Installing Debian Etch on a ThinkPad R60

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Wednesday September 20, 2006

NOTE I'm new to Wiki-dom, so I'll be returning to tidy this up and add details as I sort them out


ThinkPad R60 945668U
Intel Core Solo 1660 Mhz
512 MB RAM
60 GB Harddrive


Did the required set up for the Windows XP partition, including burning recovery CDs (6 total) Partitioned the harddrive using GParted

  • WinXP reduced to ca 16 GB; 5 GB recovery partition untouched; 35 GB cleared for Debian install


Etch Net-Install

Regular (non-expert) install, installed only laptop and standard software

  • I use Fluxbox, so I don't need to wait around while KDE and Gnome download!

Only problem was GRUB would not install to the MBR

  • Probably a problem with the CD I was using
  • Resolved by installing LILO instead. LILO installed fine, but didn't recognise the two Windows partitions and just boots directly into Debian.


I had some problems booting when using the 2.6.16-2 kernel, particularly getting stuck on

 azx_get_response timeout

This problem was solved by switching to the 2.6.17-2 kernel.


Boot Loader

On first boot I ran aptitude and did a full upgrade Replaced LILO (which didn't see either Windows partition) with GRUB with the following commands:

grub-install /dev/sda

Then I added the following entries to my /boot/grub/menu.lst:

title		 Windows XP
root		 (hd0,0)
chainloader 	 +1
title           IBM Rescue and Recovery
root            (hd0,1)
parttype        (hd0,1) 0x0b
unhide          (hd0,1)
chainloader     +1

I rebooted and verified that GRUB worked, and allowed me to boot into Debian, Windows, and the Recovery Parition. Everything worked so I then purged LILO with aptitude.

Next up, I added contrib and non-free to my /etc/apt/sources.list and installed a bunch of stuff (xorg, fluxbox, firefox, etc). xorg went in without problem.


Started by confirming the chipset -

  • Install pciutils




lspci -n | grep "0200"

reveals that I have an Atheros AR5212 wireless card, or 168c:1014 Digging around on this site confirms this card is compatible with Madwifi, which is available through the non-free repositories However, I found out (the hard way) that I couldn't get it installed without first installing gcc-4.0 So the full set up goes like this:

  1. install gcc-4.0, madwifi-source, madwifi-tools, madwifi-doc
  2. run the following commands:
m-a prepare
m-a a-i madwifi
modprobe ath_pci


To actually get a wireless connection going I use two simple bash scripts: First, for my home setup:

#! /bin/bash
iwconfig ath0 key <your_encryption_key_here>
dhclient ath0

Second, for using unencrypted hotspots:

#! /bin/bash
ifconfig ath0 up
iwconfig ath0 ap any
dhclient ath0

Running these scripts as root gets me hooked up.


Be sure to use the i810 video driver. The default VESA driver will work fine, but you won't be able to use 3D programs like GoogleEarth. Both are included with Xorg, so you don't need to download new drivers from Intel.


So far these things work: screen, USB mouse, touchpad, trackpad, keyboard, wireless, USB drive, sound

Still to confirm or configure: some function keys - the volume buttons worked without tinkering

Still to add: links to the sources for this page

External Sources