With some help from the kind folks of the Gentoo community, I just about wrapped up the migration to the x40 late this afternoon. Unlike OS X, which from what I understand provides a plug and play transfer from old machine to new, Linux is a bit more do it yourself. I know, big surprise. The funny thing was that porting the application data was the easy part. Unlike past experiences with Windows, where I usually had to export data from a local application than reimport it, Linux basically allowed me to sync my home directories and bring all my data – bookmarks, Firefox extensions, GAIM settings, everything – over to the new machine (I used Unison to do this). It was quite nice to be using Firefox this afternoon and have even my browser history available as if I’d never left my x23.
No, the difficulty still – as any desktop Linux familiar could confirm – was hardware support. Thinkpads tend to be pretty solid in that regard, but given that it’s not in the kernel yet most people buying an x40 would have to head here to get the Centrino wireless drivers to work (I’m lucky that Gentoo had them in Portage already, so it was a simple “emerge ipw2200” and everything was installed for me). To add insult to injury, that driver seems to not play nicely with the very useful netapplet plugin I’ve mentioned before.
It still amazes me that a.) hardware acessory suppliers refuse to support Linux fully with officially sanctioned and/or supported drivers (at the very least, release enough information so as to let the community do it themselves) and b.) that platform suppliers with sizable investments in Linux (such as IBM/Lenovo) offer little if any support for those wishing to run something other than Windows on their machines.