Linux on the ThinkPad T60p

Wake Forest faculty and students are issued new IBM ThinkPads on a two-year rotation. The model I have currently (as of July 2007) is the T60p.

Specs | Linux installation | Xorg | Ethernet card | Wireless card | Audio
CD/DVD | IBM resources


The WFU-issue Thinkpad T60p (type 8741 Y1B) comes with

Linux installation

I don't use a Linux "distro" -- I have a system of my own that I have fine-tuned over the years. When I get a new Thinkpad, I copy the old system to CD-ROM in the form of gzipped tarfiles. After setting up the new hard drive, I copy the system over and tweak it as needed for the new machine.

My basic strategy on this occasion was as follows:

  1. Boot from Knoppix (version 5.1). Knoppix does an excellent job of recognizing hardware, so I make note of what it finds and which kernel modules it loads. Use the on-board tools (ntfsresize, fdisk, mkswap, mke2fs) to repartition and prepare the hard drive.
  2. Boot Windows XP and check the resized NTFS partition. Copy my own system files from CD to the NTFS partition.
  3. Reboot Knoppix; mount both the NTFS partition and the new Linux partition; decompress my system files from the former onto the latter; run lilo.
  4. Boot Linux natively using lilo.

After re-partitioning, my hard drive looks like this:

Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1        6267    50331648+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2            6268        6397     1044225   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3            6398       14593    65834370   83  Linux


Xorg version 7.2 supports the ATI Mobility FireGL V5250 video. Direct Rendering is supported by the proprietary ATi driver. Info is available at As of this writing the current version of the ATi driver is 8.38.6 (June 25, 2007). I'm not crazy about the aspect ratio of the 1680x1050 screen (fine for watching movies, I suppose, but not great for serious computing), but I use an external monitor most of the time.

Problem: I've just noticed that when I exit from X (using the ATi driver) the console is blank. Bother. Will post a fix if I find one. Later: easy -- change the vesafb setup; use vga=791 in place of vga=773.


The machine features a dual pointing system: trackpoint plus "UltraNav" touchpad. If you just configure this in X as a PS/2 device the TrackPoint works fine as a three-button mouse. The Touchpad also works OK. I have this stanza in my xorg.conf:

Section "InputDevice"
   Identifier    "Touchpad"
   Driver        "synaptics"
   Option        "SendCoreEvents" "true"
   Option        "Device"         "/dev/psaux"
   Option        "Protocol"       "auto-dev"
   Option        "ZAxisMapping"   "4 5"
   Option        "EmulateWheel"   "True"   

Extra keys

There are a couple of special keys above the left and right arrow keys, which I gather are bound to Forward and Back in Internet Explorer under Windows; there's also a "Windows" key and a "Menu" key. Using xev, I identified the corresponding keycodes as 233, 234, 115 and 117, respectively, and I put the following into my ~/.Xmodmap:

keycode 233 = Next_Virtual_Screen
keycode 234 = Prev_Virtual_Screen
keycode 115 = Execute
keycode 117 = Menu

Then in sawfish (the window manager I use) I bound the first two keys to page between workspaces, "Execute" to log out of X, and "Menu" to call up the root menu.

Ethernet Adapter

The WFU T60p comes with an integrated ethernet controller, indentified via lspci as an Intel Corporation 82573L Gigabit Ethernet Controller. You can drive this using the e1000 module supplied with the linux kernel.

Wireless card

Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC. I haven't tried this yet, but I presume it will work with the madwifi driver. The Atheros card in my previous Thinkpad R52 did.


This is "SoundMax HDA" (Intel ICH7). It works fine with the ALSA snd_hda_intel module.

CD/DVD drive

I use libata for the CD drive as well as the hard drive, via the kernel boot parameter


With this setup the CD is found at /dev/sr0.

Lenovo/IBM resources

It's worth checking from time to time for BIOS updates and so on. You can start here.

Allin Cottrell ( July 17, 2007