GNU/Linux on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61

This document describes how I installed and configured GNU/Linux (openSUSE 10.3 distribution) on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 laptop.

Technical specifications

The ThinkPad T61 is available in various configurations. My system has the following components:

Component Details
CPU Intel Core2 Duo T7300 @ 2.00 GHz
Hard disk 60 GB
Display 15.4" TFT widescreen; 1680×1050 (WSXGA+) resolution
Graphics controller NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M
Modem unknown
Ethernet Intel 82566MM Gigabit
Wireless LAN Intel PRO/Wireless 4965 AG
DVD drive Matshita DVD/CDRW UJDA775
Sound 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
Touchpad SynPS/2 Synaptics Touchpad
Pointing stick TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint
Fingerprint reader SGS Thomson Microelectronics Fingerprint Reader
Ports IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
3× USB 2.0 
RJ45 (Ethernet) 
RJ11 (modem) 
memory card reader 


Component or featureDetails
Suspend-to-disk/RAM not working
DVD works out of the box
USB works out of the box
Ethernet works out of the box
WLAN works out of the box
Bluetooth not tested
FireWire not tested
graphics works after some configuration
hard disk works out of the box
modem not tested
PCMCIA not tested
sound, MIDI works out of the box
sound, wave works after some configuration
memory card reader not tested
touchpad works out of the box
pointing stick works out of the box
fingerprint reader not tested


Most components and features work out of the box. Here is a description of some components which required some configuration, or which I have not yet gotten to work.


NVIDIA driver

SaX defaults to using VESA drivers because SUSE is not permitted to distribute the NVIDIA drivers. The VESA drivers limit you to a resolution of 1280x1024, whereas the computer's NVIDIA card actually supports resolutions up to 1680×1050 with the correct drivers. The easiest way to install the NVIDIA drivers is to visit the NVIDIA page on the openSUSE wiki and follow the "Install NVIDIA via 1-click" link, which will launch YaST. I got an ugly conflict warning; I selected "Ignore this requirement just here" and YaST eventually solved the conflict on its own.

External monitor

The Fn-F7 key combination to switch the display to an external monitor does not work. However, the proprietary NVIDIA driver comes with a tool, nvidia-settings, which can be used to extend or clone the desktop to an external monitor.


Note that the Matshita DVD/CDRW UJDA775 is a CD writer but not a DVD writer!


Sound works, but the default settings leave the machine mute. In KDE, right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and click "Show Mixer Window". In the "Switches" tab, be sure that the speaker output is enabled, and in the "Output" tab, be sure that the PCM volume is turned up. Likewise I needed to fiddle with the microphone settings in order to get microphone input working. Then right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray, click "Select Master Channel…", and be sure that "PCM" is selected. If you do not hear any sound, press the special volume-up or volume-down button, which are located to the right of the Esc key on the keyboard.


The keyboard includes three volume control buttons, a Windows key, a context menu key, page forward/backward keys, and various Fn-key combinations.

Volume control buttons

The keyboard includes three special buttons for muting the speaker and raising and lowering the volume. In the default configuration, pressing the mute button mutes the sound output, but pressing it again does not unmute it. The output can be unmuted by pressing the volume-up or volume-down button. The volume-up and volume-down buttons have otherwise no effect on the sound volume. I have not yet figured out how to properly configure these buttons.

Fn-key combinations

LCD brightness controls
Fn-Home and Fn-End work out of the box to adjust the brightness of the LCD display.
Suspend-to-RAM and suspend-to-disk
Fn-F4 and Fn-F12 are meant to suspend to RAM and suspend to disk, respectively. These key combinations seem to be recognized, but don't work properly. See the section on ACPI below.
External/dual display
Fn-F7 is meant to switch between the LCD and external display. It has no effect. See the section on external monitors above.
Pointing stick/trackpad key
Fn-F8 is apparently meant to enable/disable the pointing stick and trackpad. It has no effect.
Enable/disable wireless
Fn-F5 is apparently meant to enable/disable the WLAN. I haven't tested it yet.
Lock screen
Fn-F2 locks the X display but doesn't turn off the monitor.
Turn off LCD
Fn-F3 turns off the LCD monitor but doesn't lock the screen.
Other key combinations
Fn-F9, Fn-PgUp, Fn-Space, Fn-Up, Fn-Left, Fn-Right, and Fn-Down all have symbols, but I'm not sure what they're supposed to do.

Special keys

The context menu key works out of the box; it seems to be mapped to right-click. The Windows key and page forward/backward keys don't seem to do anything. I haven't yet figured out how to configure them.


ACPI seems to be working insofar as it correctly reports battery life and can turn off the LCD and external monitors. However, suspend-to-RAM (Fn-F4) and suspend-to-disk (Fn-F12) do not work at all; pressing the buttons have no effect. I have been trying various fixes but to no avail:

  1. I tried adding the parameter acpi_sleep=s3_bios to /boot/grub/menu.lst and rebooting. After this, both Fn-F4 and Fn-F12 correctly suspend to RAM or disk, respectively. However, the system does not resume from suspend mode.
  2. I tried modifying /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/20-video-quirk-pm-lenovo.fdi as suggested at Fedora 7 on my Thinkpad T61, but this results in the same problem (suspend but no resume).

The following pages contain further suggestions for getting suspend to work, some of which I have not yet tried: