Installing Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) on a ThinkPad X220

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  • Many of the special keys won't work out of the box on the X220 because thinkpad-acpi doesn't load automatically on Ubuntu 10.10. It requires this patch which (I think) did make it into 11.04. To get it to load on boot, add "thinkpad_acpi" (using underscore) on its own line to the file /etc/modules.
  • Suspend won't work out of the box on the i7 model because the USB3 driver shipped with 10.10 doesn't support suspend, and so blocks it. The fix is to blacklist the driver, but this means your USB3 port won't work. To blacklist, create a file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-xhci_hcd.conf containing only the text "blacklist xhci_hcd" (note underscore). Then suspend will work. There may also be a fix which unloads the module before suspend and reloads it after; if you have got this working, update the wiki.
  • The Mic hardware mute button doesn't work, and I haven't worked out how to make it do so. Seems like this has been a problem since the first Thinkpad came out with one, a couple of years ago. It produces keycode 248 in xev, so I guess that needs translating into a keysym and then binding to mute. One for the thinkpad_acpi team? The program "amixer" can change microphone levels and the Gnome Keyboard Settings can bind an arbitrary command to a key, so it just takes someone with a little more time than me to write a script and put the pieces together to make the button work (even if not the LED).
  • The fan spends more time on than it should; there are various pages around the net commenting on this. It could be a hardware problem; one thread on some forums had an official Lenovo rep saying they are looking into it. (Sorry I can't be more specific.)
  • The hardware specs claim dual microphones, but Ubuntu only sees one. I don't know if this is because they are combined at a hardware level. The Windows system can switch between using them for noise cancelling and using them for wider coverage but again, I don't know if that's software or hardware-driven.
  • I got X lockups regularly - Xorg.log talked about an EQ infinite loop, with a stack going through Also, the Sandybridge GPU is blacklisted for 3D, Compiz and desktop effects. The fix for this is more involved. It requires installing an updated X, Compiz and kernel. Fortunately, Ubuntu's PPAs make this much easier. The original instructions I followed are here (you can install both PPAs before doing the upgrade/update), but it turns out (after consulting Jools Wills, the author of those instructions and keeper of the PPA) you also need a newer kernel, which I have got from here. You need to download the two i386 files and the all file and install them using "sudo dpkg -i". That all worked for me without a hitch, which was very painless. One reboot, and I could enable desktop effects and my X now appears to be rock solid.
  • I have problems with some SD cards, but not others. This needs further investigation. The problem could perhaps be fixed in Natty.
  • Speaking of Natty, I haven't upgraded because it couldn't drive my large external monitor. Test with a USB boot before you take the plunge :-)
  • If you have fixes for some of this, I'd love to hear - gerv at gerv dot net. -- Gerv
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