If you are looking for the epic motorcycle journey blog that I've written, please see the Miles By Motorcycle site I put together. 
  • Fedora Core 13 on a Lenovo ThinkPad X100E
    09/19/2010 4:44PM

    I'm repeating my experiment with the Lenovo Thinkpad X100E. I picked one up directly from Lenovo.

    The product page is here. (not an affiliate link)

    I got the "Elite" version with the AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core L625 (1.6GHz, 800MHz, 1MB L2) processor, 4 gigs of ram and a 320 gig drive. It's got a realtek wireless card.

    It comes with Windows 7 installed. I used the Lenovo tools they provide to create a set of restore CD/DVD's.

    Then I created an image of the hard drive onto an external USB drive, in case I ever want to sell the thing to someone else I can reinstall the factory Win7 image. (I could probably just use the CD's I created for the same purpose, but wanted to be doubly sure.)

    I booted the Fedora Core 13 live CD using an external USB CD/DVD drive, but because the laptop is too new and ACPI on this machine is not yet supported by the stock kernel I had to pass acpi=off in the kernel boot parameters.

    I plugged in an external USB drive.

    I was going to just do a straight dd as I usually do but came across this article with some optimizations:

    http://www.linuxweblog.com/blogs/sandip/20050211/image-your-hard-drive-using-dd

    Basically:

    dd if=/dev/hda conv=sync,noerror bs=64K | gzip -c  > /mnt/sda1/hda.img.gz 

    From there I went on to try to shrink the ntfs partition. I figure it might be good to have win7 on the machine just in case I wanted to play with it or needed an authorized copy of the OS for some reason.

    The Fedora Core 13 installer supports resizing NTFS partitions during install but that feature errored out on me leaving me with an unbootable machine.

    I used the Lenovo tools to restore the original factory image of the drive. Interesting, the file system shrink had worked and despite doing the drive restore it kept my newly sized partition structure. Interesting. 

    From here, installing Fedora Core 13 to the hard drive is just a matter of clicking on the install to harddrive icon from the live cd.

    Installation was painless as usual. I ran through applying all available updates which took a while. 

    Wireless networking doesn't work out of the box. You have to download and install the latest Realtek driver, which means you have to install the kernel-development headers and the GCC development environment.

    The driver is available from:

    http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=48&PFid=48&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false&Downloads=true#RTL8192SE

    More information on Linux and the X100E can be found here:

    http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:X100e

    I am currently running with acpi off. There is a module you can compile for yourself but I haven't explore this yet.

    On my X100E sound does not work. More accurately it works long enough to play exactly one sound then it's nothing but garbled static. I have not yet tracked this one down yet either.

    Fedora Core 13 seems to run slowly on this machine for some reason. Win7 is /much/ faster by comparison. Not sure if ACPI has something to with the slowdown or not.

    The keyboard rocks and I really like the form factor.

    Update - Flashing BIOS

    After doing some more googling around I heard several mentions that some users had success with ACPI working with the current stable FC13 kernel. So I booted back into Win7 and went to Start->Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools -> Update and Drivers and installed all Critical and Recommended updates. A BIOS update utility is included as part of that set of updates and it automatically flashes the BIOS after many warnings to not turn off your computer or lose power during the update process.

    After this I rebooted Win7 just in case there were any post-update steps it needed to complete. Then I rebooted into Linux making sure to remove the acpi=off flag in the boot parameters.

    I'm running the stock 2.6.34.6-54.fc13.i686 kernel installed during the latest update run from System->Administration->Software updates.

    Dmesg reports at that acpi has been recognized and sound now works!

    It looks like I may have a fully functional system now.

    Another Update - Hard Freeze/Lockup

    With the above changes I left the machine running. When I came back after a few hours it was locked cold requiring the classic remove battery and reinstall to get it to reboot.

    Based on some more google searches this may be a known problem with ACPI and the laptop suspending. I've set power management to suspend "never". I will report back to see if that works around this problem. It seems the 2.6.35 kernel which has not yet been released into Fedora Core fixes this problem.