Ubuntu 7.10 on Lenovo T61

It is so much time I abandoned this website that actually I also forgot the password… The reason is that, since long time, I was not doing anything much interesting. But things are changing. Not changing the client, but finally I got some good assignments; the Sun is shining again and I got a new fantastic laptop with Windows Vista. After a day taking a tour in Vista I decided I had enough with it. So I switched completely to Ubuntu 7.1 Gutsy Gibbon. And I have something to write for the next days.
Well I don’t like IBM laptops very much, but it is much better than previous IBM one, the keyboard is really cool, and better in performances than my old glorious Dell Inspiron 8600 that now is retired at home.
Here is my brief report on Ubunt 7.10 running on Lenovo T61.

What doesn’t work:

  • the fingerprint reader (not tried to setup)
  • the dual monitor, if you try to set it up it will mess up X configuration, and it will be very tricky to restore it to a working state (to reconfigure Xorg as original state this is the solution: sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg)
  • suspend/hibernate/etc does not work
  • the audio volume applet was controlling the microphone instead of the speakers… and configuring Skype to let the other hear me was quite tricky (on recording tab enable everything and put the sliders controls to the maximum)
  • when the screen saver is deactivated you have to wait sometime for some minutes to get the login screen. Sometime I loose patience and restart X with CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE. I suspect the trackerd (indexer daemon) is taking over the laptop during screen saver execution, and I plan to do some investigation on how to lower its process priority.
  • the function key to control luminosity does not work (I get the feedback on the screen, but it not raise/lower the screen light). Fortunately it works if you go on console mode (CTRL+ALT+F1; to go back to X press CTRL+ALT+F7, but most of the time this sequence makes the laptop crash! See below). Also when I unplug the AC power, it should lower the screen brightness, and it doesn’t (the configuration is ok, I also get the visual feedback from X, but the screen keeps to be 100% bright). So I suspect that the power management is somehow disabled nvidia accelerated graphics restricted drivers.
  • Google Toolbar on firefox, make it crash every moment. So, disable it, and surf happily.
  • CTL+ALT+F1 switches to another virtual terminal. When I attempt to return to the virtual terminal running the X server (normally CTL+ALT+F7), the graphics crash in the same way as attempting to log back in after doing a “switch user.” (Same as explained here)
  • On startup I get an awkward error message: “failed to allocate mem resource 6, blahblah”.

What worked perfectly

  • all the rest (WIFI & Network, SD/MMC reader, sound, video without hardware acceleration)
  • hardware acceleration requires installing nvidia restricted drivers, but this task has been much simplified (you get a tray icon that drives you into a wizard), but many issue are open with this (bright control is disabled and you get X crash when you switch between text virtual terminal and the virtual terminal running X)

What’s wrong:

  • You still have two places to setup the screen resolution: from the menu “System/Preferences/Screen Resolution” and “System/Administration/Screens and Graphics”. Remember to keep them in sync… As I said previously I had to fight with the X configuration when I attached the secondary screen, and having this two tools confusing things made stuff harder. Despite the continuous improvements that Ubuntu is bringing to Linux, the “one single thing in one single place” is a philosophy that probably Linux will never get fully.
  • The roaming mode just supports one connection per time. You cannot have WIFI and cable network working together. The nm-applet on the desktop corner displays radio buttons to select available connections for wireless and wired. So only one at once is possible, otherwise you should go manually.

And finally, I cannot resist to put here a screenshot of my amazing cubed desktop!

2 Responses to “Ubuntu 7.10 on Lenovo T61”  

  1. 1 James

    I’m curious; does your T61 have an Intel Video, ATI, or Nvidia? If you have an Intel Video, would you be willing to post the xorg.conf file you used for Dual Monitor support. I’ve been trying for quite some time and I cannot get it to work. I can’t figure out if it is a setting in xorg.conf or some other issue. X Windows will start up just fine when I edit xorg.conf but it won’t let me log in to the system anymore. I’m about at my wits end.



  2. 2 Luigi

    My T61 has an nvidia card. I didn’t touched the xorg.conf file, I just keep the default provided by ubuntu, and the dual monitor isn’t working. I also can’t get the dual monitor work. I know some people saying that on their ATI the dual monitor is fine.

    To restore Xorg to factory settings, after breaking the configuration:
    $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

    The update to Ubuntu 8.04 went fine.

    Also Lenovo T61 can run 64bits ubuntu, I tried on a ubuntu livecd, and address more than 3GB of RAM. Unluckily I didn’t know that, and I installed the 32bit version of Ubuntu (I can only see 3GB of RAM). But I cannot format again now…

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