Installing Fedora 12 on a ThinkPad T41

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This is based on Fedora 12 with the default GNOME desktop. Your experience with KDE may be different.
This page will no longer be updated by the original author, as the ThinkPad has been upgraded to Fedora 13

Success Chart - Out of the box experience

This machines SMOLT profile is available here.

Item Working Notes
Installation Local CD/DVD install yes
Network Installation yes
USB Installation yes
Display Laptop Screen yes Occasional minor corruption.
VGA partial see below, fixed by installing updates
DVI partial see below, fixed by installing updates. Requires port-replicator or dock with DVI
S-Video partial see below
Power Management Software Suspend (hibernate) yes
Suspend to Memory (ACPI sleep) no Xserver hang on resume. bugzilla. boot with radeon.agpmode=-1 as a workaround.
Audio yes crackling on startup, afterwards seems to work fine
Wireless WiFi - Atheros AR5212 yes See below - There are some issues with range.
WiFi - Intel unknown (should work)
Bluetooth yes
Input Keyboard yes
TrackPoint yes Install gpointing-device-settings rpm for full configuration capabilities
TouchPad yes Install gpointing-device-settings rpm for full configuration capabilities
Extra keys partial see ThinkPad Extra keys section below
Ports Ethernet yes
Modem no Requires closed-source driver. Install the slmodem rpm from the rpmfusion-nonfree repository, edit /etc/sysconfig/slmodem and set INTERFACE=alsa and ALSA_DEVICE=modem:1 and optionally the country.
Serial yes Requires port-replicator or dock
IrDA no Device is detected, but does not work
PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse yes Mouse works, but disables Trackpoint/Touchpad
Parallel unknown (should work) Device is detected
USB yes
PCMCIA/Cardbus yes
Harddisk Active Protection partial There is now a hdapsd rpm, but it is not installed by default, and neither is the hdaps kernel module getting automatically loaded. And even after install it is not started automatically. Starting it manually (modprobe hdaps; hdapsd -d sda), does seem to cause the HDD heads to get parked, but it gives lots of warnings that seem to indicate it does not yet work as intended. bugzilla
Ultrabay device removal partial Eject switch causes udev event, but no default udev script to handle the event to unmount filesystems in time. ata_piix does handle the removal and insertion of ATA devices.
TPM (security subsystem) unknown Not brave enough to mess around with it. You can try to install the tpm-tools rpm.
Dock removal unknown

Tested and Verified on Fedora 12

Information in this section has been tested and verified using Fedora 12.


Installation is straight forward, but you should do so without any external displays attached; you can follow the generic Fedora install instructions.



It is recommended to edit /boot/grub/grub.conf and add hpet=force to the kernel line. This will activate HPET (High Precision Event Timer), which will allow the CPU to sleep for longer periods and save power.

X Server - ATI RV250

Out of the box external displays (VGA, DVI or S-Video) do not work properly. It is best to do the install without any external displays attached. After the install is finished you should install the available updates, in particular the available Xorg, libdrm, Mesa and Kernel updates.

Unfortunately the latest ATI Radeon driver and kernel are not yet available in the Updates repository, so for the time being do the following;

yum update kernel\* libdrm mesa\* plymouth\* xorg\* --enablerepo=updates-testing

After the updates are installed, external VGA and DVI displays should work and you can switch display modes with the Fn-F7 key combination to switch between different modes.

The updates will also improve S-Video support, and give you the ability to select TV output mode (PAL, NTSC, etc) with xrandr. Unfortunately the output is still distorted. See the Bugzilla report for more information.

In addition the following issues exist

  • unknown physical LVDS display size (0mm x 0mm)
  • nasty LVDS 'flash' when hotplugging an external display and running xrandr
  • external displays do not show the physical size, until you run xrandr for the 2nd time [1] - fixed in updates
  • external ONLY does not work (both displays are black)
  • when an external display is attached, the shutdown/reboot plymouth screen on the LVDS will do a strange fade to white, like the screen is going - fixed in updates
  • Starting tuxkart, or anything that lowers the LVDS display resolution to less then native, causes the LVDS display to fade to white like it is burning out [2] - fixed in updates
  • Enabling 'Desktop Effects' (compiz) works. But there is a colour palette problem when using the cube rotation. - fixed in updates
  • r200_run_tcl_render error with some OpenGL apps (e.g. Extreme TuxRacer) [3]


Both the Intel and Atheros AR5212 wireless should work out of the box.

I did limited tested with Atheros and it seemed to worked as long as your not too far from your WiFi AP/Router. The further away you are the more problems, ranging from several tries before it connects, to never connecting even though it reports 2 out of 4 bars in signal strength. Once connected you can move further away and keep connected, at least until it needs to re-negotiate at which time you loose your connection.

Intel WiFi was not tested.

ThinkPad Extra keys

ThinkPad keys are handled by a mixture of the thinkpad_acpi, acpi button and acpi dock drivers.

Key Function Handled by Event Works Notes
Fn-F3 lock screen thinkpad_acpi HAL yes
Fn-F4 suspend acpi button HAL partial button works, but suspend fails on resume with corrupted display
Fn-F5 wireless thinkpad_acpi HAL partial Works as a radio kill switch, kills WiFi but not Bluetooth
Fn-F7 videomode thinkpad_acpi HAL yes Cycles through various modes (LVDS+External Extended, LVDS+External Mirror, LVDS only, External only).
Fn-F12 hibernate acpi button HAL yes
Fn-Home brightness up - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Fn-End brightness down - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Fn-PgUp thinklight - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Fn-Space zoom thinkpad_acpi HAL no Known Xorg limitation, scheduled to be fixed with the new XKB2 extension, whenever that may be.
VolumeUp Volume Up - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
VolumeDown Volume Down - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Mute Mute - no yes no default OSD. Install the tpb rpm as a workaround.
Access IBM Vendor key thinkpad_acpi HAL partial No default action, but can be associated with gnome-keybinding-properties
NextTab Browser Next tab standard keyboard driver HAL yes
PreviousTab Browser Previous tab standard keyboard driver HAL yes
Power Power button acpi button HAL yes Need to press button for ~1 second to trigger event. Causes a dialog asking you what to do.
Lid Lid button acpi button HAL yes
Dock Dock eject button acpi dock unknown unknown Should cause udev event
Ultrabay Ultrabay eject switch acpi dock udev no Causes udev event, but missing handler. See below.


Ultrabay eject is not handled properly by default. Since there is no undock udev handler. This udev rule and eject script works for me: How to hotswap Ultrabay devices


IrDA is detected, but does not work. Part of the problem is that the default Fedora configuration expects to find the IrDA port at /dev/ttyS2, while it should use /dev/ircomm0 instead. This can be fixed in /etc/sysconfig/irda after which the irda service can be started (# service irda start).

However, even after this communication with other devices fails. irdadump does not show any output when something like a mobile phone with IrDA is sending data.

Untested on Fedora 12

The following features where not tested with Fedora 12. If you have tested them, please update the table

  • Intel WiFi
  • Parallel port
  • Dock eject
  • TPM