This HOWTO describes the installation of FreeBSD 6.2 on a Thinkpad R50e. For your convenience, I also included parts of the configuration files you might consider useful. All in all, the R50e is a perfect notebook for FreeBSD. Every important device is usable, allowing you to be productive without major annoyances.

Installation

There is a small partition containing something like a rescue system from IBM. To make things simpler, you might decide to keep it. But removing it and using the whole hard disk for your installation should not hurt, either (this is my personal experience).

The actual installation process is really straightforward. Install FreeBSD any way you want.

WLAN

The WLAN chipset driver is now included in the kernel. Simply add the following line to /boot/loader.conf in order to enable it:

if_iwi_load="YES"

Caveat: The driver version I used had some problems when connecting to hidden access points. I recommend turning the SSID broadcast on. Since you, being security-minded, are using WPA2 anyway, this won't decrease your security.

ACPI and powerd configuration

Assuming you want to use ACPI/powerd, there are several things that have to be configured first. Automatic CPU frequency adjustment has to be set up via /etc/rc.conf:

powerd_enable="YES"
powerd_flags="-b adaptive -a max"
performance_cx_lowest="C2"
performance_cpu_freq="1399"
economy_cx_lowest="C3"
economy_cpu_freq="NONE"

These settings seem reasonable to me. However, you might want to change them if you have other objectives. I was told that SpeedStep should be disabled on a R50e, so add hint.ichss.0.disabled="1" to /boot/loader.conf.

The ACPI configuration is quite fast, too. These lines belong into /etc/sysctl.conf:

kern.timecounter.hardware=i8254
debug.acpi.do_powerstate=1

hw.acpi.lid_switch_state=S3
hw.acpi.standby_state=S1
hw.acpi.suspend_state=S3
hw.acpi.sleep_button_state=S3
hw.acpi.sleep_delay=3
hw.acpi.reset_video=0

This allows your Thinkpad to suspend when you close the lid. To enable the Thinkpad keys that control suspension, add acpi_ibm_load="YES" to your /boot/loader.conf. You might also want to take a look at deskutils/tpb. This program is a port that allows you to redefine the (mostly unused) Thinkpad keys.

Sound

snd_ich_load="YES" in /boot/loader.conf enables the sound card.

Other (configuration)

Some files might be of general interest: