Distro for Thinkpad T40 Pentiium M


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Thread: Distro for Thinkpad T40 Pentiium M

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Distro for Thinkpad T40 Pentiium M

    I'm looking for suggestions for a distro for an IBM Thinkpad T40, which is a Pentium M (Banias) 1.3G laptop. This one has 1G ram, 20G 5400rpm hdd. The cpu is 32-bit and the video gpu is ATI. Its immediate use will be to transfer files between external usb drives so the distro must be able to see 3.0T usb drives. Given that usage, filesystem suggestions would also be in order, noting the issue with occasional filesystem corruption with EXT4. Initially those files to be transferred will be NTFS.

    I've had issues with both this T40 and a similar T41 trying to install XP SP3 from a usb drive. On both they would boot and copy files, but fail on the first reboot with an error msg. Both had installs of XP previously, SP3 and SP2. One has had the hdd replaced to get from 4200rpm to 5400 rpm. Hdd's have been tested and wiped with Dban, ram has passed Memtest. Installation was attempted from a usb flash drive prepared with Rufus using a previously successful install iso. I have just read of the issue that Pentium M cpu's have with recent distros or kernels:

    "Most recent versions of Linux require a processor that supports Physical Address Extension (PAE). My laptop with a Pentium M processor doesn't support PAE."

    I was originally thinking of Mint XFCE, but the PAE issue might make that inappropriate. I've booted another T41 with Mint XFCE from a usb stick, but it lacked wireless drivers for an Intel wireless card, surprisingly. I've installed Vector Linux in the past but notice the most recent release is rather old. Haven't tried Puppy. Would it be appropriate in this instance?

    Would I be able to get around the PAE issue with a recent distro release by using an older kernel, and if so, how would I manage that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I don't think you can get a new distro using an old kernel.

    You could have a look at distrowatch.com and select an older distro that has the kernel you are interested in. Other than that just install the distro to see the response.
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  3. #3
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    Puppy Racy works, but the default file manager is clunky, with large icons and no options I can find for a list view or small icons so it will display more than merely a few files on a page. Going to try Puppy Slacko and Vector Linux. These are intended for older hardware and I think will be compatible with a non-PAE cpu. Puppy Racy was a revelation. The install instructions (it's made to run from a cd but can be installed) are very helpful, basic hardware was picked up well (haven't checked sound or wired/wireless ethernet yet). And it is fast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    I got a T40 from maddslacker with Linux Mint on it - it works great.
    Need help in realtime? Visit us at #linuxnewbie on irc.libera.chat

    Few of us will do as much for our fellow man as he has done.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks je_fro. Which version of Mint, and how much ram does the T40 have. Mine has 768Mb, soon to be 1G.

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