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Linux on my IBM A21m Thinkpad

  • Pentium III 800MHz
  • 1024x768 TFT screen
  • 384MB RAM
  • 20GB HDD
  • 8MB ATI Rage AGP video
  • 3COM ethernet/modem combo
  • Crystal Sound Fusion sound
  • Internal floppy drive
  • 2 PC Card slots
  • Pre-installed crap

Hardware/software: I bought this computer online, from Marine Park Computers. They actually delivered the wrong model (i.e. I had ordered the one with a CD-RW drive, not DVD-ROM.). I was pissed, but the anger quickly dissipated after playing around with this new toy; so I decided to just keep it and not complain. The Linux distribution I chose was Red Hat, mainly because I'm used to it (I probably should try something different, like Debian). I bought the latest Red Hat CDR from Linux System Labs for a few bucks (another good one is Cheapbytes).

Installation: Redhat 7.1 installation went smoothly. Nothing to really talk about.

IBM A21m ThinkpadPost-installation: I wanted to hook-up a USB mouse, but didn't know how to get it to work. After a few searches on Google, I found a few hints, but not until I came upon Greg Wierzchowski's Second Mouse in X mini-HOWTO did I find the answer. Here's my XF86Config, and XF86Config-4 files if you need to check them out. Also, I had to setup sound by running "/usr/sbin/sndconfig" as root. I still haven't tinkered with the internal modem (probably a dreaded "winmodem"), since I already had a PC-Card modem for my dial-up connection. The DVD-ROM is for the most part just a CD-ROM to Linux for the moment, because I haven't really looked into the problem much. If I want to view a DVD, I have to reboot into some other OS. One more thing, I tried to secure it as much as I could; mainly by closing all unnecessary internet services/ports (for example: instead of just "startx" for X startup, try "startx -- -nolisten tcp" to prevent remote connections to your X server). Check out the latest security (and other) HOW-TOs at the Linux Documentation Project.


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