Installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on a ThinkPad T42

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General installation

Here are the installation instructions for SUSE Linux Enterprise Edition on T42 2378-R4U.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 is a commercial product which costs about $50 per year, but there is a trial version available from

Using normal installation procedures, my installation of SLED 10 was nearly flawless out of the box. Video, sound, wireless, and almost all other hardware works perfectly.

It is highly recommended to set the predesktop area in the BIOS configuration to secure. Also, you should burn recovery CDs from Windows before you continue. This can be done through Start > Programs > Access IBM or ThinkVantage Technologies. It takes about 7 CDs. If you want the Access IBM key functionality to continue working, install Grub to the boot partition instead of the MBR.



Power Management needs some work in order to be usable. Hibernate functionality works, but standby/suspend causes causes the system to hang on resume. I was able to resolve this issue by passing the acpi_sleep=s3_bios parameter at boot and setting the following in /etc/powersave/sleep file: SUSPEND2RAM_FORCE=yes and SUSPEND2RAM_ACPI_SLEEP=3.

If you want to change how the system responds to events such as opening or closing the lid, edit the /etc/powersave/events file. It is well commented and explains itself very well.

Special Keys

As usual with most ThinkPads, the display brightness, ThinkLight, and volume keys all worked out of the box. Some minor work is required to make these keys display the status on screen.

TPB is included with SLED 10, but is not fully configured by default. Edit the /etc/tpbrc file to fit your needs. The file is documented, so there should not be any issues with configuring it.

You will need to enable the nvram device for all TPB functionality to work properly. Do this by running th following commands:

Make sure that the device /dev/nvram exists, else create it with

mknod /dev/nvram c 10 144

Ensure the following line is in /etc/sysconfig/kernel


Ensure the following line is in /etc/udev/rules.d/50-udev-default.rules

KERNEL=="nvram", NAME="%k", GROUP="kmem", MODE="666"

Enable TPB on startup by clicking on Computer, Control Center, Sessions, Startup Programs, then Add. Type tpb into the command box and click on OK. Close the session manager program. To start tpb now, press Alt-F2 and type tpb and hit Enter.


PowerPlay functionality, XGL

SaX2 provides a working configuration file by default, which should not need modifications to use the normal set of features. To enable 3D acceleration, open YaST from the Computer, Control Center menu and click on Display. There should be an option to enable it.

If the 3D option is not selectable, open the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and be sure you are using the "radeon" driver.

If you want to use the center blue button for scrolling with the trackpoint (the edges of the touchpad scroll by default), open the Mouse configuration from YaST and use the Emulate Wheel with Button 2 option.

If you use the center button for scrolling, you need to enable the "Emulate 3 Buttons" option, which will regain the original middle button functionality by pressing the left and right buttons at once.
Do not use attempt to install the ATI proprietary graphics drivers with the Radeon 7500! Doing so will cause your X session to fail. Should you do this, open /etc/X11/xorg.conf from the console and change the video driver back to "radeon".

Not Tested

  • Modem (YaST can see it and try to configure it, but I have no traditional analog phone line to test it on)
  • IrDA

Known problems

The update service does not like being set up from a wireless connection (will not connect to the Novell customer center). Please set it up from a wired connection.


SLED Home Page

Novell Support Forums