Ubuntu Linux on an Ageing IBM Thinkpad

A couple of years ago I put Ubuntu 5.04 on my old IBM Thinkpad 390X, it worked sort of OK but the sound was all messed up amongst other things so I gave up and went back to Win 2K. Recently I decided to have another go with Feisty (7.04), I had to use the alternative CD as the live CD required more RAM than the system could provide. As in most cases the installation went without a hitch and the poor sound, as well as some other other previous problems were now OK. Since the last try I had installed a wireless network and I really didn’t have any expectations of getting this to work. As expected Ubuntu didn’t even ‘see’ the installed PCMCIA wireless card that Win 2K worked with. But, I also had an old 3Com USB wireless stick (3CRUSB10075) lying around which I hadn’t been able to get to work on any PC or laptop running Win XP or Win 2K, so I assumed it was knackered, but what the hell I thought give it a go. Plugged it in and ‘bingo’ Ubuntu network manager popped up, saw the stick and promptly asked if I wanted to connect to my wireless network, success! I was even more surprised that this was a bog standard installation of Ubuntu with the included network manager plus I was using a previously useless USB wireless stick. This time I think Ubuntu is going to stay on my old Thinkpad 390X

4 Replies to “Ubuntu Linux on an Ageing IBM Thinkpad”

  1. Found your journal entry about installing Ubuntu 5.04 on your old IBM Thinkpad 390X quite fascinating as I have the same model, though upgraded years ago to a 20GB HDD and 256 Kb RAM. It’s been running reliably for years now (except for the batteries) on Windows 98 SE, but as all forms of rational support have disappeared, and since it’s probably due for the HDD to be repartitioned, your upgrade got my attention. And now that Ubuntu 8.04 LTS has been released, it looks to be quite a viable upgrade, and time to give it a shot. Thanks for sharing your info!

  2. Thanks JargonTalk, a word of caution however. I am currently running this laptop on Ubuntu 7.10 very successfully but I’m having problems in upgrading to 8.04 so will probably keep 7.10 which can be downloaded from http://releases.ubuntu.com/7.10/
    UPDATE! I have now managed to get Ubuntu 8.04 onto this IBM ThinkPad 390X. I couldn’t get it to boot off the original 8.04 CD so I burned another copy and restricted the burn speed to x4 which produced a usable CD.

  3. Thanks for the info – I’m hoping
    this will solve the screen-res
    problem with my 390X –
    which has been limited to
    800X600 when trying the “latest”
    Ubuntu.
    – Maeve

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