Sunday, August 28, 2005

Running Mepislite on Thinkpad 570

I have been using Linux for about a year now. My first contact with linux was Knoppix and the first distro I installed was Xandros but it didnt work with my wireless card so out it went. Suse, Ubuntu, Linspire were all tried and left for some reason. I am not a technical user, though I know more about computers than the average person but I am definitely not a geek and If I could use linux, anybody can.

For the past few months, I had stabilised on Pro Mepis on my Dell latitude after using SimplyMepis for a while.

I have also been running Kanotix 2005-02 on my IBM thinkpad 600e for a couple of months. This laptop has run without problem until last week when I started getting an error message on start up.

The message was 8011 and I was able to gather from the net(thanks to google) that its an issue with the Keyboard and the trackpoint. I decided to get a TP 570 as a replacement.(thanks to ebay)

The TP 570 is an ultraportable and there fore does not have a CD rom built in. Since my laptop had no ultrabase, I had to remove the hard disk, slot it into my 6ooe and install mepislite from there.

As usual installation was flawless. It took about 20 minutes for me to get a fully functional system.

For those who dont know, Mepis Lite just like all the other Mepis operating systems is a Live CD meaning you dont need to install it on your system before it works.

Anyhow, after installation, I noticed that sound was not available on the 600E. I shut down, removed the hard disk, replaced it in the 570 and booted up.

The specs of the TP 570 are:

366 MHZ
192 MB RAM
20 GB
Sound is a crystal fusion card
Video is Neomagic
Linksys 54G wireless card
3Com 54 G wireless card

lspci output:

0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX Host bridge (rev 03)
0000:00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX AGP bridge (rev 03)
0000:00:02.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1450 (rev 03)
0000:00:02.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1450 (rev 03)
0000:00:05.0 Multimedia audio controller: Cirrus Logic CS 4614/22/24 [CrystalClear SoundFusion Audio Accelerator] (rev 01)
0000:00:06.0 Bridge: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ISA (rev 02)
0000:00:06.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 IDE (rev 01)
0000:00:06.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 USB (rev 01)
0000:00:06.3 Bridge: Intel Corp. 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI (rev 02)
0000:00:07.0 Communication controller: Lucent Microelectronics WinModem 56k (rev 01)
0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Neomagic Corporation NM2200 [MagicGraph256AV] (rev 20)
0000:02:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 03)


On booting, I noticed that Kmix was open and functional. This is the first time any distro is doing this for me. I went to hell and back to get sound on my 600e so am glad, I dont need to go thru that again.

Mepis Lite also recognised and configured my Linksys card using DHCP from my wireless router. The card was configured as wlan0. My 3com card didnt work. It was recognised but Kwifimanager kept saying out of range.

Software wise, everything I need is here, Mozilla, Gaim, the Koffice suite. However, I have installed Opera for browsing, Open office 2.0 Beta on which am writing this, and also evolution for my email client.

I am really impressed with Mepis Lite. This is the first time I installed any distro and it just worked without me fiddling. For the first time, I have a wireless card working without resorting to Ndiswrapper.

Combined with the very friendly forum at www.mepislovers.org, this is a highly recommended distro especially for beginners.