Installing Redhat 6.1 on an IBM Thinkpad 240

I had quite a bit of trouble getting Linux running on this laptop, but in the end it was fairly successful. If you have any questions that I didn't cover in this page, feel free to contact me.

The problems began right away. The cdrom controller is a PCMCIA card, so I tried the pcmcia boot disk but to no avail. After several attempts I finally settled on an ftp install which went without a hitch.


Even though the PCMCIA boot disk detected the network card that I am using (a LinkSys EtherFast 10/100 32-bit CardBus adapter (Model No: PCMPC200)) when the system booted for the first time after the install the PCMCIA controller wasn't detected.

My first step was to download and compile the newest kernel (2.2.14) and pcmcia-cs package (3.1.13). After compiling the kernel, rebooting, compiling the pcmcia-cs package and rebooting the pcmcia controller was still not detected. Come to find out, I needed to edit /etc/sysconfig/pcmcia. I have included my file here.

Another small problem that I noticed is Linux won't detect the PCMCIA controller if the computer is warm booted from Windows 98. If you are running Windows you will need to shut the computer off and turn it back on to start Linux. A minor inconvenience.


Here is the XF86Config file I used. I didn't write this myself, but it seemed to work well.


This laptop uses an ESSSolo1 sound card. This is supported in the standard kernel. I compiled it as a module and edited the /etc/conf.modules file. Here is my conf.modules file.


Since I didn't do a CDROM install, the /dev/cdrom link was not created and an entry was not added to /etc/fstab. In my case (and I assume it would be the same for others) the CDROM appears as /dev/hdc. So I made a link from /dev/hdc -> /dev/cdrom and added the following line to /etc/fstab:

  /dev/cdrom              /mnt/cdrom              iso9660 noauto,owner,ro 0 0

Other Stuff

I haven't yet tried to get the Lucent Winmodem or USB to work. When I do I will update this page.

According to Dave Roberts:

Two things gave me a lot of trouble with the 240 using RedHat 5.1.

1. The graphics card is bad about getting stuck in 640x480 mode when coming out of suspend. I got around this by changing the bios to use 800x600 all the time.

2. Power Management would frequently hang the system due to issues with the sound drivers. I added a shell script named /etc/apmd/apmd_proxy which unloads and reloads the sound driver when the system resumes from a suspend.

These two things were necessary for me to get the suspend mode to work. Now that suspend works, I can achieve some real uptime using linux.


Linux Laptop page
Linux Laptop HOWTO
Linux PCMCIA page