main index Sorry, no Italian translation this time...!

Last update of this page: 2005-Apr-23

Duh, if you were searching for my Apple Powerbook pages, click here!

This is the "IBM Thinkpad A21M notebook and Linux" page!
Latest news added:

After my Asus notebook crackdown, I got a gift from my sister: an old Thinkpad notebook, for my personal use.

Computer: IBM Thinkpad A21M notebook (IBM-2628DXG)
Processor: Pentium III, claimed 700 MHz with SpeedStep
Display: 800×600 TFT 11.4" (82 dpi)
RAM: upgraded to 192 Mb
Harddisk: upgraded to 30Gb (Hitachi, 3600rpm)
Graphics: ATI 3D Rage P/M mobility AGP 2×
3D acceleration: unsupported as of SuSE 9.1 (see below)
Soundcard: CrystalClear SoundFusion card (using CS46xx driver)
Network: 3Com 3C556 Hurricane (Cardbus but on internal proprietary slot) (using the 3C59x driver)
Pointing device: "trackpoint" - a weird red pinpoint button between G,H,B keys, plus three keys
Keyboard: 76 keys + 4 special + power button; Italian layout
BIOS: 1.02b (KXET24WW) dated 2000-12-19
Extra: PCI bus, Embedded Controller version 1.01, keyboard light
Other hardware: ATAPI 24× CD-ROM drive, floppy disk drive, infrared port, parallel port, serial port, two classic PCMCIA slots.

Warning: there are out a number of different versions of the A21m notebook (differences in screen, modem, etc). Please refer to the exact model as stated in the barcode sticker under the computer (the A21m discussed here is actually an IBM-2628DXG).

I installed SuSE Linux 9.1 on it:

Overall notes:

Features summary:

Currently unsupported features:

Important note: if you want to get maximum performance from your computer, please remove the Windows stickers from the notebook!! :-)

Installation notes

(You can skip this section if using a "clean" (no bad blocks) drive or are afraid about re-formatting/re-partitioning a drive...)

Once launched the installation CD, I left the installer partition and format the disk (a swap partition and a reiserfs partition; I prefer the reiserfs since years because it has always been a rock-solid high-performance quick-booting filesystem; you may have a different idea, I don't care; I only want to say that reiserfs guys did a great work).

Then I remembered that my 30Gb hard disk has a number of bad blocks - yes, this IDE/ATA disk has bad blocks because of some jungle life... :-) The SuSE 9.1 installer does not allow you to say "format the partition while checking for bad blocks"; this is acceptable because while IDE/ATA disks normally hide bad sectors from mapping, they show bad sectors only when they cannot hide anymore. My 30Gb disk had a pretty violent lifetime :-) and so I have to take care about bad sectors. If you have a disk without bad sectors (surely 99.5% of you), then you can skip this entire section...

After startup screens of the SuSE installer, I pressed Ctrl-Alt-F2 keys and got a root-prompt window - if this already scares you, or if you are afraid to use the commands described below, please search for some other "Linux on IBM Thinkpad" pages on this great Linux-on-laptops site. Sorry, I have no time to explain things that you can read on some manual/HowTo around...

I first executed fdisk command to re-partition the disk; two primary partitions (a boot partition of about 125Mb and the rest of the disk for Linux). Use the d command to delete old partitions, the n command to create new PRIMARY partitions, the t command to change the first partition to "swap" (type 82) and the v command to verify that you used the entire disk (you should get only 62 unallocated sectors, that's the MBR space):

/ # fdisk

The number of cylinders for this disk...

Command (m for help):

Disk /dev/hda: 30.0GB, 30005821440 bytes...
Device Boot Start End   Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1    1    16    128488+  82  Linux swap
/dev/hda2   17  3648  29174040   83  Linux

Command (m for help):
62 unallocated sectors

Use the a to mark the big Linux partition as active, and then the w command to update the partition table and make Linux system resync it. Some extra notes:

Now, let's take care about bad blocks. I gave this command (and then went to bed): badblocks -v -b 4096 -p 2 -o bad.txt /dev/hda2 (meaning: check for bad blocks, show some on-screen status, assume blocksize of 4096 bytes, repeat other two times the entire read-only disk scan, create a bad.txt textfile containing the bad blocks numbers found on the big partition where I will install Linux).

I got "pass completed, 33 blocks found" after the first pass (more than two hours and a half), and no extra bad blocks on the other two passes. When I woke up in the morning, it was still searching: I had to wait some minutes the end of the scan! (2.5 hours per three passes!)

No bad blocks found on the other two passes: this is a good thing, there are no "weak (almost good but unreliable)" blocks.

Now I can format it with reiserfs using the command: mkreiserfs -B bad.txt /dev/hda2 (this still assumes a 4k block size, which seems to me the most suitable for a full desktop Linux box).
Format 3.6 with standard journal
Count of blocks on the device: 7293504
Blocksize: 4096
Continue (y/n):
Initializing journal - 0%...20%...
ReiserFS is successfully created on /dev/hda2.

Now we can press Alt-F7 and return to the SuSE installer, on which we will select to NOT to format the reiserfs partition (it would loose the badblocks information). Use the "expert" button to re-read in the partition status; mark the swap partition as to be formatted, but mark the big reiserfs partition to not to be formatted. Don't care about warnings (the SuSE installer can't be totally sure that you don't have some stray sectors in a reiserfs partition, but we just formatted it...!). No, I don't want to change partitioning setup anymore.

Well, we can now proceed...

Installation setup (installing SuSE Linux 9.1)

Select your preferred keyboard mapping. I have an Italian keyboard layout but I prefer the English/US layout because of "C/C++ programming keys" (brackets, braces, slashes, etc).

The pointing device is seen as "IntelliMouse Explorer (ps2 interface)". I did not fit the external USB mouse because I want the system by default to use the pointing device, and the USB mouse as "second mouse" device (this can be specified manually in the XFree configuration; if you attach an external mouse now, maybe the SuSE will ignore the IBM pointing device; after completing the installation, you can safely hot-plug and unplug the USB mouse as many times as you like!).

I prefer the LILO bootloader instead of GRUB because in the last years I learnt to change by myself the /etc/lilo.conf file. You may use the GRUB as well. All defaults are fine; I only changed the boot prompt time from 8 seconds to 2 seconds (I don't want to wait at boot!) but do not recommend you to do the same... :-)

Also, I changed the Italian "Verifica della memoria" to "MemTest", not for English menus, but because of an old LILO bug which didn't allow spaces in the labels. I don't know if the bug has been corrected...

Having a FailSafe option in the main bootloader menu is crucial - one day you may need it as an emergency/rescue option, so don't delete it!

I set up the system clock to "local time". I don't like to fight against clocktimes/summertimes/etc, I just like to have the notebook clock set as my wristwatch... :-)

Finally, let's setup the software to install. I didn't use "minimal" system installations; I accepted the defaults and added my own "detailed" selection of packages. I added everything about KDE, almost anything about Gnome, then I added C/C++ programming stuff and some other packages... I don't care if I forget something; I can add other packages later.

Don't forget antiword (or wv) to read Office97 documents, and don't forget the findutils-locate utility (these are not installed by default, you have to search them using the "Search" filter).

Aaaah, the installation can now start...

Installation of the first two CDs is quite straightforward (if you selected lots of packages, you may wait hours to get all of them installed...). After the first CD it reboots and starts from hard disk (you still need to keep the first CD in the drive).

You can also safely assume all the defaults suggested. In only one point you need some attention: in the Users/Group administrations, after setting the root password, add your username, and then use "Expert options" to set it as "automatic login" and (if you like) "passwordless login".

The SuSE comes with a roaring 2.6.4 Linux kernel and KDE 3.2 system (yeah!).

SuSE configuration

The monitor is configured as 800×600 with 65536 colors. Sadly, it doesn't 3D acceleration (this is a SuSE problem; read below). Run yast2 to select 16 million colors.

When you run the gimp for the first time, it will ask you the screen resolution. Enter 82 dpi (fixed for x and y axis).

There are a number of utilities strictly regarding the Thinkpad notebook (configure-thinkpad and tpb and such things) which don't get installed by default; go search them in the SuSE installer. I will discuss them as soon as possible.

The infrared port can be disabled/reenabled by BIOS (or by one of the above utilities, I think) but I will leave it always enabled because its power consumption should be actually very little.

Adding some other mouse...

First, let me say that when I connected my old Asus USB-wheel mouse, it was immediately configured and ready to go (not even needing to restart X/free), with only an exception: the wheel does not generate up/down events (this is a SuSE/XFree problem; see below).

But this Thinkpad has got only one USB plug, so I don't want to use an USB mouse.

I added then an old (dated 1992) Artec serial mouse (the 9-pin serial port on the back of this notebook is /dev/ttyS0) and then, as said in my Linux & Asus notebook page, added to the XFree configuration file /etc/X11/XF86Config these lines:

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier  "SERIALmouse"
    Driver      "mouse"
    Option      "Name"             "Artec Serial Mouse"
    Option      "Vendor"           "Artec"
    Option      "InputFashion"     "Mouse"
    Option      "Protocol"         "Microsoft"
    Option      "Device"           "/dev/ttyS0"
    Option      "Emulate3Buttons"  "on"
(Note: I had to set the feature Emulate3Buttons because the central -third- button of my mouse is a bit damaged; I prefer to click the other two buttons to emulate the third).
And then added this line in the ServerLayout section:
    InputDevice "SERIALmouse"   "AlwaysCore"

This means that I can use now three pointer (mouse's), even together! :-)

The internal trackpoint is always physically available (so I stated it was "the" pointer that SuSE installer had to know first); then an USB mouse, suitable when I don't need to fit an USB device, and finally an old serial mouse (to me it's the better choice because I don't have a spare PS/2 mouse, and I don't have serial-port peripherals floating around).

Then I also added explicit USB-mouse support, adding this section in the /etc/X11/XF86Config file:
Section "InputDevice"         # the Asus USB mouse
  Identifier  "USBmouse"
  Driver      "mouse"
  Option      "Name"          "USB Wheel mouse"
  Option      "Vendor"        "Asus"
  Option      "InputFashion"  "Mouse"
  Option      "Protocol"      "IMPS/2"
  Option      "Device"        "/dev/usbmouse"
  Option      "ZAxisMapping"  "4 5"          # needed to use the wheel!
And added this line in the "ServerLayout" section:
  InputDevice  "USBmouse"    "AlwaysCore"

Now its wheel performs the appropriate software actions (scroll up/down).

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you reconfigure X/free using the sax2 program, these changes will be lost (in fact it regenerates again the original XF86Config text file). Thus, make a copy of the "good" XF86Config and keep it safe for future (improbable) changes.

Some notes about 3D graphics acceleration

This notebook, like lots of other notebooks (Dell, Nec, etc) of the same era, has an "ATI 3D Rage P/M Mobility AGP 2×" accelerated graphics card.

SuSE 9.1 explicitly doesn't support it (sigh!). The included XFree drivers will notice it (have a look to /var/log/XFree86.0.log file, in the section of the ati_drv.o and atimisc_drv.o):
(--) Chip type 4C4D "LM", version 4, foundry TSMC, class 0, revision 0x01.
(--) ATI(0): AGP bus interface detected; block I/O base is 0x3000.
(--) ATI(0): ATI Mach64 adapter detected.
(--) Using Mach64 accelerator CRTC.

The dri and drm modules get correctly loaded, but no acceleration gets out (trying glxgears I still see no more than 70-80fps... my local desktop PC with an old Geforce card runs the same example at more than 1200 fps: that's acceleration!).
Searching on SuSE site forums I found that someone claimed he was able to rebuild a mach64 accelerated driver and use it successfully on an old SuSE distribution; this means that it should be possible also with our A21m notebooks (if you fiddle and fight and tinker with sources and drivers) to get 3D acceleration, but it's definitely not straightforward (DRI support for mach64 is still under development).

I do not have the necessary time and patience to try it (anyways, it would be only useful to me for only one program - the nicest Linux game ever written: tuxracer). But if you are a good programming hacker, have a look to Retinal Burn Linux site for more news about this graphics card, and Direct Rendering Infrastructure Linux stuff.

There are only a few hardware limitations of this graphics card:

SuSE Linux 9.1 includes kernel AGPgart support; in fact, if you use the dmesg command, you will see also these lines:
Linux agpgart interface v0.100 (c) Dave Jones
agpgart: Detected an Intel 440BX Chipset.

This is a good starting point but you still need to fetch the DRI sources and Mesa library source and begin working on them. Good luck!

PCMCIA CompactFlash adapter: OK!

The PCMCIA bus is ok; inserting the compactflash adapter with a compactflash memory, makes the hotplug services acknowledge the new hardware and the SuSE partitioning utility start. This is not actually needed, since my 8Mb CompactFlash card was already formatted and filled with photos from digital camera...! I was able to mount it as root on /mnt and extract photos from it. Tipically it's seen as /dev/hde external hard disk. For detailed information, search my old Asus & Linux pages.

Sadly, the hotplug services generate sometimes a system slowdown (40-50% CPU usage and continuous testing) until you mount the device onto some directory. I think one day I will wipe out hotplug services...

Hardware features

Supported features (soon after SuSE installation) without extra configuration:

Some tips and tricks...

The ESC key is just above the F1 key: if you happen to use often the vim editor, add this line at the end of /etc/vimrc configuration (meaning: if in "insert mode" you get an F1 key, then treat it as a "return to command mode" sequence):
map! <f1> <ESC><ESC>

(thanks to Werner's Tuxmobil)

Sound support Thinkpad mixer settings... (alsamixergui)

While the sound is fully supported by the stock 2.6.4 Linux kernel coming from SuSE 9.1 (Cirrus Logic CS4297A rev.4, using Sound Fusion CS46xx kernel driver), I found that by default it started in "mute" mode - I had playing MP3/WAV files, but got no audio on internal speakers.

I just had to assign correct values using the alsamixergui program (also coming from SuSE 9.1 installation), as on the screens here on the right.

First, I set up all relevant volumes to very high values, because I use an old and "quite silenced" earset.

Also, I had to enable and set up to the maximum value the DAC (digital-to-analog converter) - this was the "mute problem" of the first days. Remember to lock its values (the lock icon below the sliders), to not to get a single-ear audio output. I also set up the ADC (analog-to-digital, i.e. for recording) values.

Finally, I enabled full 3D/stereo mode; even if you have a simple stereo handset, it gives out a nicer audio output, less opaque than the standard stereo mode.

Big Fat Note: an user reported me that this trick was useful also for the sound card Hercules Fortissimo II Digital Edition and the problem appears only in some Linux distributions (i.e., if you install Mandrake Linux, you won't get the "mute problem".

Watch out for excessively high values (distorted audio output). I think it's better fiddling with master volume, leaving PCM-volume not more than 70-80% of its scale (if you set it to 95-100% you will surely get distortion and noise). Other Thinkpad mixer settings (alsamixergui)

Also, you can use the tpb utility program (also in SuSE 9.1) which features an on-screen display of the gray audio up/down/mute keys of the Thinkpad. This is a very nice feature but, due to the weird A21m hardware, it has to access the /dev/nvram device (non-volatile RAM, in the A21m, is accessed in order to read those special gray keys).

The tpb can be started at every KDE boot in your ~/.kde/Autostart directory. Create a shell script in the Autostart directory, containing only these three lines:

tpb &

But the tpb program needs to access the /dev/nvram device. You now have two solutions (you need root access to execute these commands):

  1. the MOSTLY UNSAFE one - change the /dev/nvram access privileges and allow every user to read/write onto it:
    chmod 666 /dev/nvram
  2. the DECENTLY SAFE one - switch the tpb executable to "setuid" access mode:
    chmod 4711 /usr/bin/tpb

If you are one of those "paranoid security" guys, then just avoid using tpb and blame those IBM engineers who decided to use non-volatile-RAM (where BIOS configuration is stored!) to read/write Thinkpad keys.

Anyways, I chose the second solution... I must here say that Linux environments are generally much more safe than public news say - not only because attacks are against Big Organizations instead of Simple Users, but also because it's a rather hard think to get some Big Damage fiddling with nvram's contents.

Infrared port: works!

First, make sure you already enabled the infrared stuff in the BIOS as secondary serial port (2F8/IRQ3).

Using the findchip -v command of the irda-utils package, I found that it's an NSC infrared controller:
Found NSC PC87338 Controller at 0x2e, DevID=0x0b, Rev. 2
    SIR Base 0x2f8, FIR Base 0x2f8
    IRQ = 3, DMA = 3
    Enabled: yes, Suspended: no
    UART compatible: yes
    Half duplex delay = 0 us

Please note that this NSC chip, while identifies itself as PC87338, it's actually a weird chip found in other IBM Thinkpad and Omnibook notebooks, containing a "reserved" dongle which seems not to be supported by the Linux driver (at least up to Linux kernel By disabling that "reserved" feature, we will be able to use the infrared connection.

Now, in root mode, give these commands to enable the infrared port (the stock Linux kernel 2.6.4 from SuSE 9.1 does only need these):
setserial /dev/ttyS1 uart none
modprobe nsc-ircc dongle_id=14
irattach irda0 -s

Comment: you need to disable the RS232 stuff to get the Thinkpad infrared controller switched on. Then load the nsc-ircc driver, requesting "standard infrared" support only (in the /var/log/messages system log file you will get "nsc-ircc, Using dongle: Supports SIR Mode only" message). Then attach the irda0 interface and enable it.

You need to repeat all these commands while in root mode at every startup; it's convenient to place them in the /etc/rc.d/boot.local file (at least in the SuSE distributions).

If you place an infrared device (for example the Sony Ericsson P900 phone with the infrared support enabled) the irdadump command (in root mode) will show some output like this:
23:34:07.125814 xid:rsp e4f1cc5a < 2c5b462f S=6 s=1 P900 hint=9325 [ PnP PDA/Palmtop Modem Telephony IrCOMM IrOBEX ] (21)
23:34:07.407778 xid:cmd e4f1cc5a > ffffffff S=6 s=5 (14)
23:34:07.497765 xid:cmd e4f1cc5a > ffffffff S=6 s=* eclypse hint=4400 [ Computer LAN Access ] (21)

If you get only the "Computer" and the empty lines, then you selected an unsupported dongle. The dongle number can be from 0 to 15, and only these values are good: 3, 4, 6, 10, 11 ("reserved"), 5 ("Sharp RY5"), 9 ("IBM31" or "Temic"), 14 ("SIR mode only"); feel free to experiment testing transfer speeds and other features.

Now you can transfer files with obex_p900 program. Read my P900 pages about using IrDA port with the P900; except for the initialization shown above (the Asus notebook requires s different initialization).

One personal note: it seems to me that the Asus infrared port was slightly faster than the IBM one. The irdadump command was good to verify that the connection can stand up even at 1.5m distance.


I bought a -fairly- cheap Belkin USB-Bluetooth adapter. SuSE Linux supports it very well. Make sure the bluetooth service is enabled and running (from the "runlevel editor" of SuSE's yast configuration); also, install other Bluetooth utilities as well (KDE Bluetooth, etc).

NOTE: the steps described below are for SuSE 9.1: if you get a recent SuSE distribution, you will find that it has:

First, take note of the six-byte hardware address of the PC notebook interface:
hcitool dev

Then, the address of your Bluetooth peripheral (mine is a P900):
hcitool scan

Now, go to the /etc/bluetooth directory and do these changes:

Now reboot... no, stop, don't reboot: just call the SuSE yast configurator, select "runlevel editor" in the "system" menu, click on "expert" mode, then "stop" the Bluetooth service and then "start" it again. Quicker, eh?

To connect to the p3nfs and exchange data, you just have to issue (when root) these commands:
rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx 4
p3nfsd -UIQ -tty /dev/rfcomm0 -dir /mnt

Comment: "bind rfcomm0 to the P900 address on its port 4 (P900 uses port 4 for bluetooth-serial connection); then start the nfsapp program on the P900, roll down the jog-dial (to select Bluetooth connection): it says "waiting 30s..."; now execute on the notebook the p3nfsd program on the rfcomm device, mounting the P900 filesystem on /mnt directory.

Note: some devices use a port number different than 4 (for example, Series60 phones use 3); I do not know how to investigate it.

How to use the P900 modem for GPRS internet browsing

Execute these commands while in root mode:
route del default
rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm1 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx 7
chmod 666 /dev/rfcomm1

That is: exclude (if present) the "default routing" (I need to do it because my notebook is normally connected to a LAN with internet access, so I don't need it when using GPRS for browsing). Then, bind to the /dev/rfcomm1 port the P900 Bluetooth device address on port 7 ("7" on the P900 means "dial-up networking"!). Then make readable/writeable for any user the above port. Now we can connect using kppp or issuing this command (all in one single line!) to invoke the pppd daemon directly:
/usr/sbin/pppd /dev/rfcomm1 115200 crtscts nodetach defaultroute usepeerdns lcp-echo-failure 10 lcp-echo-interval 86400 connect '/usr/sbin/chat -t 6 -s -v "" ATZ OK ATDT*99***1# CONNECT \d\c'

The KDE utilities include Bluetooth support (when using the right-button on a file, you will find a "Send as Bluetooth" option in the "actions" sub-menu of the popup... I tested it and works very well). If you want to start it manually, just type in kbtobexclient and have fun.

Also, you have the khciconfig utility to set up the notebook's bluetooth device and details (I will write down some notes when I will be in need to browse the notebook from the P900).

Bluetooth data transfer is faster than infrared (30 to 90 kb/sec instead of 5 to 8 kb/sec) and does not require to be on the line of sight... but it's harder to configure and use (sigh!).

CD ripping

Ripping music CD's is straightforward; just run grip (GNU-rip) utility, insert a CD, select encoding method and start.

The CD-ROM reader of this A21m can rip at the same speed of music playing (thus a 42 minutes CD will require about 45 minutes for the entire rip-while-encoding process).

I prefer to use the ogg/vorbis format instead of MP3 one, because the vorbis compression gives out more quality in less space than the best "presets" of the latest MP3 encoders. I had even a try, to be 100% sure, I gave these commands:
for a in 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  oggenc -q $a -o test-$a.ogg great_song.wav
for a in voice radio hifi cd
  lame -h -p -c --vbr-new --preset $a great_song.wav test-$a.mp3

I got better output quality for every ogg setting, while in less space than MP3 format.

Notice: the "voice" preset of lame is mono (this is why it appears smaller at a first glance); but when I encoded in ogg the same song in mono mode, I still got a smaller file and a better output than the MP3 format.

Now, some notes about ripping with grip on the Thinkpad A21m...

Configuration of grip

This way, I will rip all of my CDs and will keep playing music without needing to carry with me lots of CDs...! I prefer high values of the quality level because my compact discs are almost 100% classical music.

The first times, keep an eye on the "ripping smiley"; sometimes I got a bad rip and - soon after - an excellent rip of the same song (this seems to be due to my CD drive unit on this notebook, showing first signs of decadence...).

The A21m CD drive rips at about 1.0× to 1.5×, much slower than the Asus notebook CD drive, and is VERY SLOW not only at recovering scratches or other read errors, but also when getting "read drift" condition (this seems to be a limit of the CD drives of these old Thinkpad notebooks; and it's also the main reason to not to use cdda2wav)... but, who cares? once rip, many plays :-)

I also have to report a SIGSEGV-crash of the grip program because of the weird behavior of the CD drive. Sometimes it "dies" (doesn't recognize any disc, even for playing) and I have to halt the notebook and then boot again (a soft boot may not solve the problem). This also happens with original CD discs, not only when using home-mastered discs...

Note: some tracks which appear "bad", after a cold boot will appear again "good". If you see the disc-ripping showing too much time drift errors (":-/") or other problems (":-|") then probably you need to boot again (because reinserting the disc in the drive may not help).

Expanding RAM on the IBM Thinkpad A21m notebook

Well, this class of notebooks just needs standard SODIMM 100MHz modules. After unscrewing the slot below the notebook (the one with the ugly Windoze license sticker) you see two SODIMM slots: the one on the left has an IBM 100MHz SODIMM memory of 64Mb. In the second slot, for some months, I had a Kingston SODIMM 64Mb memory; now (December 2004) I changed it with a bulk 128Mb SODIMM memory. And yes, I now have 192 Mb total RAM memory (64+128). And yes, I could get more memory replacing the two SODIMMs (while my old Asus notebook had only one SODIMM slot).

Setting hard disk parameters to get some more speed

I found that some Linux distributions (most notably SuSE), to get a very stable system, don't set up the maximum performance parameters of the hard disks. But I now have a 30Gb disk in this notebook, and I am willing to try... if you don't see extra notes here in a few days, then it means that it's still all O.K.!!

First, measure your performance using hdparm -tT /dev/hda command.

Then, add in your autoexec.bat (er... /etc/rc.d/boot.local - if you are using a SuSE Linux, or, in the .kde/AutoStart directory of your home directory, if you like) these lines at the end:
hdparm -ivm 16 -c 1 -a 256 -u 1 /dev/hda
hdparm -a 256 -c 1 -u 1 /dev/hdc

And yes, time again your most known operations and have fun :-)

Using Samba client to mount Windows 2000 Professional shares

Well, I did it, but actually using an user/password on the Win2000Professional machine.

Software used: Samba 3.0.9 (actually 3.0.9-2.6-Suse; any 3.0.9 or later version will surely go).
Commands used (I needed root access to use the mount - the smbclient command doesn't need root privileges):

Note: theirhost name was already defined in /etc/hosts and sharedir was the Windows share name (not the actual Windows 2000 Professional directory name! we here had "New folder" directory, with "sharedir" sharing name). Also, in the above example, we needed to know the "administrator" password of the Win2000 computer.

For safety reasons, mostly if you don't use a simple local setup, you should define another Windows 2000 user for sharing purposes only (don't use its "administrator" account).

Yep, it's just some Hardware Problem...

Sometimes my A21m Thinkpad "freezes" at boot time - that is: it hangs while displaying "press F1 to enter setup, F12 to change boot device" and waits forever that something magical happens... pressing F1 or F12 or any other key (except pressing power button for some seconds) doesn't change anything. Solution: remove the battery, unplug the power supply connector while the Thinkpad is on (that is: simulate a hard "power fail"), wait 3-4 seconds, plug the power supply again (don't insert the battery) and it will restart 50% of the times (the other 50% it will restart on the second try).

Some rare times, it also refuses to boot with some weird PCI error (uh-oh!) even if you do the above "unplugging". DON'T PANIC: it seems that it's some energy-saving issue. In the BIOS setup menu I ignored the "Customized" options of the "power" settings; I used "Maximum Performance" for both battery and AC-driven setups and it went all OK for some weeks (no "PCI" BIOS problems anymore), and then switched to "Maximum Performance" for AC-driven and "Maximum Battery" for battery, and after a few weeks I didn't experience any problems.

No, I don't suggest to make any change in the BIOS if you don't have similar problems.

Chi controlla il passato, controlla il presente (Orwell)


Also, don't forget to check this great site: Linux on laptops.

IBM Thinkpad A21M notebook

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