Skip to content
Jan 6 / kkrizka

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:

Wireless

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.

Suspend/Hibernate

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):

user@computer:$ sudo aptitude install tp-smapi-dkms

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.

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.

3 Comments

Leave a comment
  1. JK / Jan 16 2011

    Thank you so much for useful information. I own the same model and I’m about to install the latest version of Ubuntu to this machine. Currently I’m running Vista (which came together when I bought the laptop). First I was afraid that I had to configure the driver problems, but it seems that almost everything works out of the box. Did you install it from a flash drive ? I’ll let you know once I try the installation on my computer :) thank you.

    • Karol Krizka / Jan 16 2011

      I actually have a dock for my X61T, which has a CD-ROM. But I don’t think you will have any trouble using a flash drive for the installation.

  2. Dan Saint-Andre / Feb 18 2011

    You wrote:
    ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
    Suspend/Hibernate

    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.
    ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
    I have two X61-tablets (both 7764CTO). Both do “suspend”-“resume” without trouble.
    One does “hibernate”-“thaw” without trouble. The other will not hibernate. I don’t know if the trouble is a failed “hibernate” or an unable to “resume” — or both.
    Can you shed any light on what you did to get yours to hibernate. Perhaps that will shed light on what my failing unit needs.

    I discovered that (1) mounted SD cards, (2) module usb_storage in general, and (3) module iwlagn were grimlins. I added /etc/pm/* scripts and moved much farther along the path. Canonical support did not help (couldn’t? wouldn’t?). Let me know if you want these details.

    I’ve compared the two systems but don’t see a difference that would affect hibernate and resume. I find it hard to believe that some end-user app packages would cause the failure.

    Can you help,
    ~~~ 0;-Dan

Leave a comment