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Report by: Louis Strous

DISTRIBUTION: Fedora Core 5 final (bordeaux-DVD-x86_64.torrent)
DISTRIBUTION: Fedora Core 6 test 2 (fc6-test2-dvd-x86_64.torrent)

Summary: I have been unable to get a working dual-boot (Windows/Linux)
configuration on this laptop system.

System: Acer Aspire 5102WLMi
CPU: AMD Turion 64 x2 Mobile Technology TL50 (1.6 GHz, 512 kB L2 cache)
Disk: 80 GB 5400 rpm PATA HDD, pre-divided into 3 VFAT partitions
(including one "hidden" partition with Windows rescue information)
Pre-installed: Windows XP Home, Acer GridVista Multi-screen solution
Peripherals: CD-ROM reader/writer, USB ports.

I've tried setting up a dual-boot system by installing a Linux
distribution on the third predefined partition, of about 35 GB (i.e.,
without needing to resize any Windows partitions, just claiming one for
Linux instead). I tried three distributions: Fedora Core 5 (Bordeaux)
64-bit, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, and Fedora Core 6 test 2 64-bit. The default
installation of the Fedora distributions proceeded without any apparent
problems, but the laptop system showed undesirable behavior afterward.
The installation of the Ubuntu distribution failed during the disk
partitioning phase. I've decided to abandon my attempts at adding Linux
to this laptop.


(1) When switching on the laptop, the laptop screen remains blank and
the laptop turns itself off after about one second. Not even any
messages from the BIOS are displayed.
(2) When switching on the laptop, the laptop screen remains blank,
though the power and harddisk activity indicators show that the laptop
is turned on. The "switch monitor signal to different destination" key
has no effect on the laptop screen.
(3) When booting Fedora Core 5, the system hangs when "modprobe
parport_pc" is reached.
(4) When rebooting from Windows XP, the system in fact does not reboot
but turns itself off.

I've been able to get the screen to work again by removing the laptop
battery and temporarily disconnecting the laptop from the power supply.
After reconnecting to the power supply, the laptop screen works again
(usually only on the second attempt to start the system -- after symptom

Additionally, attaching an external monitor helps. Sometimes (but not
always) the screen is visible on the external monitor. The "switch
monitor signal to different destination" key then does usually allow to
switch the signal back to the laptop screen.

Fedora Core 5 failed to boot. I tracked down the problem to "modprobe
parport_pc" which hangs, without any useful diagnostic messages. I
tried continuing after turning off probing of parport_pc and parport,
but then the boot sequence complained about initializing "cups" (the
printer system), which I guess is linked to the earlier parport_pc
problem. I decided that I had insufficient knowledge to continue to
tweak the system, so I abandoned Fedora Core 5.

The same boot/screen problems occurred after installing Fedora Core 6
(test 2), though I never even tried to boot it. It appears that the
problem is related to the boot loader (GRUB), because that is the only
component that has obviously changed between the Windows-only situation
and the Windows-plus-Fedora-Core-6 situation if Fedora Core 6 is never
actually booted. Perhaps the "Acer GridVista Multi-screen Solution" has
something to do with it as well.


Ubuntu 6.06 LTS works fine when running from the Ubuntu CD-ROM, but when
I tried to install Ubuntu on the laptop then the disk repartitioning
phase showed problems. Ubuntu suggested to clear the whole disk and use
it for Ubuntu (i.e., remove Windows), which I declined. In the manual
partitioning mode, Ubuntu kept complaining about unspecified errors when
I tried to define swap and regular partitions for Ubuntu according to
the provided recommendations. I abandoned Ubuntu.


I decided that it was just not feasible to have a dual-boot
Windows/Linux configuration on this laptop, because of the boot/screen
problems that do not actually need any booting of a Linux distribution
to manifest themselves.

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