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Few Linux inquiries

Linux on ThinkPads
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justin216
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Few Linux inquiries

#1 Post by justin216 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:14 pm

Greetings all,

I've been using my T60 for awhile now under XP, and I'd really like to make the move over to Linux. I already run several Linux servers, and really love working with it. My issue is, I tend to run my T60 docked most of the time via Advanced Mini Dock w/ dual LCDs, USB KB/Mouse, Printer, etc, which is making me wonder if this will be feasible with Linux currently.

Basically, I tend to undock/redock my laptop a couple times a day, and I'd like to have a seamless transition between each setup. Eg, I dock the machine, my two LCDs kick on, keyboard/mouse starts working, etc. I undock, the regular Thinkpad LCD/KB/Ultranav works fine. I can do all this without issue of course in Windows XP, but am interested if Linux is capable of doing this smoothly as well.

Anyone out there running a similar setup? Any pointers? Particular Distros? I've tried the Ubuntu/Fedora LiveCDs, but I can't get everything to work without a reboot (Restricted Vid Drivers, really). Just looking for some clarification before I blow away all of the stuff on my drive, then have it not work the way I'd like it to.

Thanks,
Justin
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#2 Post by justin216 » Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:46 pm

I assume by the lack of replies this isn't possible -- I also assume someone has tried at this point. From what I gather, it'll all be fine if I shut down the machine, undock, and turn it back on, but that's a far cry from hotdocking. I may give it a try this weekend when I have some more free time.
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carbon_unit
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#3 Post by carbon_unit » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:44 am

I don't have a dock so I can't answer your question.
T60 2623-D7U, 3 GB Ram.
Dual boot XP and Linux Mint.
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whizkid
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#4 Post by whizkid » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:05 am

And while I have a dock for my T60 that runs Fedora, I don't (yet) use dual displays. I would suggest that you MAKE A BACKUP, resize your Windows partition and install a Linux distribution you know and like and/or can get support if you need it (whether paid or unpaid).

Check out thinkwiki.org and contribute your experiences there.

Other differences: I use my dock primarily for recharging; my printer is on another machine; I have a PS/2 KVM; I have completely disabled the UltraNav and use only the TrackPoint. Don't assume people here have tried what you'd like.

You might also try the Linux ThinkPad Mailing List here:
http://mailman.linux-thinkpad.org/mailm ... x-thinkpad
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justin216
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#5 Post by justin216 » Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:11 am

I didn't know my assumption was actually that off-the-wall, to be honest. Almost every picture someone takes of their dock setup, I've found, has had multiple monitors, usb keyboards, et al. The docks aren't exactly cheap, I'd think many folks buy it for the additional connectivity and expansion choices. It was reasonable to assume someone had tried this before, it's certainly not odd or bizarre in a professional environment.

At any rate, I looked up some documentation on SLED, and it looks like they support hot/cold docking out of the box as per IBM/Lenovo, so that also leads me to believe openSUSE can yield the same or similar functionality. I'm getting a new drive (7K200) in today, and will be trying out this setup. I'll post back with my success or failure with this project for any that may be interested.
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#6 Post by carbon_unit » Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:55 am

SLED is supposed to be the IBM/Lenovo recommended distro so it is most likely that you will have success with it.
I don't think your request is "off the wall" but it seems that nobody that is running a setup like you describe has read this thread yet. Probably most of the prople with docks, multiple monitors and such are running windows, as are the majority of members here......Myself excluded.
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#7 Post by whizkid » Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:05 pm

Even though the Linux post count here is 20% the size of the Windows forum post count, I'd wager that a lot of questions people post regarding Windows are actually put in the forum for the machine instead.

Meaning I think it's a pretty small group here who use Linux (but it's growing). I also think a lot of those Linux users either have older machines, or are beginners like you, or just don't have an experience with what you're trying.

So welcome again, and once you try something, we'll cheer if it works, and at least give you some good pointers if it doesn't.
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:. suggestion

#8 Post by dmitrio » Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:08 am

http://gentoo-wiki.com/HARDWARE_Lenovo_Thinkpad_T61
there is no direct answer to you questions, but it maybe helpfull

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#9 Post by mightaswell » Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:20 am

I assume you have a hard drive of at least 60GB. You can repartition with one of live cds or gparted or the like and give yourself 10GB or so for linux and preserve your win. partition and experiment without fear of loosing your setup. Good luck.
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#10 Post by icantux » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:34 pm

I could suggest Mint Linux .... it's a Debian-based distro, quite new, but feature packed with hardly ANY post-install tweaking required. It's all there and installs perfectly all the Thinkpad-associated add-ons that a user would normally have to research and install using the tedious compiling method.

No it's not some "lindows" cr@py distro, it's the full thing. I've used SuSE, RedHat, gentoo (for 2 years!!) and most recently Fedora, and I can tell you that nothing is as painless and as well-rounded as Mint Linux... It's primarily a GNOME distro, but they do also make a KDE and XFCE specific version as well. Awesome.

I can tell you - I like linux and I've dabbled in UNIX-like systems from my early university days in the early 90's. I don't mind compiling and researching ways to install some piece of hardware etc, but I also appreciate that someone put together a distro that installs faster than windows, is more stable and requires barely any post-install tweaking. Now's that's up and running in a flash.

I installed it on my T42 all the while ready to tweak the system, install this or that (thinkpad buttons, tweak code for suspend/hibernate options, etc), but I had to do NONE of that. What can I say - it's very impressive. No sound tweaking, no video tweaking, no problems with touchpad scrolling, no issues with the thinkpad buttons ..... everything just works!

I haven't tried my mini-dock yet, but I'd suspect that shouldn't be much of a problem.

Only thing that I haven't gotten to work yet is the linux version of TPShocks, but I think that's still largely in development.

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#11 Post by carbon_unit » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:27 pm

I'll second Linux Mint. I have it on my T60 and it is beautiful. Everything I need works right out if the box.
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#12 Post by whizkid » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:07 pm

carbon_unit wrote:I'll second Linux Mint. I have it on my T60 and it is beautiful. Everything I need works right out if the box.
Really? Wow. That would be really nice. I use Fedora and like their stance of not including closed software, but sometimes...

So let's get this right: 3D (which video chip), suspend/resume, modem, fingerprint reader, WiFi (which controller), volume, brightness, network, infrared, hibernate, dual display and more?

I might give that a try.
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#13 Post by carbon_unit » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:40 pm

whizkid wrote:So let's get this right: 3D (which video chip), suspend/resume, modem, fingerprint reader, WiFi (which controller), volume, brightness, network, infrared, hibernate, dual display and more?
I did say everything I need works right out of the box. YMMV

3D= don't know, don't care
suspend/resume=OK, don't care
modem=OK, don't care
fp reader=don't work, don't care
wifi 3945ABG=OK, with light, WPA works too.
volume buttons=OK with OSD
Brightness controls=OK with OSD
ethernet=OK
infrared= don't know, don't care
hibernate= don't know, don't care
Dual display- don't know, don't care

I don't demand that every little obscure, minute detail has to work. I just need it to do my work and it does that.
T60 2623-D7U, 3 GB Ram.
Dual boot XP and Linux Mint.
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#14 Post by icantux » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:20 pm

Linux Mint comes with some of its own code to deal with the more difficult/stubborn issues that other distros contend with - such as wifi (including WPA), suspend/hibernate, modem, 3D, etc.

For instance, upon reboot after installation, I had a choice of either using ATI graphics proprietary drivers or the "ati" xorg module - I chose the 2D since I rarely do any 3D stuff on my lappy, so I don't need ATI's proprietary drivers. Next, the distro also has a neat feature that allows you to install native Win drivers for wifi and modem, so no problems there either. Regardless, without any additional drivers, my wifi (incl. WPA/WPA2), ethernet, and modem (yes! modem) work out of the box! :) Hooray! As do OSD for volume, backlighting control, etc..

Dual display will work if you choose to install the proprietary drivers - not sure if that will work with the kernel module or not, never tried.

Haven't tried infrared, come to think of it, I've never even used it once on my T42!

Fingerprint reader, much as TPShocks, is still largely under development in the linux community, but there's a way to fool the system to request the fingerprint scan on boot and on resume from hibernation - that is firstly to invoke these requirements in Windows (using the thinkpad software) and since the information is stored on the mobo, you can switch out the drive completely, replacing it with whatever OS you want (I've had MacOS, BSD and Linux) and the 'puter will still request a fingerprint scan upon boot and on resume from hibernation. ... Works like a charm, in fact, some colleagues believe the fingerprint scan requirement to be an extra layer of security used in linux, which quite impresses them. hehe

There's info on that procedure posted elsewhere in these forums, so if interested, just do a quick search on "fingerprint + linux + boot" and you should end up with the thread that deals with this.

Cheers.

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Its a go for everything 'cept the HD Audio.

#15 Post by gfolkert » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:08 am

whizkid wrote:
carbon_unit wrote:I'll second Linux Mint. I have it on my T60 and it is beautiful. Everything I need works right out if the box.
Really? Wow. That would be really nice. I use Fedora and like their stance of not including closed software, but sometimes...

So let's get this right: 3D (which video chip), suspend/resume, modem, fingerprint reader, WiFi (which controller), volume, brightness, network, infrared, hibernate, dual display and more?

I might give that a try.
I use Debian SID on my T61 (all Intel Chipsets). The only thing I have issue with right now is the Audio the "HDA" sound mutes itself every 5 seconds. Its being worked on. There is improvement.

The only thing outside the Kernel from Debian I had to add was the IWL driver for the Wireless. This is a pain as they don't use the standard out of kernel tree, module compilation methods. Which forces you to play games to get it working. But, once you do its a dream.

I have everything following working (once I added my user to the apropos groups that is).

Intel 3D is great, it works very well, though its NOT nVidia's binary blob performance, it close enough for all games I play.

Suspend/Resume works fantasmally well (remember group membership).

Hibernate ROCKS. Just make sure you make your swap partition as large (or a bit larger) as your memory, as hibernate writes memory state to the swap partition. Also remember group membership to hibernate while being logged in.

Fingerprint reader... sorry don't have it, I excluded it. I've been forced to use Fingerprint stuff to get into work for years... it fails about 10% of the time. But reports are it works... thinkwiki is great for this stuff.

IWL wireless, already explained. As lng as you know how to build stuff without the automagic parts... it works great. The project is working on its problems with this. Once it works, NetworkManager does its awesomeness thing... leave your WiFi in roaming mode and be ale to join nearly any network. I've been able to do any public network and ones with ESSID keys (as long as you know one of the keys)

Volume does work... except the sound chipset, sets itself to mute every 5 seconds. Its part of the "if it not positively set, shut it down" Vista-ization of hardware, you know the "authorized media stream" kind of thing (or so I've talked to the Intel hardware programming guys)

Brightness works just FINE. I can scale it to max or min, or anywhere in between.

Infra-red, it receives just fine, but I haven't had occasion to use it to send... since it works on receiving, it is probably only a matter of config and it sends.

Dual Display, well my Intel Chipset supports Dual Display so well that I have to forcibly turn off the TV resolution. The External 15-pin works just fine. Even different resolutions... though its not xinerama.

The media readers work fine, as expected.

Firewire works awesome.

ALL USB ports report as USB2.0 and perform that way.

Bluetooth, works well. Except using bluetooth audio, the HDA audio thing gets in the way right at the minute. Blueztools pairs up and auto-connects and all that, easily.

Trackpad does scrolling along the right side, trackpoint works perfectly with no drift. The third (middle) button works as I'd expect it to.

Hard Drive Active Protection works and is active, plus you can run a GLX program showing you the sensor output and hard-drive "parking".

DL DVD-RAM does wonders for everything in sight. Dual Layer DVD-+R, CD-+R(W). It does take the juice so, you'll notice severely reduce battery time when burning on battery.

Illumination light can be controlled in numerous ways.

No I haven't a Dock. Don't need it, in my opinion.

So, I guess, except for the HD Audio thing, it a go.

I used info from here, and many other places.

I started here: http://tuxmobil.org/ibm.html (scroll down to the T60/T61 stuff). There is usually anything you are having problems with in those links.

Now, understand, I used tips from other distributions, for my Debian install, but changed for Debian's way and its hierarchy. This means, many things don't apply exactly, but the general info and places to look have Debian counter parts.

None of those (at the time I last looked late last month, September), had everything working. But betwixt them all, I got all but the HD Audio working.

On last thing, I still have WindowsXP on this machine in a 16GB partition, reduced from everything but the service partition.

Now on that

DO NOT INSTALL GRUB ON THE MBR!

My Laptop has:

Partition 1 == Windows not marked as active booting.
Partition 2 == Debian Linux, marked as active booting.
Partition 3 == 4.2GB Swap
Partition (4?) == The Service Partition.

GRUB is installed on Partition 2

The Thinkpad MBR will then still allow you to push the Blue Button and get into the service partition, or Windows. If you do not press the Blue Thinkpad button, it'll roll over into the GRUB boot menu, where I could boot into:
  • - Debian Linux
    - MEMTEST86+
    - WindowsXP
    - Windows2000 (the service partition)
This is nirvana.
--
greg
PGP key: 1024D/B524687C 2003-08-05
Fingerprint: E1D3 E3D7 5850 957E FED0 2B3A ED66 6971 B524 687C
Alternate Fingerprint: 09F9 1102 9D74 E35B D841 56C5 6356 88C0
Alternate Fingerprint: 455F E104 22CA 29C4 933F 9505 2B79 2AB2

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