We had bought a new laptop for one our developers. Her old 770z laptop was developing problems (stuck "4" key, bad motherboard battery, etc.) We bought her a nice new laptop, which freed up this one.

Since I already have an older Thinkpad 770 that was spare, which I use to dial into our systems when I have the pager on weekends, I thought I would put Linux on this 770z and see if it would work as a replacement. I installed Red Hat Linux 7.2.

The laptop had this configuration:


The disk was completely erased, and we went with a very simple workstation partition scheme: (automatically partitioned by installer)

Basic Install

I had a boxed set of Red Hat Linux 7.2, which I installed on the system. Some notes for the install:

This model of Thinkpad uses an mwave device as the digital signal processor, and the winmodem uses the mwave device. I haven't tried yet to get the winmodem to work on the 770z (not necessary right now), but for my Thinkpad 770, I was able to download and compile the mwave driver from IBM's web site to get the winmodem to work on ttyS1.

The sound card was not detected by the installer. More on setting this up later.

The video card was correctly probed by the installer.

I have a 3Com PCMCIA network card on this laptop, and at boot-time the subsystem recognizes the card and loads the appropriate modules.

I do not have any IR devices, so I have no idea if IR support is working in Red Hat Linux 7.2 on the Thinkpad 770z.

USB works fine.

APM seems to work fine.


After installation, I found that my sound card was not configured. I found a page at anarchysoftware.com that described how he was able to configure sound using the generic sb driver. It's interesting on this laptop that sndconfig will detect the sound card, but then it tells you there is no support for it. Ah well.

Fortunately, you can load sound support manually using the generic SoundBlaster (sb) driver. Settings are: io=0x220 irq=5 dma=1

To load this automatically at boot-time, we just defined a simple init script that we inserted at priority 99 that does this:

 modprobe sb io=0x220 irq=5 dma=1

This does the trick. We tested it by playing a relaxing game of Maelstrom.

This Thinkpad has a manual volume control, so to adjust the volume you can just twiddle the knob. Sometimes, it's nice to have that knob there when you want to mute the sound, rather than running the GNOME Sound Mixer.

X Windows

The Red Hat Xconfigurator installer did recognize the video card and display properly. I was able to run at 1024x768 just fine.

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