Installing Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on a ThinkPad T61

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DO NOT REFER TO THIS DOCUMENT YET. I've copied the Tribe 4 documentation, and will be installing Tribe 5 as soon as it is released to see what has changed. I'll remove this note as soon as I'm finished (should be within 24 hours). The Tribe 4 page should be redirected here when this document is complete.

Initial Install

Issue #1: The initial install from the live CD graphical installer does not work if the laptop is in SATA AHCI mode. You have to go into the BIOS (Press the ThinkVantage button almost as soon as you turn on your computer) and set the SATA controller to "Compatibility" mode or else you get a "can't access tty" error. After Ubuntu is installed and you've done an "apt-get update" you can -- and should -- set the controller back to AHCI mode.

Issue #2: The initial install from the live CD graphical installer hangs with a blank tan screen after gdm loads. It is clear that gdm is running, but the desktop never actually loads. The solution is to hit (Ctrl-Alt-Backspace) which will kill gdm, and bring you back to the login screen.


You can access a good tool for changing video (and for that matter, keyboard and many other devices) options by running the following in the terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal):

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg


At higher resolutions, the gnome toolbars function in a smaller area than the rest of the desktop. This is because the TV output is turned on. If you see the login screen show up in the top-left corner of the screen, taking up only 2/3 of the screen, then you have this issue and you'll need to disable the TV output.

To turn the TV output off and fix the small desktop issue, add the following section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

 Section "Monitor"
   Identifier "TVOutput"
   Option "Disable" "true"

and then in the Device Section, add the option:

 Option "monitor-TV" "TVOutput"

Reference: [1]


If you would like 3D acceleration then you must download and install the proprietary drivers from Nvidia here:

To install these drivers:

  1. install build-essentials from Synaptic
  2. Download the drivers from the link above to your home directory
  3. When the download completes hit Ctrl-ALT-F1 to drop to a console.
  4. Login and type:
    1. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
    2. sudo sh

If the file you download is newer that 100.14.11 make sure you modify the command appropriately

When asked, permit the installer to modify xorg.conf

Reboot: # sudo shutdown -r now

With each new Kernel release this process must be repeated except you should tell the installer to not update xorg.conf


Audio does not work out of the box. You need to download and compile ALSA from CVS

Also look at Ubuntu Launchpad bug# 122560 for the relevant patches to apply over Alsa driver 1.0.14 if you do not want to use the CVS version.


All of standard T61 wireless options -- the Thinkpad model, the Intel 3945, and the Intel 4965 -- should work out of the box now.

Fingerprint Reader

The reader works with ThinkFinger, see instructions at: [2]

Trackpad scrolling

Trackpad scrolling works out of the box in the standard thinkpad way: Slide your finger up and down the very right edge of the trackpad.

To enable using the middle mouse button to scroll add the following in your Trackpoint InputDevice section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

   Option    "EmulateWheel"          "true"
   Option    "EmulateWheelTimeOut"   "200"
   Option    "EmulateWheelButton"    "2"


Hibernate via 's2disk' appears to work fine. Suspend via 's2ram' has been removed entirely from Gutsy.


Font Issues on High-Res Screens

On high-res screens (15" 1680x1050), the default fonts are too bold above 8 or 9px (the exact number depends on the font). I have not heard people with normal-resolution screens complaining about this. You can easily see this by running gnome-specimen and gradually stepping up the font size. At some point (usually around 8-9px) the font will turn bold.


After installing the proprietary Nvidia drivers you will be unable to modify the brightness setting. A workaround is to drop into a text console by hitting ctrl-alt-F1, modify the brightness and then return to X windows with ctrl-alt-F7. Your X session will not be lost and you can do this with applications running.

Launchpad bugs related to the T61

Update Nvidia GLX: [3]

Update ALSA to support the sound card in the T61: [4]

Brightness dialog doesn't always disappear: [5]