English Community

Linux Operating SystemsOther Linux Discussions
All Forum Topics
Options

20 Posts

02-27-2009

Guadalajara, Jalisco, México

14 Signins

147 Page Views

  • Posts: 20
  • Registered: ‎02-27-2009
  • Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
  • Views: 147
  • Message 1 of 15

No more ThinkPads with GNU/Linux

2009-02-27, 20:55 PM

On or neaar the 15th of February, we decided to participate in GrupoCVA & Lenovo's demo program where resellers such as ourselves can purchase 2 Demo products per year at a reduced price.

 

We explained to the representative at GrupoCVA that we are the LinuxCabal, founded in San Francisco, California in 1996 and established in Guadalajara in 2005 and that our community service entity known as http://www.LinuxCabal.ORG is the center of the F/OSS (Free and Open Source Software) and GNU/Linux communities in Guadalajara and as such we are often invited to speak at colleges and Universities as well as Government functions on a regular basis. As you can see from our Web page., we are often quoted by newspapers and magazines and we often appear as guests at local radio programs to promote F/OSS as well as to let people know of our weekly install fest to which everyone with interest is invited to attend, free of charge.

 

We also explained to the representative that out commercial entity known as http://www.LinuxCabal.COM provides consulting services to the industrial community as well as to the Government of Jalisco and several well known and established local businesses.

 

As a result of IBM's commitment to GNU & Linux, it is no coincidence that our customers prefer IBM servers and Thinkpads.

 

In order to continue promoting ThinkPads we decided to avail ourselves of the Demo program in order to acquire the latest of Lenovo's offerings. The GrupoCVA representative was quite enthusiastic about the new ThinkPad SL series and convinced us to acquire one through the demo program. Though it was a new and unknown product for us in the ThinkPad Line we decided to order one based upon Lenovo's past commitment and dedication to GNU & Linux through the ThinkPad products.

 

We acquired the new Demo of the 18th of February and installed GNU & Linux. After several hours of wrestling with the new ThinkPad SL400 2647-5KU we decided that there were a major probems and went to the Internet to see what solutions might be available.

We learned that the SL Thinkpads do not make use of the ThinkPad modules provided by IBM and Lenovo in the Linux kernel as they are in reality “IdeaPads” internally therefore there is NO support for the special BIOS calls and ACPI calls and special features such as the FingerPrint Reader... Further, we learned that Lenovo has no intention of providing support for the SL series in Linux.

 

As if that was not enough, we discovered that this particular unit has very ittle volume in either Windows or GNU/Linux applications. With the voume set a maximum level, it is difficult to hear.

 

In short, we seem to be the proud owners of a demo product that convinces our clients NOT to purchase ThinkPads for GNU/Linux.

 

We immediately contacted the Lenovo representative at GrupoCVA to explore the possibilities of exchanging this ThinkPad that is not a ThinkPad for a real ThinkPad such as a R400, R500, T400 or T500 and of course assured them of our willingness to pay the difference. The Representative was quite friendly and sympathetic and explained that she would have to seek an authorization from Lenovo in order to accomplish the exchange. After 5 or 6 days of waiting she contacted us to inform us that Lenovo refused to authorize such an exchange.

 

This strikes us as being VERY different from what we had become accustomed to with IBM. One of the principal reasons we have given customers for paying a bit more for ThinkPads than for competitive products was the fact that IBM/Lenovo was behind the guarantee and that there was absolutely no better provider of of service on the planet.

 

I am hoping that you will reassure me that my expectations from Lenovo are justified and that Lenovo really does not want to charge me the price of a laptop to convince people not to purchase their products when we are in fact ready and willing to pay for a product that we can offer to the GNU/Linux community.

 

Sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

Ing. Richard Couture

Novell CNE, ECNE, MCNE

HP/Compaq ASE

Tel.: (52) (33) 3145-2638

Cel.: (044) 33 3377-7505

Web: http://www.LinuxCabal.com

E-Mail: rrc@linuxcabal.com

 

 

 

 

Reply
Options

281 Posts

10-01-2008

Denver, CO

461 Signins

3923 Page Views

  • Posts: 281
  • Registered: ‎10-01-2008
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Views: 3923
  • Message 2 of 15

Re: No more ThinkPads with GNU/Linux

2009-03-01, 1:13 AM

As someone who is running Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 on an SL400 I have to disagree somewhat.

 

Yes, the SL series for reasons we'll never know has an ideapad bios.  This means the volume keys simply do not work.  However, while the volume is not particularly loud, it is more than loud enough for me, and using some tricks like -af volume=8 in mplayer is capable of working well enough.

 

It's fast, reliable, and everything but the modem and the volume keys work.  My real complaint is the broken ACPI part of the bios that sets brightness however, is still irksome, and it's a shame that Lenovo has forced the linux kernel developers to write hackish code to fix this problem so you can get full brightness out of your laptop.  If Lenovo would simply apply the fix tha has already been posted to their bios so hat it was compliant with the ACPI spec for brightness we'd be halfway home.

 

My REAL complaint about the SL series is that someone spent money on putting a flashing red led on the top of the lid to let me know my laptop is asleep, but couldn't be bothered with either a thinklight or a backlit keyboard.  Now that's a real feature I could use.  That and the damned glossy top.  Whoever approved that needs to be taken out back and given a blanket party.

Reply
Options

20 Posts

02-27-2009

Guadalajara, Jalisco, México

14 Signins

147 Page Views

  • Posts: 20
  • Registered: ‎02-27-2009
  • Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
  • Views: 147
  • Message 3 of 15

Re: No more ThinkPads with GNU/Linux

2009-03-01, 9:42 AM

The point of this story is that Lenovo saw fit to call the SL castrati ThinkPads instead of IdeaPads. Those of us who have been through several generations of ThinkPads with GNU/Linux (Since 2002 for me) have come to trust that everything works because of the kernel modules which provide all of the features and acpi functions for the ThinkPads...

 

However, this SL400 Boat anchor that I was talked into by a Lenovo rep not only has problems with the lack of volume, and the lack of ability to control the screen brightness, nor can it use the fingerprint reader, nor does it properly support the multi media tools like totem and xine and mplayer properly, nor does the list end with these short comings...

 

The SL ThinkPads are false advertising. They are not ThinkPads, they are IdeaPads in ThinkPad clothing.

 

Prior to acquireing  this turd in a punch bowl, I have owned 9 other varios models of ThinkPads which have all functioned perfectly with varios distros of GNU/inux.

 

As far as I am concerned, Lenovo has lied to me and then ripped me off.

 

 

 

Reply
Options

20 Posts

02-27-2009

Guadalajara, Jalisco, México

14 Signins

147 Page Views

  • Posts: 20
  • Registered: ‎02-27-2009
  • Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
  • Views: 147
  • Message 4 of 15

SL Thinkpad is an IdeaPad trying to be more than it is

2009-03-01, 9:55 AM

Funny how this post which I have reposted atleast 4 times in the last 2 days seems to misteriously disappear! Maybe I should post on ZDNet or SlashDot or maybe submit some editorials to Linux Magazine and Linux World and ...

 

Note from Moderator:  Please don't post the same message in multiple boards/threads as it splinters the discussion.  Duplicate(s) portion of message removed.
Message Edited by JaneL on 03-01-2009 02:06 PM
Reply
Options

281 Posts

10-01-2008

Denver, CO

461 Signins

3923 Page Views

  • Posts: 281
  • Registered: ‎10-01-2008
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Views: 3923
  • Message 5 of 15

Re: No more ThinkPads with GNU/Linux

2009-03-01, 10:24 AM

Now you're just romantisizing the past.  I had a T-42 when they first came out and it took me a year before I had a stable distro to run on it.  The video was iffy for a while, I had to download all kinds of extra stuff to make my network card work,   And my speakers on my T-42 were no better than the ones on my SL400, weak and tinny.  At least they moved them onto the top deck on the SL where you can hear them.  The T-42 had a much tinner sound as well.

 

Plus, with a 9 cell battery, the mobo of the T-42 was prone to excessive flexing and I had to replace my motherboard twice in three years.  And I wasn't the only one, we probably had a 20 to 30% failure rate on that model T-42 due to motherboard issues.

 

Mplayer works quite well on my T-42, as long as I set the res by hand and use -vo x11. If I'd get around to upgrading to 8.10 I wouldn't have to do that apparently.  I had major problems getting video working the first year I had my T-42, and video wasn't really solid until I'd had for a year and a half.

 

The key to a thinkpad that works well with Linux is not buying one in the first year it comes out.  Let the crazy pioneer folk buy them and submit patches and work that stuff out first.  I was one of the crazy pioneers on the T-42 with mixed results, and I have to say, being a crazy pioneer on the SL-400 is less painful than the T-42 was.

 

Most everything in an SL-400 is new, and Linux is playing catchup.  When I got my T-42 the same thing was true.  Lenovo can't pull all the load in makng working video drivers etc for linux.  They can get off their fat asses and fix the ACPI in the bios, but overall the SL-400 is a decent machine with a few teething problems.  If I want a turd in a punch bowl I'll buy a Dell.  You can feel the things wearing out in real time.

Reply
Options

281 Posts

10-01-2008

Denver, CO

461 Signins

3923 Page Views

  • Posts: 281
  • Registered: ‎10-01-2008
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Views: 3923
  • Message 6 of 15

Re: SL Thinkpad is an IdeaPad trying to be more than it is

2009-03-01, 10:37 AM

Wow, I just can't believe how venemous you sound.  I'm no apologist for Lenovo.  I've made it clear how disappointed I am in many aspects of their business, like shipping, customer service, and the botched bios in the SL series that needs fixing.

 

But let's face some facts.  A new T-400 thinkpad is gonna set me back about twice as much as a similar SL-400.  They're not the same machine, they're not in the same class.   The SL-400 is a hybrid between the two lines, I agree.  But it's got a think pointer, mine never crashes or hangs or reboots running linux, and I can coax it to do everything I need it to.  

 

I had hard time with my T42 in the beginning too.

 

I didn' t cry about abandonment.  I just submitted bug reports and waited for the incredible people who write open source and free software to fix it, and they did.

 

There are people already working on the volume keys, there's a hacked bios for the brightness and a kernel hack of some kind that lets you work around that too.  

 

Maybe your message is getting deleted cause it's all over the boards, instead of in one place?  I don't know.  A lot of the problems you list are just teething issues that will get worked out by open source, because they see broken hardware as just another challenge.

 

I like my SL 400 way better than the old T 42 it replaced.  It's faster, has better sound, and it doesn't crash when I pick it up funny because of a bad motherboard.  It's not perfect, but it's still nicer than a lot of other brands of laptop out there.

Reply
Options

281 Posts

10-01-2008

Denver, CO

461 Signins

3923 Page Views

  • Posts: 281
  • Registered: ‎10-01-2008
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Views: 3923
  • Message 7 of 15

Re: SL Thinkpad is an IdeaPad trying to be more than it is

2009-03-01, 10:50 AM

And I have to say, there are a few areas of vast improvement in the SL series over my old T-42 (and we had T62s where I worked too, they also were nightmarish machines under linux when they first came out.)

 

General accessibility.  Memory can be upgraded by simply removing one panel on the bottom of the machine.  You can also change the CPU out, or the wifi card, or the WWAN card, all by removing a couple of panels on the bottom.  Hell, you can even add a video card to it if you can find the right part.

 

On the T42 and T62 series you had to remove the front bezel, then the keyboard to get to the second memory slot.  Also to replace the wifi card.  You couldn't replace video or CPU, they were both (poorly) soldered to the motherboard.

 

The screen on my SL-400 is better than the one on my T-42.  it's brighter, has higher resolution, and hinges are stiffer so it doesn't move as much when I move around.

 

I can turn off the touchpad in software! woohoo!  On the T-42 they were married from the OS perspective, and I had to use the BIOS to turn off the touchpad.  To me touchpads should only be turned on when needed (paint programs, some games) and left off th rest of the time.  Points, again to the SL-400.

 

I don't know how much you paid after your discount, but I'd gladly pay that for an SL-400.  Again, they ain't perfect.  But they're ok by me.

Reply
Options

20 Posts

02-27-2009

Guadalajara, Jalisco, México

14 Signins

147 Page Views

  • Posts: 20
  • Registered: ‎02-27-2009
  • Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
  • Views: 147
  • Message 8 of 15

Re: SL Thinkpad is an IdeaPad trying to be more than it is

2009-03-01, 16:57 PM

Actually, I did NOT have problems with my 560X nor my I Series 2511, nor my several T23s nor my T61s when they first came out, though that is probably because I have been using my OS (GNU/Linux) since 1992 and I am quite capable and experienced in writing kernel code.

 

The point of this story is that Lenovo saw fit to call the SL castrati ThinkPads instead of IdeaPads. Those of us who have been through several generations of ThinkPads with GNU/Linux (Since 2002 for me) have come to trust that everything works because of the kernel modules which provide all of the features and acpi functions for the ThinkPads...

 

However, this SL400 Boat anchor that I was talked into by a Lenovo rep not only has problems with the lack of volume, and the lack of ability to control the screen brightness, nor can it use the fingerprint reader, nor does it properly support the multi media tools like totem and xine and mplayer properly, nor does the list end with these short comings...

 

The SL ThinkPads are false advertising. They are not ThinkPads, they are IdeaPads in ThinkPad clothing.

 

Prior to acquireing  this turd in a punch bowl, I have owned 9 other varios models of ThinkPads which have all functioned perfectly with varios distros of GNU/inux.

 

As far as I am concerned, Lenovo has lied to me and then ripped me off.

 

Reply
Options

281 Posts

10-01-2008

Denver, CO

461 Signins

3923 Page Views

  • Posts: 281
  • Registered: ‎10-01-2008
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Views: 3923
  • Message 9 of 15

Re: SL Thinkpad is an IdeaPad trying to be more than it is

2009-03-01, 17:32 PM

wrote:

Actually, I did NOT have problems with my 560X nor my I Series 2511, nor my several T23s nor my T61s when they first came out, though that is probably because I have been using my OS (GNU/Linux) since 1992 and I am quite capable and experienced in writing kernel code.

 


 

Wait, which is it?  They worked perfectly from day one, or you had to write kernel code to make them work?  Your braggadocio seems to be blocking your way here.

Reply
Options

20 Posts

02-27-2009

Guadalajara, Jalisco, México

14 Signins

147 Page Views

  • Posts: 20
  • Registered: ‎02-27-2009
  • Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
  • Views: 147
  • Message 10 of 15

Re: SL Thinkpad is an IdeaPad trying to be more than it is

2009-03-01, 21:21 PM

I was able to find drivers for each of these machines from day 1, though in the case ot the earlier models these drivers, such as the pcmcia code, mandated that the kernel, which was in version 1.3 at the time, had to be recompiled to implement the new

code. 

 

In those days IBM had the ThinkPads and they are the ones that wrote the kernel code for the ThinkPad specifics such as apci, and when they used third party chip sets for video, ide, etc... they made certain that there was support.

 

I actually read in posts on the Internet that Lenovo has no intention of contributing kernel code to make the SL ThinkPads compatible since they don't view the SLs as a business solution.

 

 

 

 

Reply
Forum Home

Community Guidelines

Please review our Guidelines before posting.

Learn More

Check out current deals!

Go Shop
X

Save

X

Delete

X

No, I don’t want to share ideas Yes, I agree to these terms