new thinkpad x220

This summer my beloved thinkpad x301 died in a cloud of smoke. It was exactly 3 years and 20 days old while my warranty was valid only for 3 years. Now, don't tell me this is a coincidence. Anyway. After about 5 months, I finally managed to convince my employer to get me a new thinkpad, the x220. My specs includes a 128G SSD , 4G of RAM, 2.4Gz processor, camera and fingerprint reader.

It's a pity that the x300 series is not in production anymore. They were light, with a solid battery and a large screen. The X1 just don't cut it. Even though it can be consider the successor of the x300, its battery life is just not enough for my needs. On the other hand, the x220 is a very nice machine : the screen is a bit smaller then the X300, but it is light, with a very powerful processor, good battery and it feels very solid. In my opinion lenovo should have packed the new hw of the x220 in the chassis of the x300, maybe with small compromise on the battery life (I got the big battery and I can squeeze almost 7 hs with a single charge) but clearly this was not a good business choice...

Installing debian on this laptop is not immediate because none of the official debian installers are shipped with a recent kernel (as in 3.x series). Since with the official debian installer I cannot have neither the driver for the Ethernet card or the driver for the wirelles card, I opted to use a custom installer built by kmuto (http://kmuto.jp/debian/d-i/ ) . Using this installer the ethernet card is recognized immediately and it's easy to proceed with the installation as usual. Another option would have been to add the binary blog for the wireless chip, but apparently the deb installer supports only WEP auth, while all my access point are WPA. I didn't spend too much time on the wireless setup, so it might well be that is indeed possible to install using a WPA access point.

Last time I installed a laptop, I used the automatic partition option to have lvm on top of a lucks encrypted partition, only to discover later that the default dimensions of the partitions were a bit too small for me. For example, by default the boot partition is only 256Mb. This is plenty if you want to have only one kernel image installed at each given time, but if you want more then one kernel, memtest and for example a grml rescue iso, it's easy to run out of space.

So I proceed to manually partition the disc creating a boot partition of 512M, and using the rest as a luks encrypted device with lvm on top and 3 logical volumes : sys (15G), swap (4G) and home (the rest). For my daily use having 15G on my laptop for /usr, /var, etc should more the enough...

Next step was to install the system. Since in recent times I got extremely pissed off with gnome 3, I've decided to dump it completely and go back to awesome. But since awesome all by itself is a bit sad, I paired it up with xfce. Everything works, except the automount, and I'm still trying to figure out how to make it work. Apparently is a consolkit problem... I'll write another post about the xfce4 + awsome setup soon...

Today I've also started playing with the finger print reader. It seems working, but I haven't managed yet to use it in conjunction with pam for authentication ... more to come.

And... On last closing remark : during the last 5 months I've used a dell latitude e6410 ... Gosh. I feel I'm on anther planet. The keyboard of a thinkpad give you pleasure, not pain, from 2 to 4G of RAM is a big jump and from a conventional HD to a SSD ... well... it seems I'm flyinggggg :) I've the impression my productivity just went up 50% !!!

If you work with your laptop everyday get a good laptop. It is well worth the investment ...

Update

Now debian can be installed on this model using the stock installation images.
Average: 2 (2 votes)

Comments

You may want to look at

You may want to look at adding "pcie_aspm=force i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1" to your kernel boot command.

My X220 manages between 10 and 12 hours with those, and 7 without.

For Xfce & automount, check

For Xfce & automount, check README.Debian in xfce4 and xfce4-session package (for consolekit permissions). Check that thunar-volman is installed and configured (automount is now disabled by default).

> I finally managed to

> I finally managed to convince my employer to get me a new thinkpad > If you work with your laptop everyday get a good laptop. It is well worth the investment ...

) lol

For mounting, make sure you

For mounting, make sure you have an active and local ConsoleKit session with ck-list-sessions. If you don't, your only choice with with CK >= 0.43 is to use a DM that is well integrated with CK. A patched XDM would work, but I'd recommend lightdm instead if you're not going with the traditional choices (GDM/KDM).

Then you can use XFCE4's automounters or my own udisks-glue, which is packaged for Debian. Try udisks --mount to make sure you can mount devices, then you're good to go. You might need to be a member of plugdev, I don't remember exactly how the PolicyKit policies are set up.

I fixed this problem by

I fixed this problem by installing lightDM . apparently Slim, the DM I was using before is still not very well integrated with consolekit. Now Everything works !

"Since with the official

"Since with the official debian installer I cannot have neither the driver for the Ethernet card or the driver for the wirelles card, ..."

What are the bug numbers for this?

well, in unstable the new

well, in unstable the new kernel (3.x) and the package firmware-linux-nonfree already contain both the ethernet and wireless card. It's simply a matter of waiting a new release of the installer with the new components... I think this is way nobody bother to fill a bug...