The IBM Thinkpad X31 is the perfect machine for my needs:

Debian is my favourite OS because it's free and flexible. To install Debian Lenny boot either from

I want to give a few hints for configuring Lenny on a X31.

Fan control

I want my X31 to stay cool so I need the fan to run more often than the EC (embedded controler) indicates. Fortunately with a modern Linux kernel you can control the fan speed by software.

I recommend installing tpfand. Then run tpfan-admin with root privileges and setup your switching temperatures for fan speed levels or simply use my /etc/tpfand.conf.


General notes

I often change my workplace during suspended periods. At home I work with the port replicator and solely external human interface devices. On the road I work only with the internal display.

To resume with a working X configuration I run xrandr --auto. Also make sure you have

Option          "IgnoreLidStatus" "off"

in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf's "Device" section, otherwise you get strange behaviour with external screens bigger than XGA while the lid is closed.

Suspend to disk (S4)

I don't do old school shut downs overnight but instead send my X31 into ACPI S4 mode, usually refered to as suspend to disk (or hibernation).

Set up a sufficiently big swap partition (250 MiB is ok for my 1,5 GiB RAM) and install uswsusp. To suspend simply run /usr/sbin/s2disk.

Suspend to RAM (S3)

For short breaks (e.g. in order to catch the next train) I prefer a faster way of suspending, namely ACPI S3 mode, usually refered to as suspend to RAM (or standby).

Unfortunately this is not trivial on the X31. After fiddeling around for a long time I found a way to do it in a reliable way.

  1. Change to a virtual console, e.g. through /bin/chvt 1 or Ctrl-Alt-1.
  2. Run /usr/sbin/s2ram (included in the above package uswsusp).
  3. After resuming change back to X with /bin/chvt 7 or Ctrl-Alt-7.

UPDATE Even the above is no reliable solution. For a real solution I set my hopes on Linux kernel 2.6.29 which includes promising changes.

last edited 03/25/2009,