Installing Gentoo 2008.0 beta2 on a ThinkPad X41 Tablet

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Success Chart

Item Working Notes
Installation Gentoo Minimal CD Installation Yes
Other Installation Methods (LiveCD(DVD), etc...) Not tested Don't see why it shouldn't work though.
Display Laptop Screen Yes Brightness controls work fine.
CRT / Projector Yes Well, sort of working...see below.
Screen Rotation Yes
Stylus Yes
Power Management Software Suspend (hibernate) Not Tested Working on getting TuxOnIce-sources working.
Suspend to Memory (ACPI sleep) Yes See details below.
Battery Yes Charge/discharge thresholds, etc... working with tp_smapi.
Audio Yes
Wireless 802.11b/g Yes
Bluetooth Not Tested Not present on my machine. Should work though.
Infrared Not Tested Didn't bother..don't have anything to test it with anyhow.
Extra Buttons Keyboard Section Yes thinkpad-acpi driver
Tablet buttons Yes Using setkeycodes and xbindkeys.
Fingerprint Scanner Yes Using thinkfinger.
Harddisk Active Protection Not Tested Installed the tp_smapi hdaps driver, just haven't actively tested it yet.
X4 Ultrabase Dock/Undock Yes Docking/Undocking requires a bit of tweaking...see below
Ultrabay Yes DVD/CD-RW drive works fine. Haven't tried hot swapping a drive.
SD Card reader Not Tested Should work.
USB Drive Yes

Install Prep

See Pre-Installation_steps for lots of good general info.

Note that this install was done with the Predesktop Area removed.

You probably should update the BIOS and HDD firmware if you haven't already.


Installation is very straightforward using the Gentoo x86 Handbook. I've tried to keep this guide independent of desktop environment. Wherever that is not true, it will (or should anyways) be noted.

I highly suggest having a second computer nearby to follow along in the Handbook if you aren't comfortable installing Linux. Borrow your Mom's laptop if you have to.

The rest of the install guide assumes that you're following the Installation Handbook pretty much verbatim. Hopefully things are still clear if you're not.

The following subsections contain notes for each chapter of the Handbook.

Network configuration

I didn't try to get the wireless working for the install, rather I used wired networking. This worked like magic out of the box with the genkernel included on the install CD, wireless did not.

Disk partitioning

Works as advertised.

Installing the Gentoo Installation files

If you're new to Linux, I would strongly recommend that you follow the instructions regarding the checksums, I actually had a few fail during the installation process. If one continually fails, try a different mirror.

Here is what I found worked well for my /etc/make.conf:

CFLAGS="-O2 -march=pentium-m -pipe"
CXXFLAGS="-O2 -march=pentium-m -pipe"
VIDEO_CARDS="i810 i830 i915"
INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse wacom"
USE="xscreensaver tetex latex acpi xinerama xrandr networkmanager gnome-keyring hdaps fluidsynth -kde"
This is for a GNOME/gtk enviroment, change per your desired setup.

Installing the Base System

I used the desktop subprofile for my system:

# ln -snf /usr/portage/profiles/default/linux/x86/2008.0/desktop /etc/make.profile


Stylus Configuration