Linux and IBM Thinkpad A21m Type 2628-FXG

A21m and Linux - success story.
It is my second Thinkpad notebook. The previous model was Thinkpad 390X, and I was very happy with it during 1.5 year. Now it is a time for upgrade...


  • Processor: Mobile Pentium III / 750 MHz
  • Memory: 64 SDRAM
  • Hard Disk: 20 GB
  • CD: 24X, FDD
  • Display: 15" 1024x768 TFT - active matrix
  • Internal ethernet and modem - 3Com Combo
Technical: With additional 64Mb I have total of 128 MB memory.

I need Windows and Linux coexisting at this laptop. The preinstalled OS is Win98 with all disk space available assigned to C:.
Partition Magic by PowerQuest correctly allowed me to repartition the disk as follows:

Disk /dev/hda: 240 heads, 63 sectors, 2584 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *         1       542   4097488+   b  Win95 FAT32
/dev/hda2           543       576    257040   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda3           577       996   3175200   83  Linux native
/dev/hda4           997      2584  12005280   83  Linux native
Slackware-7.1 has been installed using /dev/hda3 as / and /dev/hda2 as swap partition. /dev/hda4 is my home directory. Install XF86_Mach64 X server. Do network configuration at this step. Actually your ethernet will be live later, after kernel recompilation.

X server - nothing special. Here is my XF86Config file.

Kernel. I use stable 2.2.19 kernel. Configuration notes:

See my kernel config file for more details.
Here is my new kernel config file for 2.4.16.

At this point I had almost all working, including excellent video, ethernet and sound with rather weak quality (much better with 2.4.16 kernel driver then with 2.2.19). Use Fn+Home and Fn+End to adjust display brightness. Specially nice feature is the lamp for keyboard illumination (Fn+PgUp).


Unfortunately the internal 3Com modem is unsupported now. See Fred Maciel's page for details. As Fred wrote, "3Com was looking for feedback on whether it should support the modem, see here. If you have interest in using the modem on Linux, write them!"

As a result, I use modem from Xircom pcmcia card.

News! Michael James wrote about his success with internal Lucent winmodem. See the details.

Xircom RealPort card (RBEM56G-100BTX)

HDD performance notes

IBM page - Linux at A21m
TP A21 - Device Driver File Matrix
Linux on Laptops
Slackware Linux on the IBM Thinkpad A21m - Michael R. James page
IBM Support Site
My vendor (nice site in Russian)
LTModem Drivers for Linux

Comments and questions to Evgeny Rodichev,
Last updated 19.12.2001.
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