Fedora Core 14 on an IBM Lenovo T40, T41, or T42 (Including Sound!!!!)
Revision 1 02/12/2011
|The T40 - T42
series laptops are very compact and powerful in their old age. They
make great road warrior portable Linux laptops. The following tutorial
will tell you exactly how to install yours and get all the basic
features working like sound, flash, DVD, wireless, and office tools
working. At this point, you have probably read multiple tutorials where
people have given up on trying to get sound to work on the Thinkpad
series. It took me a few days and piecing together a few tutorials to
figure out how to make all this work.
|There are plenty of
tutorials on how to download the Fedora Core Live CD, burn it, boot it,
and install it. The FC live CD has all of the basic software and
libraries you need without having to download the massive DVD or all of
the 6 discs.
|This could be the single
most frustrating part of the installation. There are plenty of posts on
the Internet about how absolutely frustrating it is to get the sound to
work on IBM Thinkpads across multiple Linux distros. There are even
more posts about how people can't find a post to solve their problems.
You don't need to install a ton of sound packages from pulseaudio and
Here is the reason why Fedora Core 12 - 14 does NOT work on IBM or Lenovo T40 - T42 laptops: The sound drivers are loaded onto the the modem and not onto your standard outputs! I found this obscure reference here.
If you can live without your modem, then you can override this by forcing the sound drivers to not load onto the modem on boot. Login to your freshly installed Fedora Core 12 - 14 system as a regular user, open a terminal ("Applications -> System Tools -> Terminal"). Using the "su" command, switch over to root and edit the /etc/modeprobe.d/blacklist.conf file. This file prevents the kernel from loading specific modules. Add the snd-intel8x0m entry to this file.
Below is the command line steps:
|[darren@bly ~]$ su -
[root@bly ~]# vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
# sound drivers
|Once you have completed
these steps, reboot your laptop. Once the laptop has been rebooted,
login again, open a terminal, and switch over to the root account. From
the root shell, perform the following steps:
|1. Launch the alsamixer
utility. This is a CLI tool.
|2. From within the CLI,
press F6. This will pull up all your choices. Select 0 Intel 8280*.
Using the arrows, make sure all inputs and outputs are at 100<>100.
Once you are finished, press F6 again and select 29 Thinkpad
Console Audio Control. Make sure this is set to 100<>100
|3. Exit out of the
utility. The volume control buttons (Thinkpad Console Audio Control) on
the laptop are your master volume controls. These have to be up and on
for your main volume to work.
|4. Congrats, you now have
sound. You just need flash and DVD support.
|Installing flash support
is pretty simple. Open up Mozilla and head to a Flash enabled site. For
this exercise, I headed over to http://www.starwars.com
and tried to watch a movie. The website provided me a link to Adobe's
site with an option to install flash. I selected the "Yum Installation"
and clicked on Download. This popped up a dialog to ask to install the
package from the GUI package manager. Just for terms of simplicity, I
accepted this option.
Once I clicked through all the package manager options, I opened up a terminal, switched to root, and installed the flash plugin.
# yum install flash-plugin
|I use VLC player for all
my multimedia support. This includes playing DVDs. As many of you know
by now, getting DVD decoding libraries to watch movies is subject to
interpretation of the international laws. The RPM Fusion website
contains the VLC packages and the DVD decoder packages required to
You have to first install the repos (as root from a terminal window):
# yum localinstall --nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm \
|Once you have completed
the RPM install, you can simply add the player:
# yum install vlc
|This is hit or miss. All
of the wireless cards in the T40 - T42 series are hit or miss when it
comes to WPA authentication. For example, my T40 supports both WEP and
WPA. My T42 does not support WPA and there does not seem to be any way
to acquire drivers to support it.
Installation Steps and Configuration
|Before I do my last
reboot, I do a few final steps to configure the laptop. I first turn SE
Linux off (this is a laptop, not an enterprise server). I then run a
full software package update. When these are complete, I reboot the
system. From there, I add or remove packages (like OpenOffice) from the
GUI package manager ("System -> Administration -> Add or Remove
Here is the code for SE Linux and updates:
# vi /etc/sysconfig/selinux
# yum update
|You should now have an
ultra-portable slick Fedora Core 12 - 14 based laptop.
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