Lenovo Thinkpad T410s and Ubuntu 10.10

This is a review, of sorts, though it will grow as I need/test features.

I received my T410s and recorded a video of myself rejecting the Microsoft EULA, and erasing the harddrive. Good riddance, Windows 7.

The keyboard feels really nice/fast. I don’t find the trackpoint thing especially useful, but maybe I’ll learn to use it.

The hardware does not include:

  • a dial-adjustment for volume
  • extra buttons for one-touch launches of browser, email, etc

The light in the mute button is nice, as is the large delete key. Having a keyboard light is a nice step up from my last laptop.

Installing Ubuntu was flawless and the basics all work nicely. They ought to; Lenovo may not sell this (or any) computer without an operating system, but they certify it as fully Ubuntu-ready.

Why, then, does it look like

  • the finger-print reader does not work (UPDATE: Feb 2011: The instructions at https://launchpad.net/~fingerprint/+archive/fingerprint-gui work flawlessly. My laptop now uses the fingerprint swipe to log in,  unlock the screen and even authenticate when I invoke a command-line “sudo”!  Wow. T410s uses an UPEK device.)
  • not certain that hibernate works? (sleep does)
  • the fan runs continuously at high speed when the machine is plugged in, regardless of CPU load. As of Feb 2011, this is the biggest remaining glitch.
  • two-finger / multitouch scrolling does not work on the touchpad. (UPDATE: See the comments for this post; there’s a reasonable software workaround so I now have multifinger horizontal and vertical scrolling on, and have turned all edge scrolling off.)

Sad update: The next version of Ubuntu, 11.04, has been a complete disaster for me on my Thinkpad, despite it being a mainstream, popular piece of hardware. I’ve never had such a frustrating experience in two decades of Unix and GNU/Linux of things that used to work being broken by, first, a new version, and subsequently, the automated updates that I accept from Ubuntu. I am overwhelmed with the number of bugs and retrograded features that I cannot submit bug reports for or tabulate them all.  There are now three choices of interface to choose from to try to get a working two-monitor system: Unity, Ubuntu Classic, and Ubuntu Classic with no effects. And all have horrid problems, which have gotten better and then much worse with subsequent updates. I’m at a loss (July 2011). I would downgrade to 10.10 but I suspect if I want the updated versions of 10.10, they may now be corrupted by backports as well…

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8 Responses to Lenovo Thinkpad T410s and Ubuntu 10.10

  1. Sam says:

    Thanks for the hints. I got the same the multitouch feature on the trackpad working in Ubuntu 10.10 as well. Here’s a more “permanent” solution:

    make a file twofinger.sh with the following lines:

    sleep 6
    xinput set-prop “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Two-Finger Scrolling” 1 1
    xinput set-prop “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Two-Finger Pressure” 20

    I don’t know why you need that second line, but without it, the following solution wouldn’t work.

    Then make the file executable:
    $ chmod +x twofinger.sh

    Then, add twofinger.sh as one of the start-up files:
    System -> Preferences -> Sessions -> Startup Programs -> Add!

    And you’re done!

    • cpbl says:

      Every time I put my computer to sleep and wake it up, I need to rerun my script, so I don’t think I’d count putting it in “Startup Programs” as permanent….

      • Sam says:

        ahh, you’re right. damn it.
        My T410s comes with a touchscreen, and the multitouch feature on the screen wouldn’t work with ubuntu 10.10 either. That one seems a lot harder to fix. Any clues?
        Also, even single touch recognition on the screen vanishes after the computer wakes up from sleep…

      • cpbl says:

        A better solution for me is to use System->Preferences->keyboard-shortcuts to set up a key sequence to run those two shell lines. I have ctrl-alt-f (for finger) turn on the two finger scrolling. Doing this each time the OS wakes up or etc is not too onerous.

  2. cpbl says:

    Some progress has been made on the fingerprint reader. See the updated note in the original post.

    Also, here’s my latest two-finger script, which runs whenever I type Ctrl-Alt-f. It turns on multi-finger scrolling, both horizontal and vertical. I haven’t investigated the circular gestures, but xinput list-props (see below) lists it…:

    # list of synaptics device properties http://www.x.org/archive/X11R7.5/doc/man/man4/synaptics.4.html#sect4
    # Some useful commands :
    # xinput list
    # xinput list-props “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad”
    # xinput test “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad”
    # xinput test-xi2 “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad”

    # Try these, from an ubuntu forum:. CPBL: Feb 2011. Seems that with width below, three fingers is better. using it now for vert and horiz 3-finger scrolling…

    xinput –set-prop –type=int –format=32 “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Two-Finger Pressure” 4
    xinput –set-prop –type=int –format=32 “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Two-Finger Width” 8 # Below width 1 finger touch, above width simulate 2 finger touch. – value=pad-pixels

    # Aha! Horizontal does seem to work, though better with three fingers (width is 8, above)…
    xinput –set-prop –type=int –format=8 “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Two-Finger Scrolling” 1 1 # vertical scrolling, horizontal scrolling – values: 0=disable 1=enable

    # Can turn on horiz scrolling here; seems to work. But I’m turning it off; let’s use multifinger for all.
    xinput –set-prop –type=int –format=8 “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Edge Scrolling” 0 0 0 # vertical, horizontal, corner – values: 0=disable 1=enable

    # CPBL: not sure whether I want this:
    xinput –set-prop –type=int –format=32 “SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad” “Synaptics Jumpy Cursor Threshold” 250 # stabilize 2 finger actions – value=pad-pixels

  3. PA says:

    I use thinkfan to control the fan. It works well out of the box.

    • cpbl says:

      I cannot find any authoritative documentation for thinkfan. Can you explain how to use it on the T410s?

      I have tried:

      sudo apt-get install thinkfan

      creating or editing the file /etc/modprobe.d/options to include the line “https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/thinkfan”


      sudo thinkfan

      which turns the fan down but the warnings are frightening. What are the appropriate “correction values” for the T410s?


  4. MZ says:

    check here


    it is in German, but the commands are self explanatory, or use Google translate 🙂

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