Debian Linux on an IBM Thinkpad T43p

This document describes how to install Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (sarge) on an IBM Thinkpad T43p. Since I don't have time to write everything in one session, nor am I finished twiddling around with the setup of the notebook, this is work in progress.

Note: after a while I actually switched to Debian unstable (sid), since I've been using it for a long time on desktop machines. In case some software I use is not in sarge yet, I'll point that out. The installation procedure still applies to sarge, as does the kernel related information since it's pretty much independent from the distribution used.


  • 2006-05-19: finally updated with infos about kernel 2.6.16
  • 2006-01-17: add radeon Xorg configuration examples, fixed a type in the fglrx page, added a couple of links and a page about switching from the fgrlx driver to the radeon driver (and back).
  • 2006-01-13: added note about input devices to the fglrx page.
  • 2006-01-10: added initial infos about the fglrx driver setup, including my configuration files for various multi-monitor setups.
  • 2006-01-04: minor edits to the kernel and harddisk pages to reflect the new 2.6.15 kernel release.
  • 2005-12-22: give proper credits to Josef Hajas for the fingerprint patch to xscreensaver, added my own, adapted patch and an updated xscreensaver package for Debian sid.
  • 2005-12-15: removed confusing notion of a patch being needed to get the Multi-Burner to work with kernel 2.6.14 from the kernel configuration page.
  • 2005-12-12: moved warning about combining suspend2 with the sata patches to harddisk page and added info about using Suspend to RAM with recent fglrx drivers.
  • 2005-11-12: added info and a patched .deb-package for xscreensaver for Debian sid to the fingerprint reader page.
  • 2005-11-08: fixed link to fingerprint.patch.
  • 2005-11-07: added warning about the combination of using suspend2 with the Suspend to RAM patches.
  • 2005-11-04: added a page about getting the harddisk to work properly and suspending to RAM, also updated the rest of the pages with infos about kernel 2.6.14 and added lists for which patches are used in which kernel version.
  • 2005-11-02: updated the hardware page (fingerprint reader, IBM APS) and added a page describing how to get the fingerprint reader to work.
  • 2005-09-19: added a todo list, feedback is welcome. Added the install line to the modprobe.d configuration for the nsc-ircc module in the infrared section that somehow got lost.
  • 2005-09-18: added a couple of comments to the hardware page.
  • 2005-09-17: created pages describing how to use the special keys and the infrared hardware on the Thinkpad.
  • 2005-08-19: infos about needed hardware drivers added, created page describing the set up of the multi-burner device and linked to the Linux-Thinkpad mailinglist
  • 2005-08-05: more info about the installation, about configuring a custom kernel, and added a status to the various hardware components
  • 2005-07-19: hardware description, installation and links



Arturo's picture

Just wanted to say "thanks" for this compilation; your effort is much appreciated. It's this sort of information that gives one some confidence to try a relatively new machine such as the T43p, instead of a more conservative (safer) choice (a slightly older, less advanced ThinkPad).

Arturo's picture

Oops! I forgot to thank you for making this available in English for those of us who don't understand more than a handful of German phrases.

Robert Strube's picture

Gutten Tag,

Meine Mutter komt aus Deutschland, aber Ich kann nicht Deutsch sehr gut sprechen so Ich werde jetzt auf Englisch sprechen.

Hi, I also have a T43 and was able to get suspend working with my SATA hard drive. The key is using a patch that was created by Jens Axobe and has been available since 2.6.12rc's

Check out this link for more information...

BTW, there is also a dicussion on getting the patch to work with the 2.6.14rc's here...

I would have emailed you this information but I was unable to locate your email on the website.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me.


Robert aka "analog warrior"

Wolfgang Karall-Ahlborn's picture

I've used on the kernel configuration page is the one from Jens Axobe, but it didn't fix Suspend-to-Ram for me, the Thinkpad hangs at resume. I have seen discussion about the topic already and also noticed the page in the ThinkWiki, but haven't got around to try a newer kernel + patch yet. Hope I'll find next week for that, then I'll update the pages here as well.

Oh, and about the lack of email address, there's the feedback form for sending me mail. I don't like to expose email addresses more than necessary on webpages. But it's better to attach a comment anyway, since other people might be interested as well. Smile

Bullfrog's picture

You are great!! Thank you very much for all you've done and shared here!!

Terry Boult's picture

Thanks for the site.. just what we needed.

We were able to get both suspend to ram and hibernate (software suspend to disk 2) working together.
Using a 2.6.14 kernel with the disk patch needed for suspend to disk.. Did not do anything special.. except that we needed to use the
ATI x drivers to get suspend to ram to continue to work. Use F4 for the suspend to ram.. command line for hibernate. Hibernate does not always shut down the power (sometimes it does.. I've not figured out why..) but seems to work in terms of the save

Our hibernate.conf has the following options

File Edit Options Buffers Tools Help
UseSwsusp2 yes
Reboot no
EnableEscape yes
DefaultConsoleLevel 1
SuspendDevice swap:/dev/sda6
PowerdownMethod 5
ProcSetting userui_program /usr/local/sbin/suspend2ui_text
Verbosity 3
LogFile /var/log/hibernate.log
LogVerbosity 3
Distribution debian
SaveClock restore-only
UnloadBlacklistedModules yes
LoadModules auto
DownInterfaces auto
UpInterfaces auto
SwitchToTextMode yes

kru_'s picture

wollte nur mal nachfragen ob sie ev ihre xorg.conf auch veröffentlichen könnten.
habe hier probleme mit dualhead und auch sonst mit externen monitoren oder beamern

mfg kru

Wolfgang Karall-Ahlborn's picture

d.h. noch etwas Geduld Smile

Riccardo's picture

You wrote:
2006-05-19: finally updated with infos about kernel 2.6.16
but I cannot find them in kernel page. Can you post your config for the 2.6.16?

Thanks a lot!

dianhcuong's picture

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Linux Israel's picture

Thanks, this helped me a lot!