Debian GNU/Linux on a IBM T41

There are a lot of debian-on-laptop tutorials out there, but anyway I wrote something down. I bought a IBM Thinkpad T41 last year and I never thought about using MS Windows on it, even if it is quite difficult to buy a laptop without MS Windows and without paying even more.

My T41

I have an IBM T41 type 2373-4FG with a Pentium-M Centrino 1.6GHz processor. The graphic chip is an ATI Radeon Mobility 7500. See the output of lspci for the rest of my hardware.

0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82855PM Processor to I/O Controller (rev 03)
0000:00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82855PM Processor to AGP Controller (rev 03)
0000:00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 01)
0000:00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 01)
0000:00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 01)
0000:00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-M) USB 2.0 EHCI Controller (rev 01)
0000:00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82801 PCI Bridge (rev 81)
0000:00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp. 82801DBM LPC Interface Controller (rev 01)
0000:00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82801DBM (ICH4) Ultra ATA Storage Controller (rev 01)
0000:00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) SMBus Controller (rev 01)
0000:00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 01)
0000:00:1f.6 Modem: Intel Corp. 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 01)
0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]
0000:02:00.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4520 PC card Cardbus Controller (rev 01)
0000:02:00.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4520 PC card Cardbus Controller (rev 01)
0000:02:01.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corp. 82540EP Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Mobile) (rev 03)
0000:02:02.0 Network controller: Intel Corp. PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 3B Mini PCI Adapter (rev 04)

Basic Install

In my first installation session I used a debian woody CD to as base installing system and then upgraded this to a debian unstable. This is not the verybest option. Even if "apt-get dist-upgrade" is quite good, the base installation, the base configuration is much better for this hardware if you start with a debian testing CD. In my second session (a year later) I started with a debian testing (at that time sarge) and all the things were much easier.

Intel PRO/Wireless 2100

To use the wireless network card,I tried in the first time to do it with ndiswrapper with not that much success. When using the ipw2100 kernel module, after some versions it worked very well. Now with kernel 2.6.13 and ipw2100-1.1.0 everthing runs nearly out of the box.

Just compile your kernel with every options you need, and important for WLAN is WEP encryption , so you need crypto support and some crypto algorithm moduls (ARC4,CRC32). The NET_RADIO option in the kernel must be set, so the line should be CONFIG_NET_RADIO=y. Then after booting up this kernel you can downlaod the ipw2100 driver from the sourceforge page and just follow the instructions in the INSTALL file. It just a simple "make" and a "make install" as root.

In addition, you have to download the firmware (see ipw2100.sourceforge.net) and install it.

Bluetooth