ThinkPad X61 Tablet and Ubuntu Karmic Koala
A few days ago Canoical released a new version of Ubuntu, nicknamed Karmic Koala. So I decided to write an update on how well it supports the ThinkPad X61 Tablet. Quite a lot of problems were fixed since Hardy Heron, but quite a lot of them still remain. I should also recommend checking out the ThinkWiki page for the X61 that has more information. (UPDATE: Ekain Milton posted a link to the Ubuntu X61 Table Community Documentation. It lists more useful tips and tricks.)
But first, a quick summary about the hardware configuration of my ThinkPad X61. I have the model with the SWGA screen that does not have the touch screen capabilities, so instead I have to use the special pen (included). I also have 2GB of memory and a Core 2 Duo processor running at a maximum of 1.6GHz (although in reality I run it at 800MHz to conserve batter life).
The wireless connection works out of the box. It uses the iwlagn kernel module.
Touchscreen (Pen Only)
Works out of the box. I cannot comment of finger touch support, since my laptop does not have the hardware for that.
Extra Keyboard/Screen Buttons
All of the extra keyboard buttons work out of the box. This includes the volume buttons, ThinkVantage button (this is fixed), rotate button on the screen, the toolbox button on the screen and the arrow buttons on the screen.
By work, I mean the buttons report a valid keystroke to X.Org. For most of them, you still have to map them to something useful.
Middle Button Scrolling
To use the middle button, along with the TrackPoint, as a scroll wheel, you have to create the following file.
sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi
And put in the following text:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<match key="info.product" string="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint">
<merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheel" type="string">true</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton" type="string">2</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.XAxisMapping" type="string">6 7</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.YAxisMapping" type="string">4 5</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.ZAxsisMapping" type="string">4 5</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.Emulate3Buttons" type="string">true</merge>
After you reboot you computer, you should be able to hold down the middle button and use the TrackPoint as a scroll-wheel.
Both suspend and hibernate work out of the box.
Hard Drive Accelerometer
The ThinkPad X61 Tablet comes with a cool piece of hardware that tells you the rotation of your laptop, which can be used to either protect the hard disk from damage during movement or rotate the screen automatically when using it in tablet mode. And the Linux kernel supports it via the hdaps module! The bad news is that the hdaps module shipped with Ubuntu has been broken for the last couple of years. It had received some attention from the Ubuntu developers in the past; about a year ago went from “not loading at all” to “loading, but reporting the same position over and over again” (bug 281977). In the meantime, you can get it working by recompiling the hdaps module.
Hard disk protection also works via the hdapsd daemon.
sudo aptitude install hdapsd
The fingerprint scanner works after you install the fprint packages from the Ubuntu repositories and make some modifications to PAM configuration. But there is still a lot of room for improvement. For example, user identification is not supported. You still have to select your username when logging in via GDM.