Yes I successfully installed Linux mint 9, both Fluxbox and Gnome editions (the latter being too slow), working to an extent with the dodgy hard drive. But for whatever reason, no live CD will follow through, though they start, to the desktop. So although it is likely about the RAM at present I thought that the Fluxbox edition should work, being undemanding.
I'm not sure what I'll use the T22 for as the dvd drive is still a bit of a whizz-making thing too much for watching films unless I get very tight headphones... I have an 11 inch HP laptop I take out and I mostly use a pc I built. Like a lot of people it seems, though, I've fetishised the Thinkpad, even a slower old one. I'm amazed and entirely understanding of people with their Thinkpad collections! The almost rubber case and other aspects make the machines neither cheap-looking nor very pretty, but they've got something about them haven't they. I may have an X60/X61/X61s before the year's out but it is slightly stressful thinking about an eBay gamble again. One shop in London has very many T43's but I like the thought of a smaller laptop. The newest ones look okay but also more like many laptops by other brands.
I too had intended to go for Debian ideally but unless there's a live CD I'm not too good at installing. The current version of Debian 6 has a faulty installer which they haven't attended to - "It just works..." - and as a Mobile Broadband user with fixed rate of gb/month a rolling distro like Testing is not good for me.
Anyway, the 'new' drive was posted first class today so I might be in business tomorrow. I think I'll shift a couple of things of mine to fund the ram and battery so it leaves no sting...
I heard that a new genuine IBM/Lenovo battery can get 30 hours of life, is that a joke I didn't get or is it true? Three hours from a third party replica will suffice but given that I've seen people doing stock-taking and stuff in supermarkets with old Thinkpads maybe thirty hours isn't so far-fetched. I have used a third party battery before with a Toshiba and it was okay if inferior, so I know what to expect - got nearly three hours from it for a while and then a drop to two hours in under six months but the original wasn't drastically better.
Thanks for all input. If the noise stops when I put the new drive in I'll report back for closure's sake in case someone googles this.
(I will do a search here for how the 2xCompact flash works with a Thinkpad but if you didn't go into it here DRobinson could you tell me/us more? Seems ideal. Edit: It's okay, this seems a good start:http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/CompactFlash_boot_drive