openSUSE 10.2 on Lenovo ThinkPad T60

Well, I finally got around to installing openSUSE 10.2 on my ThinkPad T60. Unfortunately, I was running very low on disk space and couldn’t get any screen captures of the installation process.
In general, the installation process went very smoothely. The biggest advantages of openSUSE 10.2 over Fedora Core 6 during the installation process are:

  • Installation picked up my Intel Centrino 3945 and installed the kernel module. Fedora requires you to set this up manually later.
  • openSUSE has the ability to connect to the Internet, get a list of add-on repositories and add them during the installation process. Fedora has a screen where you can add the repositories manually during the installation process but this requires you to know the full URL of the repository.
  • openSUSE also allows you to install third-party applications like Sun’s Java JRE along with the Centrino firmware and kernel module that Fedora requires you download and install from a third-party provider of RPMs such as Livna or RPMForge.

openSUSE also has better fonts and looks “cleaner” and cripser than Fedora. Proprietary ATI drivers on openSUSE are easily available and installable. The default installation used a VESA driver and set the resolution to 800×600 so installing the ATI drivers was important. Fedora does a better job of providing a hi-res driver but installing the ATI drivers on Fedora is also very easy and well documented all over the place.

I’m not using openSUSE as my primary desktop yet. There’s some hacking to be done with my user settings that would allow the same user id and home directory to be used on both systems. I might remove openSUSE and give Ubuntu a whirl.

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Lenovo and Novell Want a Ransom for Linux

I just spent 15 minutes on the phone with Lenovo trying to get information on their ThinkPads preloaded with SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. I am very surprised at Lenovo’s half-hearted attempt at preloading Linux on ThinkPads. As I mentioned in this post, Lenovo and Novell announced the preloading of SuSE Linux on the ThinkPad T60p. A T60p with the following specs is available for $3099.00 by calling Lenovo (it is not available for purchase from the website, you must call to get any information or place an order).

  • Intel Core Duo T2700 (2.33GHz, 2MB L2, 667MHz FSB)
  • 14.1″ Screen with 1400×1050 Resolution
  • 1Gb RAM
  • 100 Gb 7200 RPM HD
  • 256MB ATI Mobility FireGL V5200
  • DVD Burner
  • 9 Cell Extended Battery
  • A/B/G Wireless and Bluetooth
  • Integrated Gigabit Ethernet

Oh yes, I must mention that the same exact configuration with Windows XP Home Edition costs $2289.00. Why Lenovo and Novell have to charge $810.00 more for the same exact laptop running SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is mind boggling. Why would anyone in their right mind buy this ThinkPad even if it running Linux? For those of you out there who have a T60p and would like to install SuSE, you could try running openSuSE ( Novell recently renamed the open source distribution ) and download the Lenovo software for SuSE here. It might not work because apparently Lenovo and Novell updated the SLED Kernel for the ThinkPad and I’m not sure if openSuSE contains the kernel enhancements. I am very interested to hear from any of you that try it out. I’m also curious if the software will run on other ThinkPads running SuSE so please let me know.

I still love ThinkPads ( See Apple MacBook vs. IBM ThinkPad – Part 3 ) but, by charging a ransom for a Linux ThinkPad, Lenovo isn’t gaining any friends in the community.
Lenovo – Notebooks – ThinkPad T Series mobile workstations

ThinkPad T60p 14.1″ 2007-8ZU and ThinkPad T60p 15″ 2007-9ZU

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ThinkPad–now with Suse Linux – CNET News.com

Novell and Lenovo are teaming up on a new ThinkPad laptop with Novell’s Suse Linux operating system preinstalled. Hopefully, the price doesn’t start at $3099 as stated on CNET.

read more | digg story

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Lenovo to preload Linux on T60p

Couldn’t Lenovo have announced this in May? It is so tempting to think if I could dual-boot SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 ( preloaded and supported by Lenovo – potentially with all the “ThinkPad Experience” applications like “Access Connections”, “Power Manager” and other utilities available on Windows ) and a version of OS X that people have gotten running on their ThinkPads. One can only dream! I’m looking forward to seeing the full announcement on the 14th. Read the complete article on eweek below.

The PC maker, at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo beginning Aug. 14 , will announce a plan to pre-load Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on one of its ThinkPad notebooks, sources familiar with the two company’s plans said.

Lenovo to Load Linux on ThinkPad Laptop

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IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Vs. Apple MacBook Revisited

I’ve been using the Apple MacBook on and off for a little over a month now.Disclosure: The MacBook isn’t my only computer. At the office, I have a Dell now running Ubuntu 6.06 and at home, I removed the failed IBM Deskstar drive out of my Dell, installed Ubuntu from scratch. At some point, I’ll reinstall Fedora Core 5 on the free partition. My main computer at home is my 1st generation PowerPC based Mac Mini. Hence, I use my MacBook when I’m not at the office or when I’m not sitting in the basement.

My use of the MacBook, though not constant, is considerable. I have come to enjoy most aspects of the hardware along with the software (OS X). I was asked to discuss my thoughts on the following aspects of the MacBook.

  1. Sturdiness: I haven’t traveled with the MacBook yet. I have only carried it with me to the local Starbucks and to the office on several occassions. It feels like a fairly well built machine but I can’t vouch for how it would react to a few falls like my old T40. I would be very surprised if it continued to function as well as my T40 after the serious falls it took.
  2. Productivity:
    • Though I am still no fan of the Apple Trackpad, I have configured it well enough that it doesn’t annoy be as constantly as before. I still think the Thinkpad keyboard/Trackpoint combination is the most productive I’ve seen on any laptop or desktop (see my review of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 keyboard).
    • The feel of the MacBook keyboard is pretty good. I don’t miss my ThinkPad in this regard. Though, it’s a bit different, it feels nice.
    • I also miss the Thinklight that exists on the Thinkpads. This is incredibly useful when you’re trying to type in the dark (e.g. late at night in bed, on an airplane, etc). Considering the prices that some Thinkpads are available at, I hope Apple puts a lit keyboard or a Thinklight-like feature into future MacBooks.
    • The built-in iSight on the MacBook is a very useful feature if you use Skype, IM, Video IM, or just like to take pictures randomly. I am using the MacBook to create an audio diary of a project I am working on. I might turn it into a podcast at some point but not just yet. I’m also using Skype for phone calls in the US while it is free.
    • The wifi piece of the MacBook has been acting pretty flaky recently. At Starbucks, I had to reboot the laptop a few times before it would reconnect to the AP. At home, it is disconnecting from my Linksys WRT54G very often in spots that it worked fine just a few weeks ago. I think a similar problem has been reported on the MacBook Pros but I have yet to call this into AppleCare.
    • Battery life has also dropped significantly. I was getting 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours of battery life on a full charge, with my settings optimized for battery conservation. The same settings are consistenly providing me no more than 2 hours and 45 minutes of battery life. I have tried calibrating the battery as per the manual but no luck. I am in the process of recalibrating for the 4rd time right now before I call AppleCare.
    • Apple OS X is pretty good in terms of productivity. I would like it if I could configure keyboard shortcuts for everything and maybe I can, I just haven’t tried hard enough to figure it out.
    • Apple ships the MacBooks with a decent amount of software for productivity. (Quicken 2006 for the Mac doesn’t compare to the Windows version).
  3. Applications: I am pretty happy with the applications on OS X. I’ve been able to get lots of Unix opensource applications running, including Postgresql, NeoOffice and OpenOffice, along with Perl and a good amount of the Perl modules from CPAN. The MacBook ships with a trial version of iWork and Microsoft Office for Mac. I didn’t find a need to use either of these applications and had not installed them when I reinstalled OS X. OS X is pretty good at sleeping, though I would like to see a hibernate function. It is just as stable as Linux from my use of OS X Tiger on my PowerPC Mac Mini and on my Intel MacBook. It’s probably much much mroe stable than Windows on anything.

I haven’t completely ruled out buying a new motherboard for my old T40. If I can buy it and get it installed, all for $200, I’ll probably do it. Anything more than that, I won’t. I guess that means that though I really like the MacBook, I am really used to my ThinkPad T40 running Linux and I miss.

The MacBook is a fist generation computer whereas the Thinkpad T series is tried and true. The MacBook is very good for early adopters and those that aren’t afraid of a little tinkering. It’s also a very cost efficient way of playing with OS X and being able to see first hand how things “just work”. The MacBooks do get pretty hot so be careful to keep the laptop on your lap for very long.

If anyone has any additional questions, please drop me a line.

Apple – MacBook
Lenovo – T Series

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