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This is a guide to running Linux with the IBM-Lenovo Thinkpad T61 laptop. The T61 is a high end, corporate style notebook from Lenovo. The various features (wireless N, WWAN, firewire, USB, Bluetooth, PCMCIA slot, SanDisk memory chip slot, LAN port, modem line port, ext VGA, removable CD-ROM/CDRW, DVD, 2nd Drive bay, 12vdc-110/220vac travel adapter, headset mic & headphone jacks, wireless ON/OFF switch, trackpoint & touchpad combo, and fingerprint reader) that it offers are all fantastic features for LINUX, and “all” of these work extremely well with the newest release of openSuSE v11.4! They are “auto-sensed”, making your setup and configuration a snap!
Two people relate their experiences on this page. Here are their summaries:
For full specifications see the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 specifications page.
This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you may need to configure, if any. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our Installation Guide section for distribution instruction specifics.
If you would like to edit this page please first view our Editing Guidelines.
Please keep any pertinent information, and update areas where changes have occurred as things progress and related items are upgraded.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo (Merom) 1.8, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4 GHz 800MHz FSB, 2-4MB L2 Cache CPU||Yes|
|Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn) 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 GHz 800MHz FSB, 3-6MB L2 Cache CPU||Yes|
|Screen||13“ WXGA||Yes||Excellent performance/quality|
|HDD||500GB||Yes||*Easy to upgrade/swap out for testing or experimenting|
|Optical Drive||Removable: CD/CDRW, DVD+-RW||Yes||always recognized, worked fantastic, hot-swappable!|
|Drive Bay||Removable: CD/CDRW, DVD+-RW, 2nd HDD cartridge, 2nd battery||Yes||hot-swappable, great asset for an admin/LINUX student!|
|nVidia Quadro NVS 140m||Yes|
|Graphics 3D||Yes||excellent image and quality, works well with return from hibernation, sleep modes, using open source and proprietary drivers|
|Webcam||Yes||good image, quality is acceptable but not “top-notch” like you see with a Macbook, Macbook Pro, or with an external webcam, but it always works.|
|Wireless||Intel 3945ABG 802.11abg||Yes|
|Intel 4965AGN 802.11abgn||Yes||make sure you have a wireless access point with “N” capabilities, performance is greatly enhanced!|
|56K Modem||Yes||for both dial-up networking, and dial-in terminal sessions (use SW install: add mgetty service for dial-in services support|
|USB||3 x USB2.0||Yes|
|Firewire||1 x Firewire||Yes|
|Suspend to ram with open source graphical driver||Yes||Excellent, faster than Windows!|
|Suspend to disk with open source graphical driver||Yes||Excellent, faster than Windows!|
|Suspend to ram with propietary graphical driver||Yes||Excellent|
|Suspend to disk with propietary graphical driver||Not tested|
With the latest release of openSuSE 11.4, the graphics are well-supported!
My only complaint is the webcam device in the notebook seems to have a “yellow-ish” tint to it. In plugging in other webcams, like the Logitech, the image is fantastic! I believe they probably just used a cheaper webcam device for this feature. Webcams were just beginning to be “standard equipment” when this device came out.
Some models of the T61 use the 4965AGN wireless controller. I highly recommend this choice (your option when you buy it) as the “N” performance is priceless in mobile use and with SKYPE video conferencing! Drivers/setup was auto-sensed to support both the wireless and the WWAN (cellular).
Auto-installs with openSuSE 11.4 … even well supported in VirtualBox.
Quite a lot of work and Linux experience used to be required to get the Lenovo Thinkpad T61 working with Linux. Now that openSuSE 11.4 has been released, everything “works” after install! If you try another LINUX release and have problems, before you beat yourself over the head, try the openSuSE LINUX 11.4 release. It's “FREE” and downloadable (create a bootable CD from the image and do a “network” install). Check them out at: http://www.opensuse.org
(edit: November 2013) Arch linux works almost perfectly out of the box, the T420, T61 and other thinkpad articals on the arch-wiki site help for configuration. Linux-mint works out of the box with no issues.
Due to the age, and Nvidias design, for some laptops hardware accelerated graphics (Using both nvidia's drivers and nouveau) there are graphical glitches/crashes. You can however set a program to run in software rendering with LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=1 <command>, but it will be CPU intesnive and slowish rendering speeds (Fine for youtube/movies, not so much for games.)