Installing Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) on a ThinkPad X220

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Revision as of 10:48, 22 July 2011 by Jdthood (Talk | contribs) (Fix for microphone-mute key shortcoming)

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I installed Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) on a ThinkPad X220, model 42902GW.


As a source of network installation files I made use of another GNU/Linux computer on my home LAN which is connected to the Internet through a familiar ADSL-modem/gateway/router/caching nameserver/DHCP server (call it "the gateway") at address The gateway's DHCP server issues leases in the range to

First I set up the "source" machine, in my case one which already also had Ubuntu 11.04 installed. It has address (assigned to it by the gateway's DHCP server). For the X220 to boot from it the machine needs to run a DHCP server and a TFTP server. The DHCP server serves only this special purpose since, as I mentioned, the gateway is the network's main DHCP server. The source's DHCP server must be so configured that it doesn't conflict with the existing DHCP server.

Install the isc-dhcp-server package and edit /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf using the following as a model. I am not sure that every line is needed, but this worked for me.

ddns-update-style none;
option domain-name-servers;  # This is the address of my gateway
option routers;              # This is the address of my gateway
option subnet-mask;         # This is the netmask of my home network
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;
allow booting;
allow bootp;

subnet netmask {
  range;      # This is a range separate from the one used by the gateway and includes the address below

group {
  next-server;               # This is the address of the "source"
  host trawsfynydd {                    # 'trawsfynydd' is the name I chose for my X220
    hardware ethernet f0:de:f1:6b:22:bf; # This is the Ethernet address of the X220
    fixed-address;         # This is an address in the range as defined above
    filename "/pxelinux.0";

Now install the tftpd-hpa package, download the network installation tarball and untar it into the location whence tftpd serves files.

$ cd /tmp
$ wget
$ cd /var/lib/tftpboot
$ sudo tar zxf /tmp/netboot.tar.gz

Second set up the X220 for PXE (Pre-boot eXecution Environment).

  • Switch on the X220 and press F1. ThinkPad Setup starts.
  • Set Config | Network | Ethernet LAN Option ROM to "Enabled".
  • Select Startup | Boot; select "PCI LAN IBA GE Slot..." and use the [+] key to move it to the top of the boot priority order
  • Press F10 to save and exit.

Voilà, the X220 boots the Ubuntu installer.


I won't describe the Ubuntu installer. I'll just mention some little problems I had.

First, when it came time to resize the existing (ntfs) partition the partitioner asked what size I would like for "this partition". Did it mean the to-be-resized ntfs partition or the new ext4 partition?

Turns out it meant: the to-be-resized ntfs partition, so the suggested "max" selection was the opposite of what I wanted.

Second, when I selected (only) the "Ubuntu desktop" task the installation reported failure without explaining what had gone wrong.

I de-selected all tasks and the installation succeeded.

Third, after reboot the screen came up black.

I pressed CTRL-ALT-F1 to get the system console so I could log in.

After logging in I ran tasksel and installed "Ubuntu desktop" and this time no failure was reported.



# dmidecode -s system-manufacturer
# dmidecode -s system-product-name
# dmidecode -s system-version
ThinkPad X220


processor	: 0
vendor_id	: GenuineIntel
cpu family	: 6
model		: 42
model name	: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2540M CPU @ 2.60GHz
stepping	: 7
cpu MHz		: 800.000
cache size	: 3072 KB
physical id	: 0
siblings	: 4
core id		: 0
cpu cores	: 2
apicid		: 0
initial apicid	: 0
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 13
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc aperfmperf pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx smx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 sse4_2 x2apic popcnt aes xsave avx lahf_lm ida arat epb xsaveopt pln pts dts tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid
bogomips	: 5182.27
clflush size	: 64
cache_alignment	: 64
address sizes	: 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management:


00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family DRAM Controller (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev b4)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 2 (rev b4)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 4 (rev b4)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 5 (rev b4)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family LPC Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family 6 port SATA AHCI Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 6 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 04)
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (rev 34)
0d:00.0 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd Device e823 (rev 04)


Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 04f2:b217 Chicony Electronics Co., Ltd 
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0a5c:217f Broadcom Corp. Bluetooth Controller
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 147e:2016 Upek Biometric Touchchip/Touchstrip Fingerprint Sensor
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:2514 Standard Microsystems Corp. USB 2.0 Hub
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub


Accessories I purchased for this laptop:


  • Having installed bare Ubuntu I had to run tasksel and select at least "Ubuntu Desktop".
  • In order to allow NetworkManager to manage eth0 I had to comment out the "eth0" stanza in /etc/network/interfaces
  • I used System Settings | Ubuntu Software Center to install ccsm ("Advanced Desktop Effects Settings") so I could enable Wobbly Windows and so I can initiate window resize with Alt+Button3 which is easier than the default Alt-Button2 (i.e., Alt-scrollwheelbutton).
  • Add PPAs to apt sources list for additional indicators

Configuration fixing known problems

Fix for zoom key shortcoming

By default the Zoom hotkey (Fn-Space) does nothing in the GUI. The thinkpad-acpi module and the kernel map its ACPI event correctly to input event KEY_ZOOM (372), but this number is out of the range of key event codes (maximum 255) that X can handle.

A workaround is to add a keymap.rules file to /etc/udev/rules.d/ to cause the ACPI event to be remapped to some other input event. The following file maps Fn-Space to "search" which becomes X event XF86Search. The key can thereby be assigned a function in System Settings | Keyboard Shortcuts.

ACTION=="remove", GOTO="keyboard_end"
SUBSYSTEM!="input", GOTO="keyboard_end"
KERNEL!="event*", GOTO="keyboard_end"
ENV{DMI_VENDOR}=="LENOVO*", KERNELS=="input*", ATTRS{name}=="ThinkPad Extra Buttons", RUN+="keymap $name 0x13 search"

A long-term solution is being sought in the form of keymap override files. Along these lines a second workaround is to do the following:

$ sudo su
# cd /lib/udev
# mv keymap keymap_ORIG
# vi keymap
# chmod ugo+x keymap
# mkdir /etc/udev/keymaps
# echo "0x13 search" > /etc/udev/keymaps/module-lenovo

where at the vi keymap step the following is pasted into the file:

"${0}"_ORIG "$@"
if [ "$#" = 2 ] && [ "$2" = "${2//\//}" ] && [ -r /etc/udev/keymaps/"$2" ]; then
	"${0}"_ORIG "$1" /etc/udev/keymaps/"$2"

Fix for microphone-mute key shortcoming

In Keyboard Shortcuts press Add to create a new shortcut and create "Microphone mute" with the following command.

sh -c "if amixer get Capture,0 | grep -q '\[on\]' ; then amixer -q set Capture,0 nocap ; else amixer -q set Capture,0 cap; fi"

Assign this to XF86Launch2 and cause the microphone-mute key to generate XF86Launch2 using a udev remapping, as described above.

Fix for the known no-system-beep problem

As I described in more detail earlier:

  • Create .xprofile containing
pactl upload-sample /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg bell.ogg
  • Run gconf-editor and at desktop | gnome | peripherals | keyboard change the value of bell_mode from off to on.
  • To cause terminal bells to ring also in non-X terminals (e.g., the console terminal), comment out the blacklist pcspkr line in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf.

Fix for "[drm:i915_hangcheck_ring_idle] *ERROR* Hangcheck timer elapsed... blt ring idle..." problem

To fix this known problem upgrade Linux to the version in the linux-image-2.6.38-11-generic package.linux-image-2.6.38-11-generic


Multiple monitors

Configuring an extended desktop over two monitors leads often to malfunction. Side-by-side works, one above the other does not.

I recommend to new users of natty that they avoid changing configuration defaults as much as possible.

Suspend causes kernel panic

"Suspend-to-RAM and brightness control of the display work with kernel >= 3.0-rc6" according to this fellow.

tp-smapi won't load

The tp-smapi module doesn't load on the X220. Correspondingly, thinkpad-acpi reports the EC firmware number as "unknown". Furthermore the hdaps driver won't load—neither the stock version nor the tp-smapi variant.

A fix seems to be in the works.

TPM can't be used

To try it out, install tpm-tools.

tpm_version fails with "Communication failure".

Comparison with a Ubuntu 10.10 user's experience

  • (improvements)
    • I didn't have to do anything special to have the thinkpad-acpi module loaded or use special keys
    • The mute-microphone button can be made to work as described above
    • Both left and right microphones are seen
    • I have no difficulties with the fans
    • I have no difficulties with SD cards
    • The "Hangcheck timer elapsed" problem has been fixed in a new kernel version, as described above
  • (disimprovements)
    • Suspend doesn't always work

Things to look into

  • Thoroughly test docking and undocking
  • Thoroughly test suspending and resuming

Key table

This table was prepared with local key remapping, discussed elsewhere on this page, disabled.


Key combination Extra function symbol Scan code
(showkey -s)
Linux key code
(showkey -k)
Input event
... on input device(*) ACPI event
X event
Keyboard Shortcuts name
📢⃥ (loudspeaker icon with stroke) down: e0 20
up: e0 a0
113 KEY_MIN_INTERESTING (0x71) 3 (none) 121 XF86AudioMute
-📢 (minus sign, loudspeaker icon) down: e0 2e
up: e0 ae
114 KEY_VOLUMEDOWN (0x72) 3 (none) 122 XF86AudioLowerVolume
📢+ (loudspeaker icon, plus sign) down: e0 30
up: e0 b0
115 KEY_VOLUMEUP (0x73) 3 (none) 123 XF86AudioRaiseVolume
🎤⃥ (microphone icon with stroke) (none) 240 (rop) KEY_UNKNOWN (0xf0) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 0000101b 248 "∅" (sic)
ThinkVantage down: e0 1f e0 9f 148 (rop) KEY_PROG1 (0x94) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001018 156 XF86Launch1
Fn up: e0 63 e0 e3 143 KEY_WAKEUP (0x8f) 3 (none) 151 XF86WakeUp
Fn-F1 (none) 466 (rop) KEY_FN_F1 (0x1d2) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001001 (none) (none)
Fn-F2 🔒 (padlock symbol) down: e0 12 e0 92 152 (rop) KEY_SCREENLOCK (0x98) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001002 160 XF86ScreenSaver
Fn-F3 🔋 (battery symbol) down: e0 71 e0 f1 236 (rop) KEY_BATTERY (0xec) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001003 244 XF86Battery
Fn-F4 down: e0 5f e0 df
(but sometimes nothing)
142 (rop) KEY_SLEEP (0x8e) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001004 150 XF86Sleep
Fn-F5 ⸨💻⸩ (radiating computer symbol) down: e0 73 e0 f3 238 (rop) KEY_WLAN (0xee) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001005 246 XF86WLAN
Fn-F6 (camera, headset) down: e0 3b e0 bb 212 (rop) KEY_CAMERA (0xd4) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001006 220 XF86WebCam
Fn-F7 💻⎚ (computer symbol, screen symbol) down: e0 56 e0 d6 227 (rop) KEY_SWITCHVIDEOMODE (0xe3) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001007 235 XF86Display
Fn-F8 (trackpoint symbol, vertical bar, trackpad symbol) down: e0 74 e0 f4 191 (rop) KEY_F21 (0xbf) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001008 199 XF86TouchpadToggle
Fn-F9 down: 6f ef 194 (rop) KEY_F24 (0xc2) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001009 202 "Ê" (sic)
Fn-F10 (none) (none) (none) (none) (none)
Fn-F11 (none) 476 (rop) KEY_FN_F11 (0x1dc) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 0000100b (none) (none)
Fn-F12 💻 ▶❍ (computer symbol, right arrowhead, diskpack symbol) down: e0 25 e0 a5
(but sometimes nothing)
205 (rop) KEY_SUSPEND (0xcd) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 0000100c 213 XF86Suspend
Fn-Home ☀▴ down: e0 54 e0 d4 e0 54 e0 d4 225 (double) (rop) KEY_BRIGHTNESSUP (0xe1) 4, 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001010 and video LCD0 00000086 00000000 233 XF86MonBrightnessUp
Fn-End ☀▾ down: e0 4c e0 cc e0 4c e0 cc 224 (double) (rop) KEY_BRIGHTNESSDOWN (0xe0) 4, 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001011 and video LCD0 00000087 00000000 232 XF86MonBrightnessDown
Fn-PgUp (illuminating overhead lamp symbol) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none) (none)
Fn-Space [🔍+] (screen with magnifying glass symbol and plus sign, i.e., "zoom" symbol) (none) 372 (rop) KEY_ZOOM (0x174) 6 ibm/hotkey HKEY 00000080 00001014 (none) (none)
Fn- ⏭ (barred right arrowhead, i.e., "next" symbol) down: e0 19
up: e0 99
163 KEY_NEXTSONG (0xa3) 3 (none) 171 XF86AudioNext
Fn- ⏯ (right arrowhead, double bar, i.e., "play/pause" symbol) down: e0 22
up: e0 a2
164 KEY_PLAYPAUSE (0xa4) 3 (none) 172 XF86AudioPlay
Fn- ⏮ (barred left arrowhead, i.e., "prev" symbol) down: e0 10
up: e0 90
165 KEY_PREVIOUSSONG (0xa5) 3 (none) 173 XF86AudioPrev
Fn- ∎ ("stop play" symbol) down: e0 24
up: e0 a4
166 KEY_STOPCD (0xa6) 3 (none) 174 XF86AudioStop
◂ ⎗ (left arrowhead, page icon) down: e0 6a
up: e0 ea
158 KEY_BACK (0x9e) 3 (none) 166 XF86Back
⎘ ▸ (page icon, right arrowhead) down: e0 69
up: e0 e9
159 KEY_FORWARD (0x9f) 3 (none) 167 XF86Forward

In the Linux key code column, "rop" means "release on press", i.e., the release event is generated at the same time as the press event.

The button on the UltraBase doesn't seem to generate any events visible to userspace.

Input device numbers and types as reported by lsinput:

(*) /dev/input/eventn
n name
0 "Lid Switch"
1 "Sleep Button"
2 "Power Button"
3 "AT Translated Set @ keyboard"
4 "Video Bus"
5 "Integrated Camera"
6 "ThinkPad Extra Buttons"
7 "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad"
8 "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint"

Hotkey mask when the above table was compiled:

$ cat /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_mask
$ cat /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_all_mask
$ cat /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_recommended_mask
$ cat /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_report_mode