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Thinkpad T60 running Backtrack 5r1 has no audio

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November 23, 2011 3:34:42 AM

A few weeks ago I bought an old IBM Thinkpad T60 (or T60p, I honestly think the only difference may be the "p" in the name O_o). Its memory was fried so I set it up with 4Gb. It had no hard drive so I popped in a 500Gb Seagate. Then it had no operating system so I installed 64-bit GNOME Backtrack 5r1.

I have Windows XP (bleh) on my desktop & have noticed that it is getting old & heading for the grave. I needed a laptop so I found a broken Thinkpad on ebay. I bought it for $40 & got it running w/ a total of about $150. I needed to upgrade from XP and I refused to use Windows 7 (very bleh) so I installed Backtrack. I love it even though I have very little Linux background. <*What!? Backtrack is your 1st Linux distro!? You're in over your head kid!*> Yeah well, things get really boring when they're easy...

So I loaded it up & so far I've had few problems (but still some <*like what?*> I installed vlc media player & it seems to do nothing when I click on it <*that sux. but wait, if your media player won't run how do you know you have no sound?*> good point voice-in-my-head. I was just getting to that...) When I go to the volume option its always set to mute & then below that there's some button -"Sound Properties" I believe- & when I click on that I get an info message that says "Waiting on Sound System to Respond". (<*I read something that said that if the modem was disabled in the T60 it had no sound. Maybe you should go to BIOS and...*> I tried that...three times. Didn't work). The only thing I can get out of the speakers is a beep when I use the buttons on the keyboard to adjust the volume.

So if you, reader-whom-is-probably-a-bit-freaked-out-by-now, have any tips, tricks, suggestions, or "Oh this happened to me and here's how I fixed it..." stories, I would very much appreciate it if you would share some of your all-mighty wisdom with me.
November 23, 2011 5:02:44 AM

For backtrack, including that kinda of stuff isn't a priority.

Why don't you try *ubuntu, Linux mint or Fedora? There's a difference between getting needing to get something into a working state and just having fun.

But if you inisit...

VLC media player might be missing its libraries... To reinstall vlc, as root type in:

  1. apt-get reinstall vlc


Also, an update might solve your issues...

  1. apt-get update


I'm spoilt enough to have sound working in Linux every time. ;) 
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November 23, 2011 1:13:48 PM

I'll second this, especially given that you can install all the tools included in backtrack from the Ubuntu / Debian repositories onto Mint or Ubuntu.

The Thinkpad range are very well supported by Linux. IBM is one of the better HW manufacturers in this regard.
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November 29, 2011 3:25:42 AM

My laptop is a T61p, the T6x series has Intel ICH8 HD Audio, as I recall. Check to make sure that, in the boot logs, alsa reports that it finds it and recognizes it as an audio device.

Next, pop open alsamixer and make sure the settings make sense and that nothing's muted that you care about.

Now, why do you care about audio in BT5 anyway? It's a fairly-well-focused distro that is really meant for pentesting

Also, the "p" indicates an upgraded video option, for example my laptop has the NVidia Quatro FX 570M over the integrated Intel that was standard.
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December 9, 2011 12:27:07 AM

bmouring said:
My laptop is a T61p, the T6x series has Intel ICH8 HD Audio, as I recall. Check to make sure that, in the boot logs, alsa reports that it finds it and recognizes it as an audio device.

Next, pop open alsamixer and make sure the settings make sense and that nothing's muted that you care about.

Now, why do you care about audio in BT5 anyway? It's a fairly-well-focused distro that is really meant for pentesting

Also, the "p" indicates an upgraded video option, for example my laptop has the NVidia Quatro FX 570M over the integrated Intel that was standard.

I looked at the boot log and it didn't recognize any audio devices and I tried a few different things (that I of course found by Googling), none worked. So then I got somewhat bored with it & did something different for awhile. That different thing was downloading & installing Rhythmbox which then proceeded to recognize my sound system and play music. Rock on (quite literally).
I have this way of making everything way harder than it should be (because you learn more from it) so backtrack to me seemed like a good place to start with Linux. I'm using it as my primary OS so I'd like to have music at times. After I can stop calling myself a noob amongst hackers and programmers I want to start messing with the Kernel and building onto it to make a version of Linux unique to my computer(s).
By the way! Some programs refuse to operate when I'm running as root, and I like running as root (Yes, I'm being careful). Have any ideas how to get around that or know what (if any) problems it will cause if I manage to? The worst one about this is VLC.
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December 9, 2011 10:38:25 AM

While I fully encourage the mentality of make it hard / break it and fix it I'm struggling to get my head round 'run as root' and 'learn security' being used in the same paragraph. There are lots of reasons it's a bad idea and you're not going to convince me otherwise. Let me keep this simple: IT'S A BLOODY STUPID THING TO DO!


Run anything as root and if it gets compromised (stack overflow, code injection etc) then if the attack manages to get controll it's got the lot. You've given the attacker the full set of keys and the alarm code. Run it as a user and the worst they can do is what that user can do.

The easy way round this is to just open up a terminal and su to root. If you want to run anything as root then do it from that terminal. When administering Windows systems I make good use of 'runas' which is just like sudo really. Yes, I have to type passwords a few times, but if I'm doing a load of work I just open a shell and fire it all off from there. I usually make sure it's in a vile colour scheme rather than system default to remind me it's a loaded gun.
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December 10, 2011 1:58:56 AM

Whilst the caps lock may have been unnecessary, you make a good point. But at this stage in the game I'm not terribly concerned with security. I just need to learn all my mind can gather.
And okay, in light of the good point I'll make another user.
The worst case scenario at this point though would be backing up the important stuff, formatting the HDD, and reinstalling. There's usually nothing on my laptop that isn't backed up on my other computers though.
So basically for now its just a learning platform and if an attacker gets the keys to my building I can burn it down with him inside. I can certainly afford the time to build another.
Got any other tips aside from running root is stupid? Any good repository URL's or useful programs worth looking at...
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December 10, 2011 11:06:18 AM

The shout was just frustration coupled with mild disapointment. In so many ways you're the sort of poster that brightens up sites like this, a willingness to break things is always good! It just struck me as a backwards move when you're trying to understand security. Consider it dramatic rather than critic - I was waving my arms around too.

End of the day it's your laptop, your learning experience and your right to play it how you see fit. Just that personally I see security and systems as a double sided coin, know one side and you at least have more appreciation for the other.

Personally I'd perhaps look to structure your learning a little. Maybe something like this:

Build a VM environment

1. LAMP Server
2. Desktop/Admin machine
3. Attack / Security audit box

You can learn from both directions. Get the LAMP box up and running and lock it down as hard as you can. Dig into the docs, the mailing lists and see what people are doing and the sort of attacks they are being subjected to.

Get the admin box setup. Ensure that you can remotely administer the system, perhaps play with a Webmin front end onto the LAMP system, X forwarding etc.

Get your pen testing/ security box setup, this would basically be your backtrack install. Knowing what systems are running on the other two boxes you'll now have an idea where you might find weeknesses. Look at capturing passwords with a sniffer, repeate the experiment with the admin box using ssh to the LAMP etc. You can play at trying to kill the LAMP with flood attacks, injection all sorts of other fun games. Then you can work on the hard stuff, like making sure you don't appear in the log files ;) 

I appreciate you're a bit limited with just a laptop, but the VM's would not be huge and it would all run. Failing that a switch and your desktop added to the mix could easily be another VM, maybe your own DNS server so you can really start to have some fun.

Keep playing though! :) 
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December 12, 2011 12:53:28 PM

I would also suggest, if you know how to code, actually writing an unsafe application and exploit it yourself (a fine example: unsanitized user input attacks or the ol' standby, buffer overflows).

But yes, do so in a VM so you can always restore to a known good snapshot once things get stuffed up (and they will). And I share my frustration with AVD, just really, really don't run as root all day, every day. As you work along in your learnings, you will see more and more why this is a bad idea.
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December 12, 2011 5:08:43 PM

+1 on the code knowledge.

My head went west when learning C++ and I've never really gotten back into code. What little I did though certainly helped me to see others way of thinking. For web stuff PHP & Ruby might be a good place to play.
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