Installing Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) on a ThinkPad T61p

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What works out of the box?

  • Wireless (Intel 3945ABG or 4965AGN)
    • Only tested G mode
  • Wired LAN
  • Video (VESA)
    • Hardware Drivers panel offers to install nVIDIA proprietary drivers on first boot.
  • Touchpoint and Trackpad
    • Including scroll at the right side of the pad by default.
  • Optical drive
    • Optiarc AD-7910A works fine with Brasero disc burning
      • Tested: CD-R, DVD+R
  • Sound card
  • SD/MMC Memory card reader (Ricoh)
    • Only tested SD (non-HC) cards. Didn't take locked (read-only) cards.
  • Control buttons/Hotkeys
    • Volume control buttons
    • Screen brightness control
    • Thinklight control
    • WLAN/BT/OFF toggle
    • Media player control
  • Some ACPI features
    • Battery status, power graphs and history
    • Lid states and events
    • Only tested with a single 6-cell battery

What needs some tweaks?

  • Suspend-to-RAM (Standby, Suspend)
  • Microphone/Sound In
  • Smooth Compiz performance
  • DVD playback (region code problem)
HDAPS (harddrive protection system)

What doesn't work at the moment?

  • Suspend-to-Disk (Hibernate)
  • Wireless LAN issues (both fixed in Intrepid):
    • LED not working.
    • Broken PEAP/TTLS WPA enterprise authentication.

Display / Video

To enable 3D acceleration, the proprietary NVidia driver must be installed. The first time you boot into Ubuntu, you should get an alert asking if you want to install the binary driver. If not, it can be installed from the Hardware Drivers panel at System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers.

Optionally, if you want more options for configuring your video card than is provided by the Ubuntu control panels, you can install the NVidia Control Panel with

$ sudo aptitude install nvidia-settings

which will add the NVidia X Server Settings panel to the Administration menu. However, this version of the driver will not provide you proper suspend functionality. The easiest way to install more recent drivers is by using Envy, described below.

Installation of more recent Envy driver

Alternately, more recent versions of the NVidia driver can be installed using EnvyNG.

$ sudo aptitude install envyng-gtk

After installation, simply start EnvyNG (you can find it in the System Tools menu) and let it install the NVidia driver. Using more recent drivers than the one offered in the Hardware Drivers panel will provide proper suspend functionality.

Unfortunately, there are still some annoying bugs in the NVidia driver. The most annoying one is that after resuming from suspend, you might get a blank white screen, instead of a simple box asking for your password. To get past it, simply type in your password (blindly) and press enter, and you will be returned to your desktop. Fortunately, Ubuntu has released a workaround for this bug, so it should go away once you update all your packages to the latest versions. You might still see the white screen for a short amount of time. For suspend functionality you might need to follow the steps in the Suspend section below.

As far as I know there is no NVidia X Server Settings program available for the Envy driver, since it conflicts with the Envy driver when you try to install it from the repositories.

Choppy Compiz animations

Another problem is that the driver does not report the correct refresh rate of the display to Compiz, resulting in chopped animations and effects. To fix this, install the compizconfig-settings-manager package, then go to System --> Preferences --> Advanced Desktop Effects Settings. Click on General Options, go to the Display Settings tab, uncheck the Detect Refresh rate box and drag the Refresh Rate slider to 60. Also, check the Sync To VBlank box. This will improve the smoothness of the window animations significantly if you're sensitive to the choppy animations.

Next, Compiz animations are also choppy due to NVidia's PowerMizer feature, which slows down the GPU to conserve power when it is not in use. This works well for 3D games which constantly use 3D acceleration, but poorly for Compiz which uses the GPU in small bursts. It seems that the interval of the PowerMizer is way too long and is not speeding up when using in bursts. To workaround this problem, I made a couple of shell scripts which keep the GPU at its highest speed while running on AC power. The first one is named "powermizer-loop" and does most of the work:


while true; do
    powerstate=`cat /proc/acpi/ac_adapter/AC/state | awk '{print $2}'`
    if [ $powerstate = "on-line"  ]; then
       nvidia-settings -q all > /dev/null
    sleep 25;

The second is named "powermizer-off" and starts up powermizer-loop when I log in, ensuring that only one copy runs at a time:


killall powermizer-loop
~/powermizer-loop &

I put both of these scripts in my home directory and made them executable by doing:

chmod a+x powermizer-loop powermizer-off

Then to make powermizer-off run on login, I opened System --> Preferences --> Sessions, clicked on Add, and entered the command to run the script, i.e. "/home/<user>/powermizer-off".

Of course, performance still suffers when running on battery, but hopefully NVidia will fix this problem in a future version of their driver.

EDID misdetection

One final bug is that EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) might be misdetected for your display, which causes problems with font sizes and greatly reduces the number of resolutions available in the NVidia X Server Settings application. (For example, I was unable to set my laptop's screen to 1024x768 for use with a projector during a presentation.) If you encouter this problem, add the following lines to /etc/X11/xorg.conf in the "Screen" section:

Option "UseEdidDpi" "FALSE"
Option "DPI" "96 x 96"
Option "UseEdidFreqs" "FALSE"
Option "HorizSync" "40-70"

The first two lines fix the font size issue, and the last two lines fix the resolution problem. The 40-70 values are just an example. You should put the values of your display there.

NVidia seems to have corrected the EDID misdetection bug in the latest version of their driver, but it's not available in Hardy and I'm not aware of any easy way to install it.

A better but more complicated way would be using Phoenix EDID Designer to dump and fix the EDID data and then setup the Nvidia driver so it will use the customized EDID data, as described at [1]

Brightness control on battery power

By default, when unplugging the AC power while the system is running, the brightness of the display goes down even when you have set not to in the Power Management settings and you are not able to reach a brightness level as high as possible when connected to AC power. This is not a software setting or GNOME bug, but a BIOS setting. In the BIOS you can find a brightness setting in the Power section. Set it to high for normal, espected behavior. You can let the GNOME Power Manager still lower the brightness, but you will be able to higher it when needed.


Suspend is supposed to work out of the box if you're not using the Nvidia binary drivers. If you are using them, make sure the are updated as explained in the Display/Video section, and the following instructions will fix suspend to ram. Suspend to disk (hibernate) is not working at this time.

These instructions worked on the T61p with type numbers 6460, 6457 (and perhaps 6465). It may also work with other type numbers.

To get suspend to ram working, you need to edit a configuration file, which apparently has some bad information in it.

$ gksudo gedit /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/20-video-quirk-pm-lenovo.fdi

Find the following section:

     <!-- T61 (8895), intel card 32bit works with S3_MODE, but 64bit needs VBE_MODE 
	      T61p (6460), does not work with the NVidia driver-->
     <match key="system.hardware.product" prefix_outof="6457;6460;6465">
	<merge key="power_management.quirk.s3_bios" type="bool">true</merge>
	<merge key="power_management.quirk.vbemode_restore" type="bool">true</merge>

     <!-- These Thinkpads don\'t need a quirk: 6459 (T61p), 7664 (T60) see s2ram -->
     <match key="system.hardware.product" prefix_outof="6459;7664;8918">
	<merge key="power_management.quirk.none" type="bool">true</merge>

     <!-- Lenovos non-ThinkPads -->

Remove the 6457;6460; from the <match key="system.hardware.product" prefix_outof="6457;6460;6465"> line and add the following lines right before the <!-- Lenovos non-ThinkPads --> line:

     <match key="system.hardware.product" prefix_outof="6457;6460">
	<merge key="power_management.quirk.s3_bios" type="bool">false</merge>
	<merge key="power_management.quirk.vbemode_restore" type="bool">true</merge>

Basically, it comes down to changing the power_management.quirk.s3_bios key value to false. Based on Bug #235284 in hal-info (Ubuntu)

On (at least) the 6457 model you'll need the latest binary Nvidia graphics drivers (173.14.09 at time of writing for Envy) to be able to resume from suspend. Additionally, when resuming quickly, I have to switch to the X terminal manually by pressing alt+F7 and the sleep LED will blink for a while, but will stop eventually and the wireless devices will be switched back on. You may experience some resetting of the display when that happens. Just move the cursor to regain your desktop. N.B. This does not seem to occur when waking after a longer time of sleep (more than one minute approx.).

This has been fixed in the latest builds of the hal-info package for Ubuntu Hardy. Launchpad bug #253223


If installed, bluetooth must be enabled with the command:

$ echo enable | sudo tee /proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth

Replace enable with disable to turn it off.

You can now connect devices by following the instructions at Ubuntu Help Bluetooth Setup page

On (at least) the 6457 model the Bluetooth and Wireless LAN toggle button (Fn+F5) seems to work fine. Be aware of the additional hardware switch at the front of the machine. This needs to be in the green setting.

Internal Microphone/Microphone Input Jack

The microphone is muted out of the box. In order to enable it, double click on the the speaker icon in the task bar or run $ gnome-volume-control. Under File > Change Device, select "Capture: ALSA PCM on front:0 (AD198x Analog) via DMA (PulseAudio Mixer)" and set the master slider to about 75%. Make sure that the mute and recording buttons below the slider do not show red Xs.

Go back to the Change Device menu and select "HDA Intel (Alsa mixer)". Then go to the edit menu and select preferences. In the window that opens, make sure that the boxes for Capture, Capture1, and both instances of Input Source. The Volume Control panel should now have four tabs: Playback, Recording, Switches and Options. In the options tab, select Internal Mic for the internal microphone or Mic for the mic input jack for both Input sources. As far as i can tell, the second one down doesn't seem to actually do anything. Now in the recording tab you can mute Capture 1 and adjust the sensitivity of the mic with the Capture slider. You can use Sound Recorder in Applications > Sound & Video to test out your settings.

In the past, I have spent a fair amount of time messing with the PulseAudio settings on this install, so it would be great if someone with a relatively unaltered install could verify these instructions and post a confirmation. The main thing I did before was follow the PulseAudio howto here: HOWTO: PulseAudio Fixes & System-Wide Equalizer Support Chazchaz101 11:05, 8 September 2008 (CEST)

My install is relatively altered in terms of applications I've installed and other minor tweaks here and there, but no changes were made to the sound architectures, and these instructions work. Jomanchu 08:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Kubuntu KDE 4.1 on the t61p

What works?

What does not work?

  • Screen brightness control
  • Volume control buttons

Screen brightness control

There is a known bug in Kubuntu/KDE 4.1 which causes acpi_fakekey information to be lost. This in turn breaks the /etc/acpi/ and scripts. See

Here's a workaround: change the above scripts as follows:

root@t61p:/etc/acpi# cat
brightness=$(cat /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video1/actual_brightness)
echo $new_brightness > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video1/brightness

root@t61p:/etc/acpi# cat
brightness=$(cat /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video1/actual_brightness)
echo $new_brightness > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video1/brightness