Installing Fedora Core 14 on an IBM Lenovo T40, T41, or T42 (Including Sound!!!!) Revision 1 02/12/2011
The T40 - T42 series laptops are very compact and powerful in their old age. They make great road warrior portable Linux laptops. The following tutorial will tell you exactly how to install yours and get all the basic features working like sound, flash, DVD, wireless, and office tools working. At this point, you have probably read multiple tutorials where people have given up on trying to get sound to work on the Thinkpad series. It took me a few days and piecing together a few tutorials to figure out how to make all this work.

Live CD Installation
There are plenty of tutorials on how to download the Fedora Core Live CD, burn it, boot it, and install it. The FC live CD has all of the basic software and libraries you need without having to download the massive DVD or all of the 6 discs.

Sound Configuration
This could be the single most frustrating part of the installation. There are plenty of posts on the Internet about how absolutely frustrating it is to get the sound to work on IBM Thinkpads across multiple Linux distros. There are even more posts about how people can't find a post to solve their problems. You don't need to install a ton of sound packages from pulseaudio and alsa.

Here is the reason why Fedora Core 12 - 14 does NOT work on IBM or Lenovo T40 - T42 laptops: The sound drivers are loaded onto the the modem and not onto your standard outputs! I found this obscure reference here.

If you can live without your modem, then you can override this by forcing the sound drivers to not load onto the modem on boot. Login to your freshly installed Fedora Core 12 - 14 system as a regular user, open a terminal ("Applications -> System Tools -> Terminal"). Using the "su" command, switch over to root and edit the /etc/modeprobe.d/blacklist.conf file. This file prevents the kernel from loading specific modules. Add the snd-intel8x0m entry to this file.

Below is the command line steps:

[darren@bly ~]$ su -
[root@bly ~]# vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf


# sound drivers
blacklist snd-pcsp
blacklist snd-intel8x0m

Once you have completed these steps, reboot your laptop. Once the laptop has been rebooted, login again, open a terminal, and switch over to the root account. From the root shell, perform the following steps:
1. Launch the alsamixer utility. This is a CLI tool.

# alsamixer

2. From within the CLI, press F6. This will pull up all your choices. Select 0 Intel 8280*. Using the arrows, make sure all inputs and outputs are at 100<>100. Once you are finished, press F6 again and select 29 Thinkpad Console Audio Control. Make sure this is set to 100<>100 also.

3. Exit out of the utility. The volume control buttons (Thinkpad Console Audio Control) on the laptop are your master volume controls. These have to be up and on for your main volume to work.

4. Congrats, you now have sound. You just need flash and DVD support.

Installing Flash Support
Installing flash support is pretty simple. Open up Mozilla and head to a Flash enabled site. For this exercise, I headed over to and tried to watch a movie. The website provided me a link to Adobe's site with an option to install flash. I selected the "Yum Installation" and clicked on Download. This popped up a dialog to ask to install the package from the GUI package manager. Just for terms of simplicity, I accepted this option.

Once I clicked through all the package manager options, I opened up a terminal, switched to root, and installed the flash plugin.

# yum install flash-plugin

Installing DVD Video Support
I use VLC player for all my multimedia support. This includes playing DVDs. As many of you know by now, getting DVD decoding libraries to watch movies is subject to interpretation of the international laws. The RPM Fusion website contains the VLC packages and the DVD decoder packages required to watch DVDs.

You have to first install the repos (as root from a terminal window):

# yum localinstall --nogpgcheck \
Once you have completed the RPM install, you can simply add the player:

# yum install vlc

Installing Wireless Adapters
This is hit or miss. All of the wireless cards in the T40 - T42 series are hit or miss when it comes to WPA authentication. For example, my T40 supports both WEP and WPA. My T42 does not support WPA and there does not seem to be any way to acquire drivers to support it.

Final Installation Steps and Configuration
Before I do my last reboot, I do a few final steps to configure the laptop. I first turn SE Linux off (this is a laptop, not an enterprise server). I then run a full software package update. When these are complete, I reboot the system. From there, I add or remove packages (like OpenOffice) from the GUI package manager ("System -> Administration -> Add or Remove Software").

Here is the code for SE Linux and updates:

# vi /etc/sysconfig/selinux


# yum update

You should now have an ultra-portable slick Fedora Core 12 - 14 based laptop.

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