Ubuntu on the ThinkPad T43

This isn’t so much of a guide, as it is just some general notes of things I did after installing Ubuntu Linux on my ThinkPad T43.

The volume control buttons in previous releases of Ubuntu would turn up both the hardware mixer and the software mixer at the same time. One press would adjust the sound (louder or quieter) more than expected. The “fix” seemed to be make the buttons not do anything.

To change it back to the way it use to be (before Ubuntu 9.04), type this command:

sudo cp /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_all_mask /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_mask

Then add the line cp /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_all_mask /sys/devices/platform/thinkpad_acpi/hotkey_mask to your /etc/rc.local file right above the exit 0 line.

This tells the system to re-copy that file on every boot.


WLAN LED not working as expected?

After installing my Atheros WiFi card in my T43, I noticed that my WLAN LED was Off when WiFi was On, and On when WiFi was off!

Searching Google for hours didn’t give me any information on simply reversing the behavior of the LED, so I figured I had to do it with a script.

Go to /etc/NetworkManager/dispatcher.d/, create a file called 10_ath9k-led, change its mode to 755, and put the following in it:

#!/bin/bash
#
# Nicholas Caito
# http://xenomorph.net/
#
# Script to fix the reversed WLAN LED on
# my ThinkPad T43 w/ Atheros 802.11N WiFi
#


INTERFACE=$1	# wlan0 only for this one
STATUS=$2	# connection status

# comment out just ONE of the LED options below:

if [ "$INTERFACE" = "wlan0" ]; then

	case "$STATUS" in
	'up')
		# enable the WLAN LED (blinks on transmit):
		#echo phy0tpt > /sys/class/leds/ath9k-phy0/trigger
		# enable the WLAN LED (no blinking):
		echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/ath9k-phy0/brightness
	;;
	'down')
		# turn the WLAN LED off:
		echo 255 > /sys/class/leds/ath9k-phy0/brightness
	;;
	esac
fi

# EoF

Now when my WiFi connection is established, the WLAN LED comes on. When the connection goes down, the WLAN LED goes off.

NOTE! With Ubuntu 15.10 and newer, it now uses stateless persistent network interface names.

Basically, my WiFi interface was not called “wlan0”, but instead had a name of wlp11s2. Change the reference in the above script accordingly.

I had to change this line:

if [ "$INTERFACE" = "wlan0" ]; then

To look like this (run ifconfig to check your wireless interface name):

if [ "$INTERFACE" = "wlp11s2" ]; then

No Windows Key? Remap Caps Lock!

Create the file ~/.Xmodmaprc and put the following in it:

! change Caps Lock into a Windows Key
remove Lock = Caps_Lock
keycode 66 = Super_L


Ubuntu 10.04:
After install, Applications -> Sound & Video -> Rhythmbox Music Player and click “Install MP3 plugins”.


Two-finger Scrolling

Ubuntu 10.04:
Go to System -> Preferences -> Mouse.

Ubuntu 12.04:
Click the Gear in the upper-right, then System Settings, then Mouse and Touchpad.

Click Touchpad and then Two-finger Scrolling.
You may also want to enable Enable horizontal scrolling.


Firefox:

Autoscrolling

If desired, you can enable autoscrolling with the middle mouse button within Firefox.

Go to Edit -> Preferences.
Click Advanced then the General tab, then Use autoscrolling.

Cache
Go to Edit -> Preferences.
Click Advanced then the Network tab, then Override automatic cache management and set the value to something like 50MB.


Middle-click Paste

I find the middle-click paste feature of Firefox annoying.

Load up about:config, type in middlemouse.paste and set to false.


Shortened URLs

“http://xenomorph.net” gets shortened to just “xenomorph.net”. If you wish to see the full URL, then do the following:

Load up about:config, type in trimURLs and set to false.

(Most of the above has been tested on both Ubuntu 10.04 and 12.04.)