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This article is about running SUSE Linux on an IBM Thinkpad A30.

From The Hypertwins


We basically had no troubles installing or running the system, aside from two minor incidents:

  • The mouse-wheel somehow got deactivated; to reactivate it, we ran (after a bit of hunting) SaX2 (K -> System -> Configuration -> Configure X11 system) which has a mouse configuration page.
  • The system began running rather slowly at one point, and KTorrent kept locking up; a reboot displayed error messages accessing sectors on the hard drive, so we ran SpinRite, which found and fixed a bad sector. After that, things were much happier.

We did experience a bit of trouble trying to use the Thinkpad-specific configuration utilities, so here's a bit more on that.

Thinkpad Configuration

We noticed that if we booted up without the (PS/2-connector) mouse plugged in and then connected it after booting up, we could use both the mouse and the eraserhead/keyboard-buttons as mouse controls – whereas if we booted up with the PS/2 mouse plugged in, the eraserhead/keyboad-buttons were disabled. We wanted to see if any of the Thinkpad-specific configuration applets could change this.

There appear to be two places which contain such configuration applets:

  • K -> Control Center -> System Administration -> IBM Thinkpad Laptop (which I'll call "thinkpad control module")
  • console: configure-thinkpad (which I'll call "thinkpad CLI applet")

On first attempt to run the thinkpad control module, the right panel gave an error message which turned out to be slightly erroneous. Here are the commands which actually work, for enabling the module (run as root):

modprobe nvram
mknod /dev/nvram c 10 144
chmod 666 /dev/nvram

("chmod 664" apparently works under most circumstances; only certain models need global-write permission)

After running these commands, click away from the thinkpad control module and then back on it again; it should now work properly.

We were not able to get the thinkpad CLI applet to work.