than the Google sign-in feature, I wasn’t really using any Chrome-specific features anyway (built-in Flash was nice though..)

So, new possibilities!  With a mobile Linux rig, I can hop on my bike and Linux at the library, or the coffee shop, or wherever.  Not to mention lugging the old Dell desktop that mom gave me to and from Andrew’s place was getting kind of old.

So that’s the good, the bad: needs a new battery, currently has a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive.

New batteries replacements aren’t so bad, ~$20.  DVD-RW drives for less than that.  What’s more intriguing, is that there’s another battery that I can buy that goes where the optical drive goes.  With a fresh new replacement battery and a beefy internal battery to go with it..  plenty of juice for the road.  The hard drive is a little on the small side..  Ultimate replacement would be an SSD.. and I’m sure it would make a huge difference in responsiveness..  But that’s pricey and can wait.

So if this sounds like something that might appeal to you, I highly recommend it!  If you’re looking for a budget (sub-$200) Linux lappy, the Dell D620 is pretty good!

Wireless Success on CentOS 7 with ath5k

[travnewmatic@localhost ~]$ sudo lspci | grep Wireless
05:00.0 Ethernet controller: Qualcomm Atheros AR2413/AR2414 Wireless Network Adapter [AR5005G(S) 802.11bg] (rev 01)

…was no work out of the box.  Ethernet was sufficient since my computer is located near the router.  My D-Link DWA-1320 wireless PCI card has been a champ ever since I’ve owned it.  Its handled everything from XP, to Win7, to OS X SL, multiple versions of Ubuntu and Debian..  but oddly enough was not ready out of the box with CentOS.  I was determined, did a bit of Googling and viola!  Found the driver in a package in the ELRepo.org repository.  Installed the ‘kmod-ath5k’ package, restarted, and wireless worked!

Thanks ELRepo.org!

Updated repolist:

[travnewmatic@localhost ~]$ sudo yum repolist
[sudo] password for travnewmatic: 
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, langpacks
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base: mirror-centos.hostingswift.com
 * elrepo: ftp.utexas.edu
 * elrepo-extras: ftp.utexas.edu
 * elrepo-kernel: ftp.utexas.edu
 * epel: mirrors.tummy.com
 * extras: centos.mirror.lstn.net
 * nux-dextop: mirror.li.nux.ro
 * rpmforge: mirror.nexcess.net
 * rpmforge-extras: mirror.nexcess.net
 * updates: dallas.tx.mirror.xygenhosting.com
repo id                   repo name                                       status
base/7/x86_64             CentOS-7 – Base                                 8,465
elrepo                    ELRepo.org Community Enterprise Linux Repositor    53
elrepo-extras             ELRepo.org Community Enterprise Linux Extras Re     3
elrepo-kernel             ELRepo.org Community Enterprise Linux Kernel Re    21
epel/x86_64               Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 7 – x86_64  5,610
extras/7/x86_64           CentOS-7 – Extras                                  30
google-chrome             google-chrome                                       3
google-talkplugin         google-talkplugin                                   1
nux-dextop/x86_64         Nux.Ro RPMs for general desktop use             1,301
nux-dextop-testing/x86_64 Nux.Ro RPMs for general desktop use – testing       5
rpmforge                  RHEL 7 – RPMforge.net – dag                       245
rpmforge-extras           RHEL 7 – RPMforge.net – extras                     10
updates/7/x86_64          CentOS-7 – Updates                                736
virtualbox/7/x86_64       Oracle Linux / RHEL / CentOS-7 / x86_64 – Virtu     1
repolist: 16,484