My expereinces with Linux on an IBM Thinkpad i1300

I purchased an IBM I1300 series laptop in March 2002.

I succesfully installed Redhat Linux 7.2 (kernel 2.4.7-10) on this machine, though with hiccups. During the OS installation, firstly, /sbin/loader hangs the machine. I mean the machine freezes to death, with no harddisk activity. Passing the option "nousb" option to the kernel did the job. Thanks Google! (type "linux nousb" at the first menu in installation.) From then on, the OS install went fine. At a later point, I tried to upgrade my machine to RHL 7.3 This time the machine hangs on usb-ohci.c, while booting from the CDROM. The hack that works for RHL 7.3 is "linux pci=off". Good luck!  Read about USB below.

Redhat 8.0 :  Upgrade to RHL 8.0 was fine except for sound and wireless network scripts. Had to recompile my sound driver. Wireless scripts were mangled. Probably the file /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts containing essid was not getting sourced (setting essid with iwconfig   was okay...)  regenerated the scripts by using the "neat" configuration utility. Actually, at a later point of time, I reinstalled, installing 8.0 Had to use the "pci=off" to get the m/c to boot from CD. After install, machine hangs during the boot at usb-uhci.c. I had to edit grub.conf to pass nousb option to the kernel. If you know how to get USB to work, please mail me. Read about USB below.

Display : I chose "Trident CyberBlade (generic)" for device and "Generic Laptop Display Panel 1024x768" for monitor. The diplay works flawlessly with 1024*768 resolution. My XF86Config file is here . Also, look at problems section of this page.

Sound. ALSA works fine. My machine has an ALI soundcard and choosing ALI5451 for the sound card worked fine for me. Warning : ALSA has sound muted by default. So be sure to turn on the volume (by using aumix or something) after installing the ALSA driver.

After installing the OS, the operating system refuses to boot. This time, I found that kudzu hangs. Finally I dropped in a root shell thanks to rescue mode in the OS install disk and manually removed kudzu. So I finally got the machine to boot. At a later point of time, I happened to reinstall RHL7.2. This time, I asked GRUB to pass nousb option to the kernel everytime. Kudzu stopped causing problems.

Wireless : The IBM's internal wireless card worked out of the box.

PCMCIA ethernet card : I dont have a wireless network / Airport in my room. So need to use ethernet there. The machine does not correctly recognised my ethernet PCMCIA card. I did not find the time to fix it. ( It is not too bad to live without a network! ) The problem is that the OS recognises it to be a wrong card. I have a 3COM card, with model number being 3CXFE575CT. The OS thinks it is an 3COM 3CCFE575CT card. Update : This works seamlessly in RHL 7.3

Modem : I have a Lucent AMR modem. I could not find the driver for this. If you have got this modem to work or know someone who has got this work, please email me.

APM : Will do this when I have time.

USB : I never tried to get USB to work. However, I know the solutions to the USB problems listed above. Bror Gundersen <> writes :

I was reading about your OHCI-USB problems with the Thinkpad. I also ran
into the same problem, and found out that the 2.4.21-pre4 prepatch for
the 2.4.20 Linux kernel ( contains the wanted bugfix.
When using this patch i ran into problems with my soundcard. With some
bugtracking and a mail to Alan Cox this was again solved in the latest
ac-pach: 2.4.21-pre4-ac1

Other issues : 1) I find that Linux hangs my machine once in a while. It happens randomly. 2) Also, quite often, the machine simply takes too much to respond, even when there is no/little workload. Imagine typing something and it taking a couple of seconds to echo, with little/no workload. I guess it has got something todo with PCMCIA. I first noticed this problem when I was trying to get my PCMCIA card to work. The machine becomes slow each time I plug in or remove the card. Since then, I noticed that this is problem that shows up randomly, even when I am not doing anything with PCMCIA. This is a problem even without Xwindow running. If you know have something that may help me, please contact me. (This is not an issue with RHL 7.3) 3) X/Mouse: Sometimes, the mouse pointer's position does not correlate well the place where the click actually is received. The mouse pointer never goes into leftmost half-inch of the display. Similarly, when the machine thinks the mouse is at the right extreme, the mouse pointer is actually off the screen. To click at a particular place, I actually have to click when the mouse pointer is half inch to the right of the place. Restarting Xwin does not help :-(. The only way to kill this problem is to reboot the machine. Sigh! Thankfully, there is no vertical displacment as well. Update: Looks like this problem is fixed in RHL 8.0

Microsoft Windows : Yeah, I did try to install windows too. I tried windows 2000. But never got the wireless network and ethernet to work. All this after installing a BIOS update, windwos OS update, the drivers from IBM's website. So much for user friendliness! (With Linux, wireless worked out of the box!) And what use is a machine without a network? Anyway I rarely use windows. What use is it for me to waste my time trying to get them
work? Finally decided to dump the idea of trying to get them to work.

Issues with ALI15X3 driver : I got this (Not a personal experience though!)    On an install,  (Mandrake 9.0), the machine hangs.

> ...
> ...
> ALI15X3: not 100% native mode: will probe irqs later
> ide0: BM-DMA at 0x2480-0x2487, BIOS settings: hda:DMA, hdb: pio
> ide1: BM-DMA at 0x2488-0x248f, BIOS settings: hda:DMA, hdd: pio
> ide-flppy driver Revision: 3.12
> Partition check:
> hda:
> Then a cursor blinks and nothing happens...
This is a problem with the ALI15X3 chipset driver of the Linux kernel. When
you boot from the install CD, press F1 to get to the boot screen and type
the following at the "boot:" prompt:

linux ide0=ata66 ide1=ata66
Here is a link to the patch that you can use to fix the DMA problems with 
the ALI15X3 controller:
This patch works with kernel version 2.4.18.

Good Luck.

Sudhakar Govindavajhala.

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