Howto - Install Ubuntu Feisty on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So, you have a new Thinkpad. I have a T61 with the Nvidia 140M graphics card. Ubuntu Fiesty doesn’t seem to like that card, and it’s been a pain in the neck to get it working. But it’s working now, and here’s how I did it. Before we go any further: This tutorial is just what worked for me. I make no promises, guarantees, or anything else. This may turn your brand new computer into a really pricey paperweight. Use of this tutorial is ENTIRELY at your own risk. I am willing to give advice if you get stuck, but I’m a Linux noob. The Ubuntu forums are likely to be more helpful. Anyway, I make no promises, I just want to share what worked for me. First, the regular installer doesn’t work because you don’t get any sort of GUI. So, go to the Ubuntu downloads and get Ubuntu 7.04 Desktop edition. You want the version for 64 Bit AMD and Intel computers. Below the green download button, you want to check the box where it says, “Check here if you need the alternate desktop CD. This CD does not include the Live CD, instead it uses a text-based installer.” Then click download. You know how Windows probably asks you to open it with whatever your cd burning software is before you even download the file? Well, don’t do that. I tried, and it didn’t work. If you are not familiar with MD5 checksums and burning ISO images, check this tutorial. It should tell you all you need to know. Once you have your cd, put it in your cd drive and install using the text-based installer. The only issue I had with the installer was partitioning the drive. I have a 120GB drive. I read somewhere that Vista requires 30GB (As an aside, good grief, Microsoft, no wonder old Windows machines run really slowly. Do all your operating systems have such ridiculous requirements?), so I set my partition to 90GB. Well, Vista took that to mean something really, really bad happened, and now wants me to recover Windows. It refuses to boot. Some may see this as a blessing, and I’m not going to argue, but I had hoped to keep a working Vista install for those rare cases when it’s just more convenient to use Windows. Anyway, getting Vista to work is a project for another day. That’s why this tutorial is provided with no guarantees. Once you have Ubuntu installed, you have to boot into the recovery (that is, text-only) mode. Log in using the user you created during installation. Then the real fun begins. Install development tools sudo apt-get install build-essential Setup ethernet connection sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces Add the following to the file: auto eth0 iface eth0 inet dhcp Save the file and close. If you don’t know how to use VI, Google is your friend. Restart networking sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart Test to see if it works ping Stop pinging. Someone can probably tell me how to ping like Windows, where it tried a few times and then stops, but I didn’t bother to look it up. ctrl-c If you get this error - sudo: timestamp too far in the future: Try rebooting with Ctrl-Alt-Delete Remove old Nvidia file sudo rm /etc/init.d/nvidia-kernel Disable the installed Nvidia driver sudo vi /etc/default/linux-restricted-modules-common Add this line DISABLED_MODULES="nv nvidia_new" Save and exit. install nvidia drivers sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx sudo nvidia-xconfig --add-argb-glx-visuals --composite Restart sudo reboot Update Ubuntu (This might have been a good idea earlier in the game. But this is where I did it.) sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get dist-upgrade Restart sudo reboot Get the new Nvidia driver installer Create a temp directory in your home folder cd sudo mkdir nvidia_temp cd nvidia_temp Download the driver installer Make sure to check this url - it’s current as of 8/28/07 sudo wget sudo sh It will ask you about runlevels. Ubuntu apparently doesn’t do runlevels. Continue with the installation. Mine had errors, which I ignored. Reboot, this time start up in regular mode. You should have a functional graphics card. Unfortunately, it’s only partially functional. Mine only supported 1024X768, which is totally unacceptable. Reconfigure X From the menu at the top of the screen, select “Applications”, then “Accessories”, then “Terminal” to open a terminal window. At the prompt: sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg This will open a little wizard. You can leave all the defaults for the most part. However, it is important to select “nvidia” instead of “nv” from the big list of drivers. Select “1280X800” from the list of resolutions. When it asks to specify “simple”, “medium”, or “advanced”, just pick simple and choose “Up to 14 inches”. That is, assuming you have the 14" screen like I do. Now, you can click the red icon at the top right of the screen, reboot, and your screen resolution should be set to 1280X800. Update: I finally got around to checking the sound, and it turned out I had none. However, if you go to this Ubuntu forum thread and follow the instructions from forum user fmhoyt, sound should work fine. From here, you’re on your own. The Ubuntu Forums are great. Lifehacker loves to talk about Ubuntu. is also a really good resource for cool stuff to do with Ubuntu. There are lots of cool apps and tricks and whatnot. So, have fun. Resources:

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