Laptops n Linux

Me,Technology Thursday 19th April 2007

I have a laptop! A venerable IBM T23 with 512MB RAM clocked at a mighty 1133Mhz. I got it off ebay, something which lots of people have since said is usually a really, really bad idea. Apart from a crack on the back it does the job and is built like a tank. It came with an apparently legal install of Windows XP but I’ve installed ubuntu linux alongside it. So far I haven’t needed to boot into Windows for anything, all my hardware is supported in ubuntu. The install process was also incredibly smooth. You boot from a live CD and then the installer runs from inside the live CD version of linux. You can then muck around with the gnome default games (blackjack etc) whilst the installer is completing! I did have some strange issue with lilo not installing the first time, but I ran it again and it worked fine.

The PCMCIA wi-fi card that came with my laptop was pretty crappy and didn’t seem to be supported in linux. I shelled out a whole £10 for a new one that I knew was supported and it has been working fine. I also had to replace the battery as the charge only held for 20 mins, the seller freely admitted the battery wasn’t tested (ebay speak for broken) so it was to be expected. Ubuntu is the most user friendly linux distribution I’ve every installed. They obviously have actual people thinking about usability and being friendly to less experienced users. I’ve since ubuntu-orised my server box at home as well. It makes sense to just run one distribution.



  1. > So far I haven’t needed to boot into linux for anything, all my hardware is supported in ubuntu.

    Umm, did you mean that you haven’t needed to boot into Windows?

  2. oops yeah 🙂

  3. We have a similar laptop in the flat (only 900mhz or so though – may actually be a T23 or something close to that) which has been rendered unusable by an unknown bios password. My sister was using it before it came unusable and it’s quite a nice machine. Very solidly built. Pete is trying to build some contraption that’ll reveal the bios password to make it usable again.

    My iBook is nearing 5 years old now so I’m beginning to hear the siren call of new laptop….

  4. Sorry, I should reitterate – make sure you know your bios password with IBM laptops. If you don’t, when the cmos battery dies it will force bios entry to reset the clock and there is no easy way to reset it with out building a circuit board and various other stuffs. It will not let you pass this point. Check if the seller left one and and if so, get it from him now.