IBM ThinkPad T42

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This page documents configuration and troubleshooting specific to the IBM ThinkPad T42. To get more details about the laptop model, visit ThinkWiki[1] page on the T42 is indispensable and makes for easy reference.

See the Beginners' Guide for installation instructions.


Add thinkpad_acpi to your MODULES array in /etc/rc.conf

See acpid and laptop for more information.

See for more thinkpad specific information.

CPU frequency scaling

See cpufrequtils.

Suspend and hibernate

See pm-utils.


The MiniPCI slot on the T42 comes with 2 brands of wireless cards, with each brand having 3 different models. So we have a total of 6 different wireless cards. The most common to see are:

  • IBM 11b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Adapter (use madwifi)
  • IBM 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Adapter (use madwifi)
  • IBM 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Adapter II (use madwifi)

For atheros madwifi driver, use madwifi throught ath_pci module (Package: madwifi). Eventually you may prefer to use the newer module (since kernel 2.6.27) called ath5k. I'll focus on the old version one once its stability and, at least, fully functional with wpa encryption. To folow up instruction to install ath5k, please read this. To load madwifi driver, type:

modprobe ath_pci

If using ath_pci, you may need to blacklist ath5k by adding it to the MODULES= array in /etc/rc.conf, and subsequently prefixing it with a bang (!):

MODULES=(ath_pci !ath5k forcedeth snd_intel8x0 ... ...)

Template:Box Note

It is pretty standard fare to install these madwifi drivers; consult the main Wireless Setup document for detailed instructions, and if in doubt, always check the ThinkWiki pages[2]. If an Archer has experience with a T42 that uses the Intel PRO wireless card, please feel free to modify this document to inclube information about:

  • Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 3B Mini PCI Adapter (use ipw2100)
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Mini-PCI Adapter (use ipw2200)
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG Mini-PCI Adapter (use ipw2200)

For more details, wireless encryption configurations or problems solutions, please visit:


To Install and configure X Window System prior to install a desktop enviromment, please proceed:

 # pacman -S xorg xf86-video-ati hwd

the open-source drivers will work to some degree on Radeon chipsets up. Now simply run the following command as root to generate automatic generate xorg.conf supporting radeon:

 # hwd -xa

Edit your xorg.conf, and add or make sure you have the following in their given sections:

Section "Module"
  Load  "glx"
  Load  "dri"
  Load  "drm"
Section "Device"
 Identifier "name"                     # your alias
 Driver "radeon"
 Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true" #needed for aiglx
Section "DRI"
 Group        "video"
 Mode         0666

You should improve performance by tuning it. The following options apply to Section "Device" only.

By design, the open-source driver runs at AGP 1x speed. It is generally safe to modify this. If you notice hangs, try reducing the value or removing the line entirely.

      Option "AGPMode" "4"

ColorTiling is completely safe to enable and supposedly is enabled by default. People have noticed a performance increase when enabled via xorg.conf.

      Option "ColorTiling" "on"

Acceleration architecture; this will work only on newer cards. If you enable this and then can't get back into X, remove it.

      Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"

Page Flip is generally safe to enable. This would mostly be used on older cards, as enabling this would disable EXA. With recent drivers can be used together with EXA.

      Option "EnablePageFlip" "on" 

This will enable fast writes. This one can be problematic, so be prepared to remove it if you can't get into X.

      Option "AGPFastWrite" "yes"

Conclusion (not yet)

1. Restarting everything DONE
2. Back with more acpi details DONE
3. wireless DONE
4. Desktop suggestion
5. thinkpad buttons
6. Cleanup and release


Desktop suggestions:

About how-to install Arch Linux, see:

About the opensource ATI driver:

Are you curious? try this using your T42: