ThinkPad X61 Tablet On Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat
I have been running the Maverick Meerkat version of Ubuntu for the last couple of months on my ThinkPad X61 Tablet. That means that an updated post about works and what does not work is required. Well, sort of an update. As for previous releases of Ubuntu, nothing has changed when it comes specifically to the hardware of the X61T. But I did find out about some new, simpler, ways to fix the existing problems.
Just as a reminder, my model is the one with the SWGA screen and does not have finger-touch capabilities. I do not know about the status of the touch-wacom drivers, so you are on your own for that topic. I suggest you checkout the X61T pages on ThinkWiki or Ubuntu docs. Those are great resources! As for other hardware, 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.
My reports on previous versions of Ubuntu can be found in my blog’s archive. Here are the links:
The wireless on the X61T works great out of the box, including during installation. No further steps are necessary.
For those interested, the module being used is iwlagn.
Touchscreen (Pen Only)
The touchscreen works out of the box using the Wacom pen. I don’t know about finger-touch support, since I do not have that capability.
To take advantage of it, I suggest that you try out xournal for note taking and cellwriter (my tips and tricks) for handwriting recognition. Both are available in the official Ubuntu repositories, 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
For the first time ever, you can scroll with the TrackPoint (hold down the middle button and move the track point) out of the box. I did not have to create an addition to xorg.conf at all.
Suspending your computer to RAM works without any trouble. I just close the monitor and the tablet suspends automatically. Hibernate to disk did not use to work, but it seems to have been mostly fixed by now. The tablet enters hibernation mode properly, but sometimes does not resume. It just hangs there with a black screen. But it does work from time to time.
Hard Drive Accelerometer
The hard drive accelerometer (hdaps) module still does not work out of the box and most likely never will because of political reasons (at least as far as I understand the situation). To get it working, one needs to install it from the tp_smapi sources manually. The simplest way to do this is by running the following commands (posted by Derek in comments):
Using the tp-smapi-dkms package will take care of rebuilding the module after every kernel upgrade automatically.
There are two additional packages that I recommend installing. The first package is the hdapsd daemon (available from the official Ubuntu repositories) that stop your disk from spinning when you are moving around. As you can imagine, this is good for the health of your drive. The second package I recommend is my AutoRotate daemon.
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.