On this page I will collect my experiences with installing and running Debian GNU/Linux on an IBM Thinkpad A21p laptop computer.
First, I reinstalled Win98 from the supplied "rescue" CD. This was tedious work, since every IBM-specific driver had to be installed by hand, from the second CD, with >=1 reboot per item...
The rescue CD tries to grab the first partition, so having a boot-partition at the start of the disk for GNU/Linux was ruled out. Fortunately, the boot-loader lilo seems happy the situation anyway.
Note: I had more trouble reinstalling Windows than I had installing GNU/Linux, despite the fact that I had been running Windows for ~10 years, and GNU/Linux for 2 weeks... Once everything was reinstalled, however, the machine worked just fine. I think this says more about the Windows "operating system" than the computer.
Since, at first, I couldn't get the network running, I installed from diskettes. I needed the Rescue and Root diskettes, and downloaded the drivers and base kit to the win-partition.
To get this working automatically, I tinkered a bit with the config files. Being new to GNU/Linux, I'm sure that there are prettier ways, but these modifications at least worked for me...
iface eth0 inet dhcp pre-up /sbin/ifconfig -i eth0 promisc up /sbin/ifconfig -i eth0 promisc
To get the pump-dhcp client working, in /etc/pcmcia/network.opts:
... if is_true $PUMP ; then /sbin/ifconfig -i $DEVICE promisc sleep 1 /sbin/pump -i $DEVICE > /dev/null sleep 1 /sbin/ifconfig -i $DEVICE promisc elif ...
Had to set
HorizSync 30-100 VertRefresh 50-100in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4.