Fedora 18 running on hardware of the last century

An update to the story of the fifteen years old HP omnibook 4150 laptop I still keep running for fun. Well – it is still running quite well.


I changed the linux distribution to Fedora 18. I found it to be running a little bit better than Linux Mint. It can be stripped down very well. I got memory usage on a freshly started lxde session down to 70MiB.

Installation was quite tough. The built in DVD-drive is has big problems with self-burned CDs. Installation from an install CD failed always because of this (remember, you cannot boot from something else than HD/FD/CD with this old BIOS). I managed to do the installation of Fedora 17 by using online package repositories instead of the CD. It tool several hours.

Fedora 17 (and Ubuntu) failed starting an X-Server with this old ati chipset. That problem could be solved easily at least on fedora by installing the xorg-x11-drv-mach64 driver which was missing.

So this old graphics chipset is still supported by the newest X-Servers.

Still, there is not much you can do with this machine. It has not enough memory, a much too slow harddisk and not enough processing power. Even a raspberry pi feels much faster. Surfing is painfully slow – office work is somehow doable. Even as a server it is no good choice. Too much power usage for very modest processing power – and you’ll have a problem connecting storage to it.

The only useful application I found for this laptop was displaying video streams from the network.


  1. After 2 days searching the net for a solution to the prblem ‘blank screen after grub menu’, your posting saved my day.
    Installation success story: IBM 335 rack server with raid-1 runs now like a charm.

      1. Yes, part of the solution was installing the device driver:
        yum install xorg-x11-drv-mach64

  2. And for all other struggling with this problem, it helped me a lot to install XRDP and desktop ‘cinnamon’, because the X11 installation was fine.
    With xrdp I could login from a remote host (Windows 7) and still having a graphical user interface.

    Hint: Be sure to open port 3389/tcp!
    This can be done with a running firewalld
    for the running system
    firewall-cmd –add-port=3389/tcp
    to survive boot
    firewall-cmd –add-port=3389/tcp –permanent

    Hint: Be sure that your keyboard mapping is correct, otherwise you might have problems to login at sesman prompt. Mappings can be found in /etc/xrdp/.

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