Installing Fedora 13 on a ThinkPad T41

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Revision as of 16:12, 13 April 2010 by Tonko (Talk | contribs) (X Server - ATI RV250)

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This is based on Fedora 13 Alpha with the default GNOME desktop. Your experience with KDE may be different.

Success Chart - Out of the box experience

This machines SMOLT profile is available here.

Item Working Notes
Installation Local CD/DVD install yes
Network Installation yes
USB Installation yes
Display - ATI RV250 Laptop Screen yes
VGA yes
DVI yes Requires port-replicator or dock with DVI
S-Video partial see below
Power Management Software Suspend (hibernate) yes
Suspend to Memory (ACPI sleep) no Xserver hang on resume. bugzilla. boot with radeon.agpmode=-1 as a workaround.
Audio yes
Wireless WiFi - Atheros AR5212 yes
WiFi - Intel unknown (should work)
Bluetooth yes
Input Keyboard yes
TrackPoint yes Install gpointing-device-settings rpm for full configuration capabilities
TouchPad yes Install gpointing-device-settings rpm for full configuration capabilities
Extra keys partial see ThinkPad Extra keys section below
Ports Ethernet yes
Modem no Requires closed-source driver. Install the slmodem rpm from the rpmfusion-nonfree repository, edit /etc/sysconfig/slmodem and set INTERFACE=alsa and ALSA_DEVICE=modem:1 and optionally the country.
Serial yes Requires port-replicator or dock
IrDA no Device is detected, but does not work
PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse yes Mouse works, but disables Trackpoint/Touchpad
Parallel unknown (should work) Device is detected
USB yes
PCMCIA/Cardbus yes
Harddisk Active Protection partial There is a hdapsd rpm, but it is not installed by default, and neither is the hdaps kernel module getting automatically loaded. And even after install it is not started automatically. Starting it manually (modprobe hdaps; hdapsd -d sda), does seem to cause the HDD heads to get parked, but it gives lots of warnings that seem to indicate it does not yet work as intended. bugzilla
Ultrabay device removal partial Eject switch causes udev event, but no default udev script to handle the event to unmount filesystems in time. ata_piix does handle the removal and insertion of ATA devices.
TPM (security subsystem) unknown tpm-atmel kernel module loads without errors, and creates /dev/tpm0. Should work with tpm-tools RPM
Dock removal unknown

Tested and Verified on Fedora 13

Information in this section has been tested and verified using Fedora 13.


Installation is straight forward, but you should do so without any external displays attached; you can follow the generic Fedora install instructions.



It is recommended to edit /boot/grub/grub.conf and add hpet=force to the kernel line. This will activate HPET (High Precision Event Timer), which will allow the CPU to sleep for longer periods and save power.

X Server - ATI RV250

Out of the box external displays (VGA or DVI) should work, and you can switch display modes with the Fn-F7 key combination.

The following issues still exist

  • Multihead causes the desktop to become very slow
  • Screen rotation does not work in combination with Multihead
  • Compiz does not work in combination with Multihead Bugzilla
  • unknown physical LVDS display size (0mm x 0mm)
  • external ONLY does not work (both displays are black)
  • S-Video output is distorted Bugzilla


Both the Intel and Atheros AR5212 wireless should work out of the box.

Intel WiFi was not tested.


Starting with the 2.6.33 kernel, as included with Fedora 13, the thinkpad_acpi driver now exports a volume control to ALSA, which represents the volume and mute buttons on the ThinkPad keyboard. Unfortunately for ALSA/PulseAudio this is just another volume control (one without actual inputs/outputs), and as such there is no effective end-user change from what you had with previous kernels.

This volume control can be seen by running alsamixer, pressing F6 and selecting ThinkPad Console Audio Control

ThinkPad Extra keys

ThinkPad keys are handled by a mixture of the thinkpad_acpi, acpi button and acpi dock drivers.

Key Function Handled by Event Works Notes
Fn-F3 lock screen thinkpad_acpi HAL yes
Fn-F4 suspend acpi button HAL partial button works, but suspend fails on resume with corrupted display
Fn-F5 wireless thinkpad_acpi HAL partial Works as a radio kill switch, kills WiFi but not Bluetooth
Fn-F7 videomode thinkpad_acpi HAL no No longer has any effect! Regression.
Fn-F12 hibernate acpi button HAL yes
Fn-Home brightness up - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Fn-End brightness down - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Fn-PgUp thinklight - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Fn-Space zoom thinkpad_acpi HAL no Known Xorg limitation, scheduled to be fixed with the new XKB2 extension, whenever that may be.
VolumeUp Volume Up - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
VolumeDown Volume Down - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Mute Mute - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Access IBM Vendor key thinkpad_acpi HAL partial No default action, but can be associated with gnome-keybinding-properties
NextTab Browser Next tab standard keyboard driver HAL yes
PreviousTab Browser Previous tab standard keyboard driver HAL yes
Power Power button acpi button HAL yes Need to press button for ~1 second to trigger event. Causes a dialog asking you what to do.
Lid Lid button acpi button HAL yes
Dock Dock eject button acpi dock unknown unknown Should cause udev event
Ultrabay Ultrabay eject switch acpi dock udev no Causes udev event, but missing handler. See below.


Ultrabay eject is not handled properly by default. Since there is no undock udev handler. This udev rule and eject script works for me: How to hotswap Ultrabay devices


IrDA is detected, but does not work. Part of the problem is that the default Fedora configuration expects to find the IrDA port at /dev/ttyS2, while it should use /dev/ircomm0 instead. This can be fixed in /etc/sysconfig/irda after which the irda service can be started (# service irda start).

However, even after this communication with other devices fails. irdadump does not show any output when something like a mobile phone with IrDA is sending data.

Untested on Fedora 13

The following features where not tested with Fedora 13. If you have tested them, please update the table

  • Intel WiFi
  • Parallel port
  • Dock eject
  • TPM