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Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

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greencap
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Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#1 Post by greencap » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:23 pm

Hello!
I got this Thinkpad T60 off the free pile at my university's CompSci department.
I am having trouble getting anything to boot consistently. So far I have tried:
*Debian 10.5 (both non-free firmware and vanilla) and it would install, and grub would boot, but it would go no further
*Arch 32bit, which wouldn't boot at all, and
*Linux Mint 19.3 which would Install and boot only if I chose Recovery Mode and booted from the Recovery Menu, and ran slower than molasses.
I am willing to modify whatever I need to get this running a modern system in a normal (not having to monkey with it each boot cycle) manner, and am open to any distro suggestion.
Current specs:
Bios ver 1.06
CPU Intel T2400 (2)
CPU speed 1.83 GHz
Ram 4096 MB
GPU AMD Mobility Radeon x1400

Thank you in advance!
Last edited by greencap on Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#2 Post by jaaa » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:50 pm

Linux 19.3 should work. Have you tried this?

Burn iso image to CD, then boot from CD. It may take a few minutes to boot up into full mode. The OS should be fully functional from a CD boot. If it works, you should be able to install from that point and boot from the hard drive.

Please let us know if this worked.

https://linuxmint.com/release.php?id=36
Last edited by jaaa on Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#3 Post by greencap » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:55 pm

jaaa wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:50 pm
Linux [mint] 19.3 should work. Have you tried this?
I currently have that running, but I have to mess with keys to get GRUB to show up, then I have to boot it from the recovery menu. I want to get it so that I don't have to touch anything during boot up.
Thank you though!
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#4 Post by jaaa » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:58 pm

I'm not completely fluent with Linux, but you shouldn't have to mess with it to get it working. Look up the board index to find the "Linux Questions" forum; I'm sure someone there knows how to fix it.

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#5 Post by Cigarguy » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:19 am

I have a few T60 running both Linux Mint and Windows 7 without any problem. I love this generation of Thinkpads and its computing power is more than enough for my mobile needs.

Are you certain that some if the issues you are having is not hardware related? I'd check the RAM, HDD and CPU temp. I'd also upgrade the BIOS to the latest. RAM is most likely fine. Be sure to upgrade to 3GB which is about as high as you can go with this chipset. HDD...replace with a cheap SSD. As for CPU, I'm a fan of a T7200 or T7400 which is 64 bit capable even though I use only 32 bit OS on these machines. At the very least this machine is long overdue for an internal cleanup and reapplication of thermal paste.

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:20 am

The "latest" BIOS is 2.27, get the .iso for a self-booting CD here: https://support.lenovo.com/ie/en/downloads/ds013722
After that you should have no problems, even with the latest Linux Mint.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#7 Post by greencap » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:03 am

Cigarguy wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:19 am
I'd also upgrade the BIOS to the latest.
I'm gonna drive out to the Walmart to pick up a spindle of CD's tomorrow! (Thanks RBS for that link, I woulda never found it!)
RAM is most likely fine. Be sure to upgrade to 3GB which is about as high as you can go with this chipset.
I have upgraded to 4GB earlier this week (I say upgraded, but the poor thing was gutted like a fish when I picked it up, so I guess regraded)
As for CPU, I'm a fan of a T7200 or T7400 which is 64 bit capable
If they are reasonably priced, I'll look into getting one of them processors. Is the process of replacing them relitively safe? I don't wanna brick it.
At the very least this machine is long overdue for an internal cleanup and reapplication of thermal paste.
I'll scower it over the weekend and Labor Day, and I'd certainly say I should reapply Thermal Paste, the thing can boil water if you have it on for 30 seconds running apt upgrade.

I thank yall for the help so far! I will check back in the morning!
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#8 Post by atagunov » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:12 am

Hmm.. Wouldn't a USB stick be sufficient? It's been long years since I burnt my last installation CD :) The idea is to take the .ISO you would have burnt to a CD and place it on USB instead.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#9 Post by greencap » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:18 am

atagunov wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:12 am
Hmm.. Wouldn't a USB stick be sufficient? It's been long years since I burnt my last installation CD :) The idea is to take the .ISO you would have burnt to a CD and place it on USB instead.
You know, I thought the exact same thing. Tried it twice, read the documentation to find that it does not have USB support apparently. About daffy of them but eh, I'm sure they have there reasons
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#10 Post by Neil » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:25 am

Couple of things.... Almost all modern Linux Distro are too large to fit on a CD anyway. And, the T60 most certainly will boot from a USB stick. I have a T60 in use right now running Debian 10 that was installed from USB and has never given me any trouble. I'm of the opinion that your problems are not choice of distro, and not general peculiarities of the T60 model. There must be something wrong with your particular machine.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#11 Post by m11k » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:46 am

The Lenovo ISO images won't boot directly if written to a USB drive. Fortunately it is pretty simple to generate a different image file which is USB bootable. I've done this numerous times. This blog post explains it pretty well: https://blog.raveland.org/post/thinkpad_update_bios/. The only change I would make is to run 'sync' once or twice after 'dd' to make sure any cached I/O is flushed to disk.

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#12 Post by greencap » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:54 am

Updated the BIOS and it seems to be working dandy! I'm gonna look into a better battery and some general upgrades now!
Thank you all for helping!
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#13 Post by m11k » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:21 pm

Finding good quality batteries can be a challenge. They don't pop up too often. You do see them every now and then on eBay. If you can find a panasonic cell battery (FRU 42T4620) they are the best in terms of degradation over time. I managed to find one of those with 80% capacity left, as well as a regular FRU 42T4619 which was manufactured in 2014 but was unused and has 100% capacity. I also picked up a brand new ultrabay battery (51J0508), and I created a systemd service to run 'tp-bat-balance' as a daemon, which balances the discharge between the two batteries. You can get that script from here: https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_u ... _batteries. I get several hours of runtime between the two batteries on my T61 (T601 frankenpad) w/ intel graphics.

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#14 Post by atagunov » Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:40 pm

m11k wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:21 pm
If you can find a panasonic cell battery (FRU 42T4620) they are the best in terms of degradation over time. I managed to find one of those with 80% capacity left, as well as a regular FRU 42T4619 which was manufactured in 2014 but was unused and has 100% capacity.
Great info, mk11k! So are you saying that FRU identifies battery manufacturer? Woo-hoo! So 42T4620 is Panasonic. What is 42T4619? Is there a list somewhere? It probably needs to be here! And ideally we'd also collect statistics on which controller each FRU has got, if that is stable.. Is 51J0508 also Panasonic?
m11k wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:21 pm
I also picked up a brand new ultrabay battery (51J0508), and I created a systemd service to run 'tp-bat-balance' as a daemon ... You can get that script from here: https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_u ... _batteries. I get several hours of runtime between the two batteries on my T61 (T601 frankenpad) w/ intel graphics.
You're da man! This has been an unresolved question for me. And exactly for Linux. Thanks a bunch!
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#15 Post by m11k » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:44 pm

atagunov wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:40 pm
So are you saying that FRU identifies battery manufacturer? Woo-hoo! So 42T4620 is Panasonic. What is 42T4619? Is there a list somewhere? It probably needs to be here! And ideally we'd also collect statistics on which controller each FRU has got, if that is stable.. Is 51J0508 also Panasonic?
I don't know if that's generally true. All of my other battery models for different laptops have the same cell manufacturer. The T60/T61 is the only one where I've found different cell manufacturers. I found this info a while ago from some of the other forum posts, for example this one: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=121610. The panasonic battery has different labeling on it that makes it stand out. This is the one that I bought, hopefully you can still see the pictures: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-IBM-Le ... _cvip=true, compare this to a 42t4619: https://www.ebay.com/itm/174408999884 (this is the one I bought: https://www.ebay.com/itm/143238004895). The 42T4619 reports itself as SANYO.

I bought two different ultrabay batteries. Both have the same FRU, but look different. One has a blue li-ion label like the 42T4620: https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Battery-51 ... 7675.l2557, and the other looks like the regular battery: https://www.ebay.com/itm/174067345350. However they both report themselves as "SONY" batteries to the system. I haven't noticed any difference between them in use, but I haven't had them for very long either.

One other suggestion. If you have a battery that has sat unused for a while and reports a low remaining capacity, it's worth doing a recalibration. I used tlp on Linux to do a recalibration on several of my batteries, and saw an improvement in most of them. One of them (a T430 9 cell) was reporting a 29% remaining life, and after calibration it went up to 89%!

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#16 Post by skx » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:33 am

debian stable (buster)
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#17 Post by Dekks » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:09 pm

For me debian bullseye has been running on my T60 the last month, had buster the previous year and a half. That's with ati/radeon driver and mitigations=off kernel parameter.

For the T2400 your gonna need a 32bit OS DL so make sure that's what you had, Debian still do 32bit, Arch 32bit was officially dropped 2 years ago so will be out of date FWIW. By the way all T60 chipsets can only use a max of 3GB RAM.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#18 Post by skx » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:11 pm

Debian is the best choice... but many people are scared as they perceive it more complicated as Ubuntu or Linux Mint (false argument if you ask me) or too boring compared to distros like Arch... but Debian is able to do everything you want it to do and this in probably the best maintained distro of all. Debian is pure gold! You set it up once and it will never break and smoothly upgrade from one release to the other! Love Debian, will never leave for something else :-P 27 years old, the Debian project, and proud to run 100% on Debian since 2000 :mrgreen:
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#19 Post by Dekks » Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:55 pm

skx wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:11 pm
Debian is the best choice... but many people are scared as they perceive it more complicated as Ubuntu or Linux Mint (false argument if you ask me) or too boring compared to distros like Arch
Debian is more complicated in that you need to know a little a bout how you want to setup your partitions, it's only until buster that it tries to hand hold noobs doing their first install. Plus whole free non free firmware issue catches so many out.

Arch isn't an OS for old HW, it's a cutting edge distro for cutting edge HW, they won't test on older HW which is why i moved to debian 3 years ago.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#20 Post by atagunov » Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:05 pm

Dekks wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:55 pm
Debian is more complicated in that you need to know a little a bout how you want to setup your partitions
Hiya, but if you're running an SSD does it not make sense to throw everything at just a single partition?

Actually it's probably better not to have swap entirely on an SSD but I have been trusting Ubuntu and what it has done is..
it has created a 2G swap file for me in root of my filesystem.. which I'm probably okay with

P.S. ah actually there are probably gotchas with UEFI and booting, right? But T60 doesn't have UEFI.. heh to tell the truth I have forgotten how grub is installed in that case.. that's what Ubuntu does to you - you forget stuff you don't need to worry about :)
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#21 Post by Dekks » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:01 am

atagunov wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:05 pm
Dekks wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:55 pm
Debian is more complicated in that you need to know a little a bout how you want to setup your partitions
Hiya, but if you're running an SSD does it not make sense to throw everything at just a single partition?

Actually it's probably better not to have swap entirely on an SSD but I have been trusting Ubuntu and what it has done is..
it has created a 2G swap file for me in root of my filesystem.. which I'm probably okay with

P.S. ah actually there are probably gotchas with UEFI and booting, right? But T60 doesn't have UEFI.. heh to tell the truth I have forgotten how grub is installed in that case.. that's what Ubuntu does to you - you forget stuff you don't need to worry about :)
SSD & swap depends on how much RAM and things liks zswap

Debian actually does grub for you automatically, It goes on a T60 easily.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#22 Post by josh5k » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:42 am

skx wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:11 pm
Debian is the best choice... but many people are scared as they perceive it more complicated as Ubuntu or Linux Mint (false argument if you ask me) or too boring compared to distros like Arch... but Debian is able to do everything you want it to do and this in probably the best maintained distro of all. Debian is pure gold! You set it up once and it will never break and smoothly upgrade from one release to the other! Love Debian, will never leave for something else :-P 27 years old, the Debian project, and proud to run 100% on Debian since 2000 :mrgreen:
LOL. At this point Sir, I'll just have to try it out. Any thoughts on what I'll need to keep on hand for my Intel wifi cards on my T430 or X230i, before going all in?
T430 - (2349-7N7) i5 3320M, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1600x900
T420s - (4170-RM4) i5 2520M, 12GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1600x900
X230 - (2324-E41) i3 2370M, 12GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, 1366x768
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#23 Post by TRS-80 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:49 pm

josh5k wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:42 am
Any thoughts on what I'll need to keep on hand for my Intel wifi cards on my T430 or X230i, before going all in?
This post must have been made after the discussion in the other thread. So I know you probably know this by now already. But I write it also for the benefit of posterity.

Just have an Ethernet cable handy (only needed for initial setup), and be prepared to enable non-free (and perhaps contrib) repos in /etc/apt/sources.list, and then "sudo apt update", and then "sudo apt install <driver_name>" for whatever proprietary drivers you are missing. If you search through the results of "sudo dmesg" usually you can discover the exact package name you need for your particular hardware. If not, a brief Internet search should do the trick. There are only a few different packages that cover a large number of hardware, as I recall.
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#24 Post by josh5k » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:11 pm

Thank you TRS-80. I'm storing this info and will get back once I've installed Debian. First time ever seeing 'dmesg' - So thank you for the info!

Unfortunately, I'm on the road and only have my primary Windows machine on me at the moment. So unless I pick up another ThinkPad over the weekend (could happen), this will have to wait a few weeks.
T430 - (2349-7N7) i5 3320M, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1600x900
T420s - (4170-RM4) i5 2520M, 12GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1600x900
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#25 Post by skx » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:34 am

josh5k wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:42 am
skx wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:11 pm
Debian is the best choice... but many people are scared as they perceive it more complicated as Ubuntu or Linux Mint (false argument if you ask me) or too boring compared to distros like Arch... but Debian is able to do everything you want it to do and this in probably the best maintained distro of all. Debian is pure gold! You set it up once and it will never break and smoothly upgrade from one release to the other! Love Debian, will never leave for something else :-P 27 years old, the Debian project, and proud to run 100% on Debian since 2000 :mrgreen:
LOL. At this point Sir, I'll just have to try it out. Any thoughts on what I'll need to keep on hand for my Intel wifi cards on my T430 or X230i, before going all in?

To enjoy Debian, you are expexted to read a little bit :) But I will point your in the right direction:


https://wiki.debian.org/SourcesList#Component

You need to enable nonfree repos in sources.list

Next:

apt-get install intel-microcode firmware-linux-nonfree
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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#26 Post by josh5k » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:29 am

skx wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:34 am

To enjoy Debian, you are expexted to read a little bit :) But I will point your in the right direction:

https://wiki.debian.org/SourcesList#Component

You need to enable nonfree repos in sources.list

Next:

apt-get install intel-microcode firmware-linux-nonfree
Got it skx. Between you and TRS-80, I'll have to get debian working and will report back for sure. Just waiting for a spare machine!
T430 - (2349-7N7) i5 3320M, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1600x900
T420s - (4170-RM4) i5 2520M, 12GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1600x900
X230 - (2324-E41) i3 2370M, 12GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, 1366x768
T30 - (2366-QA7) P4 M 1.8 GHz, 1GB RAM, 40 GB HDD, 1400x1050

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#27 Post by TRS-80 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:40 pm

Eventually you will probably write an installer to a USB stick. The Debian installer can also be used as a Live CD, which is very handy some times. I keep one on my keychain in fact!

Almost anything you need to know can be found with a brief Internet search. If not, there is always IRC. Try #debian and even ##linux on Freenode. Hundreds of people in there at any time of the day or night. Just save that for when you get actually stuck. The first option should always be trying to figure it out yourself. This is The Way. :D

Good luck!
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Requesting Help Finding Modern Linux Distros for T60

#28 Post by axur-delmeria » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:37 pm

Thinkpads being quite Linux-friendly, the only hiccups I expect with Debian on the T60 would be firmware-related: ATI Radeon X1400 might require the firmware-amd-graphics package (though the package description has no mention of the X1400), and the Intel WiFi as well, unless you got lucky and have an Atheros WiFi chip.
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