For suggestions, improvements or if you just want to talk to somebody,
please mail to: Dag Wieërs
IBM Thinkpad 770
big Linux-supporter and most of their hardware is supported. That's
why thinkpads are probably the best choice for running Linux on a
laptop. Let's go through it in detail.
Model number: 9548-300
List of hardware:
CPU: Intel Pentium 233 MMX
Installation of Red Hat 7.1 didn't give me any unusual problems, the
sound card didn't run off the shelf but it was really easy to get to
work (read on...).
Chipset: Intel Corporation 430TX - 82439TX
Intel Corporation 82371AB PIIX4
Memory: 64MB RAM, 100 MHz, non-parity, 64-bit SDRAM SO DIMM memory
Hard disk: 5 GB IBM ATA DISK, IBM-DADA-25120
CD-ROM: SANYO CRD-S372B ATAPI CD-ROM
Video: Trident Microsystems Cyber 9397, 2Mb RAM
Soundcard: Crystal 4232 Chip
PCMCIA: Texas Instruments PCI1250
Internal modem: ACP (MWave) modem
Screen: 13.3" TFT Display
Please note that if a graphical installation with your distribution
does not work, you can always try to install it text-based if possible.
To avoid problems with booting large harddisks, please use a recent
version of LILO that supports
LBA with large hard
drives and that doesn't have the 1024 cilinder limitation for
The nice thing about Linux is that you can configure your kernel exactly to fit
your hardware and since kernels improve very fast, you can keep up with the
latest features of the kernel as soon as they arrive.
The general rule of thumb is to use the latest stable kernel. The 2.4-series
work fine and the stock Red Hat kernel has everything you need.
To compile a kernel for your system, you should check the
but for your convenience we've put specific a
online that works great
with the Thinkpad 770.
The configuration of X works automaticaly for several distributions. If you
have troubles, remember that the 2Mb of memory on the card only allows you
to use 1024x768 with 16bit colors.
On these types of thinkpads the key-combination Fn-F7 allows you to
switch from your LCD to an external monitor or both. (Three phases) This
however leaves your
X in the same resolution as on your LCD, which is lower than the capablities
of your external monitor. At this time however, you need to restart your
X-server to change the resolution. Work is in progress to overcome this
Beware: the BIOS allows you to boot with an external monitor by default.
The drivers you need to load are: cs4232 and opl3.
modprobe cs4232 io=0x530 irq=5 dma=1 dma2=0 mpuio=0x330 mpuirq=5
modprobe opl3 io=0x388
APM seems to work without problems.
You can suspend your laptop by pressing Fn-F4.
Beware: check your BIOS for additional configuration.
PCMCIA is supported and will most probably work off the shelf with your
distribution. But if you have build your own kernel you need the right drivers
for your PCMCIA-devices. To get more information about PCMCIA-drivers and how
to configure them, check the
The laptop comes with an ACP (MWave) modem. (A WinModem avant la lettre)
Fortunately, IBM is working on an Open Source driver, which already works.
At the time of writing it isn't included with the kernel yet, but only time
will change this minor problem.
You can find the module and more information about winmodems on the
If you used the kernel-config above, you're able to use the VESA framebuffer driver
by adding the following lines to your /etc/lilo.conf:
Here's a list of different modes:
| 640x480 800x600 1024x768
256 | 0x301 0x303 0x305
32k | 0x310 0x313 0x316
64k | 0x311
If you want to use the faster text-mode with smaller fonts (80x60) then you can simply use:
If you used the kernel-config mentioned above, just link /dev/mouse to
/dev/input/mouse0 and load the following modules usb-uhci, usbmouse and
I'm using journaling filesystems on most of my systems nowadays. I use ext3 because at this
moment I don't trust neither reiserfs and XFS nor JFS or included in the kernel. And
Red Hat comes by default with all the tools to use ext3 (although I've build a newer
e2fsprogs package myself).
You don't really need a journaling filesystem, but occasionaly you find your machine
locked up because it ran out of power or because you were experimenting a bit too much.
And then you will enjoy a journaling filesystem more than ever.
Some settings allow to use both your trackpoint and an external mouse at the
same time without a problem. TODO
Only update your BIOS if you really need to.
There is an alternative to configure your BIOS (much like tpctl under DOS). TODO
IBM released some BIOS updates, unfortunately these updates are
distributed as DOS
or Windows executables which is a pain for Linux users. It would
be nice of IBM to just distribute the images created by these
disks so users of other platforms can upgrade their BIOS without
needing DOS or Windows.
For your convenience we've put the image online:
Here's my /etc/modules.conf file,
alias char-major-90 tun
alias char-major-161 ircomm-tty
alias irda0 nsc-ircc
alias parport_lowlevel parport_pc
alias sound-slot-0 cs4232
alias synth0 opl3
alias tty-ldisc-11 irtty
alias usb-controller usb-uhci
options sound dmabuf=1
options opl3 io=0x388
options cs4232 io=0x530 irq=5 dma=1 dma2=0 mpuio=0x330 mpuirq=5
options nsc-ircc dongle_id=0x09 io=0x2f8 irq=3 dma=3
#options irport io=0x2f8 irq=3
pre-install mousedev modprobe usb-uhci && modprobe usbmouse
Although I would recommend a thinkpad to everyone, my a20m has the following flaws
(using Linux, as I don't use another OS).
- When you connect or disconnect the AC adapter while playing sound, the
soundcard starts to produce noise. (seems to be fixed with latest BIOS, undocumented)
- Suspend does not always work properly (could be the Linux kernel itself)
- Networkcard does not recover immediately
- Soundcard needs to be re-inititated (volume goes down)
- Sometimes X goes blank after suspend (kill X-server with eg. ctrl+alt+delete)
- If thinkpad freezes or battery runs out, you need to reset it by disconnecting the AC
adapter and remove the battery (the power-off button beeps twice, but does nothing)
- Hibernate doesn't seem to work (I have a hibernation-partition, but cannot configure to use it)
- ps/2-wheelmice don't work (because red knob shares the ps/2-protocol). I have to figure
out how I can let X use both ps/2 and usb mice.
- The network connector on the back seems a bit "unstable"
Here are some pointers to more information about these thinkpads and other
- If screen is blank after suspend.
- Press some keys or move mouse and wait about 20 seconds.
Sometimes screensaver is causing problems.
- Don't panic.
- Try to switch to see if virtual consoles still work. (ctrl+alt+F1)
If so, switch back and kill X (ctrl-alt-backspace)
- Try to suspend again. Wait. Unsuspend.
- If all else fails, use sysrq-keys to sync and umount filesystems and reboot.
If sysrq is enabled (alt+sysrq+s, alt+sysrq+u, alt+sysrq+b)
- If sound is gone.
Start a mixer-program to reset the volume. (use script)
- If sound is scrambled.
Reload the cs46xx-module (use script)
- If network is gone.
Reload the eepro100-module (use script)