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You can also check the Lenovo Support website's driver matrix. This worked on the R31, X22, T21, T30 and T41p with various firmware updates.
Lenovo/IBM provides firmware upgrades in a variety of packages: The Linux diskette is just the Diskette package that runs on Linux instead of Windows/DOS. On the X22, it worked with ECP 1.30 but not with BIOS 1.32 Lenovo recommends reseting your BIOS settings to their factory defaults after a firmware update.
OK, this post is more about creating the bootable USB stick needed, was too much of a chicken to try Flashrom …
First, find your serial number, for querying Lenovo support (BIOS upgrade) pages.
The following steps make it easy to update Gigabyte QFlash BIOSes on a linux box (albeit with non free software).
Gigabyte tech support aren't much help, suggesting that users can just extract it on a Windows box. The Gigabyte QFlash binaries are simply self extracting rar files.
Here's how to convert the bootable CD ISO images under Linux in order to update the BIOS from a USB stick.
Before upgrading your BIOS, you may want to look up which version of the BIOS you are currently running.
It is important to understand that Thinkpads from IBM have two separate firmwares: the BIOS, and the Embedded Controller Program (ECP). You can find them at the page BIOS_Upgrade/X_Series. In that case, extract the disk image with cabextract as per instructions above and dd it to an usb stick.
A given BIOS version will require a certain version of the ECP. (This will destroy the data on it, of course.) Acquire a pure DOS boot cd such as Windows 98 recovery CD and boot that.