A little more study on the ThinkPad T40 leads to the great Linux On Laptops web site with some specific advice on the T40 models and a tremendous amount of details on setting up the millions of little devices – mouse buttons, touchpad, IR, video, sound, modem, ethernet, power management, volume control, wireless – whew! – that make a laptop such a pleasure to use.
After setting the hidden non-partition to “Secure” so that no application would attempt to overwrite it, I used an Ubuntu 6.06 LiveCD to resize the WinXPPro NTFS partition down to 18 Gb and set up a boot, root, and swap partition and then install Ubuntu. I set up all the optional repositories that Ubuntu comes with, update the local machine with 200Mb of updates and reboot. Up and running and current. Pretty cool.
Restarting in Windows, WinXP started CHKDSK, since the partition size had changes and it completed and forced a reboot. On the second start, Windows cheerfully reported it had “installed new devices” and needed to restart. What new devices? Hmm. Restarted again. Sheesh.