Installing Crux Linux on a Thinkpad X60s

I forgot to mention that I put together a Crux system for my X60s the other day, and it went as well as I expected.

The real trick was the inability to boot the 2.6 installation CD from a USB optical drive, but I circumvented that by installing to a virtual machine, and then using dd to export that image to an external hard drive. Then from a live environment I used dd again to send the image back to the internal drive. In short, and for my own reference in the future:

  1. Install something like Arch, which is more of a cousin to Crux than some other distros, and will run a virtual machine fairly light.
  2. Add qemu and install to a RAW format image file. About 3Gb of space should be enough. I left out the home partition, and added it later.
  3. Install Crux to the image file, stopping after the packages and kernel are decompressed. This is mostly to avoid compiling in a virtual machine, which seems rather obtuse and runs very slowly.
  4. dd the file to an external drive, which for me was dd if=qemu-img of=/dev/sdb.
  5. chroot from Arch into the external system. The steps shown in the Crux Handbook will work just fine here, and once you’re working off the external drive, you have all of the processor power available to you.
  6. Build a kernel, update the system and add any software you would like.
  7. Install Grub, remembering that the external drive is (probably) root (1,0).
  8. Boot into a live environment of any flavor, and dd the external drive back across to the internal drive. For me, dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sda did the trick.
  9. Reboot to the new system, and from there you should be able to continue installation or use the computer, as you like.

Beyond that, the only real problems I had were the ones I usually experience when I am working with new hardware. I didn’t get a graphical system working, because apparently this Intel graphics card needs certain settings in the kernel (direct rendering and modesetting built as modules, if I understand it right) so X can do it’s “magic.” 🙄 I will work more on that when I have more time.

The text-only system was dangerously snappy. Boot time from Grub to the login was under 9 seconds — the fastest of any machine I’ve ever owned. If I wanted to use the machine as a framebuffer-based system, like I do on most others, it would be extremely impressive.

But that is an honor I save for the underdogs in this household, not the lead breadwinners. I’ll keep this system cloned on an external drive so I can restore it when I need it, but otherwise, I have a long list of things planned for this computer. … 😈

3 thoughts on “Installing Crux Linux on a Thinkpad X60s

  1. Pingback: Thinking things through: dd over USB1.1 « Motho ke motho ka botho

  2. Jinx Wolf

    I too have a Thinkpad x60s, and I was just wondering what Wifi card do you have in yours? For the past month or so, the only 2 distros that work with my card are Ubuntu and openSUSE. Mine has the a/bgn Atheros AR5008 card, and it has been an absolute PAIN. I’m currently running Xubuntu, but I really miss my Slackware. I was wondering if you figured out the trick to getting this card working, that is, if you even have this card. I’m ready to break down and just order one of the Intel cards.

    p.s. I’ve recently tried building my Ubuntu install from the ground up with the MiniCD and was still unsuccessful in getting the card to work properly.

  3. Pingback: Looking forward to Crux 2.7 « Motho ke motho ka botho

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s