Gentoo Linux on a IBM Thinkpad 600e

In this document I have put together some information of my configuration of Gentoo Linux on a IBM Thinkpad 600e. I used Gentoo Linux i686-1.4-20030911. Especially the sound configuration was the hardest part. For some reason you need to hardcode every IRQ and IO parameter in the /etc/modules.d/alsa file otherwise it will not work.

Model: IBM Thinkpad 600e 2645-4CU 12/99
Weight without CD drive: 2.2kg


You need a hda1 FAT16 partition otherwise the hibernate function will not work. This partition needs to be just a little bigger than your system ram. I used the dos-6.22.rawrite.bz2 bootdisk to format this partition (format /s c:). Then I copied all files on the bootdisk to c:\dos.

Next you need to install the ps2 utility from IBM on this partion ( I have also made a dos_ps2.tar.gz tar file (800k) which includes ps2, autoexec.bat, vi for dos 6.22, ... You can unpack this as root to the dos partition directly from linux. To create the hibernation file you need to run the "ps2 HFILE" command from the dos partition.
fdisk -l /dev/hda

Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1             1        40    321268+   6  FAT16
/dev/hda2            41      4864  38748780    5  Extended
/dev/hda5            41        45     40131   83  Linux
/dev/hda6            46        82    297171   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda7            83       752   5381743+  83  Linux
/dev/hda8           753      1969   9775521   83  Linux
/dev/hda9          1970      3794  14659281   83  Linux
/dev/hda10         3795      4864   8594743+  83  Linux

suspend and hibernate

Sound is some times a bit strange after a suspend or hibernate as neither the linux oss nor the alsa driver restore the sound card registers correctly. I found that it works best to use the
apm --suspend
apm --standby
Commands to initiate suspend or hibernate.

During Kernel configuration you need to select the following for APM to work correctly:

Kernel config

The only thing to really watch out for is that you do not configure acpi or attempt to run a kernel with acpi inside. The 600e has a severe bios bug even in the latest implementation which can cause all kind of problems if acpi is used. apm works very well there is no need for acpi on this machine.

Here is my kernel config: config-2.4.29.txt


I use alsa 0.9.2 and it works well with the "Cirrus Logic CS 4610/11" (from lspci) but you have to specify every IRQ and IO parameter (see tp600e-gentoo1.4-config.html) I use the snd-cs4236 module.

You can use the ps2 dma and irq commands to get the right values for your laptop.

Alsa has by default muted mixer settings. Unmute them with the command alsamixer (m to unmute) and then store the values with "alsactl store".


One of the hardest parts is the X11 configuration in gentoo as it does not provide any automatic configuraton utility. The advantage is that you really have control over you computer as a user but it takes time to configure things. Here is my XF86Config. Feel free to copy it.

Key hardware parameters

Here is a list of hardware parameters from my Notebook:

Warning: kanotix 2005-03 life CD with default ACPI can destroy hardware

I tried kanotix 2005-03 on my IBM thinkpad 600e and it looked OK at first except that no usb devices were listed /proc/bus/usb/devices. Only the root hub was there (probably there were more things wrong but this was the most obvious fault).
I turned off the computer and booted my normal gentoo linux. .... Kernel panik during initialisation of the alsa sound driver.

I switched the computer off and booted a differnt linux kernel which had no sound compiled in. Booting worked but kernel panik during login. I concluded that this must be a memory fault and booted from a memtest86 floppy. Ah...grrrr the memory test just hangs after a few cycles.

I found it very strange that I had been using linux for the whole day, booted 10 minutes on kanotix 2005-03 and a memory bank should have become faulty.

Booting kanotix 2005-03 had destroyed my beloved IBM thinkpad 600e?!

Desperately I opened the thinkpad and took out the bios battery for 5 minutes. ... put everything back and .... jupeee it works.

Further investigation showed that this is because of a BIOS bug in the 600e. NEVER ever use ACPI with the 600e. Disable all ACPI in the Kernel, just use APM and it will run fine.


thinkpad 600e hardware maintenance manual (pdf)

FAQ part

Which model is this tp600e?
IBM Thinkpad 600e 2645-4CU 12/99

How do I enter the bios
The ThinkPad 600e has only a reduced bios called "Easy-Setup". To enter
it press and hold F1, then turn on the computer.

Most traditional BIOS settings can be done with the linux command
tpctl or with the dos utility ps2 (from IBM, see above).

© Guido Socher, guidosocher at,
Last update: Sat Mar 4 14:34:42 CET 2006
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