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Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

Linux on ThinkPads
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NothingNew1
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Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#1 Post by NothingNew1 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:02 am

Hello,
From what research I've gathered Thinkpasds seem to be the majorties choice on running linux. I don't know really anything when it comes to Thinkpads & linux, but I'm eager to learn.
I'm wanting to learn Ubuntu and I'm curious which Thinkpad would be the best for a absolutely complete beginner : T530 / T400 / T510 / T520 / X270 / X230 ?? I've listd these because these models are affordable to me $60.00 - $110.00 and are avaialble to purchase. Which would be the easiest to install Ubuntu on ? Which one is going to give me the least amount of issues ?
I just want Wifi to work without issues and basically read and learn the command line. I might also if possible dual boot with Windows 8 / 10 due to the fact I've been a Mac user for over a decade. Also, if I decide to be able to run online cert classes on the computer as well. Maybe down the road switch to a different flavor of linux : mint or debian or possibly Kali ( which I doubt ) although cyber security is 100% fasicnating to me.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for everyones time !!

Omineca
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#2 Post by Omineca » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:17 am

Any old ThinkPad should serve the purpose. I suspect that the X270 in your list is a typo, given the price range stated. Get an SSD or the experience may be painfully slow.

Ubuntu is a good distribution to start with. There are some old online guides that are really useful for learning the command line (very little has changed in terms of the basics). I remember using this one by William Shotts, among others: https://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxc ... f/download

If you really want to learn the ins and outs of the system, once you get comfortable, move on from Ubuntu as you have proposed. I learned the most in two ways:

1. setting up Slackware on an old ThinkPad 365X. I think the equivalent today (as far as manual configuration goes) would be Arch Linux, but I've never tried it. Using a distribution that requires a lot of manual configuration forces you to learn a lot more. But don't keep your important data on such a system, because you probably *will* screw up massively at least once.

2. administering my own Debian server (mostly for XMPP, but once you get started, you'll find yourself self-hosting a ton of stuff). A cheap VPS or a raspberry pi provides great opportunities to teach yourself a lot.

Edit:

Linux in Nutshell is also very good: https://doc.lagout.org/operating%20syst ... h%20Ed.pdf

Chapter 3 in this book is quite useful: http://tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/intro-linux.pdf

Here's a collection of resources, many of which are more specialized/advanced: https://itsfoss.com/learn-linux-for-free/
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Saucey
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#3 Post by Saucey » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:53 am

If you're using ubuntu, wifi should work out of the box on all of those ThinkPads. Specific distros I've come to have an issue with wifi and I just end up moving onto a different distro if I don't figure it out within an hour.
T400 benefits from libreboot or coreboot if you decide to go that route in the future... but flashing a bios seems a bit more daunting to me, I haven't tried it.

I'd say maybe an X220 would be a good start, specially if you get one with an IPS display.
Plus you could always add an mSATA card to it, and get dual boot without the big size of a T510.
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NothingNew1
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#4 Post by NothingNew1 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:12 pm

Hey !!
Thanks for all this useful information !! I whole heartedly appreciate !!
Another question if you don't mind. I purchased an extremly cheap but working T400. A person on Reddit said the system will run slow and possibly be somewhat frustrating. Curious if this is true ?

RAM: 4GB || Hard Drive Capacity: 160GB
Processor: Inter(R) Core (TM) 2 Duo || Processor Speed: 2.26GHz

Would upgrading to a SSD be worth the money and would it be a noticable difference ? If so any thoughts on these guys ?

https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/compatib ... 400-series

Would the 50.00 one be ok ? I only paid 40.00 for the computer and its only for learning, so I'm not wanting to invest alot into something thats only being used as a learning machine, unless its going to truly benefit the process.
Thanks again for your help !!!

Omineca
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Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#5 Post by Omineca » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:13 pm

Replied to your PM. There are less expensive SSDs.
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NothingNew1
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#6 Post by NothingNew1 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:53 am

Thank You !!! All your help is greatly appreciated !!!

farmall
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#7 Post by farmall » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:13 am

I've run several similar spec T61s for shop PCs with no problem. Gaming is for gaming boxes. I prefer light DEs and mostly use xfce.

Any distro should do so try a variety (remember you can run live off USB to test) and have fun!

James1138
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#8 Post by James1138 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:09 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoppix

KNOPPIX (/ˈknɒpɪks/ KNOP-iks)[2] is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB), one of the first of its kind for any operating system[vague]. Knoppix was developed by, and named after, Linux consultant Klaus Knopper. When starting a program, it is loaded from the removable medium and decompressed into a RAM drive. The decompression is transparent and on-the-fly.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#9 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:43 am

I have an external 32GB SSD (M.2 2242 SSD in a USB 3.0 enclosure) with Debian installed. It boots much faster compared to a similar install on a USB 3.0 flash drive; the performance is good even when plugged to a USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 bottleneck only shows on heavy disk access, i.e. software updates via apt upgrade. Just don't try to put the laptop to sleep/standby/suspend, since that turns off the USB ports and you lose the mounted partitions. :O
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

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RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#10 Post by Sudevan » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:55 pm

NothingNew1 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:02 am
Hello,
From what research I've gathered Thinkpasds seem to be the majorties choice on running linux. I don't know really anything when it comes to Thinkpads & linux, but I'm eager to learn.
I'm wanting to learn Ubuntu and I'm curious which Thinkpad would be the best for a absolutely complete beginner : T530 / T400 / T510 / T520 / X270 / X230 ?? I've listd these because these models are affordable to me $60.00 - $110.00 and are avaialble to purchase. Which would be the easiest to install Ubuntu on ? Which one is going to give me the least amount of issues ?
I just want Wifi to work without issues and basically read and learn the command line. I might also if possible dual boot with Windows 8 / 10 due to the fact I've been a Mac user for over a decade. Also, if I decide to be able to run online cert classes on the computer as well. Maybe down the road switch to a different flavor of linux : mint or debian or possibly Kali ( which I doubt ) although cyber security is 100% fasicnating to me.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for everyones time !!
I have a large number of earlier Thinkpads, from the 600 series through T4x and T60/T61 plus T601 Frankenpads (the motherboard of a T61 inside the chassis of a T60) running various flavours of Linux. By far the best I have used is Linux Mint. It is very user-friendly for a beginner, and there is an extensive community of users and numerous websites that will help you understand the basics. Linux Mint 19 (Cinnamon desktop) is also rather similar in its GUI to Windows, if that is at all relevant to you. I have a friend and colleague who moved out of the Windows world more than fifteen years ago -- he uses Macs and Linux systems exclusively, and I have given him Thinkpads from time to time, which he runs Linux on -- and he has achieved a measure of peace that is unknown to Windows users, if I may say so. You will find Linux rather liberating. I have found Mint to be very stable and none of the problems with upgrades and malfunctioning drivers experienced by Win 10 users in recent years will plague you with Linux Mint -- or at least, that has been my experience. So I say, go for it, by all means. Of the machines you list, I think the T530 and the X270 should both work well. I'm pretty sure the others will be fine too.
570 600 600 600 600 600E 600E 701c 760ED
A22m A31 A31p
T23 T23 T23 T30
T40 T40 T41 T42 T42p
T43 T43 T43 T43 T43 T43 T43 T43 T60 T60 T60/61 Frankenpad
X61 X61 X300 X301
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Arc
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#11 Post by Arc » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:16 am

A not-very-unique opinion here, X200/X201 with Debian. Or X220. You can easily get an X200/X201 for $100 or less. Maybe X220 if you want a crusty beat up one. As for distro Debian to me has always felt like "vanilla" GNU/Linux.

OP seems to have gotten a T400 which is also great. Honestly should be fine as long as you just post on forums and watch videos. Never had a problem with speed on any distro when it came to that.
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farmall
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#12 Post by farmall » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:38 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:43 am
I have an external 32GB SSD (M.2 2242 SSD in a USB 3.0 enclosure) with Debian installed. It boots much faster compared to a similar install on a USB 3.0 flash drive; the performance is good even when plugged to a USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 bottleneck only shows on heavy disk access, i.e. software updates via apt upgrade. Just don't try to put the laptop to sleep/standby/suspend, since that turns off the USB ports and you lose the mounted partitions. :O
I just did that with an early 128GB M.2 and am delighted. Even on a fossil like my 4GB RAM T61 without USB 3 it's reasonably fast and a great use for small SSDs.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Thinkpad + Linux = I really want to learn !!

#13 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:33 am

farmall wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:38 am

I just did that with an early 128GB M.2 and am delighted. Even on a fossil like my 4GB RAM T61 without USB 3 it's reasonably fast and a great use for small SSDs.
Good to hear. If you can find a 2.5" SATA to M.2 adapter, you can put that M.2 SSD into the HDD bay.

I put mine in a USB enclosure for portability, as it's one of my diagnostic/recovery tools. :D
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
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