Sunday, June 17, 2007

Settling on a Linux Desktop Environment for my T-61

So a brief update on getting X working on a i965 based Lenovo T-61.

I ended taking a 4th option, installing Gentoo 2007.0 (although I had to boot the minimal install CD with the nodetect option and then manually modprobe the SATA, ACPI, etc.) Using the default boot options hung the install. These were the kernel mods running. Some of these are clearly not necessary as I was shotgunning modprobe to get the drives running.

livecd drivers # lsmod
Module Size Used by
sg 19484 0
ahci 11268 0
ata_piix 8072 0
freq_table 2720 0
processor 14536 0
sata_qstor 4996 0
libata 61460 3 ahci,ata_piix,sata_qstor
ipv6 170912 14
e1000 90432 0
e100 22792 0
mii 3968 1 e100
rtc 7476 0
usbcore 78084 1

The cool thing about the Gentoo installer this time around (the last time I used Gentoo was probably in 2003) is that you can start up an SSH server and then paste all the zillion commands you need to do the install vs. typing them at the console. So it took about 2 hours to build X7.2 and then the X -configure worked automatically. As you can see it is using VESA not an Intel driver, but most importantly it did default to 1440x900. So I was happy with that.

Section "Device"
Identifier "Card0"
Driver "vesa"
VendorName "Intel Corporation"
BoardName "Mobile Integrated Graphics Controller"
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"

Anyway as you can see from the snapshot. XFCE4.4 from gentoo is nice. Pretty much everything you need. Oh I did try OpenSUSE 10.2 which was only able to get 1027x768. But I copied over the xorg.conf from the Gentoo install and was able to get the full resolution. But the default GNOME desktop for SuSE is bloody awful. Not sure what it is trying to emulate. Vista maybe? Who knows.

So a short list of issues folks may run into:
  • Your console goes blank (actually a sickly green color) after going into X. The solution here is to use the framebuffer.
  • No sound, not like I care.
  • Of course I haven't tried at all to get the built in wireless card working. Been using an old Aironet 352.
  • No suspend, hibernate, but haven't tried and don't really care since this is more a mobile workstation
And probably more...


Dimas said...

One more reason I have switched to Gentoo for the time being.
Nice job with the X - I should change my dated t42 - I could only get ugly 1024x768 on opensource ATI driver...

You can get
app-laptop/thinkpad for hibernation, power consumption and trackpad configuration. It saved me about 40 minutes of uptime with the tpctl utility. Also,
responsive trackpad while typing is annoying ( to me )

Matt Franz said...

I will check them out! I think the trackpad is significantly lower and smaller so that hasn't been an issue. It was far worse trying to run Linux on the MacBooks. Basically unusable because the trackpad was so sensitive.