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 Post subject: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:21 am 
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Edited.

Interesting thing came into my mind... During the last days I'm playing with ArchLinux quiet often. I've managed to build the complete desktop just from Arch's post installation state (command line) so I assume it is not so hard to build my own GNU/Linux distribution.

It is possible to build an unified Linux distribution, which will be designed ONLY for ThinkPad computers and will include all the currently available capabilities from the Linux world. I would name it simply 'ThinkOS' and it would have following features:

- Linux kernel
- in the pre-installation phase it will determine machine type (i.e. 2668-G1U) and according to this information it will collect neccesary drivers and tools for the installation -> unneccesary things from others models will not be installed (we have ThinkWiki + Lenovo support as a good source for built-in HW catalog). What can be such tools? Well it can be: HD APS daemon, tpb to provide ThinkPad buttons OSD functionality, TP SMAPI to provide ACPI features etc...
- installation process will refuse installing if the computer is not an supported ThinkPad (this restriction can be skipped by changing source code, but it is very useful in cases of solving various compatibility issues - software designed specially for narrow range of laptops is a good variant in the supporting point of view - an example can be a Mac computer + Mac OS X)
- packaging system: more and more I prefer pacman for its very good job in ArchLinux and thanks to the tools like deb2tgz, the ThinkOS could have a very good compatibility with most common DEB or RPM packages
- startup screen & desktop manager theme: ThinkPad theme (artists on the forums are appreciated :) )
- login screen: 'slim', is the lightweight login manager and could be easily branded to the ThinkPad theme/colours
- desktop manager: I want to cover all ThinkPads probably from T2x/X2x series (legacy ThinkPads such 570, 600 etc. are welcome to be considered) to the as newest as possible models so I assume the XFCE environment would be a best choice for the ThinkPad range from the performance point of view OR the environment will be optional and considered by a users during the installation process

Included software list:
- Office suite: as we are ThinkPadders it would be a sin to use something else than IBM Lotus Symphony (according to the latest news, source code will be released soon from IBM)
- Mail application: IBM Lotus Notes? Well I'm not sure if the EULA allows that but ThinkOS will not be a commercial distribution so why not to bundle it
- Internet browser: optional, considerable by a users in the installation process (Firefox or Opera or Chrome are the best alternatives)
- Media apps: considerable, let's vote. I prefer VLC Media Player, Brasero (source can be tuned for 100% compatibility with ThinkPad burners)
- Backup: Deja Dup, source code is available
- another open source software for business, communication and engineering - let's vote about the list

ThinkOS distribution targets:
- everything MUST work out of the box after installation on the specified range of ThinkPads - no excuses. There mustn't be a need for users to set up anything. Everything must be prepared for work immediately after the installation (specific daemons like tpb, hdapsd etc. included) - out of the box like on Macs
- source code must be a public
- minimalistic compilation: i.e. T43 after installation must not contain packages, which are used only in T400 series etc.
- compilation itself must be distributed free of any charges
- community around the compilation must have volition to continue improving the compilation

Question at the end? Are we able to build this project in our free time? And who wants to help?

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Last edited by lukee on Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:39 pm 
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hi luke*..
Not to steal your 'thunder' of "ThinkOS"......firstly you might want to 'check' on "THINK" copyrights issue
Also, "thinkpads" already has a LINUX distro (from years of thinkpads loaded from factory with 'linux" ......which BTW is now called SUSE Wkstation..... blah blah ,,,,
Also I have two of such 'thinkpads' = T60p and t61p , still runs and never died yet!!

side note: I have heard the NEW THINK "tablet' coming out soon with Windows 'touch' which look very similar to current touchpads but with NO PHYSICAL KEY/BRD. This from what I heard would be labeld as "THINKOS". There are lots of pple in china who have been using the 'thinkOS" tablet made by lenovo with linux and now that same thing is avalible in USA with Andriod OS.....

I for one would love to contribute to someone taking charge on LINUX 'made espeically for thinkpads" ...its would have to be a bit more than jsut some fancy custom 'skins' etc etc....

Cheers

_________________
Work: [b]None - Retired ! Yipee!! ~~Older/Hm use:Asus Zenbook i7FHD~~ w701ds CTO;W520cto;T61P-IPSmodels; T43P,...&700Tstill going strong!! DEC Alpha Series OS: Win7x64; OSX; SuSe Linux; RedHat~~


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:34 pm 
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Quote:
I've managed to build the complete desktop just from Arch's post installation state (command line) so I assume it is not so hard to build my own GNU/Linux distribution.


I fail to see how you can jump to that conclusion after typing what someone left for you at the Arch Linux wiki. Getting a distribution to work, even Arch Linux, is very easy. Maintaining your own distribution, having working repositories, mirrors, documentation, updates, and getting the various moving parts of the GNU userland to work together and then proving you can do it all better than companies who have done this for two decades is very hard. Will there be support? Will there be a LTS? Will you violate trademarks/patents? Finding a target market is also hard, although you already have this partially solved with targeting Thinkpad users. Now show me that what you have is better than the distribution/OS I already use on my Thinkpad. Also, you want to discriminate against non-Thinkpads, will you include the x100 line or the X1 or the Thinkpad Edge? I think the market for a new distribution is oversaturated, especially a distribution that falls into such a small market.

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Past : IBM X30:: IBM T41 :: IBM T42p 15" :: Lenovo T61 :: Lenovo T400 (x2) :: Lenovo X60s (x2):: Lenovo X61s :: Lenovo X120e (x2) :: Lenovo T530


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:49 pm 
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jdk wrote:
Maintaining your own distribution, having working repositories, mirrors, documentation, updates, and getting the various moving parts of the GNU userland to work together and then proving you can do it all better than companies who have done this for two decades is very hard.
LOL. Lenovo's having enough trouble just maintaining their driver lists.

Maybe just take the easy way out and build a Transformation Pack for Windows. XD

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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:26 pm 
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As others said, maintaining your own distribution is a royal PITA. I know this because I've done it before - and even for a small company running a tiny purpose built distribution, it still took up quite a lot of my time.

Why not instead produce a meta package for each Thinkpad model that contains configurations for the thinkpad buttons/key mappings, hdaps, tpb, Xorg configs and (if necessary) drivers, etc? It would be much easier to maintain, and a new Thinkpad user could just, for example, "apt-get install thinkpad-x220-metapackage" and have a completely configured machine in one simple step.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:08 am 
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Hi everyone ,,,

Hiya XD , i be in PEK .. by time u read this ..LOL

.... think OS ,,,,,,,,,,,,I for one think ( guessing) that lenovo and Others have ALREADY been thru this EXERCISE and decided NPT to go ahead and do a "distro" of LUNUX/UNIX?LINDOS etc etc ,,,,as LAST time IBM tried to do such thing ,,,, they also found out like jd* and others have said ,,,,,,,,,,,a ROYAL PINA ,,,,, to get things up to par....
I like JH* ,,, also have a small small ,,custom "metapackage' for our company hardware etc ,,,, and i cna tell you ----- I have spent many a sleepless nights ,,, when users " mess things up' ,,, and yet they still want to have their THINKPADS working next min !!! ,,,,,,,,,,, fun fun fun ,,,,

However , I am happy to put my name forward as a 'collective' to do some-kinda "package" . AS I KNOW there are lots of advantages and BENEFITS for this type /line of thought. I jsut see this same expample already existing in ANDROID ; and am very tempted to jump to that OS ......but personally much rather have some derevitive of LINUX/UNIX etc ,,,but hey ,,,, I love my new ANDRIOD , tablet (love its speed)

Cheers

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Work: [b]None - Retired ! Yipee!! ~~Older/Hm use:Asus Zenbook i7FHD~~ w701ds CTO;W520cto;T61P-IPSmodels; T43P,...&700Tstill going strong!! DEC Alpha Series OS: Win7x64; OSX; SuSe Linux; RedHat~~


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:25 am 
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I love the enthusiasm, but honestly I don't think that would be a productive use of time.

Maintaining a distribution is *very* time-consuming and very, very complex (as jdk pointed out).

Personally I think that resources would be better spent working with upstream to identify and fix issues with hardware support (lord knows that thinkpad_acpi and tp_smapi could do with all the hacker help they can get). Technically inclined users who aren't coders could help with documentation -- simply identifying how to configure the big three distros (RHEL, Ubuntu, and Debian) to work well with various models would be a tremendous help.

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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:05 am 
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Ok, I slightly edited the first post. You've proved to me that making ThinkPad-specialized distro is wasting of time. Good idea seems to be from jdd, who suggests to develop meta packages for each ThinkPad instead. Anybody interested in this? Do you recommend to distribute that packages through some distribution channels (i.e. PPA) or direct downloads?

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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:43 am 
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ThinkRob wrote:
I love the enthusiasm, but honestly I don't think that would be a productive use of time.

Maintaining a distribution is *very* time-consuming and very, very complex (as jdk pointed out).

Personally I think that resources would be better spent working with upstream to identify and fix issues with hardware support (lord knows that thinkpad_acpi and tp_smapi could do with all the hacker help they can get).


Yep. IMHO, there are regressions in thinkpad_acpi (specifically with OSS and suspend/resume) after 2.6.32 that forced me away from Linux.

_________________
.: Lenovo R61e 15" :: Lenovo X201 1440x900 :. No Trackpads
Past : IBM X30:: IBM T41 :: IBM T42p 15" :: Lenovo T61 :: Lenovo T400 (x2) :: Lenovo X60s (x2):: Lenovo X61s :: Lenovo X120e (x2) :: Lenovo T530


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:54 am 
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jdk wrote:

Yep. IMHO, there are regressions in thinkpad_acpi (specifically with OSS and suspend/resume) after 2.6.32 that forced me away from Linux.

I haven't noticed any regressions, and suspend/resume is actually more reliable for me under later 2.6.* kernels. Odd.

I *have* noticed that newer hardware (namely the T420/T520 platform) doesn't play as nicely with the module as previous generations.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:35 am 
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My 2668-VYU T43, 14.1, x300 works really slow with kernels after 2.6.27-28.

There is some bug with the acpi and the cpu scalling which i didn't manage to fix over the last years so i'm using it mostly with Windows 7.

The bug is described thoroughly here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+sour ... bug/519142

I have to say that i tried different linux flavours except ubuntu, and i experienced the same behaviour.

Does someone exprience the same problems ? Mostly the problem is that the notebook works mainly at 800 mhz.
As described in the launchpad bug report it all works very well wiht older ubuntu releases, e.g. 8.04 LTS.


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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:35 pm 
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@jhh:
Great idea! Hopefully I can contribute a PKGBUILD to the AUR once I get a couple ThinkPads to hack on. Stuck on my battery-less MacBook for now.

@ThinkRob:
That is also an excellent suggestion! Take the strain of the hackers who produce the excellent that we use on our ThinkPads everyday.

I would also like to add that if any were so inclined, they could produce a full theme for the WM/DE, wallpaper, browser, file manager, etc. of their choice and supply packages containing them along with the proper configuration files for various distros. The theme could be dark like theme for ArchBang and say wallpapers from here or here? (with consent of course)

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 Post subject: Re: ThinkOS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Nice ideas :)

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T61 8892-02U: 14.1"SXGA+/2.2C2D/4G/XP|Adv Mini Dock|30" Gateway XHD3000 WQXGA via Dual-link DVI
X61T 7767-96U: 12.1"SXGA+/1.6C2D/3G/Vista|Ultrabase
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:42 am 
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qcrz_ wrote:
My 2668-VYU T43, 14.1, x300 works really slow with kernels after 2.6.27-28.

There is some bug with the acpi and the cpu scalling which i didn't manage to fix over the last years so i'm using it mostly with Windows 7.

The bug is described thoroughly here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+sour ... bug/519142

I have to say that i tried different linux flavours except ubuntu, and i experienced the same behaviour.

Does someone exprience the same problems ? Mostly the problem is that the notebook works mainly at 800 mhz.
As described in the launchpad bug report it all works very well wiht older ubuntu releases, e.g. 8.04 LTS.


A few weeks ago I decided to spend some "debug" time for this problem, try incrementally different Linux kernels and I have now some solution, a workaround in a way. It seems problem mostly affects Dothan "Sonoma" processors and my T43, has exactly this one. It is probably also related to buggy BIOS and acpi stuff related there, but I don't have some much time to investigate and fix this. So the workaround is to patch the speedstep-centrino.c Linux kernel modules with adding hardcoded frequency definitions for "Sonoma" family of processors. Then use speedstep-centrino instead of acpi-cpufreq. This kind of patch was present up to some point in ubuntu kernels, but they removed it to align with official Linux kernel who states that manufacturers should fix their BIOSes and then one can use the acpi-cpufreq for proper cpu scaling, not dirty hacks like this.

here you can find the pach for the speedstep-centrino:

ubuntu git speedstep-centrino.c patch

Now, because I have asked on a few places during the years for this problem (launchpad, ubuntuforums, probably somewhere else), I would like to put the workaround I found on one place, e.g. ThinkWiki and put links on the other places to point there. I read somewhere on this forum one has to send an e-mail to get edit rights on ThinkWiki, can somebody advice whom I have to send an e-mail to do so.

Thanks.

p.s. i'll put some tags in case somebody on the internet would search for this info
mytags: frequency scaling 800 mhz t43 sonoma dothan ubuntu linux


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