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My new notebook

After 2 years of really satisfied use of the IBM/Lenovo T43p I decided that time has come to upgrade. When the T61p was released by Lenovo some weeks ago I felt that this would be the right for me and so far I did not regret it until now. While I read/heart a lot about Lenovo quality constantly dropping I cannot confirm this.


My version T61p comes with a 15.4" LCD with a maximum resolution of 1920x1200 (after 1600x1200 I did not want anything smaller anymore). While it is about 4 cm wider than my previous T43p its size is still ok for me, since I don't use a desktop PC beside it. The integrated Core 2 Duo (T7700 @ 2.40GHz) compiled my whole Gentoo system (about 800 packages, including nice stuff like, Firefox, Thunderbird and Xorg) in about 16 hours (impressive!), supported by 4 GB of RAM.

Although brand new hardware is usually a synonyme for "does not work under Linux" I was impressed, how flawlessly most things worked out of the box. As you can imagine, not everything went out of the box, what is because I'm writing this little blog. Maybe I can assist some people shipping around some pitfalls.

The integrated audio chip 82801H did not work with the latest alsa-driver package, when I first installed the box. I tried compiling the drivers from kernel with no success and only unmasking the CVS version helped. However, the latest media-sound/alsa-driver-1.0.15_rc2 works fine with the snd_hda_intel driver. Tormented by ATI driver politics for Linux, I'm quite happy with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M, which is supported by the recent binary drivers. A bit weird but quite ok for me is, that the NVIDIA X Server Settings tool tells me I have 512 MB graphics memory, while the NVIDIA website states that this chip is only available with max. 256 MB. ;)

The brand-new 4965 wireless chip by Intel ran out of the box with the driver (net-wireless/iwlwifi-1.0.0_p1 currently) and firmware (net-wireless/iwl4965-ucode) packages in portage. While connection and association works quite fine in most cases I noticed some weird speed problems and only got about 200-300 kb/s download rates in my local network. As it looks, this was a problem of having CONFIG_MAC80211=y instead of CONFIG_MAC80211=m. Since I re-compiled gentoo-sources-2.6.22-r7 with the new wifi stack build as a module it works perfectly fine and I get 2-3 mb/s. Hope that was the solution for this problem now.

The ACPI support is not perfect so far. While CPU frequency scaling works fine, I'm not able to adjust the LCD brightness through /sys or to switch of bluetooth via hotkey. Suspend to RAM using the Gnome NetworkManager works out of the box. I also tried roughly to get the fingerprint reader to work. Compiling thinkfinger and enrolling my fingerprint worked fine, but pam_thinkfinger does not accept fingerprints currently. Since enrolling worked, this seems to be a setup specific problem. The internal clock of the T61p needs the setting CLOCK_OPTS="--directisa" in /etc/conf.d/clock to work correctly.

I uploaded my Kernel config, dmesg output, the infos of lspci and my xorg.conf as examples for configurations. If anyone has solutions for any problems or tips about how to get stuff working, please post a comment here!

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