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« Can Just Anyone Join? | Main | 'Stand-Alone' Journalism in a Connected Age »

April 21, 2005


Ed Holzinger

Linux gurus at MySQL conf say Ubuntu (the latest) or Suse 9.3 handle this fine....

jay clark

Ubuntu should work pretty, but may require some minor tweaking to get suspend/resume working.

Pito Salas

I can't help you (directly) with your question, but once you get it all running, don't forget that BlogBridge ( runs fine on Linux too (including synching between your mac/win/ and lin boxes) :-)

Ken Camp

I've installed ubuntu on three different manufacturer laptops and all that stuffed worked. None was a Thinkpad, so I can't confirm that, but it's probably the Linux install that's the simplest and would take the least tweaking for all to work.

Fine James

This dude has the goods:


I don't know about ubuntu, still have to find a machine it runs on. I tried an old P5/233, didn't work. SMP P6 didn't work, SMP Xeon SATA raid , LVM didn't work. Don't get me wrong here I had to create my own install disk for the Xeon machine and still have to create my own initrd every time FC3 puts out a new kernel. But I got the feeling there is nothing magic about ubuntu, at least not on my machines. Haven't tried it on my notebook since I got into trouble when I installed FC3 on it and it used the wrong driver for my sound card. All of this is starting to remind me of 92 when I started using Linux.

james governor

Stephen O'Grady is a Linux on Thinkpad Guru. He'll help you. [email protected]


Off the notebook topic - I have an SMP machine, but I've moved away from it as a linux desktop. Uniprocessors are fast, and I don't think you can blame the desktop folks for concentrating their energies (and testing) there. I now (very happily) run Ubuntu on a 2.4 GHz, 512MB, Dell 4600

I'm kind interested in how well Ubuntu works on the ThinkPad ... that would be (from my perspective) a reason to get one!

stephen o'grady

i'm definitely not a guru, Dan, but i have been running Linux on my X series Thinkpad (x23) for about a year now, and do have suspend working.

the key to suspend on the x series laptops that i've used is using the deprecated APM power management instead of ACPI. APM is well supported on Thinkpads generally, and suspend has pretty much worked flawlessly for me.

as for distros, i'm a Gentoo guy myself but it's not a distribution for everyone b/c of the lengthy setup time and waits for application compiles.

as other folks have noted, Ubuntu is a very nice - and cutting edge - distro that's a little more polished install-wise than Gentoo.

this thread looks to have some answers on how to configure APM on Ubuntu:

HTH, and feel free to drop a line if you have questions (though i'm out of the office tomorrow).

- sog

Timothy Tuck

Ubuntu is Gnome based and if you like gnome it is a solid distro. If you prefer KDE then take a look at Kubuntu which is basically Ubuntu with KDE instead of Gnome. I have installed this on a thinkpad T40 for a friend of mine and everything worked although i will admit i did not test the suspend functionality.

We set the system up to be triple boot with WinXP and WinXP in chinese and Kubuntu, from i have heard back from him everything in every OS installed is working perfectly. We actually had more issues with Windows recognizing everything than we did with Linux.

Dan Gillmor

Thanks for all the responses --- Ill try out Ubuntu. Seems to be the concensus.

rick gregory

Dan - Ubuntu has a Live CD (you can boot and run without installing). Worked well on my new T42

Karsten M. Self

Ubuntu's pretty solid. Like Xandros, it's Debian-based, which gives you a lot of wins. You'll even find the KDE packages on it if you enable the "Universe" package sources (they're commented in /etc/apt/sources.list by default).

For hardware config, I can only say that the Linux Journal guys _love_ Thinkpads, and I'll shot a message where they can find it.

I've also written a script which does a pretty good job of identifying just what is on your system, chip-wise, which can be found at

It basically pokes around in the system configuration information files and dumps output. Save to a file and post it with comments as to what's not working. If you have any specific questions about how to run it, contact me.



Ubuntu ships a kernel version with both suspend-to-ram (ACPI S3) and suspend-to-disk enabled (ACPI S4).

Fedora core has ACPI enabled (so if you are lucky you can get suspend to RAM and resume safely), but keeps shipping a core with swap suspend disabled.

The Ubuntu live CD can be used to test if your laptop has a BIOS that support ACPI S3 (what Windows call 'suspend').
You cannot do software suspend (what windows call 'hybernate') from the Ubuntu live CD simply because it doesn't create any swap area.

Usually hybernate works on (more or less) all the type of hardware, while until now I've seen only one laptop (a Toshiba Satellite A20) that was able to resume from a suspend-to-ram.
Machines I've tested:
- Sony PCG-FXA32: hybernate ok, ACPI suspend fails (it doesn't refresh the RAM while suspended so if you resume it fast it works, but don't wait for more than 1-2 seconds), APM suspend works.
- Sony RJ5005E: hyberate ok, ACPI suspend fails (it resumes, but it doesn't re-initialize the display... leaving it completely blank).
- Sony PCG-FX150: hybernate not tested, suspend fails.
- Toshiba Satellite A20: hybernate not tested, suspend ok.

Larry B

I would say that the comment on SUSE being the best, well I can say YES it installed very well on my Toshiba Tecra 8000 which is a dinasaur and filled with legacy devices. Suspent and Hibernate have worked for me the last 3 times I tried it so should work well for you!


Mepis is another good choice, also based on Debian. Also comes as a live CD, and includes Skype.

Ted Feuerbach

If Ubuntu doesn't work, try the latest SUSI 9.3. It is very sophisticated.

David Orban

Linspire 5,, works completely with that notebook. Michael Robertson in his newsletter's latest issue,, has actually mentioned a user's bet with him on this.

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