Ubuntu 8.0.4 – Thinkpad T30 fail

ubuntuSo I’ve aquired an IBM Thinkpad model T30. Thought it would be the perfect machine to install, test and play with Ubuntu on. Oops!

Major issue #1
You cannot install Ubuntu. Not. At all. Partitioning starts then hangs at 15%

Solution – IBM forums
Ubuntu cannot handle the extravagant 32 year old video on this space age machine. The solution is to select Safe Mode “F4” on the install screen. Sweet, like Windows 3.11!

Major issue #2
I’m up and running and guess what, the video card and display are both “generic” and I’m stuck with 256 color 800×600 display with zero options to change. Guess issue #1 should have given me a clue eh?

Solution – aquire computer science degree and spend weekend hiding from your family. I ain’t doing it! “edit the xdork conf file using the transom converter while closing your left eye, smacking the monitor while doing a shot of tequila”.
Hey I always kinda liked 800×600… Ooops the OS doesn’t!!! Silly OS has GUI widgets with confirm/deny (yes/no) buttons off the screen!! The OS forces me to 800×600 but it’s own components won’t function at that resolution? Looks like Tequila is a common solution.

Major issue #3
No sound. Click the volume control with the big red X through it and I get this valuable feedback “No volume control GStreaming plugins and/or devices found.”
Well thanks for that awesome feedback! I guess that once again the space age nature of my T30’s sound card and drivers (so old it’s unsupported by IBM) baffles this cutting edge Linux distribution known as Ubuntu.

Major issue #4
No further major issues. I achieved the critical space where I either loose a weekend to compensate for an OS that cannot handle a six year old Laptop model used by millions or move along to more important issues like my second cup of coffee.

I’ve played with GUI based Linux installs on and off for 10+ years. Red Hat, Mandrake, Suse, Ubuntu… seems the more things advance the more some stay the same. Sad as I was pyshced to use Ubuntu.

Updated: Obviously the Ubuntu developers read this post…… and unlike the folks who sent me love mail decided to improve the planet instead of hate it. Ubuntu 8.10 – Intrepid Ibex fixed the install problem, recognized Video and Audio and had all kinds of nice updates and changes

24 thoughts on “Ubuntu 8.0.4 – Thinkpad T30 fail

  1. Installs fine on Slackware 14.2. That is, until you try and configure the wireless card!!! – Yes, it has the “no 802 whitelist killer” installed on the BIOS. -Spent hours with the Alien Bob wiki, but to no avail.

  2. Wow. This is kinda neat in a nostalgic way to come across this ^^^ again :D

    Hi G *wave wave*

    I take it you don’t have a T30 anymore??? I got rid of mine a couple of months back and am still using Thinkpads.. just more recent models.
    I have to agree with you on the T30-T42 but…. I have an R51e and that thing is like super bullet-stopping plastic! Seriously this thing doesn’t have any screen ripples when you press the lid casing- hard! I think this plus a roll-cage would have been nice :)

    My other laptop is an T400. Not as thick and sturdy as the older models for sure. It’s still nice though!

  3. 9.10 works fine on a 2366-97u … well … except for the system monitor which is unreadable and looks like a plaid shirt…

    we love these t30s though huh? lol!

    i gave it a new keyboard, hd, heatsink/fan and for like us$150 i got the best netbook on the planet! :) … oh and the battery only lasts like an hour but whos counting…

  4. @ryu9867 Glad you can install.

    Details for posting a response:
    – Read Post title
    – Read post
    – Post

  5. I installed Ubuntu perfectly fine on my t30

    first I went to ubuntu.com
    downloaded and burned a live cd
    put it in cd drive
    booted from cd
    pressed enter on “try/install ubuntu” option
    after it loaded I double clicked the “install” icon on the desktop
    I answer the questions
    it installs
    the end

  6. Ubunton: I have had 8.10 installed on my T30 and then changed my configs. I now have a dual OS T30. I have XP Pro on the primary drive and Ubuntu 9.04 on my Ultrabay Hard Drive.

    Both work fine.

    As for the problem with your T30’s it’s most likely the graphics right??? I have a solution for that! It involves adding a couple of lines to the xorg.conf but it’s made a difference in my T30 :)

    Before doing this key this in for a backup: sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bkupBefor

    Next, run in: sudo aptitude install xserver-xorg-video-radeon xserver-xorg-video-ati

    Type in Terminal: sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    You’ll see this section: Section “Device”
    Identifier “Configured Video Device”

    Add these lines: Section “Device”
    Identifier “Configured Video Device”
    Driver “radeon”
    BusID “PCI:1:0:0”
    Option “AGPMode” “4”
    Option “AGPSize” “64”
    Option “RingSize” “8”
    Option “BufferSize” “2”
    Option “EnablePageFlip” “true”
    Option “EnableDepthMoves” “true”
    Option “RenderAccel” “true”
    # Eyecandy Stuff
    Option “AccelMethod” “4”
    Option “EnablePageFlip” “true
    Option “DDCMode”
    Option “SubPixelOrder” “NONE”
    Option “ColorTiling” “false”

    And then save. Now restart the x-server (alt+control+backspace).

    This particular thread helped me with my lagging graphics! While it’s not exactly cutting edge graphics I can run Compiz Fusion with effects for times I want to “ooohh and aahhhh” people with what my old laptop can do :)

  7. Just curious if anyone is having the terrible performance problems that I’m having with my T30. Originally installed 8.10 with absolutely no issues, and upgrade to 9.x with no problems. BUT…with both versions performance has been pretty miserable. Have 512mb of ram. Wondered if upgrade would help but some of my issues.

  8. It may be helpful to post your model for the Thinkpads.

    Different processors, monitor resolutions, graphics cards, etc can make a big difference in diagnosing some problems.

    I have a 2366-85U.

    It comes with all the latest to dazzle and turn your friends green with envy technology!!!

    P-4 1.86 Mhz, 768 mb RAM (works fine for this type of laptop!), 40 gb 4200 rpm (ERK!!!!), XGA 14.1 @ 1024 X 768, and Cisco 350 mini PCI wireless card (which is the cause of many ppls sorrows!)

  9. The partitioner did work for me also and was a very excruciating. I just want to start updating in a little bit but can’t with wireless just yet. That may make the difference. I’m using double booting and XP right now to type this message.

    @ Victor. 2 Gigs of RAM is acceptable for the T30s. Lenovo-IBM specs say no but it works! If I remember correctly you got to use 1 gb DDR SODIMM PC 2700 (or 2100) CL 2.5 200 pins low density. Go to the Thinkpad Forum and you will find all the answers there :)

    I don’t have 2 gigs but am running on 768 mb. I’m lucky I don’t have the memory slot error. Be careful how you pick up and handle the your laptop especially around the DIMM covers. Pressure on the covers will cause microscopic fractures on the DIMM slot legs! There are sturdier aftermarket covers but I don’t remember off the top of my head where you get em’. The forum can help you out with that!

    Okay. Back to finding an answer for my question!

  10. As I recall the T30 can use the same 1gb memory sticks that the T40 uses. Googling “T30 memory slot error” will pull up work arounds for the problem at that is one of them. The workaround says which memory to use.

    What I’m try to find again is how to get the Radon up to 1280×1024. I saw it somewhere and haven’t found it again. Same for USB – there is a fix, I just gotta find it again…

  11. That’s good news Tyrene! Audio+video worked for me with 8.10 and more importantly so did the partitioner. Glad you chuckled :-)

    @Victor – I don’t believe you can get 1gig sticks for T30, only 512 with a 1gig max (2×512).
    WARNING – Some T30’s will not recognize 2 memory sticks without replacing the motherboard – Google “T30 memory slot error”

  12. Ha ha ha.

    This made me LOL. I just installed 8.10 in my T30 today. I’m trying to figure out how to get my wireless connected! If anyone has an idea please share.

    Video is fine and is at 1024 X 768.

    Sound works- got the jingle on log on.

    Once I get my wireless card working and get the necessary updates it should be a lot smoother :)

  13. tl, where did you find that cheap memory upgrade?

    I found a 1gb for t30 on Amazon but it’s $50


  14. Made me laugh and I have Ubuntu on five machines. Just tried to update the video driver and lost vid until figuring out to delete from boot up. Thanks for the laugh. Ubunutu is pretty great, though. I am running 9.04 on my t30 that lost its hard drive and now cobbled together an old 10gb. Upgraded the ram for 14 dollars and have a nice little netbook- except the part where the old battery discharges in 2.1 seconds, which is not Ununtu’s fault. But ok for a refurb.. It pretty fast actually..

    Will include what happened while I was waiting for the screwup vid driver to remove itself. Decided to clip my toenails and a little piece of toenail flew into the keyboard. I thought oh that can’t be good- and now the O key only works if I slam it down. Hahahaha. That’s gross, but I died laughing when I notice the O was sticking. That’s not Ubuntu’s fault either.

  15. Hey guys,

    Now it’s almost allright with ubuntu 8.10 on an IBM T30.

    when you go back from “sleep mode”, there’s no sound and no feedback to describe the problem.

    But it’s pretty cool because, the video driver is automatically set up with ubuntu 8.10 and it works with Compiz.
    (Understand that now you haven’t to set up the xorg.conf file, leave it empty, it will work.)

    Greetings from Belgium

  16. @DC I think you missed the post title (Ubuntu *8.0.4*) and the bold “Updated” note. It is excellent news indeed that Ubuntu improved the install process for 8.10!

  17. This is the evaluation of using IBM ThinkPad T30 and Ubuntu 8.10 i386 desktop:

    Switched on T30: 2 PM
    Changed BIOS to boot from CD and booting from CD
    Running Ubuntu 8.10 Install (automatic full graphics mode) at 2:05 PM
    Conf loc. and keyboard done at 2:06 PM
    Partitioning disk configured 2:07 PM
    Set up user, start install done at 2:08 PM
    Formatting partition ext3 for / and swap (120 GB ATA): done 2:11 PM
    Installing system (and copying files, creating user, conf. target system etc.) done at 2:28 PM
    Restart now!
    System up and running at 2:30 PM
    Logged in at resolution: 1024×768
    Sound works, jingle when logged in

    Just to place the rethorical question here: Is there a smoother way to get a system up and running (even on some quite old piece of hardware)?

  18. While not perfect my 8.04 install went well on my T30. I found this rant while trying to figure out how to get the sound card to work. So far everything else has worked fine.

    Off for that second cup of coffee.

  19. I laughed with this article. I wrote an article just the other day pointing out that Linux (nor Vista) would install on some select new hardware, let alone ancient hardware like a real Intel 386 system.

    Thanks for the laugh! I needed it.

  20. @Stranger – You installed Ubuntu on an IBM Thinkpad T30 with no issues? Please post details. Time to think? I had plenty of time to think about this… 2 hours searching for how to install the OS when it hangs on Partitioner (I assumed bad blocks on the disk and ran a repair) plus the time spent on the entire boot and install process which runs like mollases on a cold day ending with the Partitioner hanging for no apparent reason, no errors and no feedback.

  21. @jw5801 – Windows XP.
    Installed in about 25 minutes. Audio, Video, Nic all functional. Also did not require spending two hours to figure out how to install it (safe mode video issue with Ubuntu) which is the main impetus for the post. You cannot install the Ubuntu period on an IBM Thinkpad T30 without research.

  22. Just leave this troll in peace.

    He had time to write this rubbish, but he had no time to think.

    Myself, I have been using Ubuntu for over 2 years and i am happy

  23. Can you point us to any operating system that does not require any time to set up after a fresh install?

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