Linux RedHat 6.2 on Notebook:
IBM ThinkPad A20p Model 2629-6SG

This document provides a description of the installation and configuration of Linux RedHat 6.2 on an IBM ThinkPad A20p notebook computer. It can serve as a guide for setting up your own A20p system, a reference for setting up aspects of other machines with similar hardware.

1. Contents

2. Introduction

The ThinkPad as I ordered it came with the following specifications:

3. Installation

 If you have more hints, write me  !

The ThinkPad came with Windows98SE installed, and though I tend towards the extreme side of Linux zealotry I decided to leave the beast installed for the time being so I could watch DVD's and use the Hibernation. For all Partitioning issuses i dicided to use PartitionMagic 5.0x from DOS. So I shrank the Windows partition down:

I installed  RedHat 6.2 with server option. So X will not be started at setup. Do not use the graphic setup feature. The screen will remain blank after installation, and the system hungs.

There is an error to access the floppy (also after booting from it!). I'm  unable to read / write or mount data to/from the Floppy! (If you have the same Error, please contact me!)


Installation of PCMCIA Drivers done (autodetect) and running. (Except running with loadlin from WIN98! Then you will not be able to load the PCMCIA Module!)

5. Xwindows

The A20p uses the ATI Mobility 128 AGP video card. Support for the ATI Mobility 128 cards is *NOT*  included in XFree86 as of version 3.3.6, and support is *NOT* available in binary distribution of  Xfree86 4.0. However, if you run XF86Setup, it`s unable to find a apropriate card.

FrameBuffer Support solution (XFree86 3.3.6)
To running X (very slow) i had to enable Framebuffer support. Use kernel option "vga=834" (1400x1050x16). Installing the XSERVER "XF86_FBDev" and generate an configuration with "xf86config" and replace the /etc/X11/XF86Config file by this XF86Config. After this, you have to replace the link to the XServer. Just do "rm /usr/X11R6/bin/X ; ln -sf /usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_FBDev X".

Accelerated r128 FB solution (XFree86 4.0.1)
To get fast accelerated FB support of your A20p  (1400x1050) see Joseph Lingevitch's Page for helpfull tips. It's working, and realy fast. uuhhh!
Here is the XF86Config file, to get 1400x1050x16 with vga=834 in lilo.conf! Or 1400x1050x24 with vga=835 in lilo.conf! Use Binary-Distribution of official XFree86 4.0.1 release.

6. Sound

The A20p comes with a Crystal SoundFusion PCI soundcard. Using the ALSA snd-card-cs461x modules. Compile it with "./configure ; make install". First you must disable "PCI Bus Power Mgmt" in BIOS menu. Push [F1] at startup, and disable <Config> - <Power> - <PCI Bus Power Management> (last entry, scroll down!). Otherwise you are unable to play files using PCM.

More hints you find here from Alan Shutko.

7. Modem

Tha A20p includes a Xircom Modem MPCICard with PartNO: MPCI3A56GSP-100PA. This device works great with the Lucent WinModemDriver. Just download the file, unpack with unzip and start ./ltinst. If its not able to find the devicelink, remove the module by ./ltuninst and redo ./ltinst.

8. USB

I have not yet had a chance to test the USB port, as I have no USB devices. If anyone has info on this, let me know and I'll update this site.

9. APM

Apm is giving a correct load of my battery. apm -s working very well. For wakeup use [Fn] and when see garbage on the screen just move the mouse a little bit, and the desktop is ready again!
Hibarnation with running X-Server will result in unusable X-Desktop after resume!

I'm using the following RedHat Kernel-RPM: kernel-2.2.16-3.i686.rpm with this config.

10. Intel Ethernet Pro/100+ MiniPCI

The kernel and the module for Intel Pro/100+ working ok (Module eepro100 autodetected!).

11. Appendix A: Files

XF86Config for XFree86 4.0.1
XF86Config for XFree86 3.3.6 FBDev
ALSA source code

12. Appendix B: References