Ubuntu on X201i

Finally, I got the Ubuntu graphics properly work on my Lenovo X201i. It took quite a while and the problem was the graphics card. It would give me blank screen at start-up during the installation, so I gave the kernel the “i915.modeset=0” option according to the advice found after some searching high and low. It worked.

The problem is that it doe snot really quite work… First, the graphics mode is weird, it does not use the accelerator, it seems, so you can’t have the bells and whistles of the interface. That I could live with. The other problem was more serious, the screen would not come back from blank when going to the sleep mode (close the lid).

That second problem was sort of fixed with the option “SAVE_VIDEO_PCI_STATE=true” given to the ACPI (/etc/default/acpi-support). Unfortunately, this never worked reliably and sometimes the computer would freeze on suspend or on resume. Finally, that got me fed up.

After some more searching I found that on my computer I need to use the option “i915.modeset=1” for the GRUB. All right, the option goes in (/etc/default/grub) and it works. I had to reconfigure the X but now I have beautiful interface and all the acceleration kicked in. Wonderful… One problem: it does not work from the first start. I switch on the computer, it gives me blank screen when it goes into the graphics mode but I can see the kernel starting and mounting the file systems and so on. What I need to do is to catch it right after switching into the graphics mode and reboot (ctrl-alt-del). Then, on this second start-up, everything works smoothly.

Of course, this is not a solution, so I went searching on and finally I seem to have the right solution. THere is one more option to the kernel: “acpi_backlight=intel” and that goes in as well. Now the GRUB line in /etc/default/grub looks thus:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet i915.modeset=1 acpi_backlight=intel”

Finally, what we have is this. Linux starts into the proper graphics mode, you have full acceleration right away, the suspend works. The problem? The problem is that now with this new option the control of the backlight is gone. I cannot adjust the brightness of the screen and it does not adjust itself automatically either.

Well, I guess I will live with this for a while and then we’ll see, perhaps the search will continue for a better configuration.