Gentoo Linux on the IBM Thinkpad T22

by Carson Reynolds

After replacing a broken hard drive on my thinkpad I decided to give gentoo linux a shot. I’ve been using Debian on most of my boxes, but have become frustrated with the lag between the stable tree and releases of things like Mozilla and KDE. So I thought I’d give gentoo a try. At the time of this writing Gentoo Linux 1.4_rc2 was the most recent release.

Below are the notes that are specific to installs on the T22. The installation went fairly painlessly, but I’d recommend reading the entire installation document before trying the install. This is because there are some curveballs that you only understand if you’ve read the whole thing first. Most notably the importance of compiling “Virtual Memory Filesystem” (CONFIG_RAMFS) and “Device Filesystem” (CONFIG_DEVFS) support.

* The T22 is a Pentium 3, so i chose to use the stage 3 pentium III iso image.

* My /dev/hda1 was already a windows XP install so I chose:
/dev/hda2 ext2
(if something goes wrong it’s easy to mount ext2 fs)
/dev/hda3 swap
/dev/hda4 reiserfs
(reiser has better space/time efficiency than ext3 at the moment)

* In order decompress the tarballs I had to first copy them to /mnt/gentoo and then tar -xvjpf each of them individually. This is because tar doesn’t support wildcards in the manner suggested in the docs.

* For /etc/make.conf my:
CFLAGS=”-march=pentium3 -O3 -pipe”

* I chose not to use (GRP) the Gentoo Reference Platform. It seems that these are prebuilt binaries that save you time if you don’t want to compile things yourself.

* I chose to use app-admin/sysklogd. I didn’t need the distributed logging capabilities of syslog-ng. Metalog looked neat, but not being able to see my logs immediately annoyed me. Using a sql server to record logs seemed overkill, so I didn’t use msyslog either.

* I chose sys-aps/vcron because the docs recommended it as a default.

* The kernel was a little tricky.
– For PCMCIA/CardBus support I used “i82365 compatible bridge support” (CONFIG_I82365).
– If you want to use power management, I’ve found it is good to enable Advanced Power Management BIOS support (CONFIG_APM) and “Allow interrupts during APM BIOS calls” (CONFIG_APM_ALLOW_INTS).
– I disabled SCSI support.
– For network device support I included “EtherExpressPro/100 support” (CONFIG_EEPRO100).
– For sound I used “Crystal SoundFusion (CS4280/461x)” (CONFIG_SOUND_FUSION).

* The kernel was built correctly following the install docs, but didn’t make it to the root, so I copied it over myself to get the kernel to stop complaining about not being able to find kernel symbols.
# cp /usr/src/linux/ /boot/

* Because of windows partition, my /etc/fstab looked slightly unusal. I also found that /boot wasn’t mounting automatically, which i dislike.

* Likewise, my /boot/grub/grub.conf was slightly different than the vanilla because of my XP partition.

* When it came time to write my /etc/X11/XF86config I started by doing “/usr/bin/X11/X -configure.” After monkeying around with its output and a file I found on another T22 linux install page (, I finally got everything working. Please try my XF86Config as it seems to work well with gentoo on the T22.

* In order to get my wifi card working I used these two posts:
general pcmcia-cs information
orinoco_cs specific information