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Linux Certification - What does it mean?

What does Linux certification mean for our customer? It means a system has been tested with a defined Linux distribution and most of the basic functions work (see the table below). Certification is part of our commitment to provide our customers with the information necessary to utilize the Linux operating system. Three major Linux code distributions have been identified for certification; RedHat, Novell, and Turbolinux.

To facilitate certification, we have contracted with two of the key Linux code distributors (Novell and Turbolinux) as well as an external test facility (Keylabs). These test facilities will perform the following services:

  • Discovery testing - Analyze the tested platform for any compatibility issues with the tested distribution and determine the steps necessary for each tested distribution to fully function on the tested platform.
  • Certification testing - Perform industry standard testing for the tested components of the tested platform. A tested platform is deemed as certified when the following core components have been tested successfully: Initial Boot, Disk Partitioning, System Installation, Mouse, Keyboard, VGA Video, SVGA Video, Ethernet Network Interface and IDE controller.
  • Certification Reporting - Certification results are published on the distributor or test facility website. Workarounds and the steps necessary to get a given function to work (if it is not fully supported) are also identified.

We specify the level of Linux code to be certified and the systems to be certified. The following is a list of the components, which are tested by the Linux distributors and test facilities (Tested Components):

Components to be tested for Linux certification
ComponentTest to be performed
Initial Boot
  • The system boots up from the distribution installation CDROM, and successfully launches the installer utility.
Disk Partitioning
  • The full capacity of the installed hard disk is recognized.
  • All necessary system partitions are successfully created
System Installation
  • The installation utility completed in its entirety without error.
Mouse
  • A mouse cursor can be controlled on the screen, both in X (where applicable), and at the console.
Keyboard
  • All standard ASCII characters can be typed in and reproduced on the screen, both in X (where applicable), and at the console.
  • Non-printable characters, such as <ENTER> and <BACKSPACE> must work as expected.
VGA Video
  • A system with a VGA video adapter must support a fully functional text console.
SVGA Video
  • A system with a SVGA video controller installed must meet the 'SVGA Video' criteria, and have the ability to run the X Window System at a video resolution of no less than 800x600, and at a color depth of no less than 8bpp.
  • Proper operation under load must be verified by successfully executing all tests included in the 'x11perf' X11 test suite. (i.e. x11perf -a)
Ethernet Network Interface
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes the network interface and assign an IP address to the network interface.
  • Network connectivity must be verified by issuing an ICMP echo request (ping) to another known good system and verifying that a response is received.
  • Proper operation under load must be verified by transferring and retrieving a 10-megabyte file to and from another known good system, using the FTP protocol.
Modem
  • The modem must respond successfully to standard Hayes compatible AT modem commands using a serial communication program such as 'minicom'. (i.e. the modem must respond with 'OK' to the command 'AT&F')
IDE
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes the IDE controller and identifies all devices connected to it. Proper operation under load must be verified by successfully executing the disk benchmarking utility 'bonnie' using a file of size at least twice that of the existing physical RAM. (i.e. bonnie -s 256)
Audio
  • The system must load a device driver that recognized the audio controller.
  • Proper functionality of the device must be verified by playing an audio stream through the audio device. (i.e. cat file.wav > /dev/audio)
Serial Interfaces
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes all installed serial interfaces. (Also applies to infrared ports)
  • Proper functionality of the device must be verified by communicating with another known good system over the serial interface, either using a serial communication utility such as 'minicom', or using the 'pppd' daemon to establish a network link over the serial interfaces.
Parallel Interfaces
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes all installed parallel interfaces.
  • Proper functionality of the device must be verified by connecting a standard IBM compatible printer to the device and printing standard ASCII test to the printer. (i.e. lpr test.txt)
Bluetooth Optional
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes all installed bluetooth interfaces.
  • Proper functionality of the device must be verified by communicating with another known good system over the bluetooth interface, using the bluetooth testing suite.
Firewire
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes all installed firewire interfaces.
  • Proper functionality of the device must be verified by communicating with another known good system over the firewire interface.
Wireless Ethernet Optional
  • The system must load a device driver that recognizes the network interface and assign an IP address to the network interface.
  • Network connectivity must be verified by issuing an ICMP echo request (ping) to another known good system and verifying that a response is received.
  • Proper operation under load must be verified by transferring and retrieving a 10MB file to and from another known good system, using the FTP protocol.

When testing and certification is complete, the test facility will post the results on a customer accessible website. The test results posted will include the code distribution level tested (Novell Linux Desktop for example) and a list of any devices not fully supported. It will also include any potential workarounds and tips to get a given function to work.

ThinkPad specific functions known to work with Linux are:

  • Projection LCD monitors can work, but Linux does not support the Presentation Director loaded on our systems. The user can manually change the video settings to enable projectors.
  • ThinkPad scroll buttons can be setup in most Linux distributions and made to act correctly

Known problem areas and problems experienced in the past have been:

  • Wireless support - drivers have not been provided for many wireless cards
  • High-end video (3D acceleration for example) - basic video function typically works
  • Certain implementations of Ethernet
  • Power management - suspend/hibernation has been a problem area in the past
  • Modems - driver support
  • Mice - optical mice may not be supported by current mice suppliers
  • Audio - problems in the past have been related to the core chipsets (some chipsets support Linux and some do not)
  • Access IBM button - can define a program to launch, but no Access IBM
  • Rapid Restore PC (Rescue and Recovery)
  • Access Connections

We maintain a website for our customers (http://www.lenovo.com/think/linux) to access if they have questions about Linux on our products. This Web site contains a listing of the products that have been certified and hints or tips for the customer to utilize when enabling certain functions. While we try to enable as much function as possible, no claim is made concerning full support for any version of Linux.