Installing the latest version of Debian ThinkPad R52 was not as straight forward as I thought. I had only one issue and this blog post talks about that. Since I manually solved this problem, I hope a blog post might be useful for others.
The problem occurs while detecting "Network devices". The installer is unable to proceed because the process (ethdetect) which detects all network devices never returns control to the installer. Since IBM ThinkPad R52 comes with Intel wireless chip, the driver needs firmware which are not part of Debian official release.
noorul@laptop:~$ lspci | grep Wireless 04:02.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 2200BG [Calexico2] Network Connection (rev 05)
The installer keeps on looking for this firmware in /dev/fd0 (i.e floppy disk) which my machine don't have and it loops. See below.
Feb 6 11:18:09 kernel: [ 210.472933] FAT: utf8 is not a recommended IO charset for FAT filesystems, filesystem will be case sensitive! Feb 6 11:18:13 kernel: [ 214.710322] end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0 Feb 6 11:18:26 kernel: [ 227.758197] end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0 Feb 6 11:18:26 kernel: [ 227.758207] FAT: utf8 is not a recommended IO charset for FAT filesystems, filesystem will be case sensitive! Feb 6 11:18:30 kernel: [ 231.454131] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds Feb 6 11:18:30 kernel: [ 231.454335] EXT3 FS on sda9, internal journal Feb 6 11:18:30 kernel: [ 231.454338] EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode. Feb 6 11:18:39 kernel: [ 240.810198] end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0 Feb 6 11:18:39 kernel: [ 240.810207] FAT: unable to read boot sector Feb 6 11:18:52 kernel: [ 253.874008] end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0 Feb 6 11:19:05 kernel: [ 266.933613] end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0 Feb 6 11:19:05 kernel: [ 266.933630] attempt to access beyond end of device Feb 6 11:19:05 kernel: [ 266.933633] fd0: rw=0, want=66, limit=8 Feb 6 11:19:05 kernel: [ 266.933636] isofs_fill_super: bread failed, dev=fd0, iso_blknum=16, block=32
As a solution, I choose "expert mode" installation and before setting Network devices, I switched over to another virtual terminal (Alt-F2) and got a shell. I ran "ethdetect" command there so that this runs as a separate process independent of the installer. This step will not block the installer and you can continue with setting up network from the menu skipping detecting network devices.