I’m still busy setting up my Thinkpad R61i. In many ways, this thing is more of a pain than the ancient Toshiba it replaces. That’s part coincidence, and part “I-really-want-to-do-this-right” and part “I-really-want-maximum-power-save-and-avoid-risking-hardware-damage”.
One of the few bits of hardware that didn’t take hours of setup was the fingerprint reader. I lucked out and got a working UPEK TouchStrip, vendor ID 0483:2016. It works for console logins and su to root. fprint is awesome!
I’m using stable amd64 mostly, except where I need the latest ~arch packages for hardware functionality. I used a stage3 tarball from Daniel. So nice to have an up-to-date stage.
The capacious-yet-quiet hard disk came preloaded with Vista Home Premium. Ugh. I used a Sidux LiveCD to shrink it and shove it off to a corner. Why did I use Sidux? Because they seemed to be the only distro whose LiveCD offered a 2.6.24 kernel, which meant….wireless installation! Wrong. Lies. They use .23, no iwl3945 drivers anywhere. I had to get out my ridiculously short ethernet cable. Bother.
On the Gentoo side, I ended up going with ext3 for / and ext2 for /boot. This is most unlike me, as I’m normally a ReiserFS man. I figure 1) it’s possible that if something does go wrong, it may be easier to recover with ext3. 2) I can try out ext4 later. 3) Fewer packages to emerge; e2fprogs is already part of the system set. As far as usage goes … ext3 is perceptibly slower for certain operations, but it also feels much faster when mounting.
The whole configuration process is still ongoing, with a few major problems:
1. Masked and unstable drivers for X. Still only xorg-x11 installed; no Xfce4 yet. At least I have working hardware acceleration with the X3100 chip, using xorg-server 1.4 and mesa 7.0.2.
2. Wireless. Day and a half to get it mostly working. At boot, it seems to associate with my WPA access point, but then goes inactive immediately. Unfortunately, it seems to take the service with it, so things like netmount and ntp-client don’t start. Now, the device is actually associated and has retrieved its IP address. But it’s an unresolved headache as to why it does all this but still doesn’t consider the service “started”. This is with kernel 2.6.24, in-kernel iwl3945 modules, as well as crypto modules. Once Xfce is running, I plan to undo most of my networking config files and just use NetworkManager or some other tool to do everything. I hate having to manually edit conf.d/net just to change from my home network to public access points in libraries, coffee shops, etc.
3. uvesafb. Day and a half to figure out. Apparently I needed a weird/unintuitive setting or two in my kernel config. Works now at native resolution, 1280×800.
4. hdaps. Apparently my harddrive isn’t supported? It’s possible the folks at IBM refurbished the laptop with a non-stock drive.
5. thinkpad_acpi. Not all buttons are working yet, specifically screen brightness. That’s despite following the basic instructions at ThinkWiki on kernel module parameters. I haven’t really delved into it yet, though. At least the thinklight works.
6. Touchpad & trackpoint. I figured out just an hour ago why the trackpoint wasn’t working. Though the protocol was set to “IMPS/2″, I had to change the driver to “mouse”. So now both work in X. Will post config later. My hope is that the middle button works properly once I get Xfce and Firefox installed.
That’s it for now. I haven’t done much else besides get the bare necessities working for the console environment.
My goals are as follows, in no particular order:
1. Complete desktop installation & configuration.
2. Setup low-latency/realtime system and applications for music recording and editing.
3. Configure system to draw as little power as possible, regardless of activity. I really want at least 3 hours out of my existing battery, even though I’ll also be buying an UltraBay battery.
- setup laptop mode for just about everything, including hard drive, CPU, wifi card, soundcard, bluetooth, screen, optical drive, reduce interrupts, etc. I’m really nervous about hard drive settings in particular, as we all know what happens to it under too-frequent spindowns.
4. Figure out how to turn off the darned green LED light by the optical drive. It’s killing me.
5. Did I mention power efficiency?
6. Get the rest of thinkpad_acpi and all the nifty hotkeys working. I want hotkeys that work, unlike my Toshiba’s nonworking keys.
7. Setup Gentoo development environment, GPG stuff, etc.
I’ll post more in the coming days, and (if I still have the strength) I’ll write up some installation notes and configuration information, probably in my devspace or on ThinkWiki. Not much info out there on the R61 series.