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A New Companion- The T61

Yesterday, my new laptop came via UPS. I decided on the Lenovo Thinkpad T61, which it seems to me, has turned out to be a fairly popular laptop. I'm glad I made the purchase. Hopefully, we'll see a great deal of hardware drivers to the kernel and elsewhere getting this machine to run smoothly. So far, the only issues I have left are getting the sound and suspend/hibernate working properly. Other than that, video, fingerprint reader, some hotkeys and wireless are all working, and working well.

Here are the specs of the system:

  • Intel Core2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2 Ghz
  • 15.4" WSXGA+ TFT
  • 2GB PC2-5300 667MHZ 2DIMM RAM
  • SATA 100GB 7200 RPM HDD
  • 8X Dual Layer DVD+-R/RW
  • Intel 4965a/g/n Wireless
  • 9-Cell Lithium-ion battery
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 IEEE1394 4-pin port

It screams. I can patch, compile and install a new kernel in under 15 minutes. I can extract an entire 80 minute CD to lossy Ogg Vorbis at 192Khz in under 2 minutes. I can do both, plus check my email, watch a flash movie, browse the web, and not even feel the heat. Needless to say, I think it's a bit of overkill for what my needs are, but hey, for the price, I couldn't beat it. More importantly, this is the first time that I've been able to truly roam wirelessly (no LAN cable and no power cable) for years. I'm happy.

I chose to install Debian Sid over Ubuntu Feisty or Ubuntu Gutsy, due to the newer kernel and some hardware driver patches to get the operating system up and running smoothly. Wireless wasn't smooth, I can say that. However, everything else has been painless. I plan on documenting my steps on the needed wiki's to help others out who also have this laptop. This doesn't mean that I've lost my passion for Ubuntu- I definitely haven't. I'm just interested in getting my Linux operating system installed as painlessly as possible, and surprise, Debian was it. And yes, Microsoft Vista was completely removed from the system before it could even boot. I'll be getting my refund on that.

{ 6 } Comments

  1. Nathan DBB | August 22, 2007 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you can make this page better: wiki page about T61. We assume that you got the Intel video chipset, as you didn't mention ATI or Nvidia.

    The T61p has the best video in a normal laptop.

  2. Bogomips | August 22, 2007 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    Don't forget about thinkwiki.

  3. Wolfger | August 22, 2007 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Will you be posting a how-to on getting refunded for Vista? Or has Microsoft been forced to make that easy yet?

  4. peer | August 22, 2007 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    To run the latest kernel, it's not necessary to run Sid. You can run Etch, fetch the latest kernel from and just run

    make-kpkg --rootcmd fakeroot --initrd binary

    This will produce a deb-package with the latest kernel.
    For the latest versions of and Rhythmbox you can check
    This will give you a reasonable recent system, on rock-solid Etch.

  5. Anonymous | August 22, 2007 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    To get sound working you need ALSA from CVS/hg (or three patches on top of ALSA 1.0.14).

    To get suspend working you need a kernel patch (to avoid an Oops after a resume) and a newer intel driver from git (or, alternatively, acpi_sleep=s3_bios on the kernel command line; to get the screen back after a resume).

    I managed to get Gutsy running on this laptop:

  6. TuxGirl | August 23, 2007 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Please tell me you intend to explain what you did to get the fingerprint reader working. I haven't really looked into it at all on mine (a T43), because I haven't had any free time, but if it's really easy to set up, I'd love to see what you did.

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