Installing Fedora Core 5 on a ThinkPad T43 (2686)

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Convert the FAT filesystem to NTFS.

Booted Windows XP - let it run the conversion from FAT to NTFS. When that is finished, reboot again into Windows

  1. Get and install the Windows updates.
  2. Restore settings from old laptop Windows account using the file and settings transfer wizard.
  3. Configure the fingerprint scanner for login (did not try using it for powerup yet) because it's so cool.
  4. Make a set of Rescue and Recovery CDs (6).
  5. Run the filesystem defragger.

Reboot - press F1 to get to BIOS settings; adjust boot order to be just CD and then HD.

Resize NTFS [1]

Boot Knoppix 4.0.2 CD.

Run qtparted

  1. select sda
  2. select the NTFS partition
  3. Action->Resize, set size to 15G
  4. File->Commit to run the resize and save.

Reboot back to Windows XP to check the filesystem. At boot, it wanted to run a filesystem check - let it run. (after booting, it wanted to reboot again because it thought some device had changed - went along with it).

Install FC5

I used a single install from the DVD image - boot the FC5 DVD:

  1. Check media (takes a while).
  2. Select customized partition layout
    1. Deleted the IBM recovery partition 1
    2. Create partitions:
  /boot     ext3  100M (default)
  swap            5G (I have 2G RAM)
  /xpshare  vfat  1G (to mount to both OSs)
  /         ext3  remaining space

Proceed with normal installation (I chose Gnome desktop and did not install KDE; root will use Gnome, but I use Xfce).

This installed kernel 2.6.15-1.2054_FC5

Post-Install Setup

Log in as root.

Run 'yum update' to get updates since DVD was made.

Configure X resolution for LCD

  1. Select menu "System->Administration->Display"
  2. Hardware tab choose Generic LCD Panel->LCD 1400x1050
  3. Settings tab set resolution to 1400x1050
  4. Log out and restart X w/ ctl-alt-backspace, log in again

Switch to postfix mta (my personal preference):

# yum install postfix

# alternative --config mta

select postfix instead of sendmail

CPU Frequency Scaling

Set the ondemand governor by adding the following to /etc/rc.local:

     modprobe cpufreq_ondemand
     echo "ondemand" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

Thinkpad Buttons

Get support for various special keys and buttons (volume, screen brightness), by installing Tpb:

# yum install tpb xosd

See How_to_get_special_keys_to_work#tpb_configuration for how to reconfigure keys.

Set up suspend and hibernate

No kernel recompile needed!

Create scripts in /etc/acpi/actions: (things to do when entering a sleep mode):

 /usr/bin/dbus-send --system --dest=org.freedesktop.NetworkManager \
     --type=method_call /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager \
 /sbin/hwclock --systohc (things to do when waking up):

 /sbin/hwclock --hctosys
 /usr/bin/dbus-send --system --dest=org.freedesktop.NetworkManager \
     --type=method_call /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager \
     org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.wake (enter and then leave suspend-to-ram mode):

 echo -n mem > /sys/power/state
 /etc/acpi/actions/ (enter and then leave suspend-to-disk):

 echo -n disk > /sys/power/state

Set the lid switch to trigger sleep (suspend-to-ram) by creating the file /etc/acpi/events/lid.conf:


Set the "Access IBM" button to be hibernate by editing /etc/tpbrc and setting:

 THINKPAD /etc/acpi/actions/

Wireless LAN Config

Fedora Core 5 comes with Network Manager, a new software to manage connections via wired and wireless networks. It utilizes wpa_supplicant for access to wpa-secured networks. Sadly, there exist some bugs in wpa_supplicant and in supplied madwifi-modules in the livna-repository. The following configuration enables connection to wpa-secured networks and the utilization of NetworkManager.

Compile and install Madwifi-NG

Get madwifi sources from SVN. First check, if subversion is installed:

rpm -qa subversion

should print something like


Check out madwifi-ng from the repository:

svn checkout madwifi-ng

Change into the madwifi directory. Build the software and install by typing

make && make install

I changed the directory of the tools to /usr rather than /usr/local. A modification of tools/Makefile managed that.

Insert into your /etc/modprobe.conf (if not existing)

alias ath0 ath_pci
options ath_pci autocreate=sta 

For further options, please consult [| Madwifi user docs].

Compile and install wpa-supplicant

Download latest version of wpa-supplicant source code, e.g. 0.5.3. Cd to the corresponding directory. Create and edit a .config file using a text editor, e.g. vi.

CFLAGS += -I/path/to/madwifi-ng

Build and install it. Be sure to use /usr/sbin as installation path.


Be sure to start NetworkManager in runlevel 5.

chkconfig --level 345 NetworkManager on

Wpa_supplicant is started by NetworkManager, so don't start it at boot:

chkconfig --level 345 wpa_supplicant off

Get a network address via dhcp:

chkconfig --level 345 dhcdbd on

Edit /etc/sysconfig/wpa_supplicat to

# wlan0 and wifi0
# INTERFACES="-iwlan0 -iwifi0"
# ndiswrapper and prism
# DRIVERS="-Dndiswrapper -Dprism"

Thats it. Reboot or start services manually.

Fingerprint Reader

Build and install the fingerprint reader software using Script for enabling the fingerprint reader with BioAPI.


  • Install laptop-mode
  • Configure multi-head X server


  1. I chose to just remove the IBM Recovery Partition - essentially rendering the "Access IBM" button useless at boot time, in order to get the ~4G of disk space. This may have been a higher risk choice, since apparently if I ever need to reinstall Windows from the Recovery CDs I made, the only choice will be to recreate the factory disk layout, destroying my Linux installation. Life is full of choices. There are instructions on an alternate method of doing the disk layout that retains the useful recovery partition and the "Access IBM" button; use them if 4G is less important to you than being able to restore Windows without touching Linux.

Update: According to the wiki post on Recovering from Recovery CDs, "Recovery deletes the first partition and then installs to the first block of contiguous free space (which could be bigger than the original first partition if there was free space after it). Later partitions are safe. The partition must be at least 8GB or so or else the recovery will either fail or produce a corrupt Windows installation. You can save a little space if you intervene during some of the IBM software installs, reduce the swap size and disable hibernation, but you have to time this carefully." That means that if you used the Recovery CD's, it would ignore the linux partition (s) (although you'd probably need to deal with MBR issues).