OpenSuSE is a quite nice distro. Lenovo ThinkPad R61 is quite a nice laptop. Good combination?
I’d say yes without a moment of hesitation. Installing it was a breeze. Pop in CD, boot, and install from network. Due to a decent internet connection at school, this is somewhat faster than installing from DVD.
The laptop comes with a decent network card (gigabit intel) and even a decent wifi-card, a IPW3945ABG card, which has drivers for Linux, produced by Intel. Only drawback is that the IPW3945-card requires a binary blob. However, it’s acceptable to me.
After the installation was finished, I was in for a shock. Normally, Intel graphics chipsets Just Works(TM) with Linux. However, the x3100 chipset is not supported by SuSE 10.2, so framebuffer it is. To get the framebuffer running at 1280×800 which is the native resolution, you’ll have to pass the
vga=871 flag to the kernel at bootime. I simply added the flag in
/boot/grub/menu.lst which means I don’t have to type it in on every reboot at least.
From what I can understand, the Inte Linux Graphics project supports my intel chipset quite well, but the x3100 support is so recent that I have to compile it myself to get accelerated X expirience. I’ll probably do that some day, for framebuffer-based X is slow. Scrolling makes the cpuload fling through the roof, and even then it ain’t smooth.
Except for the graphics, it Just Works(TM). I’ve read that suspend2ram haves some hiccups, but I’ll be able to live with suspend to disk until those problems is sorted out. Thinkpads tend to be well supported, so I suppose SuSE 10.3 will improve my points here.
Edit: To get
s2ram to work, I had to use the parameters
-f -a 1 -m. This works fine, from both console and X11. Edit
/etc/pm/config and add the parameters there.
Also make S2RAM remove the ipw3945 module upon suspend, to ensure that wireless networking will be up and running when resuming. If you don’t remove this before suspending, you’ll have to restart the
As you can see, SuSE belives the battery time is 1:26 remaining, with a almost full battery. However, I guess this is some bug or quirk since it is the first charge of the battery, for it started on 00:05 minutes left, then went upwards. Besides, 21W of power consumption ain’t to bad. At max load, the cpu alone requires a hefty 35W.