thinkpad, x201, 10.04, lucid, blank screen, black screen, install, suspend, change brightness
As of August 2010, installing 10.04 on a ThinkPad x201 is non-trivial. The fixes have been worked out in many different forums, but I thought there might be value added in consolidating the process in one place. I'll try to present every step simply, since more experienced users probably don't need this HOWTO in the first place. If I miss any steps, or explain anything wrong, please let me know.
Much more detailed discussions of installation issues and fixes may be found elsewhere.
1. Initial Installation
Note: tested with 10.04 on amd64, not alternate installer or i386.
Boot from usb startup disk (or whatever).
When screen displays small keyboard/ubuntu icon, press escape to avoid it loading the gui with default graphics settings (which will lead to a black screen).
Press F6, escape from popup menu, and edit Boot Options to include "xforcevesa i915.modeset=0" as follows:
Boot Options noprompt cdrom-detect/try-usb=true file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper initrd=/casper/initrd.lz quiet splash -- xforcevesa i915.modeset=0
Press enter and you will load into the graphical installer environment.
2. First Boot After Installing 10.04
You'll still get a black screen if you try to boot straight away.
Instead, hold down shift after the initial post screen to access the grub menu.
I find this tricky on my x201: if you hold shift too early you'll get a stuck key error---too late and you'll have missed your chance.
If you accidentally load into a blank screen, you can use the magic sysrq key
to directly tell the kernel to somewhat safely reboot:
Hold down alt while pressing, in sequence, Fn+PrtSc, s, u, b
Once in the grub menu, highlight the kernel (right now I think it's 2.6.32-21-generic) and press "e" to edit boot options
In boot options, replace "quiet splash" with "xforcevesa i915.modeset=0":
... crashkernel=g38M-2G:64M,2G-:128M quiet splash
... crashkernel=g38M-2G:64M,2G-:128M xforcevesa i915.modeset=0
Press Ctrl+x to boot with these options enabled.
3. Deciding What to Do Next
At this point 10.04 should have loaded in low graphics mode, and everything should be working reasonably. You have two options:
[Easy] Stick with reduced graphics (startup and suspend should work after running update, but as of August 2010, you will not be able to change screen brightness).
[Harder] Roll your own patched kernel to get full graphics support (startup, suspend, and screen brightness should all work).
4.a [Easy] Stick with Reduced Graphics.
Go ahead and do a full update
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade
Edit /etc/default/grub (e.g. sudo vi /etc/default/grub) to make low graphics persistent:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash xforcevesa i915.modeset=0"
Then run the grub updater script.
Go ahead and restart. You should now be able to boot and suspend without issue.
4.b [Harder] Roll Patched Kernel
A walkthrough for compiling the kernel is beyond this HOWTO, but many detailed guides are available
The patch is attached.
You may not even need to compile yourself if you can find a patched binary for your architecture
On first boot after installing patched kernel, you may need to reconfigure Xorg.
With the patched kernel, startup, suspend, and brightness should work as expected.