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Jun 12 / kkrizka

ThinkPad X61 Tablet and Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

I have been using my ThinkPad X61 Tablet on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx for about a month now, so I think I am comfortable in writing an update about how well those two work together. To make a long story short, most items are unchanged since Ubuntu Karmic Koala. What worked before still works, what didn’t work before still doesn’t work. The one thing that changed is that to get the scrolling via the TrackPoint to work, you have to create a new file. Read on to see what needs to be changed.

Further documentation is available on the X61T’s Lucid ThinkWiki page and the Ubuntu Wiki. However at the time of writing, neither has been updated for Lucid.

Before I start talking about Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, I want to write a quick summary about the hardware. My tablet is the one with the SWGA screen and does not have finger-touch capabilities. You have to use the cheap pen, included with the tablet, for input. The tablet also has 2 GB of memory and a Core 2 Duo processor running at a maximum of 1.6 GHz. The processor also supports other frequencies, like 800 MHz and 1.2 GHz. The frequencies can be changed using the standard Linux tools right away.


The wireless connection works out of the box. It uses the iwlagn kernel module.

Touchscreen (Pen Only)

The touch screen works out of the box using the Wacom pen. I don’t know about finger-touch support, since as I do not have that capability.

I recommend that you instal xournal for note-taking and cellwriter (my tips and tricks) for handwriting recognition. Both are available in the official Ubuntu repository, but are not installed by default.

Extra Buttons/Screen Buttons

All of the extra keyboard buttons work out of the box, with the exception of the zoom button (Fn+Space). The buttons that work are the volume buttons, the ThinkVantage button and all Fn buttons. The buttonson the screen are the rotate button, the toolbox button, the escape button and the arrow buttons.

By work, I mean they report a valid symbol to X.Org. For some of them, you have to bind them to an action to make them do something useful.

Middle Button Scrolling Using TrackPoint

You cannot use the TrackPoint as a scroll button out of the box. In Karmic, you had to create a file, such that HAL would know to enable this feature. However Lucid no longer uses HAL, instead it reverted back to’s own device configuration system. So you have to create a file for The contents are still the same, only the syntax changed.

To create this file, run the following command to open a text editor:

sudo gedit /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad.conf

And place the following text into it:

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "Trackpoint Wheel Emulation"
MatchProduct "TrackPoint"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
Driver "evdev"
Option "EmulateWheel" "true"
Option "EmulateWheelButton" "2"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "false"
Option "XAxisMapping" "6 7"
Option "YAxisMapping" "4 5"

Save the file and restart After that, you can scroll by holding down the middle mouse button and moving your TrackPoint up-and-down at the same time.

I stole these instructions from Phil Sung, who stole them from Samson Yeung.


Both work out of the box without any problems.

Hard Drive Accelerometer

The hard drive accelerometer STILL does not work out of the box. It will report the position (0,-3) regardless of the real position. My understanding is that there are some political problems (legal, ideal?) as to why it hasn’t been fixed yet.

To get the accelerometer to work, you have to compile it manually from the tp_smapi package. I’ve already documented how to do this for Karmic, and the same steps apply to Lucid.

Of course, you still have to install some packages to make it do something useful. I suggest that you install hdapsd, which will spin down your disk when motion is detected. This prevents it from being damaged.

sudo aptitude install hdapsd

Also my AutoRotate daemon is quite cool. It rotates your screen automatically based on orientation.

Fingerprint Scanner

The scanner does not work out of the box. And even after manual configuration, you can only go so far. While the hardware is supported, the software that uses it isn’t that great. You can configure PAM to allow you to login via fingerprints, but it cannot identify the based on the fingerprint and it always asks for a specific finger at a time.

The best software for this is fprint. I have written a tutorial on how to configure fprint. However you no longer have to add the PPA in it, since fprint is now part of the official Ubuntu repository.

Another choice is thinkfinger. I have also written a tutorial for it.


Leave a comment
  1. pascal / Jun 12 2010

    There is still a problem with the digitizer and multiple screens: when plugging in an external monitor and using the pen on the internal display, the coordinates are scaled to the whole virtual screen, which renders the tablet mode unusable (or: not more usable than an external screenless tablet).

    I added `Option “MMonitor” “0”; Option “ScreenNo” “0”` to my xorg.conf.d/10-wacom.conf, but it didn’t have any effect (according to the manual, it should restrict the tablet coordinates to the internal display only)
    Also xsetwacom doesn’t work anymore?!

  2. Karol Krizka / Jun 12 2010

    Interesting problem with with the external monitor. I’ve never used an external monitor with my tablet, so I can’t help you there.

    About the xsetwacom, it still works for me. What problems are you having? What does the command “xsetwacom –list” show you?
    One thing that you should note about xsetwacom is that they changed/fixed the names of the devices in Lucid.
    In Karmic, you had to a create a file for HAL with a list of devices and their names. All tutorials that I saw gave the devices names like “stylus” and “eraser”.
    In Lucid, you no longer have to create that file (since there is no HAL) and xsetwacom figures out those names (or they are stored somewhere else by default) by itself. But:

    kkrizka@sein:~/.config$ xsetwacom –list
    Serial Wacom Tablet eraser ERASER
    Serial Wacom Tablet STYLUS

    The “Serial Wacom Tablet eraser” and “Serial Wacom Tablet” strings are the new names.

  3. pascal / Jun 12 2010

    Turns out I had an old version I built once in /usr/local/bin. Lucid’s version lists the eraser & stylus correctly, and even rotation works. But the multi-monitor options don’t do anything or return “Not implemented” (so at least there’s hope)

  4. Mikie / Jun 16 2010

    Anyone else having trouble with cellwriter in lucid? It no longer seems to allow multiple strokes in character recognition — as soon as I lift the pen it guesses the character and a further stoke is interpreted as the start of a new character (as a correction in the cell).

    • Mr.Chainsaw / Jun 21 2010

      I have the same problem. Are you using kubuntu?
      I suggest it is a KDE/Cellwriter bug, because when i used gnome i did not have this problem

      • Tina Russell / Oct 12 2010

        I’m getting this problem in GNOME as of Ubuntu 10.10 (GNOME ver. 2.32.0). I’m a sad panda, now :(

        • Tina Russell / Oct 12 2010

          Oh, well then! I found out from here…

          …that if you start CellWriter with the environment variable “GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS” set to true, you’ll be able to enter multi-stroke characters once again. For this to happen every time, you can edit CellWriter’s entry in the main menu. For instance, instead of:


          …you can change the command to:

          sh -c “GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=true cellwriter”

          At least, that’s what I did.

  5. Karol Krizka / Jun 16 2010

    Seems to work here for different multi-stroke characters. I also tried using a blank profile for cellwriter and it still worked. I am using version 1.3.4-1ubuntu1, from the official repository.

  6. SaintDanBert / Jun 26 2010

    I have one of each X61-tablet — both are 7764-CTO — one with low-res and multi-touch, one without touch and with high-res. Do you have any idea why I have so many troubles when others report “things just work”? I really would appreciate some help from somewhere.

    SLEEP and HIBERNATE do not work out of the box. Failures are various.
    Hibernate does not take the box all the way down and “stalls” with a blinking new-moon cursor. Power-fail required to get shutdown. On restart, it appears to be a cold boot. Sleep appears to work going down, but on restart either X11 is stalled, locks up shortly after restart, has no keyboard support or there is no pointer cursor.

    I cannot rotate the screen either by button or command or automatically.

    The stylus tip works. The eraser works as if it were the tip. The side buttons
    thinks it is the center mouse button.

    Fingerprints were read and registered out-of-box but PAM has no clue what to do with that information.

    ~~~ 0;-Dan

  7. Saint DanBert / Jun 28 2010

    I’m using Ubuntu Lucid amd64 with every package update that update-manager has told me about.

    user@host:/path/ $ uname -a
    Linux mordac 2.6.32-22-generic #36-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jun 3 19:31:57 UTC 2010 x86_64 GNU/Linux

    I’m trying to get Karl Hegbloom’s rotation parts installed and working.
    (My launchpad ident got trashed somehow and I need to recover that.)

    With a 4 GB swap partition and 3 GB ram, I don’t understand why HIBERNATE (suspend-to-disk) doesn’t just work. Ditto, SLEEP (suspend-to-ram).

    I cannot make any sense out of the new, event-driven, dynamic config of X11 parts — keyboard, buttons, or any of that. Can you name a good doc or other written guidance?

    Still stumbling,
    ~~~ 0;-Dan

    • Karol Krizka / Jun 28 2010

      My X61T comes with an Intel CPU, not AMD64. So maybe that is a source of your problem with hibernate/suspend. I tried looking up references about the AMD64 version of the tablet, but I can’t seem to find anything. Even the ThinkWiki page does not list an entry for AMD64.
      Have you been able to find anyone else with an AM64 processor?

      I haven’t used Hegbloom’s rotation script before, although I have looked at some of the code before. What problems are you having with it? What error messages are you getting? Also, what graphics card do you have? What happens when you run the following command:
      xrandr -o left
      If it rotates your screen (it should), then you can revert back by the following command:
      xrandr -o normal

  8. Saint DanBert / Aug 24 2010

    I have been using Tias Gun’s [b]xinput-calibrator[/b] with some success on my X61 Tablet.
    It is available from the PPA.

    If you have access to a touch-enabled X61, can you comment on “calibration?”
    It seems that “touch” is one input device and “tablet” is another input device.
    That implies that there are two distinct calibrations — one for stylus pointy parts,
    and one for fat finger pointy parts. Do you know if this is true, and if so how does one
    manager the two calibration data sets?

    Also, is the same calibration data supposed to work regardless of “laptop” orientation versus “tablet” orientation?

    ~~~ 0;-Dan

  9. tatewaki / Sep 8 2010

    Hey i was wondering if anybody knows how to set the back of the pen to and erase?

    I know that in windows when i swap my pen it turns in to an eraser, but in ubuntu 10.04 it will just draw, with me touching the screen.

  10. Karol Krizka / Oct 12 2010

    I haven’t used the back of the pen for erase functionality, so I’m not sure how to configure it. I just configured the tip to work as a eraser when I press the side button, because it is much faster. I don’t have to flip the pen everytime I want to erase (which is often).

    Xournal has this configured automatically this way, but you can change it by going into “Options->Button 2 Mapping” inside the application’s menu bar.

    But now that I checked this for you, I also see a “Options->Eraser Tip” in Xournal 0.4.5. Enabling it (it is disabled by default) makes the back of the pen work as an eraser.

    • nicolas roy / Oct 28 2010


      I have been looking for this “Options->Eraser Tip” for a while !!!

      Thanks a lot for you website, which helped me a lot since several Ubuntu Versions.


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