Installing Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) on a ThinkPad T61p

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Revision as of 23:59, 25 November 2009 by Trampas (Talk | contribs) (Problems)

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Tested with new installation of Ubuntu Karmic Koala 64 bit

Getting the hardware to work

Fingerprint Reader

The Thinkfinger package allows you to swipe a finger in most places where you would have to type your password. This works with sudo, gksudo and on the login page and with a little fix also for the screen saver. Also, you are still required to type your user name on the login screen.

1) Install the following packages:

$ sudo apt-get install thinkfinger-tools libpam-thinkfinger libthinkfinger0

2) For your user:

$ sudo tf-tool --acquire && sudo tf-tool --verify

A completed fingerprint setup should look something like this:

frank@Laptop:~$ sudo tf-tool --acquire && sudo tf-tool --verify

ThinkFinger 0.3 (
Copyright (C) 2006, 2007 Timo Hoenig <>

Initializing... done.
Please swipe your finger (successful swipes 3/3, failed swipes: 0)... done.
Storing data (/tmp/test.bir)... done.

ThinkFinger 0.3 (
Copyright (C) 2006, 2007 Timo Hoenig <>

Initializing... done.
Please swipe your finger (successful swipes 1/1, failed swipes: 0)... done.
Result: Fingerprint does match.

This will store your fingerprint information in /home/$USERNAME/.thinkfinger.bir

You should do this step for each user who wants to use the fingerprint reader

3) Enable use of reader for authentication:

$ sudo gedit /etc/pam.d/common-auth


auth    sufficient

before the line which contains and add


to the end of the line containing

So it should look something like this:

auth    sufficient            
auth    [success=1 default=ignore] nullok_secure try_first_pass

4) Check uinput kernel module:

$ lsmod | grep uinput If the output starts with uinput, then you're done. If you don't get any output, then it needs to be started and set to start on boot.

Start uinput:

$ sudo modprobe uinput

Start on boot:

$ sudo gedit /etc/modules

make sure there is a line like this or add it at the bottom:


5) Enabling thinkfinger for gnome-screensaver

  • create this file:

$ sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/60-thinkfinger.rules with this contents:

# udev rules file for the thinkfinger fingerprint scanner
# gives access to the fingerprint reader to those in the "fingerprint" group
# Taken from:
# which was taken and modified from:

# SGS Thomson Microelectronics Fingerprint Reader
SYSFS{idVendor}=="0483", SYSFS{idProduct}=="2016", SYMLINK+="input/thinkfinger-%k", MODE="0660", GROUP="fingerprint"

# the also-needed uinput device
KERNEL=="uinput", MODE="0660", GROUP="fingerprint"
  • Make the group:

$ sudo groupadd fingerprint

  • per user:

$ sudo gpasswd -a $USERNAME fingerprint && sudo chown $USERNAME:root /home/$USERNAME/.thinkfinger.bir

Reboot your laptop and you should be ready to swipe!


Battery control by tp_smapi

The kernel module is not present for some reason in Karmic Koala but there is a source package:

sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-source
cd /usr/src/
sudo tar -xjf tp-smapi.tar.bz2 
cd modules/tp-smapi/debian/
sudo module-assistant prepare tp-smapi
sudo module-assistant auto-install tp-smapi

You need to load the kernel module:

sudo modprobe tp_smapi

Check if it was succesfully loaded:

sudo lsmod | grep tp_smapi

For convenience, you could load the kernel module at boot time by adding it to /etc/modules.

echo "tp_smapi" | sudo tee -a /etc/modules

Now, you will be able to have significantly more control over your battery charging via /sys/devices/platform/smapi.

For example, you could set a threshold value of 90% for charging, preventing the battery from charging all the way in exchange for a reduction in the loss of battery capacity that occurs after multiple cycles.

echo "90" | sudo tee -a /sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT0/stop_charge_thresh

View the number of charge cycles your battery has had in its lifetime:

cat /sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT0/cycle_count

While AC connected, force discharging of your battery:

echo "1" | sudo tee -a /sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT0/force_discharge

If you have an Ultrabay battery, you might want to place this script into /etc/crontab to keep the Ultrabay battery from being completely discharged to 0%, which permanently damages the battery.

# rolls to BAT0 when remaining capacity on BAT1 is less than 20%.  Change .2 if wanted.  Swap BAT0 and BAT1 if tp_smapi thinks the ultrabay is BAT0.
awk '{if (/remaining capacity/) left=$3; if (/last full capacity/) full=$4} END {if ((left/full) < .2) system("echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT0/force_discharge")}' /proc/acpi/battery/BAT1/*

Remember the script needs root in order to write to the files in /sys/devices/platform/smapi/BAT{0,1}/.



With compiz enabled flash plug-in for browser will not receive key presses.This is apparently a problem with latest Gnome.


With Nvidia drivers installed from Nvidia it appears that when a new kernel is installed your machine will become unbootable. It will boot to a loginin screen for tty0 which flashes and will randomly ignore key presses thus making it impossible to login. Basically 9.10 sucks and user should stay with 9.04.


  • Does not work with SD card installed, card needs umounted before sleeping. User can modify sleep to umount /dev/mmcblk0*


Waking up from hibernation does something like this:

  • It shows a mangled screen and waits 15 seconds
  • It beeps (hardware beep which i have no idea how to disable)
  • It reinitializes the graphics card
  • It mangles the screen again and waits 15 seconds
  • Again hardware beep
  • It reinitilizes the screen again
  • Finally everything should be ok and it should be back from hibernation

It takes shorter to just shut down and restart then to hibernate/wake up currently ... :-(