Installing Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on a ThinkPad T61

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Revision as of 19:18, 2 September 2007 by Brianfinley (Talk | contribs)
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If you have an nVidia graphics chipset, you may need to boot from the Gutsy installation media using the "Safe Graphics" menu choice. My attempts to boot with the default choice left me with a blank screen. After installation, I installed Envy and followed the using Envy on Gutsy instructions to install the nVidia driver, and it "just worked".

--Brian E. Finley 18:18, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Intel video works out of the box, but Nvidia accelerated 3D support is not installed by default. To install Nvidia 3D support click System->Administration->Restricted Drivers Manager

With Nvidia, you may experience a bug where the X server crashes or fails to start. Numerous solutions are provided (with mixed results) in the Launchpad bug report as well as this thread on the Ubuntu forums.


Audio does not work out of the box, but will work once you apply all the updates.

Enabling Sound and Fixing the Volume Controls

By default, the sound may be disabled and the volume control buttons on the laptop (up by the ThinkVantage button) and the volume control applet (up by the clock) will not control the speaker volume. To fix this:

  1. Right-click on the volume control applet (by the clock) and select "Open Volume Control"
  2. In the "Switches" tab, make sure "Headphone" and "Speaker" are both checked.
  3. Close the Volume control.
  4. Right-click on the volume control applet again and select "Preferences".
  5. Make sure the device is set to "HDA Intel (Alsa mixer)" and highlight the "PCM" option.
  6. Close the preferences.
  7. Select System->Preferences->Sound.
  8. In the "Default Mixer Tracks" section, make sure "PCM" is highlighted.
  9. Close the sound preferences.

You should now hear sound and be able to control the volume using the laptop buttons or volume applet.


The modem works with the Linuxant drivers available at

Fingerprint Reader

The reader works with ThinkFinger. Instructions.

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 lines to the "Configured Mouse" section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

   Option    "EmulateWheel"          "true"
   Option    "EmulateWheelButton"    "2"


You may get a blank screen when resuming from suspend or hibernate (Launchpad bug report). If so, try editing /boot/grub/menu.lst, adding "acpi_sleep=s3_bios" (no quotes) to the first kernel entry so that it looks something like this (do not copy and paste this code, just append the acpi_sleep=s3_bios parameter as shown -- the UUID will not be the same from one system to the next):

 title           Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.22-10-generic
 root            (hd0,0)
 kernel          /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-10-generic root=UUID=[...] ro quiet splash acpi_sleep=s3_bios
 initrd          /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-10-generic

Note that if you get the blank screen upon resume, a quick-fix is to switch to a console (Ctrl-Alt-F1) and then back to X (Ctrl-Alt-F7). This will usually bring the display back to life. However, the long-term fix is to add the acpi_sleep parameter as shown above.

Fonts on High-Res Screens

On high-res screens (e.g. 15" 1680x1050), the default fonts are too big. You can fix this by following these steps:

  1. Open System->Preferences->Appearance
  2. Select the "Fonts" tab
  3. Click the "Details" button (lower right)
  4. Adjust the Resolution down until fonts look how you like them (96dpi is a common standard)
  5. Make sure you have Subpixel (LCD) Smoothing enabled
  6. Close the Details window and adjust the Application, Document, Desktop, etc fonts as desired (I set them all to 10).


The brightness controls (Fn-Home, Fn-End) don't seem to work reliably (if at all), and the brightness dialog box occasionally will pop up at random or "stick" on the screen, often causing the screen to flicker. Messing around with the brightness controls (Fn-Home, Fn-End) will usually make the dialog to go away and the flickering stop. Launchpad bug report.

With the Nvidia card to increase/decrease brightness hit Ctrl+Alt+F1 to drop to a virtual console, change the brightness and hit Ctrl-Alt-F7 to return to Gnome. This can be done without affecting running applications.

If you have an Intel card you can install the Gnome Brightness Applet to give you an easy way to change the brightness from within Gnome:

  1. Right-click on the top menu bar.
  2. Select "Add to Panel".
  3. Scroll down to the "System & Hardware" section.
  4. Highlight the "Brightness Applet" and click the "Add" button.

Using this applet often results in the "flickering screen syndrome" described above, but jiggling the brightness slider a little will cause this flickering to stop.

Items that work out of the box


Network Card


Wireless switch

4-in-1 card reader

Headphones/Microphone jacks

Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • Fn-PgUp activates/deactivates the thinklight
  • Fn-Up will trigger stop on a media player
  • Fn-Down will toggle pause and play on a media player
  • Fn-Left/Right go to prev/next tracks on a media player
  • Fn-F2 properly locks the screen
  • Fn-F3 shows remaining battery
  • Fn-F4 suspends (to ram)
  • Fn-F12 hibernates (to disk)
  • PrtSc opens the screenshot dialog

Docking Stations:

All docking station models should work the following features have been tested:

  • DVI or Analog video: You can switch to it using xrandr for Intel cards or using the Nvidia Control Panel with the Nvidia card.
  • Network Pass-through: Works
  • USB ports: Connected upon docking
  • PS/2 Ports: Untested, may require a reboot.

Please see the Talk page for discussions on this category, if it is needed and alternatives