Installing Fedora 8 on a ThinkPad 600X

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Fedora 8 works as well as any modern Linux distribution on a 600X. The processor, memory and expansion capabilities (such as WiFi) make it a very useful (but not very powerful) tool for work and play.


Hard Disk

For this installation, I'm going to use the entire drive for Fedora. There are many good resources on partitioning your drive and configuring your machine to boot multiple operating systems. Please read those if you want such a setup. If this is your first experience with partition and/or Linux, you may want to experiment on a separate hard drive.

The hard drive can have a dramatic effect on performance of Fedora. Faster rotation speed in particular is very noticeable, but a larger drive cache also has an effect. The 600X can use drives up to 120GB in size and will benefit from rotation speeds of 5400 or 7200RPM.


Fedora 8 prefers that your machine has 512MB RAM for a typical install. I know it can work with less, but the installation and other operations may be slow. Consider maximizing the RAM in your 600X with two 256MB PC100 SO-DIMM sticks. Combined with the 64MB on-board memory, you'll have 576MB RAM and enough to install Fedora and run several applications simultaneously later.


The 600X does not have built-in networking, but many wireless and most wired network PC Cards are supported under Linux. Insert your card before you begin to have it recognized and installed automatically if it is supported.


Installation Media

Every 600X came with a drive that will read CD-R media, so I used the i686 Live CD for my installation. Some machines did come with DVD-ROM drives which should read DVD-R media, and such a drive can certainly be added to any 600X. Feel free to use the Live DVD or Install DVD images if you like, but the steps for installation will be different. Configuration steps will be the same.


Boot the Live CD. The first time I use any Fedora media that I create, I like to test that it was burned correctly. If you want to do that, interrupt the countdown with a key press and select Verify and boot Fedora-8-Live-i686. If the test fails, verify your download was good using SHA1SUM and burn another disc. The test took about six minutes on my 600X.

Login in as fedora or wait 60 seconds for automatic login. At this point, the machine may seem very slow, but everything speeds up dramatically when running from the hard drive. You'll be presented with the Gnome desktop. Since you're reading this installation guide, let's get to the install.

Steps to Install

  • Double-click Install to Hard Drive. The installer appears.
  • Click Next. You are asked to select the appropriate keyboard.
  • Select your keyboard and click Next. You are presented with partitioning options.
  • For this installation, I chose Remove all partitions on selected drives and create default layout. Feel free to choose other options and partition as you see fit. Select your boot media, which likely has only one option. Note that your hard drive is called sda. Click Next. Depending on your choice, you may be asked to confirm removing partitions. Click Yes. You are presented with a map.
  • Select your time zone, and whether or not you want the system clock to use UTC. If you're using only Linux, I suggest you turn that on. If you are dual-booting with Windows, you may wish to turn it off. Click Next.
  • Enter and confirm a password for the root account. Click Next. You are presented with one last note about log files and other details. Nothing has been changed on your hard drive up to this point, and you can quit if you want.
  • To begin the process, click Next. A progress bar appears.

Several things happen here. The hard drive is partitioned and formatted, the live image is copied to the hard drive, and some configuration is done. "Congratulations, the installation is complete." Click Close. Click System->Shut Down and select Restart. Once the ThinkPad logo appears, you can eject the CD. (If you miss that step and the CD boots, just interrupt the countdown again and select Boot from local drive.)

First Boot

  • Upon the first boot, you are welcomed and presented a few more configuration options. Click Forward.
  • You are presented with a screen that tells you where you can find licensing information. Click Forward.
  • Firewall configuration appears. Choose which services you would like other machines to see. Leave it alone if you feel uncomfortable with this step. Click Forward.
  • SELinux configuration appears. I leave it on enforcing, since it offers a much more secure system. However, some software is not written with it in mind and can be very difficult to work around. You can easily turn it off later. Click Forward.
  • Set the date and time. If networking is already working, you can enable Network Time Protocol on the second tab. If networking isn't yet working, you can turn that on later to automatically set your clock. Click Forward.
  • Hardware Profile appears. You can opt in to have your hardware configuration sent monthly to the Fedora maintainers. I urge you to click Send Profile so that every 600X gets counted and the maintainers known how many of us are out here. Click Forward.
  • Add a user. Logging in as root is strongly discouraged or even disabled in some cases. You can always get root permissions when needed even if you log in as a regular use. Enter your details and click Finish.

Your 600X is now running Fedora!


Device Configuration

Many devices work with no further configuration:

  • Hard disk, floppy drive (internal or external), CD-ROM (LS-120?)
  • CardBus Slots
  • USB
  • External Mouse and Keyboard

Then there are the ones that aren't quite perfect.


The video driver is slightly off. Sometimes the background of a file folder will be all blue. Dragging windows off one side or the other of the screen produces artifacts. Resuming from sleep leaves shows artifacts on the screen, but it clears itself in short order.


Audio doesn't work after suspend and resume. To get it working without a restart, log off, switch to a console, log in as root, enter rmmod snd-cs46xx then modprobe snd-cs46xx. Switch back to the GUI login (ctrl-alt-f7) and log in.


I know it's easy to get the middle button to work as a scroll wheel. But how...

Function Keys

Fn+F2 Battery Monitor

In Windows 98, this brings up a battery monitor. In Linux, it does nothing. A battery monitor is set up by default on the top of the screen and you can get your current power source, the battery charge, and a time estimate by hovering over it.

Fn+F3 Turn Screen Off

This does not work after an install. Suggestions?

Fn+F4 Suspend to RAM

This works. No configuration is necessary.

Fn+F7 Switch Display

This does not work after an install. Suggestions?

Fn+F11 Power Settings

In Windows 98, this key can be used to set different power settings, such as high performance versus battery life. It doesn't work in Windows XP or Linux easily. Suggestions for getting this to work are eagerly accepted.

Fn+F12 Suspend to Disk (Hibernate)

This does not work immediately after an install. You can click on the battery monitor icon and select Hibernate. The machine beeps and appears to do nothing for a time, then turns off. Upon power-up, the machine boots and does not allow you to select a kernel, but does resume properly. The notes above about effects of suspend and resume also apply (sound doesn't work).

Unknown Status

Then there are devices that I haven't yet tested or tried to get to work. Hopefully, these will all get moved to 'Works Perfectly' or the 'Not Quite Perfect' sections above.

  • VGA Output
  • Serial Port
  • Parallel Port
  • Infrared
  • NTSC Composite/S-Video Output
  • Fax Modem
  • Docking Station Devices
    • Joystick/MIDI Port
    • SCSI Controller


  • These errors appear during boot:
pci 0000:00:01.0: Error creating sysfs bridge symlink, continuing...
pci 0000:00:02.0: Error creating sysfs bridge symlink, continuing...
pci 0000:00:02.1: Error creating sysfs bridge symlink, continuing...
  • This appears during boot if the machine is powered with AC during boot:
cpufreq: change failed with new_state 1 and result 2

In addition, CPU frequency scaling will not work if the machine starts up on AC.


I hope this guide is useful for helping you set up Fedora 8 on your 600X. Please help by putting your comments in the discussion tab, or edit this article directly to make it even more useful. --Whizkid 17:04, 10 November 2007 (UTC)