Living with Lucid: Ubuntu Netbook Edition on a ThinkPad X40

I quite like Ubuntu 10.04, I really do.  However, I seem to also like hardware that doesn’t work well with Lucid by default.  I am optimistic that the situation will improve with 10.04.1 and later, but here again is a workaround for a graphics regression with 10.04.

This time I’m looking to make my lovely ThinkPad X40 behave like a good netbook.

The trick is that the X40 has an Intel 855 graphics adapter.  This worked a treat in 8.04 and earlier, but as with my HP 2710p, Intel isn’t so careful with compatibility of old hardware with their  newest drivers.  I have to say, this is an ugly trend that seems to be repeating itself often these days.  10.04 also doesn’t play well with my ThinkPad T60 and its ATI x1300 graphics card.  Like Intel, AMD has apparently given up on their “older” graphics cards.  But I digress.

While my X40 doesn’t work well with Ubuntu’s 3D netbook launcher, it does work exceedingly well with the convenient netbook-launcher-efl that Ubuntu also provides.  So, following these instructions, I seem to finally have a stable, netbook interface for my IBM ThinkPad X40.  Everything is at peace for now.

The only thing I would add is that the go-home-applet launches netbook-launcher rather than netbook-launcher-efl.  This is yet another known bug that seems to be languishing with no long-term solution in sight.  The good news on this is that there are two simple workarounds:

  • Replace the go-home-applet with the show-desktop applet (effective but not as pretty)
  • Replace the netbook-launcher executable with a link to netbook-launcher-efl.

I opted for the latter, as I honestly prefer Canonical’s netbook-launcher-efl to the default netbook-launcher.  If I can avoid using costly OpenGL, why not?  It saves battery life.

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