Lenovo ThinkPad X300 Ubuntu 8.04 Installation Notes

Lenovo ThinkPad X300 Ubuntu 8.04 Installation Notes
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First, let me tell you some first impressions about the machine. The keyboard is very good. It feels even a bit better than the one in my old T60. The display is very bright and sharp, but viewing angles could be better. WLAN worked right out of the box, as did the webcam.

The solid state drive is incredibly fast. I will never switch back to a hard disk after experiencing an SSD. Everything loads up in an instance. OpenOffice starts in about 5 seconds, which is very good compared to my T60. And the machine boots up and shuts down really fast (I haven’t timed those operations, though).

There are also a couple of annoyances which I hope will soon be fixed. Under ubuntu, the fan keeps running at nearly 6000 RPM and makes a lot of noise. It only stops when you let the machine settle a while with the display off, and starts again almost immediately you start using it again. This is the most annoying thing I can think of. Hopefully somebody finds a fix for this one. The temperatures of various components remain reasonably low in my opinion.The CPU runs at about 40

17 thoughts on “Lenovo ThinkPad X300 Ubuntu 8.04 Installation Notes”

  1. Thanks for this. I’m using a spare x300 we’ve got for testing since my macbook went down and I have to say running it on linux is fab though I couldn’t get sound working (and am still having trouble with the microphone for skype even with the 6/6/2008 alsa driver).

    Still, having sound back has made not having the mac around bearable. It’s a very very nice laptop though especially for linux. Making me rethink my macbook espceially since it’s the second fault in a year thta’s taken out the machine.

    ciao and once again, thanks !
    Daryl.

  2. Nice notes. I have just treated myself to a X300, 4 gigs RAM, 3g, wimax and the rest :)

    I am using Fedora 9 on it, and everything is working perfectly by default (sound, 3g, 3d accel with new intel drivers by Tungsten gfx). Only mod i did was to add not only the e1000 module, but the usb hcd’s too to the Power Management config for proper suspends. Hibernate works with no issue also.

    Also, note that the bluetooth chip was invisible until i did an ‘echo enable /proc/acpi/ibm/bluetooth’. Then magically a bluetooth adapter is seem. Note that i had to do this only once, and not an every boot. Hope this helps.

  3. I had problems getting the 3G to work, until I removed the 4-digit PIN-code on the SIM-card.
    (I did this by popping the SIM into a phone, and deactivate the requirement for security-PIN there)

    Thanks for a great tutorial :)

  4. Thanks for the fan tip, garry. It is always good to know how to script it! I also found a tool called “ThinkPad Fan Control” which runs as a daemon polling the temperature and setting the fan speed accordingly. It even includes a graphical user interface to adjust the trigger temperatures. The packages that I installed are (if I remember correctly):

    tpfan-admin
    tpfand
    tpfand-profiles

    The problem seems to be that there is no intermediate level between levels 2 and 3. Level 2 runs at less than 2000 rpm which is very quiet, but it can’t keep the machine cool. Level 3 however runs at a much higher speed, over 5000 rpm, which is not that quiet at all. Hope I could find a fix for this…

  5. To power down the 3G modem radio and thus save some power, use the following AT-command:

    at+cfun=0

    To power it up again:

    at+cfun=1

    To query status:

    at+cfun?

  6. I am curious. Why did you pick 3G?

    Also, how is battery life on Ubuntu? I’ve read that Vista sometime gets better battery life due to some power optimization.

    I’m trying to decide between the X300 and the Dell M1330 (also with SSD) :-)

  7. Hi – great information – I have been considering the X300 but have been put off by the apparent fan noise problem – just how noisy is the fan at 5000rpm? At the moment I’m using a T61 at work and the fan hardly ever cuts in but when it does it is not that noisy (bearable) would this be a comparable to the X300 noise level?

    Thanks

  8. Davide,

    I also have a T61, and an X300. The X300 fan at 5000rpm is noisier than the T61 fan. It is noticeable for sure. For me, it does not really bug me. A bigger problem with the X300 is the 250:1 contrast ratio screen. For such an expensive computer, and given all the other very nice things Lenovo put in the X300, they sure skimped on the screen. The screen basically sucks, it doesn’t not appear black when you have a black background except at the point at direct 90 deg. view. That is, viewing angle sucks, even when you’re looking straight at it. The X300 would be perfect if Lenovo put in the same screen that the MacBook Air has. *That* screen has great contrast and viewing angle.

  9. Hi,

    nice howto ;)
    Perhaps anybody here can help me out – I am using the 3G Modem with an O2 Active Data SIM and look for a way (AT command) to force the system to use GPRS.
    Why? -> At my office, the UMTS Node broke down which is not recogniced by the card and so I stay there with the Bytes running down one by one. Customersupport told me to use GPRS until they fixed it, but I cant get it working.
    Any ideas?

    TIA

    Oliver

  10. A couple of tips with regard the 3G modem, in case you don’t seem to be able to make a connection.

    Minicom is really handy but a bit tricky to set up (for a beginner). Create a .minirc.dfl file in your home directory with the following contents:

    pu port /dev/ttyUSB0
    pu minit ~^M~ATZ^M

    then just type ‘minicom’ in a terminal. You should see ATZ OK conversation at the top. You can issue commands now.

    First off, check that the the 3G modem radio hardware is powered on. You should see the lit antenna symbol right next to the WLAN indicator (right of the blue ThinkVantage button). Mine wasn’t. I think the wireless connection wizard thing in Vista turned it off when I cancelled WWAN setup back in the day my SIM card was still in delivery.

    Type this command in minicom:

    at+cfun=1

    Radio should be on now.

    While you’re at it, check that your SIM card isn’t prompting a PIN code.

    at+cpin?

    This should say ‘READY’. If it doesn’t, put the SIM in your mobile phone and disable PIN code checking from the phone’s security settings. This won’t affect your regular mobile phone SIM card.

    Alternatively, you can enter PIN code with

    at+cpin=xxxx

    where xxxx is the pin code. This could be put into the chat scripts, at least in theory.

  11. Very useful help, thanks!

    * Re: Track- & Touchpad *

    My preferences are almost identical to yours and your instructions
    worked like clockwork. There’s one problem left, though: I’d like
    to make the trackpoint more sensitive so that it reacts to less force.

    http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_configure_the_TrackPoint#Sensitivity_.26_Speed
    suggests

    sudo echo -n 250 > /sys/devices/platform/i8042/serio0/serio2/sensitivity

    but directory serio0 contains no subdirectory serio2 and does
    not permit to create one either. Any ideas what else I can try?

    * Re: Sound *

    Meanwhile some version numbers have been updated. Try

    ls -ld /lib/modules/*-generic/ubuntu/sound

    to find out what to use now instead of “2.6.24-17-generic” and visit
    http://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/tiwai/snapshot/
    to see what to use now insead of “alsa-driver-20080527.tar.gz”
    With these updates everything works as described.

  12. About the sound, when I try install a new alsa driver with make, i recive the next error:
    eduardo@malpeza:~/alsa-driver$ make

    In file included from /home/eduardo/Escritorio/alsa-driver/acore/hrtimer.c:2:
    /home/eduardo/Escritorio/alsa-driver/acore/../alsa-kernel/core/hrtimer.c: En la funci

  13. I appreciate a lot that fact that you spend time to post a sound fix for my x300 on Ubuntu. After many months I have got my sound finally working and I am grateful to you for this.

  14. I lost my visual effects when upgrading from Intrepid to Jaunty, any tips on how to get my video card working with “extra” visual effects again on my x300 (I think it’s an Intel x3100 graphics card)? Worked fine under Intrepid…

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