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 Post subject: X300 Linux support
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:03 pm 
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Location: Malaga, Spain
Hello,

Well i am new to this world of thinkpad so i need to have some notes before i do the move..; how is the linux support in the thinkpad world and specially on the X300.., is it supported?
Cause for me working with windows is not a possibility apart from one application to do with my job, and if theres no good support i will keep on the mac side. I need something multiplatform but i dont want to be going back to win to make things work or my job done.

I dont mind virtualize for a couple of tasks, but work on windows i am sorry i cant cope with that.

Thanks.


Moved to Linux forum


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:39 pm 
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with the X300 being so new, it will probably be a while before you hear about various linux installations being tested on it.   its support would depend on video settings and drivers for the individual components.

we have a linux forum specifically set up for users running linux on thinkpads.   this would be a great place for help if you need it.
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewforum.php?f=9


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:45 pm 
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I don't wish to sound harsh, but if you cannot cope with Windows, you have a challenge on your hands. It took me a number of distributions and a number of installs in Virtual Machines to get comfortable with Linux. And I started by being exceedingly capable with Windows. ... JDH


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 Post subject: Re: Linux support
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:59 pm
Posts: 877
Location: Tucson, Az
kyokurider wrote:
Hello,

Well i am new to this world of thinkpad so i need to have some notes before i do the move..; how is the linux support in the thinkpad world and specially on the X300.., is it supported?
Cause for me working with windows is not a possibility apart from one application to do with my job, and if theres no good support i will keep on the mac side. I need something multiplatform but i dont want to be going back to win to make things work or my job done.

I dont mind virtualize for a couple of tasks, but work on windows i am sorry i cant cope with that.

Thanks.


Linux is pretty good, but still has enough annoyances to keep it from becoming mainstream for most users.
If your new ThinkPad comes with Vista, that's not a bad thing. Just make some backup images of the factory setup, and then go in and disable the needless visuals and Aero and some of the services. (lots of good articles on how to do that on Google) Run the machine in Classic mode for speed, and adjust performance for max performance rather than let computer decide. Vista can run well if adjusted properly. Just like XP, which needs tuning and adjusting for best performance, too.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:33 am 
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hello, thanks for your answers, just some notes, i am a sysadmin i have few linux servers on production which i am so very happy with. i switched to mac 5 years ago, since then i am not coming back to windows. And i have to work with windows desktops everyday.

I dont have problems on my personal desktop at the office (winXP), but i am not going back, sorry i byte de apple. I feel so comfortable on osX, is such a great OS i have to admit.

What i am not happy is the way apple is going since the change of architecture, lack of quality on their models in HW terms. Errors that shouldnt come out from my point of view after spending 2000€ (prices in the good old europe far more expensive that in the states).
My thinking is try to start using linux as a desktop and not just in a server enviroment. If not possible for me i will stay with osX, so thanks very much for your advice but believe me, i am not going to work with windows if i can avoid it, no way.
Actually theres a number of hw vendors starting to give linux support like Acer, Dell,.. i think Thinkpad T.. something come also with a choice of win or linux?? am i right??.
I wont pay a licence for an operative system that i dont need, its a bit like a revolutionary tax from my point of view (i hope this last sentence made sense, if not excuse my english).

regards


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:34 am 
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kyokurider wrote:
hello, thanks for your answers, just some notes, i am a sysadmin i have few linux servers on production which i am so very happy with. i switched to mac 5 years ago, since then i am not coming back to windows. And i have to work with windows desktops everyday.Thinkpad T.. something come also with a choice of win or linux?? am i right??.
I wont pay a licence for an operative system that i dont need, its a bit like a revolutionary tax from my point of view (i hope this last sentence made sense, if not excuse my english).

regards


I would also like to suggest you read some threads in the "Linux Questions" section in this community. ThinkPad users are trying various Linux distros with varying amounts of success. Ubuntu seems to be the most popular as a desktop. There is another site called "Lenovoblogs" that discusses Linux support for certain ThinkPad models as well.
Since you mentioned some problems with the more recent Macs the "ChaosManor" site with Dr. Jerry Pournelle may be interesting to you. He is converting to Mac and is having some problems doing so in some areas.
You probably already know that you can create "live CDs" from most of the Linux distros to see if your machine's hardware will run that particular Linux distro. One other possibly useful site is "Distrowatch" which discusses most of the available Linux versions.
Hope these little suggestions help out a bit in your search.


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 Post subject: Re: Linux support
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:40 am 
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kyokurider wrote:
how is the linux support in the thinkpad world and specially on the X300.., is it supported?


In answer to the first part of your question, I just thought I'd mention that you can buy T and R series models with Linux pre-installed for you.

Here's a direct link:

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/special-offers.workflow:ShowPromo?LandingPage=/All/US/Landing_pages/Info/08/Linux

I would probably own one by now, except that I'm on the fence between T and R.

Also, one data point from my own experience: my wife ran Linux (Suse 10.2, I believe) on her R40 for some two years, only recently switching back to Windows to run some sewing software that she bought. The R40 is an old machine, but Linux ran well on it, and the sleep/wake was reliable on it. Linux worked very well for her until she needed something beyond Office + web + email.

In general, I hear good things about Linux on Thinkpads.

Best of luck. Those X300s are awesome. They are spendy, but awesome.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:58 am 
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Thanks for the info mates, i will check those links mgo, ta.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:28 am 
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The x300 uses the intel graphics chip (only sensible choice on a subnotebook anyways), for which intel is writing an open driver. Intel also wrote an open driver for their wifi chip, which is by now part of the standard linux kernel. The rest of the hardware is pretty standard (if small). The SSD looks like a hard drive to the OS i think, so again no problems. I'd bet that basically everything will work out of the box if you install a recent (say, <6 months old) linux distribution.

Of course, if anybody wants to know for sure just donate one to me and I'll be happy to check things out for you :-)


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 Post subject: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:10 pm 
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Sorry, I started a new thread about this in the X300 forum, which got moved here (boo!)

I have an X300 and I installed Ubuntu Hardy Alpha 6 on it...

It works well enough that i can do my work from it (I'm a sysadmin too), but there are some things not yet working:

* Audio (a strange one, I'm working with an ALSA guy to fix this)
* Suspend (another strange one, it's something kernel related. I've mailed the thinkpad-acpi guy to ask for help)

Those are the main two issues thus far. On the whole the machine is lovely - the graphics and wifi work out of the box, which is all I need to ssh places and get paid ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:25 pm 
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Quote:
he graphics and wifi work out of the box, which is all I need to ssh places and get paid Wink


he he

how is it the processor cmsj? do you feel lack of power from it?, i normally use the laptop as main comp as i am with it the whole day, and i wont like to be transfering files all day.. not in dreams, i have enough during workin hours. imap the mail which helps if i am on the desktop but really work most of the time from the laptop.
Thats why i want a powerful machine, i am not a gamer, dont need the top of the pops but something not to be outdated in few years. (cant keep spending this amount of money every three years didnt robe a bank yet)

by the way, post some pictures mate they never enough.. :-), what i would appreciate are some screenshots of the desktop see how is that resolution showing, size of the icons, fonts, it can all be modified but to have a first impression.., i only see pictures of vistas and XPs

another i forgot to mention..
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=59014

in this post the guy says that the screen quality is very poor, and that is one of my main concerns as theres too many hours in front of the screen that i spent.. so far i am more that happy with my powerbook screen but it will be very bad if the X300's worst..


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 Post subject: Re: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Location: Goettingen, Germany
cmsj wrote:
I have an X300 and I installed Ubuntu Hardy Alpha 6 on it...

Finally someone who did it... I'd love to order this machine but running linux is a must. So any real world experiences with this thing on linux are highly appreciated.

cmsj wrote:
* Audio (a strange one, I'm working with an ALSA guy to fix this)

Please report when it works and what you did to get it working.

cmsj wrote:
* Suspend (another strange one, it's something kernel related. I've mailed the thinkpad-acpi guy to ask for help)

Does hibernate (aka suspend to disk) work?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:52 pm 
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Hi

kyokurider wrote:
how is it the processor cmsj?


It's ok. I just run Firefox, Thunderbird, Terminals and general GNOME stuff. It's definitely nippier than the X40 I had before, which was also 1.2Ghz, but single core and a much older intel chip.

I probably wouldn't want to edit video all day on it, but then I don't edit video all day. I do use it as basically my only computer though.

kyokurider wrote:
by the way, post some pictures mate they never enough.. :-)


Maybe. It's black and my theme is black, getting a good shot will be hard without proper lighting.

kyokurider wrote:
what i would appreciate are some screenshots of the desktop


Well I have a screen shot at http://mairukipa.tenshu.net/screenshots ... odachi.png

but I use a pretty non-standard setup ;)

http://mairukipa.tenshu.net/screenshots ... odachi.png might be better

kyokurider wrote:
another i forgot to mention..
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=59014
in this post the guy says that the screen quality is very poor


I see no shimmering, I suspect his display may be faulty. The contrast seems ok. I don't like retina melting brightness because I need to stare at lots of small text for a long time.

It's light years ahead of the screen in my previous X40. The higher DPI alone makes me cringe every time I go back.
The SSD is also a huge win so far. It makes any kind of complex IO much quicker.


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 Post subject: Re: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:00 pm 
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till wrote:
Finally someone who did it... I'd love to order this machine but running linux is a must. So any real world experiences with this thing on linux are highly appreciated.


If you're not comfy with compiling things, debugging things and making do with things not working perfectly, it's fine.
I reckon we'll get it fully supported in time for the next Ubuntu release after Hardy. If you're not technical then I would consider waiting. You'll be able to use it for some stuff out of the box, but the experience won't be perfect!

till wrote:
Please report when it works and what you did to get it working.


If you compile your own ALSA the sound works apart from the internal MIC. See https://bugtrack.alsa-project.org/alsa- ... hp?id=3837

till wrote:
Does hibernate (aka suspend to disk) work?


If you have the latest firmware (1.02a at time of writing), hibernate works fine. I am a little concerned about the wisdom of hibernating though - it means writing about 1gb of data to the disk each time, which is just using up the life of the SSD.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:24 pm 
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hey!, thanks very much for the answers and the screenshots, nice name kodachi for the actual machine it is ;-).

The second screenshot actually shows much better how you will be working with different windows and the space you have to work, and i like it i must admit. Then is just a matter of preferences and tune and tweak to your taste.

About the screen i completely agree with you that if you are going to spend a lot of time working, those bright fancy displays with the glossy finish are not the kind of lcd's you need. The matt finish is much better for your eyes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:20 am 
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Thank you cmsj. Also for terminator.

'case anyone else is interested, according to bananaman in the WWAN thread x300 uses Sierra Wireless MC8775, the driver for which is here: http://www.sierrawireless.com/faq/ShowFAQ.aspx?ID=601

_________________
Have: x60s ultralight 1705-CTO, Debian SiD, Linux 2.6.25-2 | x61s ultralight 7668-CTO, Debian SiD/Experimental, Linux 2.6.27-git5 | Model M 1391401, white label, 07-17-91
Had: x22, Debian Testing/SiD, Linux 2.6.18-22


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 Post subject: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:38 pm 
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Thank you, cmsj, for posting your Linux experiences. I installed Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04) Alpha 6 about four days ago and have had similar good luck. Here is a quick summary of what I've seen thus far (some of which duplicates what is said above):

1. Sound doesn't work out of the box. I modified the ALSA code myself, recompiled, and now everything except the built-in microphone is working. It's a digital mic and such mics are still quite new. Existing code in ALSA supporting the digital mic feature of the AD1984A sound chip appears buggy and perhaps was never tested. I plan to spend more time getting the internal mic to work.

2. Brightness remains at 100% regardless of the power source (AC vs. battery) or brightness setting. On the Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10) live CD, the brightness adjustment works. Possibly this is a bug in alpha code: see Ubuntu bug #161745. While waiting for the bug fix, I have implemented a workaround that lets me adjust the brightness.

3. The built-in camera is recognized as a USB device but doesn't render any images in applications such as Skype and cheese. A "kernel oops" occurs when accessing the camera. See Ubuntu bug #200990.

4. Hibernation works, but problems occur in suspend-to-ram (sleep). When I use the shutdown dialog to suspend, the machine goes to sleep and almost immediately wakes up again. Error messages appear in the kernel log (some of which relate to the camera). Running the /etc/acpi/sleep.sh script with the force option does work and the system resumes with no noticeable problems. Debian bug #467374 seems to describe this situation and there is a straightforward workaround.

5. The Fn-F8 key that toggles the touchpad on/off doesn't work out of the box. Adding the SHMConfig option to /etc/X11/xorg.conf fixes this, but it also disables the mouse-click buttons when the touchpad is turned off.

6. The Fn-F5 key that controls Bluetooth/WiFi is initially disabled. Tinkering with the code enabled me to turn Bluetooth on/off reliably, but WiFi could not be consistently and reliably turned on and off.

7. Many of the other Fn keys work. I haven't exhaustively tested them.

8. Screen geometry and resolution are set correctly by the Live CD and upon installation. The graphical eye candy of Compiz Fusion works beautifully, is stable, and delivers snappy performance.

I've used the machine non-stop since Saturday with no crashes or instability. Disk performance is the fastest I've ever seen on a laptop and noticeably faster than the 10,000 RPM 3.5" drive on my desktop computer. The laptop is quicker in everyday use than its specs might lead you to think.

So, all things considered, Ubuntu Linux works pretty well on this wonderful hardware, assuming you are able to fix a few things. I'll second the recommendation not to install Ubuntu unless you know what you're doing and are patient with bugs and quirks.

(Revised to add bug numbers.)


Last edited by flappybird on Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:22 pm 
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My very limited experience with about 10 or so linux installations on several thinkpads and desktops is that you will almost always have to tinker a little to get everything working just right. The most common items that do not work 'out of the box', so to speak, are hibernation, wireless and more rarely, sound.

It's much safer to just stick with a distribution that declares it is stable. Having a large user community that will support you also helps. For these reasons I found ubuntu edgy or feisty especially useful.

Having said that, these days I can't help but want to use more experimental software. I'm running E11 Enlightenment on a Xubuntu Feisty distro on my Thinkpad X30 right now. Feisty is stable enough but E11 is still in alpha stage.

Clarence

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 Post subject: Re: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:33 am 
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flappybird wrote:
It's a digital mic and such mics are still quite new.


Interesting, I didn't know that. I don't particularly care about the mic either because built-in laptop microphones are generally awful!

flappybird wrote:
2. Brightness remains at 100%... see Ubuntu bug #161745.


See also bug #197929 for the actual kernel patch causing this.

While waiting for the bug fix, I have implemented a workaround that lets me adjust the brightness.

flappybird wrote:
Running the /etc/acpi/sleep.sh script with the force option does work and the system resumes with no noticeable problems.


Very interesting, I will see if I can figure out what is going on there. The script doesn't seem to do a huge amount differently with the force option (indeed, you can pass it "sleep" instead of "force" and it will do the same thing)

Thanks for your comments. I'm not a hugely avid forum watcher, but if you use IRC, I'm usually hanging out in ##ibmthinkpad on freenode as Ng - we should stay in touch to swap tips!


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 Post subject: Re: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:28 pm 
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flappybird wrote:
Running the /etc/acpi/sleep.sh script with the force option does work and the system resumes with no noticeable problems.


I traced this down quite extensively earlier. At least in Ubuntu, suspending is now done by pm-utils, where it would have been done by acpi-support in the past.
They have some fairly different behaviours, such as pm-utils doesn't unload all networking modules. This was a big clue.

Code:
-(cmsj@kodachi)-(~)- cat /etc/pm/config.d/local
SUSPEND_MODULES="e1000"


The above fixes suspend/resume for me.

Also I wouldn't say the system resumes with no noticeable problems - there are a few things in /sys and /proc that don't get saved/restored properly. acpi-support is pretty good at this, pm-utils doesn't bother at all.


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 Post subject: Ubuntu on X300
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:44 am 
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cmsj,

Thanks for your fine work in tracking down that sleep issue. My previous comment that "system resumes with no noticeable problems" contained the weasel words "no noticeable" because messages in the log hinted that not everything had gone smoothly. Still, I couldn't find anything wrong that a user could see. Thanks for shedding light on the nuances of this problem.

I've noticed three other things that might be of general interest.

1. In bug 197929, which cmsj referenced above, one issue involves the screen not being powered off (DPMS) after the interval related to the Gnome screen saver and power management parameters. The bad patch that causes the DPMS bug has been reverted. As they say, the check (or should I say cheque?) is in the mail.

2. When you try connect to hidden wireless access points (those that do not beacon or broadcast their SSID), a bug in the Intel 4965 driver causes long connection times, which result in a timeout in Network Manager. See bugzilla #1553 at intellinuxwireless.org. A workaround is to configure wpa_supplicant to connect manually to hidden wireless access points. This bug is assigned and shown as "major" severity. I am confident a fix will emerge.

3. I was wrong when I stated above that Compiz Fusion was reliable. Silly me; I should know better. An interaction between Open Office and Compiz results in hangs requiring a reboot. The workaround is to open Compiz Settings Manager (which you might need to install), go to the Workarounds Plugin, and deselect Legacy Fullscreen Support. So, in summary: the workaround is to disable the workaround. Awesome.

Actually I'm impressed that Compiz works as well as it does. One of the great things about the X300 is parts quality. Because Lenovo used a lot of Intel parts, such as X3100 video, we will eventually get many annoying bugs out. Intel's policy of releasing source code and providing resources to open source projects is laudable. And Lenovo's use of good parts that can be made to work with open source is superb, too. Bravo.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:09 am 
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Looks like the later build of 8.04 has included some fixes.

My experience was good with this build a few days ago, testing done after upgrading with the stock desktop image and repositories.


Sleep, Audio, Wifi, X3100, OSD and Speed-step worked, in fact after reading all these posts I was a bit apprehensive about installing it, anyway, for me it's quite a polished distro for the X300.

I've rebuilt it now ready for a triple boot for work with Vista, Debian and Solaris.


Still researching, as you do.

I once burned out a Powerbook Pismo after installing Yellow Dog Linux, lots of melted plastic on a US$3.8k machine.

:cry:


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 9:00 am 
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Hi,

I'm glad I found this thread as I am planning to buy X300 to run linux on it. I ditched windows a while ago and have no plans to use it anymore unless it's absolutely necessary (which for now means firmware update and sync software for my smartphone, stupid program for my mp3-player and an occasional game from time to time) - for anything else I use linux these days.

So I have a few questions regarding your linux installation and usage experience on X300.

1) I'll be going to college in autumn - it's my primary reason to get this laptop. Like I said, I've no intention using windows unless there's no other way but I'm sure I'll have to run something college related (it's a CS degree) that's windows-only app and since dual-boot is so last year, what is your virtualisation experience on X300? Would I be able to run XP or perhaps even Vista as a virtual machine inside linux system? If you haven't try yet I'll buy you a pint if you could give it a spin for me (depending on amounts of your spare time and willingness to answer my question of course).

2) To quickly sum it up: what of X300s hardware runs out of the box, what can be made to run and what I have no chance running as of today (let's say on latest ubuntu version, or perhaps any other distro of your choice)?

3) How would you describe average run time on 6-cell battery? Does any one tested run time under linux with additional battery loaded instead of dvd-rom? I think I'll get one of these as use optical drive as much as I use windows - only if I'm forced to. There's just something about cds/dvds that's against what I believe in...

4) What about linux-based software for 3g-broadband and GPS? I'm not sure how much will I use that funcionality but I'd like to know nonetheless.

5) A little off topic: what would be pros and cons of running 64bit version instead of 32bit? There seems to be not much sense to go for 64bit as far as I know - am I wrong?

I'd be more than happy if you could give me your opinion on above mentioned things.

Thanks,
Maciej

p.s. long time reader - first time poster, greetings to everybody here

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i run linux on my thinkpad x200s; it's stable, fast, secure and it's a great way to stay in shape


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 9:52 am 
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maciejs: Are you sure that the slow CPU and relatively small SSD are sufficient for your purposes? Depending on how applied your CS course is, it might involve a lot of compiling. Plus running virtual machines. On the other hand, if your course is really a math course in disguise then you'll be fine ;)


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 10:38 am 
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Volker: Thanks for your comment, you have a valid point. I was concerned with speed issues as well, that's why I asked about virtualization. As for compiling, I'm sure there'll be plenty of it during my course (which I assure you is not math course) but I hope I'll be able to live with longer compiling times as long as they are not really slooow. Additionally I'll more than likely get a proper desktop as well to keep me covered for some heavy computational needs at home. I suppose while on the move I'll have to trade off something to gain something else (portable form factor and weight, to be precise). So do you really think X300 won't provide me with enough juice?

64GB should be enough for my purposes as I don't plan to carry around my whole music/movie library and for my documents and one or two virtual machines I should be fine. The way I see it: 10GB partition for linux and most of software, 10-15GB winXP virtual machine, optional 20-25GB vista virtual machine and there should still be at least 15GB for other stuff. Large swap partition won't be a must since I plan to get at least 3GB of RAM anyway.

I also consider getting T61 14.1" but while not really big it's substantially bigger and heavier than X300. Portable machines really appeal to me for several reasons plus I don't really like the port placement on T61 (audio jacks in front in particular). SSD alone is a nice option, it's fast and speed is more important to me than terabytes of space. I know I can upgrade disk myself but probably wouldn't bother that much after getting the machine.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 1:09 pm 
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Location: Lancaster, UK
I was wondering what are your experiences with the battery life of X300 under Linux.

Im running Ubuntu 8.04, and I used PowerTOP to tweak the system, but the battery life I get is not more than 1:15-1:30 hours with the 3-Cell battery. Furthermore the fan constantly runs, even if the processor is at 800MHz, and I am suspecting that the voltage regulation is not correct.

Any thoughts on this?


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 Post subject: Re: Linux on X300
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:40 am
Posts: 2
Location: Goettingen, Germany
cmsj wrote:
If you're not comfy with compiling things, debugging things and making do with things not working perfectly, it's fine.


OK, finally yesterday my machine arrived and first thing was putting Hardy final on it. No big surprises, thanks to the valuable information in this thread and elsewhere already on the web (and almost everywhere with contributions from cmsj, good job! thank you).
Seems to run nicely with Hardy. Had to compile latest nightly ALSA drivers for sound output and input, no big thing. Wifi ist a bit awkward from time to time, not sure whether its NetworkManager or the iwl4965 driver: Reconnecting to a wlan after kill switch or Fn-f5 most times doesn't work, I even had to reboot twice to get a wifi connection again, but I haven't looked into details yet.
Webcam, Bluetooth (tested only file exchange yet, no dialup connections through mobile phone), hibernate, USB, gigabit ethernet, trackpoint, touchpad, compiz desctop effects (whoever needs them) ... all works out of the box.
Haven't managed yet to get the desktop extended to an external display (cloning works with xrandr called on command line), but that must be some X configuration issue.
The X300 is a very nice machine for running Hardy on (I had quite more issues with my Acer TM 3002 running Linux in the early days of that laptop).
Thank you to all those, who traced bugs and posted solutions already on running Linux on the X300.

Till


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