Installing Gentoo on a ThinkPad A30p

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The Thinkpad A30p is delivered with Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional, respectively. These preinstalled versions can be reinstalled via the IBM workarea which is a bootable hidden partition (/dev/hda2, approximately 1GB).


You can partition the harddisk as you want. If you keep the portage tree (300MB+) and the distfiles directory (fills up with source code packages fast) on a separate partition, you can install Gentoo with and KDE and some development tools on a 3GB partition and have at least 1GB free.

For easy maintenance you should keep /home separately.

Kernel configuration

I successfully used the kernel versions 2.6.4 and 2.6.7 on my A30p. Any recent kernel should run flawlessly as the A30p is not a difficult computer at all (no ACPI, no wireless).

The network card is a Intel Pro/100 VE which runs with the eepro100 module. The USB controller works with the uhci_hcd module.

For PCMCIA support you have to load the yenta_socket module and change the configuration file /etc/conf.d/pcmcia (replace PCIC=i82365 with PCIC=yenta_socket).

Sound support

The sound card which identifies as "Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. 82801CA/CAM AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 01)" can be used with the ALSA drivers, namely the snd_intel8x0 module.

Power management

A good source of power management options is here.

The A30p has a stable APM implementation. Suspend/Resume works very good, even with X11 started. ACPI seems to be stable as well, but the "processor"-module caused an annoying high sound when it is inserted. Confer this page about it. There are several workarounds, but none of them really applied to me. If you can do without hibernation, go for APM, its much faster to set it up.

The Mobile Pentium 3 speedstep feature can be used for additional power savings. You have to load the module speedstep_ich and speedstep_lib module and the desired scaling governor modules (cpufreq_performance, cpufreq_powersave). Use cpudyn to switch to slow speed when on battery and to high speed (performance) when on AC power, you can configure it even further.

I really recommend using laptop-mode as well, it tweaks the kernel in order to be able to spin down the drive for quite a long time, which is tricky if you ever tried it yourself from scratch. The A30p seems to forget about being in laptop-mode when resuming from suspend, so you have to write a simple script in /etc/apm/resume.d that restarts it. It gets automatically executed by apmd, but remember to set it executable. If you are using kde, then turn off the kded Media Manager (whatever that is? - didnt find much docu on the net) in Control Center -> KDE Components -> Service Manager. It constantly accesses /dev/hda and inhibits laptop-mode from spinning down the drive.

X11 configuration

I use the radeon driver with XFree86 6.4.0 for the installed ATI Radeon Mobility M6 LY. It supports dynamic resolution changes via XRANDR and automatically detects the display resolution of 1600x1200 (FlexView display).

The external VGA connector works but I had some problems with cloning view on lower resolutions with certain beamer models. They only worked when the internal display was switched off (FNF7 toggles between the different modes).

I experience trouble using the dri-module under X (version linux-2.6.12-gentoo-r9) and deactivated dri in my /etc/X11/xorg.conf.