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Linux on the Thinkpad 701
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Please note: This page was originally located at unfortunately this service has been taken down a while ago. I was lucky enough to get it out of the cache of Google and I want to provide it here so this useful information does not get lost. I take no responsibility whatsoever for the information given here. The XF86Config file linked in the section 'Can I use X on it' is my own though since I could not get the original one. It works for me, but again, no warranty.
I have removed all internal links because they obviously won't work since the document is no longer at its original location. The email addresses are also likely to be invalid by now and even if not I doubt that anybody mentioned here still has a ThinkPad 701.

Running Linux on the IBM ® Thinkpad ® 701C/CS

Linux runs very well on the IBM ThinkPad 701. This document details my experience with piepad (my ThinkPad ... Hopefully you will have as good luck. Feedback and additions are welcome! Thanks to all who have helped make this document possible (This used to be a link.).

Questions and Answers about linux on the Thinkpad 701:

  • Where can I get information about the IBM ThinkPad 701?
    There is not much available any more, see the IBM support pages for the ThinkPad 701 C/CS Notebook web page.
  • Where can I get information about Linux?
    For details on Linux (the choice of the gnu generation) see the web site.
  • Where can I get general information about running linux on laptops?
    See the The Linux Laptop Home Page.
  • Where can I get information about linux on other models of ThinkPads?
    See the Linux on the IBM ThinkPad page or the Linux on the IBM ThinkPad page.
  • Where can I find inforamation specific to Linux on the ThinkPad 701?
    Here! Read on...
  • What Versions of Linux work on the 701?
    Probably any modern version will work. I have tested 1.2.13 (from the slackware 3.0 bootdisk) and have built and run 1.3.59.
  • Do all of the "Notebookish" bios features work?
    Yes... The bios configuration utility, the graphical battery monitor, the hardware screen blanker, suspend (both on Fn-F4 and lid close), mute, disk spindown, LCD/CRT switching, inverse video, hibernation, volume control, contrast control, and brightness control all work while running Linux.
  • Will the "butterfly" keyboard cause me any problems?
    The ThinkPad 701 has the TrackWrite® expanding "Butterfly" keyboard. There are a few gotchas with this keyboard. There is no altGr key, so some of the default keypad bindings are unavailable. Also, the only way to enter keypad characters is to enable NumberLock. The problem with using NumLk to enter /,*,-,+,Enter is the XFree86 uses CtrlAlt[+-] to switch between virtual resolutions. Time to find out how to make XFree86 do this on CtrlAltNumlock[+-] as well.
  • How does the TrackPoint III® work with linux?
    It looks like a PS/2® mouse to linux. Most mouse aware programs like gpm, and XFree86 deal with it just fine.
  • Is the audio supported?
    Audio is supported by the standard linux sound drivers. Configure Sound Blaster® and Sound Blaster Pro®. Consult the bios configuration utility to know how to configure the IRQ and DMA settings. Kernel claims that there is a ESS ES1688 AudioDrive (rev 6) and a Yamaha OPL3 FM in the box. According to the chip is a ESS688 which is the same as the ESS1688 but without the hardware midi support.
  • Is the Midi hardware supported?
    Currently I have not been able to get the Midi Support working. Assuming the Sound hardware is a ESS688 then there is no hardware midi support. Software midi sound converters (such as playmidi) will still work work midi sound files, but will not allow for control of midi devices.
  • Does the modem work?
    By default it is accessed as /dev/cua0 (you can change this in the bios). Its a V.32/V.42bis modem with V.terbo allowing connection to most modems at up to 19200 bps. An interesting side note is that most of the V.34 modems out there will speak V.terbo which makes this modem better than would seem at first.
  • Can I use the modem for faxes?
    Sure can ... I would suggest using hylaFax to support faxes.
  • Is there a (software) upgrade to the modem to do 28.8kbps
    There is ... but not for the ThinkPad 701. This is a Mwave 2.0 software upgrade for the 755.
  • Is the speaker-phone, answering machine, and other telephony supported?
    Currently I have not found any software to take advantage to the voice extensions. Note that that the modem only claims to support class 0 and 1 (data and fax) and not class 8 (voice) ... Humm... Let me know if you find any more information about this.
  • Is the IrDA infrared port supported?
    By default this is accessed as /dev/cua1 (you can change this in the bios). Treat it like any other serial device. If you are interested in IrDA, checkout NASA's linux IrDA page for lists of vendors, specs, and lots of useful information.
  • Can I use the infrared port as a remote control?
    I don't know the answer. There are programs for newtons®, and the ultra high end HP® calculators. It might be worthwhile to look at some of those and see if it can be done. Please let me know if you do get somewhere on this.
  • Does the floppy work under linux?
    Yes, and no special hacks are required of the kernel. According to kernel boot messages
    Floppy drive(s): fd0 is a 1.44M drive.
    FDC 0 is a National Semiconductor PC87306
    I have been able to format upto 1.722M on a standard HD floppy, your milage may vary.
  • What about parallel ports?
    There are two parallel ports on the ThinkPad 701. Both can be configured for normal, EPP, or EPSThe first one is the shared Floppy/Parallel port on the side of the ThinkPad and accessed as /dev/lp1 (you can change this in the bios). The second one is on the Multiport II and is accessed as /dev/lp2 (you can change this in the bios). One oddity that I found is that the Floppy/Parallel port was set to LPT3 when the Multiport II was connected, and LPT2 when in standalone mode (I "fixed" this).
  • Does the Multiport II® work under linux.
    Yes, All of it's features work as expected. The extra serial port is accessed as /dev/cua2 (you can change this in the bios), and the parallel is desired above.
  • ThinkPad 701 Dock II reports that the dock II works find with linux. A reboot is needed for the system to see the Dock and it's associated hardware.
  • Are the pcmcia slots supported under linux?
    The PCMCIA support package (at least version 2.1 (and above)) works on the ThinkPad. Check to see if it supports the cards you are interested. Note that as of Linux version 1.3.59 the PCMCIA support package is NOT a standard part of the linux distribution.
  • Can I use X on it?
    The ThinkPad 701 has a Chips & Technologies CT65545 with 1M of RAM. This chip is directly supported by the XFree86 X Window Server version 3.1 and above (possibly older versions ... I haven't checked).
  • How should I configure XFree86? Here is the XF86Config that I use. It does 640x480. I have recieved reports that it works fine on the 701CS as well as the 701C. If you have any improvements or different configurations, please send them to me.
  • How do I get the suspend feature work?
    Enable it in the bios, and hit Fn-F4 or just shut the lid. Note that this does not write ram to disk (that is what hibernate does), it just suspends all activity. Newer versions of the pcmcia software understand suspends, and remove power from pcmcia cards while suspended. I have found that with the NiCAD battery suspend takes ~2 minutes of battery life per hour.
  • How do I get the hibernate feature work?
    Hibernation is when the bios writes memory, all register state, and the rest of it's state to a file, and then shuts down the computer. When booting, it checks to see if it should de-hibernate and loads the file into memory et. al. The bios can only write to a file called "tp 701.hib" on a DOS FAT filesystem. The file requires at least 1.1M over installed memory. What I did is partition my disk with a 25 Meg DOS partition (just in case I get the 16M so-DIMM :-)) on /dev/hda1. Hibernate happily works on it.
  • Who helped in making this document possible?
    Check out the credits (There used to be a link here).

IBM, Multiport II, PS/2, ThinkPad, and TrackPoint III are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.
Sound Blaster and Sound Blaster Pro are trademarks of Creative Labs.
Other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners (God that sounds like legaleese).

Robert G. Mende Jr.
Your mileage (counter does not work) may NOT vary. What's an IBM product doing on a SGI web site (was a picture with a link)

Last Updated on $Date: 2002/08/18 11:26:56 $ UTC

last updated: 2012-10-14 twm
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