Install Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex on a T61p

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Revision as of 19:20, 6 November 2008 by Gertvdijk (Talk | contribs) (Bugs and Regressions)

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What works and what doesn't?

Working 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.
  • 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
  • ACPI features
    • Suspend to RAM
    • Suspend to Disk (Hibernate) FINALLY!! Be patient, though.
    • STR and STD work even with full disk encryption (DM-crypt + LVM)!

(Small) Tweaks needed for...

  • Microphone/Sound In
    • Might need to be turned on in the mixer
    • Not yet in this howto
  • Choppy Compiz animations
    • NVidia's PowerMizer feature will slow down the GPU when "inactive" even on AC power.

Not working

  • Logging out or restarting X
    • Workaround available (see below)
  • The hard radio killswitch for Intel WLAN.



This part is taken from Hardy installation instructions.

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. You will have a choice between the 173 and 177 version of the driver. I would strongly recommend the latter one, because it will provide Suspend to disk functionality in favour of the 173 version.

This should also install the "NVidia X Server Settings" program in System --> Administration.

At the time of writing I am not able to restart X or log out from my GNOME session. X will fail to start and will eventually fall back to failsafe config (VESA drivers). A workaround is available. See below.

You should even install the binary NVidia driver if you won't use 3D acceleration because the open source nv driver will drain your battery much faster, because it doesn't support PowerMizer at all. This will keep the GPU in full speed all the time and will consume around 12 Watts more because of that (for the Quadro FX 570M), according to Powertop. That is 50% of the total usage!


Fix for choppy Compiz animations

The NVidia driver does not report the correct refresh rate of the display to Compiz, resulting in choppy 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.

Compiz animations can also be 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. Fortunately, the situation seems to have improved in version 177 of the NVidia driver. 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

EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) might be misdetected for your display, which 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 encounter this problem, add the following lines to /etc/X11/xorg.conf in the "Screen" section:

Option "UseEdidFreqs" "FALSE"
Option "HorizSync" "40-70"

The 40-70 values are just an example. They seem to work well with my 1680x1050 display. You should put the values of your display there. On a 1920x1200 display, making this change prevents the display from coming on when X starts.


Not able to restart X or log out

This is quite an issue when you want to switch user or log out. The Xorg.0.log file doesn't give any errors or hints. Surprisingly both Suspend to RAM and Suspend to Disk are not failing.

It is a known issue in the 177 version of the binary NVidia driver which has not yet been addressed by NVidia. See Launchpad bug 258357. There are two workarounds:

  • Use the older 173 version (without Suspend to Disk functionality and with slower resume from Suspend to RAM).
  • Set in /etc/gdm/gdm.conf the value for GdmXServerTimeout somewhat higher than 35, like 45. X will hang approx 35 seconds and this value is the treshold for GDM to assume X is faulty.

Wireless not working after resume (Atheros)

After resuming from suspend, I am unable to reconnect to my wireless network. Network Manager asks me for my password over and over again but never succeeds in connecting. I'm using the Thinkpad (Atheros) A/B/G wireless card.

To fix this problem, I followed the instructions listed at Specifically, I created a file called /etc/pm/config.d/01-modules and put the following line in it:


Radio Killswitch

When killing Wireless LAN with the killswitch at the front, you won't be able to get WLAN back up after switching back. See Launchpad bugs 289286 and 193970 and the Release Notes on the Ubuntu Wiki.

This will be solved in intrepid-updates eventually.

For now there are a few ways to bring the interface back up (choose one):

  • # ip l s wlan0 up
  • # modprobe -r iwl3945 && modprobe iwl3945
  • reboot
  • suspend and resume

Information, not Ubuntu issues

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, expected behavior. You can let the GNOME Power Manager still lower the brightness, but you will be able to increase it when needed.

Compared to Hardy

Why upgrade your T61p to Intrepid or why not? (Specific for T61p)


  • Ricoh SD card reader now reads read-only SD card. (Tested with Adata 150X 2GB SD card)
  • Newer Wireless LAN drivers. For Intel cards this results in working LED, more sensitive reception, increased stability of connections and some 802.1x bugfixes.
  • Out-of-the-box Suspend to RAM functionality (also faster resume).
  • Working but slow Suspend to Disk functionality.

Bugs and Regressions

  • Hard radio killswitch (at the front) cannot bring WLAN back up after killing it. (workaround available)
  • X hangs for approx. 35 seconds when restarting or logging out. (workaround available)
  • Atheros WLAN not working after resume from Suspend to RAM (but a workaround is available; see above).