Installing Fedora Core 5 on a ThinkPad 600X

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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! USB seems to work too.


Installing on one 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. To get the middle button to act like a scroll wheel, edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Just before the end of the Mouse0 section, add these two lines:

      Option      "EmulateWheel" "true"
      Option      "EmulateWheelButton" "2"


On some machines, audio does not work immediately after the install. Running yum update installs the latest packages, and gets audio working just fine.

After resuming from suspend, sound does not work. If you log out, go to a text console and restart the sound module, it will work again. I'd appreciate a way to automate this.

rmmod snd_cs46xx
modprobe snd_cs46xx

CPU Frequency Scaling

On my 600X, if I start on battery, scaling works fine. If I start on AC, Fedora reports that frequency scaling does not exist on the machine. --Whizkid 03:14, 24 June 2006 (CEST)

ACPI Power Management

FC5 uses ACPI by default. FC4 used APM. Suspend seems to work. Resume: Not so much. When I resume, my screen slowly turns white. It's almost painful to watch. Switching to a console with Ctrl-Alt-F1 shows a very distorted text screen, and it's NOT from screen expansion. It looks like a loose analog video cable. Switching back to the GUI works just fine, but text consoles are screwy until a logout. I can post a photograph of the screen, and any tips to resolve this are MOST appreciated. Thanks. --Whizkid 03:12, 24 June 2006 (CEST)

My WiFi card also does not work after resume. Removing and re-inserting the card then connecting to the network again works.


Not yet tested. FIXME

Infrared (IRDA)

Although I would like to use this for syncing my PDA. I have the IrDA service running at startup, and it says it's OK, but I can't verify proper operation. The gnome-pilot applet will not see my PDA (a Palm T|X) and it won't HotSync. --Whizkid 03:04, 24 June 2006 (CEST)

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: Wake up from suspend to RAM: Wakes up, but doesn't completely restore
  • Fn+F2: Battery display: No effect
  • Fn+F3: Blank display: No effect
  • Fn+F4: Suspend to RAM: Suspends to RAM
  • Fn+F7: Change display mode - LCD, VGA, Both: Works perfectly
  • Fn+F8: Screen expansion toggle: Works perfectly
  • Fn+F11: Change performance setting: No effect
  • Fn+F12: Suspend to disk: No effect
  • Fn+PgUp: Volume up: Works
  • Fn+PgDn: Volume down: Works
  • Fn+Backspace: volume mute: Works