Fedora/RHEL on Inspiron 5000 Laptops

The model tested here were two Inspiron 5577 machines. i7-7700ha + nVIDIA 1050Ti model. The bumblebee portion below is specifically for machines with the NVIDIA discrete GPU. AMD discrete GPU owners (unsure of Dell model for this) are not going to need bumblebee in any way.

Pre - Installation

  • Since this machine is preloaded with Windows 10 currently, you would be stupid not to create a USB recovery just in case you wish to sell this unit or if Dell wants to be jerks about repairs (VERY unlikely with my chats with Dell technicians, they appear to at minimal respect alternate OSs, especially non-Ubuntu distros). Dell ships a Win10 tool to do this, or you can use clonezilla to make a drive dump. I opted for both.

BIOS Changes

To get things working

Method 1 (BIOS Method)

Disable Secure boot in the UEFI
Enable Legacy boot

Method 2 (UEFI Method)

Disable Secure boot in the UEFI

Fedora Installer

  • The network installer should work fine, if you accept the fact that the additional drivers needed that are indeed baked in the full installer are not present. I had to use a 802.11n dongle and an external mouse since the WiFi and touchpad did not work.

  • The full installer was perfect. No issues. Using the BIOS method does incur a slight boot delay as it switches over to the Legacy Boot mode. Advice is to go the UEFI method.

  • My partioning schemes were:

UEFI

Size Mount Point Disk
1GB /boot/efi ssd
1GB /boot ssd
8GB swap ssd
Remaining space / ssd
Entire Disk /home hdd

BIOS

Size Mount Point Disk
1GB /boot ssd
8GB swap ssd
Remaining space / ssd
Entire Disk /home hdd

Post Install

  1. Update to the latest patch level. Do this first prior to anything else as it will greatly speed things up. Reboot after updating.

  2. Bumblebee setup: Using the guide here : https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Bumblebee

  3. First install repos

dnf -y --nogpgcheck install http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/itecs/public/bumblebee/fedora$(rpm -E %fedora)/noarch/bumblebee-release-1.2-1.noarch.rpm http://install.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/yum/itecs/public/bumblebee-nonfree/fedora$(rpm -E %fedora)/noarch/bumblebee-nonfree-release-1.2-1.noarch.rpm   
  1. Install packages:
dnf install bumblebee-nvidia bbswitch-dkms VirtualGL.x86_64 VirtualGL.i686 primus.x86_64 primus.i686 kernel-devel
  1. Fix Grub
    1. Edit /etc/defaults/grub
    2. Append to the end of the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX= the following acpi_osi=! acpi_osi='Windows 2009'
    3. BIOS Method : grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
    4. UEFI Method : grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg
    5. Reboot

Summary & Conclusion

  1. Backup Dell's Windows preload using their tool in Win10 or use clonezilla
  2. Modify the UEFI so Fedora can boot after installation
  3. Partition appropriately
  4. After first boot, update and reboot
  5. Install bumblebee repos
  6. Fix grub
  7. Reboot

Thats about it. Most of the effort here is all Bumblebee's fault. So whenever NVIDIA gets their stuff together, things will be much nicer. Sadly, there is no way to script this. But once you get this going, a clonezilla dump is fast and easy way to never have to do it again, barring a change in distro (EL/Fedora/SLE/SuSE).