Installing Fedora Core 5 on a ThinkPad 600X

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Revision as of 03:18, 1 May 2006 by Whizkid (Talk | contribs) (Getting CardBus working.)

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This is a work in progress.

I won't spend any time on partitioning your disk. It's an important topic and reasonable people have very diffrent ideas on how to do it and why. I still sometimes live in the Windows world, so I have a Windows partition. I also have a FreeDOS partition, but that's just me.

I have a /boot partition, a swap partition and a / (root) partition. Fedora Core 5 uses GRUB to boot, and GRUB uses the BIOS. As far as I know, there's a BIOS limit that requires anything that boots be on the first 8GB of your hard drive. FC5 will make a /boot partition well below this limit if you let it use its defaults.

I'm going to assume you have already partitioned your drive, but if you want to let FC5 do it, it will do a fine job.

Always test your media once before you use them.

Boot the first CD. (If you're lucky enough to have a drive that will read recordable DVD's in your 600X, you're probably smart enough to adapt this walkthrough to your hardware!) Press enter for the graphical install.

Test your installation media, or skip that part if you know the discs are good.

When the Anaconda GUI installer starts, it may turn on screen expansion even if you've turned it off. Press Fn+F8 a few times and use the option you prefer. (I leave it off because I find some text hard to read when it's on.)

Click Next. You can see the CD drive, video card and TrackPoint are already working!

Choose your language and keyboard preferences. FC5 will search for old versions, but the Fedora team recommends you not upgrade. I like to back up my files before I start and let the installer format all the partitions. There's no cruft left behind. (Besides, I like to keep the drive space free.)

The next part is where you deicde how to partition your drive. If it's blank. you have a lot of choices. I keep my partitions, let FC5 erase the Linux partitions and format them before it installs.

Let FC5 install GRUB on the hard drive. It will detect Windows if it's on your drive to allow you to select which to boot. You can add all your operating systems here if you have more. You don't need any advanced boot loader options. I also recommend against using a boot loader password. If you want security, use the boot password and/or supervisor password in the 600X BIOS.

Select your time zone. Select a root password. I like to use a simple one at first, because I reboot quite a few times while I'm getting it all to work properly.

Select the software package sets to install. I like to turn these all off and install what I need later. It makes the install go faster and I get to pick and choose. Besides, by the time you install FC5, many of the packages will have new versions available. Why install them twice? (Yum makes it easy, too.) As an added bonus, you only need the first two discs if you install this way.

Once FC5 is sure everything is set, it gives you once last chance to stop before it changes your partition table and formats the drives you've selected. Click next and it's all down hill.

The discs are ejected as each one is done. When it's complete, you get a congratulations screen. Click Reboot and you're running Linux!

Getting Devices to Work Properly

What Works Perfectly?

The hard disk, diskette drive, CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives work perfectly at this point. That's a pretty short list for one of the most popular laptops ever sold. Oh wait. The serial and parallel ports work! Also, the USB and CardBus controllers do work for adding more devices.

Installing on another 600X, CardBus did not work properly when the slots were empty during installation. I added the following parameter to the kernel line in grub/conf:


This gets the CardBus controller working properly.


The NeoMagic (MagicGraph) 256ZX with 4MB VRAM is recognized properly. Can we get the video out jack to work? FIXME


The pointer and two main buttons work. As for the third... FIXME


Audio does not work immediately after the install. FIXME

CPU Frequency Scaling

Seems to not work out of the box on FC5. FIXME

ACPI Power Management

FC5 uses ACPI by default. FC4 used APM. FIXME


Not yet tested. FIXME

Infrared (IRDA)

Although I would like to use this for syncing my PDA, I have not yet tested this. FIXME

MIDI/Joystick Port on UltraBase 600

Not yet tested. FIXME

Function (Fn) Buttons

In its original configuration from IBM, the following function keys work:

  • Fn+F2: Battery display
  • Fn+F3: Blank display
  • Fn+F4: Suspend to RAM
  • Fn+F7: Change display mode - LCD, VGA, Both
  • Fn+F11: Change performance setting
  • Fn+F12: Suspend to disk
  • Fn+PgUp: Volume up
  • Fn+PgDn: Volume down
  • Fn+Backspace: volume mute