Well, I think I have found the Linux flavor for my R61 Thinkpad.
I have tried:
Version of Linux / Reason(s) for not keeping on my notebook
1. Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04 - the Ubuntu guys/community has done a great job of making Linux a more user friendly distro than most. Out of the box most everything works without a hitch this is great! But, I need more battery life than 2 hours which was the maximum I was able to obtain with Ubuntu tweaked with Powertop and all un-needed services swithced off.
2. Debian Etch - The tried and true base for most things *nix. But, I didn't have the time or the energy to manually configure everything that I needed to configure. For example the screen resolution, Wifi card and Suspend to Ram.
3. ParsiX - This little up and comer from Iran is a very nice "niche" linux. Only issue with this distribution is the use of Xorg 7.2 and the "bug" with the Lenovo screens. Whatever I tried to fix it with just would not give me the use of my entire screen.
Redhat based -
4. Centos 5.1 - It truly is wonderful that Redhat, even though they don't want to delve into the desktop arena are allowing the source to be put out for free "as is" this allows many people to use Centos as a highly reliable server for years to come. With many having great luck on older hardware and desktops. But for a newer notebook this is just flat out not the distro, I am not knocking it at all it is awesome and I still use it for server purposes but not for my R61. The Suspend to Ram, Suspend to Disk, Wifi are not able to be used without recompiling a newer kernel from scratch 2.6.18 just cant cut it these days.
5. Fedora - This is great if you are looking for cutting edge low life cycle Linux fun, but if you are looking for support longer than 13 months you are in the wrong place. There is a great wiki entry in regards to this, and that in and of itself is one of the few reasons I have to say nay to Fedora.
6. OpenSuse 10.3 - This is/was my favorite distro as I have used Suse on and off since Suse7 and loved it. But the ports that seems to be made for the Suse SLED 10.1 that is shipped with R61's never seemed to make it into the 10.3 tree in time for me to be able to deal with. I really hated giving this one up but the lack of battery life and the screen resolution "bug" shared with Parsix made me switch.
7. Wow! I was always gun shy of a distro that asked you to pay for Linux. But after trying to free version I may deviate from that path. Everything works, less the Opek Finger print scanner but that will come in time. Add the availability or "Laptop" kernels for power savings and I am SOLD!
Granted I have not tried Slackware or Gentoo, maybe one day.
More to follow later.....