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jbkim 11-13-2005 09:30 PM

Help with linux installation on IBM T43 laptop
 
I have just purchased an IBM T43 laptop, and plan to install a linux distro as dual-boot with WinXPpro. I am new to linux, but use RHEL4 on a desktop at work under an academic license (i.e. discounted price but no support). I have configured it to be dual-boot leaving the MBR intact with a copy of a boot.Inx file in the Windoze c: partition. I am considering purchasing another academic RHEL4 license for installation on my laptop, but I am willing to consider alternatives. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any information on the web or on Redhat's knowledgebase regarding the details of RHEL4 installation on an IBM laptop. Lenovo has apparently called the T43 fully certified for RHEL4 as well as SUSE 10.0, but I am uncertain whether all the functionalities of the laptop are assimilated well, and whether further tinkering is required (ie. as with FC4). Here is a short list of questions, and I would appreciate any help!

1. What linux distro is most highly recommended for the IBM T43 with the best "out-of-box" functionality and stability (i.e. without needing lots of tweaking). RHEL4? SUSE 10.0? Any personal preferences?

2. Does anyone out there have any experience with RHEL4 dual-boot installation on IBM thinkpad T43? Are there any futher steps after the initial installation that is recommended? There appears to be a few websites with recs on additional steps for FC4, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Professional 9.3, etc. Would these type of interventions be required for RHEL4? It seems so unfair, especially if I am paying for it. Would expect such a distro to be polished.

Thanks!
-jbkim

J.W. 11-14-2005 01:33 AM

Welcome to LQ. Regarding the "best' distro for a laptop (or any other PC), that's always a subjective call, with no right answer - if you ask different people for their opinions, you'll get different answers. One method that might help you decide is to read the installation instructions for a given distro before you take any further action (for example, you can read the SuSE v9.3 installation instructions online) The idea is that if you know what to expect during the install, your chances of success should be higher. Personally, I've tried both Slackware and SuSE on my T40, with good results. (If you're insterested in trying Slackware, I'd recommend Fabrice Bellet's excellent instructions which were written for a T40 but which I assume would be applicable to a T43. I have not used RHEL4 so can't comment on it but if you're familiar with it and like it, you should probably stick with it.

Dual booting on a laptop isn't all that much different than dual booting on a desktop, but of course since you only have one disk to work with in a laptop, you will need to repartition your drive in order to make room for Linux. Assuming you want to preserve the IBM "hidden partition" aka "predesktop area" which is a special partition at the very end of the drive that contains the XP recovery image, the biggest technical issue in terms of the installation is likely to be the partitioning work (not that it's hard, you just want to be careful) As you may know, IBM discontinued shipping recovery CD's, so if at some point in the future you need to restore the T43 back to its original factory configuration, you can use the "Access IBM" functions to do that restoration. (Note that this will overwrite your entire disk and reinstall XP so you'd lose all your data and everything else, so this option clearly would be a last resort)

Anyway, the biggest piece of advice I'd offer would be to take care of the partitioning before you start the installation rather than to make it a step within the installation. With regard to the hidden partition, for my T40 its size was approx 4G, so what I did was just treat my 40G drive as if it were 36G. The partitioning exercise more or less consisted of using a partitioning tool to redefine my single 40G partition into a pair of partitions, one being 36G and the other (holding the hidden area) only 4G, but not formatting either one - you don't want to reformat anything, you just want to divide the space a little differently. I saved the changes, and rebooted to confirm all is well. Second, I resized the 36G space (which was all XP) down to about 14G, which opened up the remaining 22G of space for Linux. Again, I saved the changes and rebooted to confirm things are OK. (After this step, and as expected my C:\ drive's size became 14G). The final steps were to define that "new" 22G space as Linux partition(s), saving the changes, then rebooting one last time to confirm things were OK. At this stage, the partitioning was completed, so when I started the Linux install, I just told the system to use those existing Linux partitions. Note that you'd still want to divvy up your total Linux space according to whatever partitioning scheme you preferred, in other words, out of that space you'd want to create a small swap partition, probably a separate /home partition, etc.

Overall, one great "one stop shop" for a large number of descriptions about installing Linux on laptops can be found at http://tuxmobil.org/mylaptops.html Good luck with it and again Welcome to LQ

runlevel0 11-14-2005 09:02 AM

Re: Help with linux installation on IBM T43 laptop
 
Quote:

Originally posted by jbkim
I have just purchased an IBM T43 laptop, and plan to install a linux distro as dual-boot with WinXPpro. I am new to linux, but use RHEL4 on a desktop at work under an academic license (i.e. discounted price but no support). I have configured it to be dual-boot leaving the MBR intact with a copy of a boot.Inx file in the Windoze c: partition. I am considering purchasing another academic RHEL4 license for installation on my laptop, but I am willing to consider alternatives. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any information on the web or on Redhat's knowledgebase regarding the details of RHEL4 installation on an IBM laptop. Lenovo has apparently called the T43 fully certified for RHEL4 as well as SUSE 10.0, but I am uncertain whether all the functionalities of the laptop are assimilated well, and whether further tinkering is required (ie. as with FC4). Here is a short list of questions, and I would appreciate any help!

Laptops are pretty standard these days and IBM is a Linux-aware company.
My tip would be the last Mandriva, as it has official Centrino support.
As for personal tastes I would use Gentoo, but this one needs a lot of tweaking.
Other personal preference would be SUSE 10.0, judging from my experience, SUSE is the distro with the best hard and software management.
Red Hat could also be a nice choice, as RH works in close relationship with IBM.
Kubuntu has also proved to be a nice and powerful distro.

My advice is that you try the last version of any of these four: Mandriva, SUSE, Fedora Core (or Red Hat) or Kubuntu. Apart from the ease of installation and maintenance, you will find plenty of community help for any problem or question you could have.

Quote:


2. Does anyone out there have any experience with RHEL4 dual-boot installation on IBM thinkpad T43? Are there any futher steps after the initial installation that is recommended? There appears to be a few websites with recs on additional steps for FC4, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Professional 9.3, etc. Would these type of interventions be required for RHEL4? It seems so unfair, especially if I am paying for it. Would expect such a distro to be polished.

AFAIK besides of installing the distro and having free space on your drive all that you have to do is install it. This had been so since a lot of time. Even the boot loader configures itself automatically to boot from either system.
"Further steps" have to be taken if you want to use the Windows bootloader, but this is only a matter of personal taste as the Linux boot loaders offers much more functionality as Window's one and it doesn't alter your win installation in any way.
Other "further step" would be enabling NTFS read-write support, but this isn't a question of polishing either, it's just a matter of personal preferences and the only thing you have to do is answer "yes" or "no" when it asks you.
I don't consider this unfair, as the price for any of these distro's is very close to 0 (http://linuxiso.org) and you haven't to do anything else but click on some checkboxes and answer yes/no questions while you can read exhaustive information about any step you take at the same time you are taking them. If you mean you are thinking on purchasing a boxed distro, keep in mind that the price also includes a fair amount of free customer assistance time.

I own a quite more exotic laptop running Gentoo, where I also had runt SUSE 9.2 and Mandrake 10 without any problem (no dual boot, anyway).

hipikll 11-14-2005 10:05 AM

just have a look at:
http://www.linux-laptop.net/
maybe it can solve some problems. Or try to subscribe yourself to http://mailman.linux-thinkpad.org/ma...linux-thinkpad
this forum

jbkim 11-14-2005 07:27 PM

Thanks a million J.W., runlevel0, and hipikll for the excellent advice. The laptop will arrive in the mail in a few days. I'm finding myself partial to installing SuSE. I'll keep you posted!

Kramer 11-16-2005 12:03 PM

I have Mandriva on my t41p, and it went in flawlessly, with the exception of the graphics driver for the ATI card. Youll need to download the new one from the ATI website and build it, and youll be good to go.

tehuti 11-19-2005 04:35 PM

MEPIS.


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