Monday, 25 December 2006



SuSE Linux 9.3 Professional

By Anthony Johnson

Technical specifications

* Intel Mobile Pentium III 800 MHz Processor, 256 KB L2 cache
* 256 Mb now maxed out at 512
* 8X-2.3X DVD-ROM (bootable)
* 20 GB HDD (5400 rpm)
* 14.1" TFT display (1400x1050)
* S3 Inc. Savage/IX8 video adapter with 8 MB RAM
* 3Com Ethernet/Modem Mini-PCI card
Cirrus Logic CS4624 SoundFusion PCI Audio Accelerator.


Of all the computer's in my possession the IBM THINKPAD T21 is perhaps the most Linux friendly.
I have installed the distribution SuSE Linux 9.3 Professional based the 2.6.11x kernel. I installed the entire feature, that is, the entire DVD-, a 6-8GB installation that took around two and a half hours. This was the only disconcerting aspect of the exercise.

YaST ( the SuSE Linux hardware manager) configured everything excluding the modem-, which is usual. I use a Xircom PCMCIA Ethernet/Modem instead and that was successfully configured.


Grub is the default bootloader. Intially, I had a problem dual booting with Xandros Linux 3.0 OCE.
I read the two thick manuals that ship with the distro only to find that Xandros uses LILO as boot loader. So I placed the DVD into the optical drive at boot up. It gives the option to boot from an operating system. Xandros was listed as unknown but booted up successfully. I booted in SuSE, went into YaST clicked on 'Boot Loader' and changed it from GRUB to LILO and voila at boot up BOTH are now listed at boot up.

SuSE Linux 9.3 works beautifully on my Thinkpad T21 2647, which I acquired second-hand. There has been no need at present to recompile the kernel-, which is in any case beyond my capabilities presently as I am relatively new to Linux. I have also experiment with other distros to find that the following work satisfactorily with Linux:

Redhat 9
Xandros 3.0 OCE
Mandrake 10.1 Community
Fedora Core 3
Knoppix 3 and 4

The soundcard sings, USB volumes mount automatically under Xandros 3.0, Mandrake, Fedora Core, Knoppix ¾ as it does with SuSE 9.3. Under Redhat 9 some changes to the /etc.fstab file are required and a mount point must be created in the /mnt directory.

By and large, the Thinkpad T21 has been a pleasure to use under this distro.

A. P. Johnson

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