IBM ThinkPad

IBM ThinkPad
X41 on Ubuntu Lucid

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx on a ThinkPad X41

Step-by-Step for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx on a ThinkPad X41.

On my particular system, which is the IBM Thinkpad X41, the hard drive partition which runs a 4-6 hour batch file to restore Win XP and all the accoutrements didn't work properly. I ended up with no stylus function, no tablet buttons, and no Wi-Fi. Watching that buggy batch file run could scare one away from ThinkPad forever. I also downloaded all the drivers from LeNovo for my particular X41, which is a CM-2. That number is rather amazingly concealed on the top-right of the black and white sticker which says IBM on the bottom of the system, and is further confused because LeNovo's drivers list this model as a 2CM on their website. Downloading all those drivers and running them in various orders not only took a great deal of my time but also did not restore tablet or Wi-Fi function.

To restore all possible productivity to my system, I wanted to use Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. After much amateur trial and error, I have decided to share the many successes and mild failures. With the new Ubuntu user in mind, I want to share all the steps I have found.


For audio, this is the shortest way around.
You must install Karmic Koala 9.10 first, then do the upgrade to 10.04. That will give you the correct ALSA mixer standard. All the workarounds I can find are a massive waste of time. What you are essentially trying to do is eliminate PulseAudio and get ALSA back. To be clear: 9.10 will quickly give the right audio configuration. Then 10.04 will work through an upgrade. If you install Lucid 10.04 first, the audio won't work out of the box, and I can't get any of the many pieces of scattered advice on LaunchPad to work for me. Therefore...

First please save yourself some time, install Karmic 9.10 first. (One could always just stay with 9.10, but since 10.04 is a Long-Term-Support release, I recommend taking all these steps.) Here is the repository, which can be found by Googling Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic download.

Clearly you want the PC (Intel 86) desktop CD, because that's the 32-bit version. Download that image and then re-create the image on a Live USB.

Second, I use System-Administration-Startup Disk Creator to put the image on my USB drive. I wouldn't mess with the extra space for files and settings on the bottom of that creator, because it will take much longer to make your drive.

Third, be sure that your BIOS settings allow you to boot from the USB drive.
Fourth, boot from your Live USB drive, make sure you like this system, and then install it with the blinding speed of USB and Ubuntu.

Fifth, do the upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04 through System -> Update Manager.

Once you have 10.04 Lucid Lynx:

Sixth, get the volume control by either 1) adding gnome-alsamixer to the panel or preferably 2) adding the gnome-volume-control-applet to the startup applications.

More specifically, that's System -> Preferences -> Startup Applications.
Type all these in--
Name: Gnome Volume Control Applet
Command: gnome-volume-control-applet
Comment: The ALSA volume slider and configuration.

If you just add gnome-volume-control without -applet after it, you will only have the configuration, not the slider.

If you don't already know, your ThinkPad has built-in 256M or 512M of memory which is not removeable. There is an additional slot which can take a 1GB chip. That chip is DDR2 PC2-5300 at 1gig. Therefore you can buy a single chip and have either 1.2 or 1.5 gig of RAM in your machine, depending on the original motherboard. My X41 works great on Lucid with its 1.2 gig of memory. Startup and Shutdown aren't too quick, but the operation is quite manageable. Words Are All Lies' blog below mentions that one can switch from Gnome to the XFCE environment for greater speed. I am happy with Gnome, which all my little systems are running.

How to play DVD images on your media player.
DVDs on an external drive or from mounted images (since you have no optical drive built-in):

First add Ubuntu Restricted Extras, specifically:
Go to Applications -> Ubuntu Software Center
Look for Ubuntu Restricted Extras and install it.

Second, to really get your decryption going:
This is the way to get DVDs to play. To make you feel better, here is the offical website:
The file you want will be called libdvdcss2. Here is how we get it...

Essentially it says to enter this series of commands:
sudo wget \

sudo apt-get update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get update

Per the awesome Words Are All Lies blog below, but updated for 10.04 Lucid Lynx:

First, I open a terminal from accessories, then gksudo gedit /etc/rc.local
Second, I copy and paste these lines in before the "Exit" line at the bottom.

# PageDown, PageUp, Enter, Escape
setkeycodes 6e 109
setkeycodes 6d 104
setkeycodes 69 28
setkeycodes 6b 1

# Tablet Menu Key
setkeycodes 68 130
# Tablet Rotate
setkeycodes 6c 131
# Tablet Ctrl-Alt-Del Key
setkeycodes 67 132

Third, you must restart your system in order for these keys to register.

Fourth, per the Words are All Lies blog linked below, to which many users must be greatly in debt:
Go to System -> Settings -> Keyboard Shortcuts, hit the "Add" button at the bottom, and create a "Cellwriter" shortcut which calls on the cellwriter command. Then, I clicked the shortcut box and pressed the Tablet Menu key, and the name X uses for that keycode, "SunProps," showed up in the box.

On my system, this works fine, although Words Are All Lies provides a workaround in the blog below if that doesn't work for you. See the "gconf-editor" section in Words' blog if you need that. But if you just don't see "SunProps" in the keyboard shortcuts in the shortcuts editor, that means you didn't reboot in the third step.

In Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04, the Wacom Stylus tablet protocols are already installed--it shouldn't need anything for the screen to work.

Please follow LIKEN Apuntes' directions and Words Are All Lies' directions in the link below to get your screen to rotate, if you would like. I have done so several times on both 9.04, 9.10, and 10.04. I am sorry to report that while my screen will rotate fine, my tablet will not. Therefore I cannot recommend bothering with doing so--you can show your friends the screen rotation, but your stylus will move the pointer up for down, right for left, and so on, and that doesn't work for me at all. I will check this blog periodically for suggestions by the original authors or new readers. We're all learning here, right?
My reasoning: As near as I can tell, the hdaps-utils package is no longer available for the Orientation Sensor. In Synaptics Package Manager, however, one can still mark hdapsd for installation and try that. Beyond that, I repeat, _I can make the screen rotate, but not the tablet_, therefore I do not recommend spending time trying to make this work if you are a new user. The GDM keyboard upon login slows it down considerably, and since I don't use multiple users and login automatically, this delay would be pointless. After all my efforts on several occasions, this tablet rotation does not work in Lucid. As far as I know, you are stuck with one screen orientation.

In Applications -> Ubuntu Software Center:
Download Cellwriter for the on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition.
Train it well. If more than one person uses your computer, I would sure go to Setup -> Recognition and tell Cellwriter to store more than the default five samples, i.e. ten, such that you will have perhaps five options for yourself and five for another user.

Download Xournal for a notepad and .pdf annotator.
Under Options, make sure that your Eraser Tip is checked. I use a newer version of the stylus for the X61 series, and it has the regular tip, a button on the side for a finger, and an eraser tip. I set up "Button 2 Mapping" as either the hand tool or the highlighter, depending on what I am up to--the hand tool will let you scroll much more easily.
This is how I grade papers. I do all these operations in a batch so that it doesn't get so cumbersome. As a composition teacher, I get awfully sick of typing or writing my comments, and this allows me to have a little fun with it and keep all the papers in electronic form. If we're going to waste twenty tons of natural resources on building each laptop, at least we can save a little paper.
In OpenOfffice, I open my students' papers and hit File -> Export as PDF and choose a filename.
In Xournal, I choose File -> Annotate PDF and pick that file from above.
I mark it up, highlight it up, make red and blue marks, and sometimes even clean up my handwriting with Cellwriter.
Lastly I hit File -> Export to PDF and pick a name for the file I want to send my student.

I am also left-handed therefore if I want to scroll on web pages, I have to put my hand in the way of the entire screen in order to use my pen to scroll. Here is the fix for that, per Mozilla Support. It will give you a funny "Void your [Mozilla] warranty" message if you do this, which you should bypass.
For FireFox 3.x:
Load up the program.
Enter about.config in the location bar.
Look for layout.scrollbar.side or type it in the filter.
Double-click the Preference and change the value to 3

It will save that automatically for you. Then your FireFox scrollbar will be on the left side. More information can be found here:

Thank you all so much for your work. I hope this helps new users of the 10.04 system of Ubuntu, my favorite OS in the world.