The purpose of this page is to provide information on what is required to get the various hardware components of the IBM ThinkPad i Series 1460/1480 working. I own the 1480 model, but I believe that most of the hardware is the same for the 1460 and the 1560. Hopefully you can take this information and decide which distribution will work best for you or decide how to make a distribution work for you.

Please e-mail any suggestions, comments, or corrections to the address at the end of the page.

Linux Kernel

I highly recommend using at least version 2.2.12. ESS Solo 1 support has been added experimentally starting with version 2.2.12. There is a binary only driver, compiled for version 2.2.12-20 (RedHat 6.1), available for the internal Lucent Winmodem. VESA frame buffer support is required in order to get X working, which is supported by all 2.2 kernels.


XFree86 versions and later work on the system. Future versions (after XFree86 3.3.5) are supposed to support the ATI Rage Mobility-M with the Mach64 X server. With the experimental VESA frame buffering enabled in the kernel, the SVGA X server will work with the video chip. Here is a link to a sample XF86Config file for the SVGA X server that supports only 1024x768 resolution. The XF86Config file was based on RedHat 6.1 distribution but the only modification needed to get it to work on another should only be to the Fonts section.

The SVGA server from 3.3.6 doesn't work quite right for me. Here is a XF86Config that will work with the frame buffer server. It will work with other versions too.


Versions 2.2.12 and later of the kernel includes experimental support for the ESS Solo 1. Sound can easily be enabled by compiling and loading the sound module.

I have heard that the sound can also be enabled using drivers from the ALSA-Project. I haven't heard any argument supporting that one driver is significantly better than the other. I would like to though.


Here is a link to Linux Winmodem Support which has a pointer to a binary-only kernel module for the Lucent Winmodem included in the laptop. It appears that this module was compiled for kernel version 2.2.12-20, which is the kernel of RedHat GNU/Linux 6.1. It works find with a custom 2.2.12 but complains that it was meant for 2.2.12-20. I have heard it works with 2.2.13 with minor problems. This error message is display when module is loaded: bug: kernel timer added twice at c206fd19. I don't know if it will work with kernels earlier than 2.2.12 or later than 2.2.13.

The install script that is included was designed for the init scripts that RedHat uses. A minor modification to the install script may be required for other distributions.


PCMCIA support should work just fine. Just remember to have the source handy if you compile your own kernel. Keep in mind that 32-bit (carbus) PCMCIA cards are not widely supported as of version 3.1.8 of the PCMCIA service.


Playing DVD's is not supported on the laptop. There may be software support in the future.

Here is a link to's DVD on Linux.

ThinkPad Control Tool, USB, Number Pad, S-Video...

I don't have any experience with any of these components yet, but the link below to the i 1460 site does.

Linux Distribution Notes

I have tried installing Debian 2.1, Debian 2.2 (pre-release), RedHat 6.1, and Redhat 6.2. RedHat 6.2 works the best, out of the box. So for those of you who don't have the time or the want, RedHat 6.2 may be the way to go.

Other Resources

5 June 2000