I recently got my IBM thinkpad, a T60p, replaced with a new Lenovo model; the W500. Here are some notes on my experiences. For explanations of commands such as !$, see this page.
64-bit or 32-bit
I originally assumed I’d have to install 64-bit Linux, as the laptop came with 4GB of RAM and it seemed a waste to only have 3 usable. It seems that this issue has been solved now, however, with the PAE kernel. The standard install CD of Ubuntu Karmic will detect a system with >3GB RAM and automatically install the PAE kernel. Nice.
When Ubuntu Karmic first started up, I was presented with an option to install some proprietary graphics drivers for my card. I elected to do this initially, but found I couldn’t sleep or hibernate the system. Editing
Identifier "Default Device"
## Driver "fglrx"
fglrx and adding the
radeon line. This didn’t seem to help much either. Switched back to proprietary and sleep/hibernate working…
The W500 comes with 2 graphics chipsets; 1 on-board (intel), 1 a separate card (ati). Linux can’t cope with this. In the BIOS, you can choose between integrated (intel) and discrete (ati). If you want to use multi-monitor, you have to use the discrete graphics. Also remember to set the “OS Detection for Switchable Graphics” option to disabled.
Compiz, would not work with the
radeon driver for me, so if you want pretty effects/3D, you need to use the proprietary driver or have more luck than I.
Comments on this issue:
@gavinwillingham thinking about it, it may be that the OS driver shipped with karmic doesn’t support 3d-accel on the W500s new adapter.
@oldmanuk via twitter
@oldmanuk @gavinwillingham On Fedora 12 you needed to add the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package. Look for similar in ubuntu
@planetf1 via twitter
To get the cube effect running, you need to install the compiz settings manager:
[[email protected]]: sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager
This new utility appears in
System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager.
Compiz does make window resizing ludicrously slow; I disabled it in the config manager (“resize window” in settings manager). It re-enabled itself. I can’t currently get it to disable 🙁
The screen on the W500 is much worse than that of the T60p – the viewing angle is atrocious. The colours are also very washed out, but this can be addressed. Using a utility called
xgamma, you can tweak the colour levels to a more sensible level. I’m currently using the following settings.
xgamma -rgamma 0.9 -ggamma 0.8 -bgamma 0.65
This command unfortunately affects both monitors (laptop and external). If using the proprietary drivers you can configure on a per-monitor basis, but I’ve not got that far yet.
Synergy2 is, quite possibly, the single most useful utility in the world. It’s like a software KVM, in that it allows a mouse and keyboard to be shared across multiple computers, the beauty being that it is seamless; move the mouse past the edge of one screen and it appears on the next.
Synergy is in the apt repository, so is quick to install with a simple
[[email protected]]: apt-get install synergy
Unfortunately, with my install I could not get a client to connect to my server (run
synergys --daemon), until I opened the port with iptables:
[[email protected]]: iptables -I INPUT 1 -p tcp --dport 24800 -j ACCEPT
In firefox, to get the middle button to scroll with the trackball, set auto-scroll in advanced prefs to on.
Rational Software Architect
When installing RSA with the embedded version of WAS, the install will fail during the setup phase trying to create a new profile. You can complete the install by electing not to create a profile, but will still not be able to create one as usual. This is caused by
/bin/sh being linked to dash in Ubuntu, not bash. This is easily fixed as follows
[[email protected]]: unlink /bin/sh
[[email protected]]: ln -s /bin/bash /bin/sh
Comments on this approach
@gavinwillingham a) you should use dpkg-reconfigure, not unlink and b) you’re increasing your boot speed – http://j.mp/m0wU
@oldmanuk via twitter
When running the Install Manager, and once installed when running RSA, I encountered a strange issue where clicking on a button didn’t have any effect other than to select the button. I was sent a link to the solution, which basically involves setting an environment variable,
Flash on Chrome
When you download the Flash installer for Linux and unpack/run it, it will offer to install the plugin into firefox. Which is nice if you use firefox. I chop and change between firefox and chrome. To install the Flash plugin into chrome, first create a plugins directory (if it doesn’t already exist, then copy the plugin into it).
[[email protected]]: cd ~/Downloads/wherever_i_unpacked_flash_to
[[email protected]]: mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins
[[email protected]]: cp ./libflashplayer.so !$
You’ll have to restart chrome for this to take effect.
I currently use my desktop Windows machine extensively as my main development machine. I use Remote Desktop when working from home, so I needed an equivalent in Linux. It’s called “Terminal Server Client” and can be found in
Using the default settings, I was able to quickly connect to my box. Annoyingly, the clipboard mirroring feature did not work though. By switching the protocol from
RDPv5, this started to work.