Installing Debian Sid (September 2004) on a ThinkPad T42p

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During my install of Debian Linux on my T42p I found the following Links to be very, very useful:

First steps

Unfortunately there are no detailed instructions here, yet. Visit the links above if you feel the present set of information is too terse for your taste.

For the first boot and maybe even the first install I recommend a recent Image of Kanotix (a Knoppix descendant with lots of notebook-specific extensions built-in, so it should boot your Thinkpad with most bells and whistles right out of the box!)

Before you change or repartition your drive, visit the Backup/Rescue-Section.

If you want to keep your WinXP partition, take a look at the Partition-Resizing Section.

If you compile a new kernel (recommended), you can use this 2.6.8 kernel-configuration as a starting point if you like. For kernel 2.6.8 you will also need to apply this patch and this one, too. Otherwise speedstep will not work on your Dothan CPU. I think in 2.6.9 this is fixed.

You might want to change your IRQ settings in BIOS

Debian Packages

The following packages are relevant to your Thinkpad installation:


  • kernel-source-2.6.11 (or the latest version available)
  • If you have a kernel version < 2.6.10: ibm-acpi-source (see IBM-ACPI)
  • sl-modem-source (for the built-in modem)
  • ipw2100-source (if you have the "simple" 802.11b WLAN option, otherwise you either need the atheros or ipw2200 drivers!)
  • thinkpad-source (optional, I have yet to find a feature that thinkpad-modules offer and the more modern ibm-acpi does not)
  • (optional) the closed-source ATI drivers pre-packaged for debian


  • sl-modem-daemon (modem)
  • tpb (for the thinkpad buttons a nifty OSD, actually alot nicer than the WinXP one!)
  • tpctl (needed to control some functions of the thinkpad kernel extensions)
  • thinkpad-base
  • acpid
  • whereami (automatically detects suitable LANs and supports drop-in configuration), waproamd is obselete and limited to WEP
  • ifplugd (automatically detects network connections and brings up your interfaces accordingly)
  • powernowd (Use this OPTIONS line in /etc/init.d/powernowd: OPTIONS="-q -m 0 -l 35 -p 500 -s 200000") and viola, there you got nice, all-automatic speedstepping.
  • bluez-utils (for bluetooth)
  • wireless-tools (for wlan)
  • laptop-mode-tools (see laptop-mode for further information)


  • tleds (this package will mess up your keyboard during network-io and tremendously slow down network throughput)