Lenovo Thinkpad T420

From Funtoo
Revision as of 13:41, September 9, 2017 by Palica (talk | contribs) (→‎A note on Gnome)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Throughout, this article will assume the following:

  • You have installed Gentoo or Funtoo in the past.
    • If you haven't, this article will still serve you well, but please have either the official funtoo, or gentoo install guides open. We move through non-machine-specific bits with little elaboration.
  • Have a T420 or similar machine.

Even if you do not have a T420, you may find this guide useful for:

  • Nvidia Optimus Cards.
  • Power management.
  • General setup.

This installation assumes (For now) that the install is starting from an MS-Windows installation. If you are not on Windows, please add your favourite choice of steps, keep the emphasis on ease of understanding.

Getting Started

You'll want to get yourself running off a LiveCD or LiveUSB to start. This guide will assume liveUSB, since some users find them more difficult to prepare, this is usually due to boot flag issues. (Note: Live USB restore drives are nice to have in general! The author keeps one in his college binder.)


We can use LiLi for this, it provides a nice, simple interface and is fairly reliable: LiLi Download


Grab the version that Suites your needs here: Sysrescue Download Next use LiLi (Or whatever you happen to be using) to flash the image or burn your CD. Reboot, change your boot device, and you'll find yourself at a grub menu.

Since the T series are all 64-bit laptops, make sure to boot the 64-bit kernel, as the default is 32-bit.

But Why?: If we pick 32-bit, later on we won't be able to chroot into our Funtoo's 64-bit stage 3.

You should see a fairly verbose boot as sysrescueCD scans for modules it requires and starts up. It is safe to simply accept prompt defaults here, unless they are errors.

When you are greeted by the interactive command prompt, enter 'wizard' as prompted, and accept the default entry in the dialogue. This will give us a functioning XFCE desktop environment.


Partitioning is the only step of this install which provides real risk to data on other operating systems. Be extremely careful if there is something you do not wish to loose. These steps are not foolproof and may result in lost data.

Please be aware that MBR disks only support 4 primary partitions. You can solve this by creating an 'extended' partition and adding logical partitions to it. If you are feeling particularly brave try GPT on your disk.

So lets start: First open up gparted. You should see it on the taskbar if you're using systemrescueCD. It will scan available drives and show you the partition table. Most users will likely find one of the following to their liking:

Pure Funtoo

You'll likely want:

/boot       :: EXT2       :: 100mb-500mb
    ''Note: We choose EXT2 because there is really no good use for a journalled boot partition, but feel free to use EXT4 instead!''
/           :: EXT4       :: 60gb (suggested floor value) - 500+
swap        :: linux-swap :: Your RAM Value (Optional, allows for hibernation)

You may wish for a separate /home, which is perfectly legitimate, or any number of other partitions.

Dual Boot with Windows

If dual booting with Windows, it is advisable to have Windows installed first since it will muck with the MBR and possibly want to create it's own boot partition. You'll likely want:

System Reserved    :: NTFS      :: Whatever windows chooses.
Windows            :: NTFS      :: >100gb (If you plan on doing any serious work on windows)
/boot              :: EXT2      :: 100mb-500mb
Extended Partition -
  /                :: EXT4      :: Whatever is left.
  swap             :: linux-swap:: Your RAM value. (Optional, allows for hibernation)

You may also want a separate /home, etc. These will fit into your extended partition without contributing to MBR's 4 partition limit.

Starting the (actual) Install

Up until now everything we've done has just been foreplay. Finally we can mount our partitions and get started on the installation!


First, lets mount all of our partitions.

  • Make a directory for root. Lets assume /mnt/funtoo
root # mkdir /mnt/funtoo
  • Mount your '/' partition to /mnt/funtoo
root # mount /dev/sd## /mnt/funtoo
  • Make a directory for your boot partition.
root # mkdir /mnt/funtoo/boot
  • Mount your boot partition.
root # mount /dev/sd## /mnt/funtoo/boot
  • Mount anything else you may have made and need. (Not swap)

Checking the Date

Although this may seem super un-important, if you want to avoid lots of spammy warning messages later, checking your date is beneficial.

root # date

If it needs to be set, you'll want something like:

root # date 071620002011
root #Fri Jul 16 20:00:00 UTC 2011

Fetch a Stage 3

Next we need to fetch a tarball containing a barebones stage. We will download the core-i7 architecture version, if you have a core i5 or i3, don't worry, it's all the same.

root # cd /mnt/funtoo
root # wget http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/funtoo/funtoo-current/x86-64bit/corei7/stage3-current.tar.xz

Next let's unpack with:

root # tar xJpf stage3-current.tar.xz
Seriously, don't forget the 'p' option.

If you run 'ls' now, you should see the /mnt/funtoo is fully populated with folders such as lib, home, and proc.


Now we need to change the apparent root of our system to our fledgling Funtoo system.

root # cd /mnt/funtoo
root # mount --bind /proc ./proc
root # mount --bind /dev ./dev
root # cp /etc/resolv.conf ./etc
root # env -i HOME=/root TERM=$TERM chroot /mnt/funtoo /bin/bash --login

Getting the Portage Tree

Funtoo (Unlike Gentoo) uses a git based portage tree, however if you're coming from Gentoo, you'll be glad to know we sync with the Gentoo tree once every 12 hours.

root # emerge --sync

You can ignore most of the errors that might be spat out at this stage, however if they do not disappear on subsequent merges, talk to us in #funtoo. Your first sync will take significantly longer then subsequent syncs, as the whole tree must be synced.

A Configuration Celebration

Now that we have our portage tree cloned, we need to do some initial setup on some files before doing anything else with portage.


root # nano /etc/fstab

You'll want something like this: (Replace the dev values with what you are using)

# <fs>			<mountpoint>	<type>		<opts>		         <dump/pass>

/dev/sda1		/boot		ext2		noauto,noatime  	 1 2
/dev/sda3		none		swap		sw		         0 0
/dev/sda4		/		ext4		noatime		         0 1
/dev/cdrom		/mnt/cdrom	auto		noauto,ro	         0 0


Lets remove the default localtime, and create a symbolic link to the proper time zone. (You probably will want something other then Vancouver)

root # rm /etc/localtime
root # ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Vancouver /etc/localtime

Hostname Set your host name:

root # nano /etc/conf.d/hostname


If you're using a dual boot system, you'll want to change this. Otherwise it's entirely optional.

root # nano /etc/conf.d/hwclock

If you're on windows you'll want:

root # clock="local"

Make.conf Important enough that it deserves it's own article. A template make.conf for the T420 will be forthcoming.

For now: If you have an i5 or i3 you will want the following in /etc/portage/make.conf:


If you have an i7 you'll probably want:


But I have Hyperthreading! Why only -j3? Hyperthreading and compiling don't play well together. You'll have the same (or better) performance with -j3 as -j5 with a dual core hyper threaded processor.

Stop, Kernel time!

For this guide we'll be using some pre-found config options that I will be adding later.

  • Networking:
    • iwlwifi and auxilary
    • Unknown intel ethernet adapter. Selected several.
  • GPU
    • Intel available default.
    • nvidia will be dealt with later


  • wpa_supplicant
  • iwl6000-ucode
  • wireless-tools

Bootloader Setup

In funtoo the setup of grub is extremely simplified.

root # emerge -vqat boot-update

Q: What are those options? A: We'll get to them later, lets get the system booted first, okay? Boot-update is a tool that will allow for very simple configuration of grub similar to older versions (But nicer still).

You will now edit the file /etc/boot.conf:

boot {
        generate grub
        default "Funtoo Linux genkernel"
        timeout 3 

"Funtoo Linux" {
        kernel bzImage[-v]
        # params += nomodeset

"Funtoo Linux genkernel" {
        kernel kernel[-v]
        initrd initramfs[-v]
        params += real_root=auto 
        # params += nomodeset

This can be configured (We'll touch on this later. We need to make sure the kernel is booting and working before we start tweaking) with options for the kernel.

Dual-Booters Only

If you want to dual boot with windows you'll need to add an entry here:

"Windows 7" {
    type win7
    params root=/dev/sda1

Installing Grub onto the Drive(Everyone)

Next we can install grub onto the drive.

root # grub-install --no-floppy /dev/sda
root # boot-update

No errors means we should be good to go!

Tidy up and go.

Just a few more things!

Lets set a root password.

root # passwd

It is advisable to exit the chroot and umount all the relevant install drives. Or at least just exit the chroot, but you can just simply reboot from here.

root # exit
root # cd /
root # umount /mnt/funtoo/boot /mnt/funtoo/dev /mnt/funtoo/proc /mnt/funtoo
root # reboot

Configuring the New System

Welcome to funtoo! You should be greeted by a bunch of spammy text that scrolls by reasonably fast and then a couple penguins and openrc. Login to your root user and lets start playing.

A note, this part of the guide is meant to be much more of a dialogue between us.

Getting up the (wired) network

If you're gifted with a wired network connect, use it! The initial setup is much more convenient and quick.

Quickly set up the network with

root # /etc/init.d/dhcpcd start

Now check to see if our wired adapter is listed with ifconfig.

root # ifconfig
root #  (or)
root # ping google.com

If you see it listed with a description, we're good to go!

Editing the make.conf

Before we start merging into our tree everything under the sun, lets do some system planning.

You can use this as a starting point:

# These settings were set by the metro build script that automatically built this stage.
# Please consult /etc/make.conf.example for a more detailed example.

CFLAGS="-march=corei7 -O2 -pipe"
CXXFLAGS="-march=corei7 -O2 -pipe"

 # -j3 :: Have make use 3 threads by default.
 #  Setup emerge's default options:
 #    --ask     :: Double check before merging.
 #    --verbose :: Show use flags etc.
 #    --quiet  :: Don't show me make spam.
 #    --tree    :: Use nice dependancy graphs.
EMERGE_DEFAULT_OPTS="--ask --verbose --quiet --tree"

# Portage Features
#    TODO: Descriptions
FEATURES="mini-manifest parallel-fetch userfetch parallel-install sandbox fixpackages collision-protect"

 #  We might use binary packages later. Lets set that up just in case.

 # CCache
 #   This is not going to be done by default.
 #   Why? It's only wortwhile if you plan on compiling packages multiple
 #   times per version, which the average user will not.

# Licenses
#   By default we're just going to accept everything.

# Device Specific Settings
#    INPUT_DEVICES :: A list of input devices you'll be wanting. This is needed for xorg and not much else.
INPUT_DEVICES="evdev synaptics"
#    VIDEO CARDS   :: A list of video cards. Optimus users beware here.
VIDEO_CARDS="intel i915 i965 nvidia"

# Use flags.
#   Application specific flags should be migrated to /etc/portage/package.use (which can be a folder with multiple files!)
#   To look at the user flags for an application use "equery uses FOOPKG"
acpi alsa /
bash-completition /
curl /
dvdr /
ithreads /
ncurses networkmanager/
policykit /
ssl sse sse2 sse3 sse4 /
threads /
udev /
vim-syntax /
zsh-completion /

Installing an Editor

Well, first things first lets get ourselves an editor. The author prefers vim, but you may like emacs or something else... Feel free to disregard this and explore! If you plan to have multiple users however, this will often be expected by experienced linux users.

root # emerge vim

Check that your USE flags look reasonable (see above) and feel free to do any fine tweaking in /etc/portage/package.use. Consult your output after merge! You may want to follow some of it's advice.

You can find multiple good guides on google for vim configurations and setups. Funtoo also provides a very nice base configuration in /etc/vim/vimrc.

Boot Parameters

The T420 has a number of boot parameters that can be set to conserve power. Edit /etc/boot.conf. On a laptop these options are generally reasonable:

boot {
	generate grub
	default "Funtoo Linux" 
	timeout 15 

"Funtoo Linux" {
	kernel bzImage[-v]
	#   Force PCIE Active State Power Management on.
	params += pcie_aspm=force
	#   TODO (Range 1..15)
	params += epb=7
	#   TODO
	params += hpet=force
	#   i915 Enable rc6 sleep state (?)
	params += i915.i915_enable_rc6=1
	#   TODO (Framebuffer?)
	params += i915.i915_enable_fbc=1
	#   Downclock the lvds screen (60hz -> 50hz)
	params += i915.lvds_downclock=1
        #   Quiet some of the excessively verbose kernel boot
        params += quiet

"Windows 7" {
        type win7
        params root=/dev/sda1

#"Funtoo Linux genkernel" {
#	kernel kernel[-v]
#	initrd initramfs[-v]
#	params += real_root=auto 

When you're done, update grub with:

root # boot-update

Power Saving Local Scripts

Next we're going to set up a script that runs at default runlevel for the machine. This will echo several options to various dev files. Most distros would do this via /etc/rc.local or something of the like.

With Funtoo (and Gentoo) this is accomplished via editing /etc/local.d/power-saving.start:

Consult the README (in directory) for more information.
$ cat /etc/local.d/power-saving.start
# /bin/bash
echo 1 > /sys/modules/snd_hda_intel/parameters/power_save
for i in /sys/bus/usb/devices/*/power/autosuspend; do
    echo 1 > $i
for i in /sys/class/scsi_host/host*/link_power_management_policy; do
    echo min_power > $i

If you copy this wholesale remember to chmod -x the file!


rc.conf lets us change some options to do with open RC.

First, lets set rc_sys to it's default, this will suppress a warning message at boot. Edit the file /etc/rc.conf:


Next, we can turn on rc_parallel to speed boot up (also in /etc/rc.conf):


If you get errors or problems with services on boot, try turning this off.

Making it Usable

Next we'll be setting up a normal user and installing the venerable Xorg.

Mouse in framebuffer

Right now we should be looking at a framebuffer'd console.

root # /etc/init.d/gpm start

gpm is a daemon that allows us to use our mouse (trackpad/trackpoint) on console. Give it a try! If you want to keep it on across boots, add it to your init.

root # rc-update add gpm default

Making a New User

Lets use superadduser to make the task ever so much easier (Though, it is already easy)

root # emerge superadduser
root # superadduser

Walk through the prompts and set up your user how you choose.

Sudo Make Me a Sandwich

Next lets merge in sudo, and set up our new user to be able to use sudo.

root # emerge sudo

Now edit the config with:

root # visudo

You'll probably want to uncomment out one of the two options:

root ## Uncomment to allow members of group wheel to execute any command
root # %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
root ## Same thing without a password:
root # %wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

Now just add your user to the 'wheel' group.

root # gpasswd -a foouser wheel
root # exit

Now re-login as your user, and you should be good to go!


Before we emerge xorg, lets get tmux working so we can easily scroll through output and look at USE flags etc.

root # emerge tmux

The default config will suffice for now. You may find it beneficial to learn to use tmux properly sometime, but for now we'll hold hands.

root # tmux

Now we can scroll through output with CTRL+B [ and the up and down arrows.


Xorg is a large topic in and on itself. We'll focus on getting a working xorg and a simple window manager.

root # (in tmux)
user $ sudo emerge xorg-server

Once again use CTRL+B [ to start scrolling (escape to exit) and look through your use flags, adding anything you might want.

A note on Gnome

Want to get rid of that awful lock screen on wake from suspend?

root # gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.lockdown disable-lock-screen 'true'