Installing Ubuntu on a ThinkPad T20

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Ubuntu 6.10, Edgy Eft

Blank Screen when booting Live CD

As described in Installing Ubuntu on a Thinkpad T21, there is an issue with the Savage driver which makes the initial boot into X hit and miss.

You can avoid this problem by using the alternate install CD. However, that doesn't allow you to do any pre-installation evaluation of the GUI that the Live/Install CD provides.

Using APM to Suspend

To enable APM when booting the Live/Install CD, add these boot options:

`noacpi acpi=off apm=on`

After booting, `Fn-F4` will still only put the command in a standby state, but using `apm --suspend` on the command line will successfully suspend machine, and it resumes as well.

Trying to Suspend with ACPI

A alternative to APM is ACPI. It is newer and more advanced, and preferred when it works. However, even with the newest BIOS (1.22) isntalled in the T20, Linux will still recognize the BIOS as "too old" and will disable ACPI. You can override this by adding this boot option: `acpi=force`.

Assuming you actually have Ubuntu installed (i.e., not running from Live CD) To add this boot option, open /boot/grub/menu.lst and look for the line(s) (there will be one for each boot menu choice) similar to:

kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-386 root=UUID=1a2b3c4d-5e6f-1234-7a8b-1a2b3c4d5e6f ro

(n.b., I've obscured the UUID hex string above).

and add acpi=force to the lines you wish to change (i.e., the choices you want ACPI enabled for, though you probably only want to add to the line corresponding to the option for normal boot, not the recovery boot options).

N.B. *** READ THIS ***. Before running the grub-install line *at your own risk* below, make sure you know what you're doing (i.e., have read the grub documentation) and that /dev/hda *is* your boot drive otherwise you may render your system unbootable. Obviously if you're not using grub then this won't work.

Now run: grub-install /dev/hda

With this enabled suspend and resume works OK with the following caveats:

1. Weird errors seem to get output on resume. 2. Sometimes the machine will randomly enter suspend mode. This may be a setting in power manager that I've got set wrong or due to LCD screen wobble (suspend activates on lid close, resumes on lid open). The power manager help indicates how to set advanced gconf settings. There are also files in /etc/modprobe.d and /etc/acpi for further machine-specific configuration (TODO: investigate and post results here).

Even this option, once booted into the LiveCD, suspend still does not work. `gnome-power-manager` logs to `/var/log/messages` that is beginning to suspend, but nothing happens. This looks like it might be a known bug in Ubuntu.

Special Key Support

The light and brightness keys work as expected. The volume keys have some on-screen visuals that automatically appear to illustrate them, using graphics that match the curren theme. Rather nice!


Direct rendering / GL acceleration works. Use "PCI" in BIOS rather than AGP. I removed all modes apart from 1024x768. ppracer plays well at c. 10fps with all the eye candy on.

Driver "savage" BusID "PCI:1:0:0" Option "SWCursor" "on" Option "ShadowStatus" "on" Option "DMAMode" "Vertex" Option "DmaType" "PCI" Option "BusType" "PCI"

HorizSync 28-51 VertRefresh 43-60

Confirmed compatible wireless cards

Belkin f5d7050 Wireless 802.11g USB adaptor (version 3) works (plugged into dock's lower USB port). The procedure is essentially install the ndiswrapper-1.8 and work through


DVDs play great once you've installed all the missing multimedia plugins. (work through and the linked to freeformats and restrictedformats pages).

Working software (or not)

One thing I find frustrating is that often it's difficult to know in advance which software requires too much memory / cpu or has GL problems (e.g., the infamous visual 0x42 error). At the risk of this lengthening this page somewhat here's a small list to start with.

With 128Mb

OpenOffice OK Eclipse needs more RAM

With 384Mb

Eclipse OK

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, Dapper Drake

When booting the Live/Install CD, adjust the boot options to add the following:

`noacpi acpi=off apm=on`

Sometimes the CD may stall on boot with a blank black screen. Trying again with "Safe Graphics" mode may help. (Or prehaps this is the same X issue with the Edgy Live CD, and it is simply trying again that helps).

Once booted, suspend and resume using Fn-F4 was successfully tested running from the LiveCD. However, in at least a couple of cases, the Live CD froze at seemingly random points shortly after resuming.

Results from a complete install still need to be documented.

See Also

Because the models are very similar, Installing Ubuntu on a ThinkPad T21 may also be helpful.

External Resources

Ubuntu T20