Ubuntu 9.04 on Lenovo X300

I've recently installed Ubuntu 9.04 on a second partition of my Lenovo X300 laptop, dual-booting with Windows XP. The whole process was surprisingly smooth. I downloaded the ISO from a local mirror, burnt to a CD, restarted my PC, chose to boot from CD and then chose to install to hard-disk.

The installation wizard guides you through 7 simple steps, the most important being the partition selection, which automatically detected I had Windows XP running and gave me a few options to either dual-boot, use the whole disk, or manually configure the settings. I did encounter some errors here when formatting the new partition, something about not being able to mount a certain drive, etc. I chose to ignore these and continue with the installation, which was finished in about twenty minutes or so.

Once the installation is done, booting into Ubuntu takes about twenty to thirty seconds (feels about the same as my XP partition). The surprise however is that Ubuntu seems to have detected all of my drivers right out-of-the-box. This includes the WiFi adapter, the integrated bluetooth, LAN, video and sound, and even the volume control keyboard buttons. The only things not working are the ThinkVantage button (I never cared for it much anyways) and the finger-print scanner.

Seems like the finger-print scanner may be enabled by installing and configuring an open-source application called ThinkFinger. I didn't have much luck with this however. I got through the installation and managed to register my prints and to enable the logon finger swipe prompt, but it doesn't seem to actually respond when I do swipe my finger... Not sure what the problem is, but I've decided to give up on it for the time being.

The next thing you'll probably want to do once you're up and running is install some extra software. You can do this via the Applications/Add-Remove tool. Note however that if you're behing a proxy you'll need to configure this accordingly. One way of doing this is to go to System/Administration/Synaptic Package Manager/Settings/Preferences/Network. You may then use the Package Manager itself to install applications or go back to the Add/Remove interface.

Another thing I noticed is that the TouchPad top-buttons now work as expected without freezing the cursor as in Windows. This points to a Windows driver issue, which at least clears the hardware (see my Windows X300 post for more info on this).

I also haven't experienced any system-freezes in Ubuntu yet, but I haven't been using it for long enough to comment on this yet. If it does turn out that Ubuntu does not experience the daily hangs, I'll probably ditch Windows all-together and stick with this.

Now if only I could get Visio 2003 to install nicely in Wine...

Update: I'm also noticing the fan doesn't seem to spin-down in this, which seemed to be a common issue with older Ubuntu versions. Not sure how much this bothers me at the moment. I'll try to stick with it for the time being to see if the laptop still freezes. If not, I'll run some scripts to spin-down the fan and see if freezes come back. I suspect it could be a heat issue.


  1. I've owned a Thinkpad T61 for about a year - and I've had no problem with linux support at all (I'm a diehard 'nix user, I multiboot freebsd, opensolaris, and ubuntu). This afternoon I upgraded the hard disk in this unit to a 320gb, and have been tinkering with Ubuntu 9.04 for a few hours -- zero issues.

    Lenovo (IBM) has a track record of using linux-supported hardware for the most part.

  2. Check out thinkwiki.org for the fan-speed-control:




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