Installing Debian Sid (September 2004) on a ThinkPad T42p

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Revision as of 13:22, 11 April 2005 by Fionn (Talk | contribs) (some updates)
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During my install of Debian Linux on my T42p I found the following Links to be very, very useful:

Benchmark Page on Powersaving] with Windows vs Linux and APM vs ACPI
  • A page documenting the first attempts to get hardware acceleration for the R300 GPU (the one built into the T42p) running without the closed-source ATI drivers.
  • another special and useful kernel module: IBM-ACPI (since kernel versin 2.6.10 this is part of the stock kernel tree!)
  • Quite some interesting add-ons for thinkpad-users, namely an extended Trackpoint driver with graphical configuration tool can be found here: tpctl home page (unfortunately the trackpoint driver seems to be incompatible with the latest 2.6 kernels)
  • BIOS Updates from IBM

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 hav 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
  • waproamd (automatically detects suitable wireless LANs and supports drop-in configuration)
  • 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 fuck up your keyboard during network-io and tremendously slow down network throughput)