Home > CrunchBang, GNU/Linux, linux, Linux, ThinkPad > Back to the future

Back to the future

[This item, slightly edited, is copied from an earlier submission to the Larry the CrunchBang Guy blog.]

Unbeknown to my daughter Mimi — and, sadly, I don’t think she reads what her Dad writes in this blog often enough (and if she does, well, consider the surprise spoiled) — she’s about to inherit yet another of Dad’s hand-me-down computers.

First things first: I currently use a ZaReason Alto 3880 laptop running CrunchBang 10 Statler, which is a remarkable machine that, sadly, ZaReason doesn’t make anymore — time and improvements march on, and ZaReason has advanced this laptop series to the current Alto 4330.

My daughter, conversely, has been using for the past few years my old ThinkPad R40, a very sturdy, utilitaran and well-traveled laptop judging by all the stickers on the cover.

Enter a new development: Steam and Valve are ramping up gaming in Linux, and the old R40 — great for her artwork and creating 8-bit music, which takes up most of her digital life — has, well, performance issues when it comes to the higher horsepower needed for games. Her interest in games goes beyond playing them, and with this in mind, I’d like for her to have the better hardware when pitching in on the projects she wants to explore.

Personally, I blame Gabe Newell for Mimi wanting newer hardware, but never mind. Also, for those of you keeping score at home, shelling out for a new ZaReason laptop is out of the question until, at least, Christmas (especially after last week’s $600 car repair which we will not discuss. Ever).

So after saving a ThinkPad T42 from recycling doom recently, I’ve put Waldorf on it — the CrunchBang-11-20121015-i686 version, which works flawlessly (with one caveat, mentioned below) — and I’ll hand down the ZaReason to Mimi.

Now, you go girl.

In the past in other blogs, I’ve said that I am a ThinkPad guy and I have always loved the form factor. That hasn’t changed, and though I’m turning over the keys to the sports car to my daughter and relegating myself to the station wagon, I feel at home with almost any model of ThinkPad.

So back to the hardware I love while looking to the future.

One more thing: There have been installation issues in the past with Waldorf — and, for some reason, it seems to be happening mostly (if not solely) on ThinkPads — where the installation will hang at the “detect disks” point. It came up again yesterday with this current install, and while there’s an extensive discussion involving solutions here, my solution was more simple and straightforward: Disable floppy in the BIOS.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. October 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I don’t use my laptop for anything but emails and other correspondence so my thinkpad T-42 (the terminator model) is absolutely great. I had a T-61 but ended up giving that to one of our Reglue kids. But my Terminator is absolutely great, having survived countless drops, the dog sitting on it and assorted beverages being spilled into the keyboard. Now if I could do memory upgrades without removing a keyboard, I’d be a happy man. THAT is one of two reasons it is still only running 1 gig of RAM. Besides, have you seen what they are asking for 1 gig sticks of DDR SODIMM PC2700? I’ve driven cars I’ve paid less for. Sheesh.

    • October 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Ken — The ThinkPads in the T40 range and the T60 are my favorites, at least of the ones that I’ve had and used. Despite the solder thing in the T42/T43 models, they are pretty indestructable.

  2. October 29, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Will you install Ubuntu on it? (So that it can run Steam) Or will you try and experiment with Steam-for-Crunchbang?

    • October 29, 2012 at 11:58 am

      That’s up to the young lady, Juan :-)

  3. Colonel Panik
    October 30, 2012 at 7:39 am

    We really need to talk about that car repair…… The Colonel knows a lot more about
    cars than computers.

    Valve and Steam will be running on ALL distros. Or is that Steam and Valve?

    Remember when everything wasn’t disposible?

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