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what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

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ijunsung
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what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#1 Post by ijunsung » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:22 am

Hi,

I am a beginner in linux and am interested in installing linux into my old thinkpad x41 tablet.

* Mint 18.3 xfce

I installed this linux distro into my x41t but rotation function does not work and tablet buttons do, neither. due to previous article, I got some help to assign commands into thinkpad tablet buttons. but can't find how to fix screen rotation function. and it is a little bit slow.

*Lubuntu 17.10
with lubuntu, it runs much faster than one with Mint but tablet functions do not work at all. at least it recognizes tablet pen with mint.

my ideal goal is to use it with tablet mode like this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C74Rhx0eY6s

is there anyone who tried to install linux into the x41 tablet and made a success?

I appreciate you in advance.

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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#2 Post by Dekks » Sat May 05, 2018 3:08 am

Did you install the Wacom driver package and libinput? I'm assuming Xorg and not Wayland.
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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat May 05, 2018 5:17 am

If you don't need to go online, the official Windows XP for tablet still works fine.
I have that on my X41t (that is just gathering dust nowadays).
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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#4 Post by Monkeyfume » Tue May 08, 2018 10:41 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 5:17 am
If you don't need to go online, the official Windows XP for tablet still works fine.
I have that on my X41t (that is just gathering dust nowadays).
I lost my original installation of XP Tablet PC Edition and, despite trying many options, couldn't ever find a copy for download online. This is probably because this version of XP was distributed to OEMs only. On the Linux side of things, I haven't found any distro that works out of the box with full functionality. I am currently have Ubuntu MATE installed, which had pen support without any alterations. It took some effort to get the around-screen hardware buttons to work, but I was able to do it with the help of the Thinkwiki page on tablet hardware buttons.

I don't use the machine for anything these days, though. It's just too slow, and the penabled screen is outdated anyways.
IBM ThinkPad X41 Tablet ... formerly: T23, T43
lenovo ThinkPads X200, X300, X300, X301, X220, X230 FHD Classic ... formerly: T420, W520, T430
HP G62
Toshiba Portégé R930
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ijunsung
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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#5 Post by ijunsung » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:13 pm

Monkeyfume wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:41 am
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 5:17 am
If you don't need to go online, the official Windows XP for tablet still works fine.
I have that on my X41t (that is just gathering dust nowadays).
I lost my original installation of XP Tablet PC Edition and, despite trying many options, couldn't ever find a copy for download online. This is probably because this version of XP was distributed to OEMs only. On the Linux side of things, I haven't found any distro that works out of the box with full functionality. I am currently have Ubuntu MATE installed, which had pen support without any alterations. It took some effort to get the around-screen hardware buttons to work, but I was able to do it with the help of the Thinkwiki page on tablet hardware buttons.

I don't use the machine for anything these days, though. It's just too slow, and the penabled screen is outdated anyways.
Sorry for late reply. Thanks for all of you.

I also picked up Ubuntu Mate for same reason you mentioned. as you say exactly, the machine is outdated so I do not use it even for only tablet function such as writing and reading pdf.

Arc
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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#6 Post by Arc » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:30 pm

I just loaded Xubuntu on my X41t just to have a workable machine. On most distros I use the tablet buttons on any of my ThinkPad tablets don't work by default. They send scancodes, but they aren't mapped to a keycode. The send the signal but the OS doesn't know what to do with it, basically. This is why you can't, for example, just map the buttons to something in your basic desktop environment settings in some distros.

There is a temporary solution for this, if you want to fix this on distros that don't have them working. The two commands "showkey" and "setkeycodes" will help. You can't run showkey from X so you have to go to a tty (hit Ctrl + Alt + a function key F1 through F6) and run them from there. Running showkey in the tty will show you what keycode is set to the key you press, or if a key is not set to a keycode, what the scancode is. For example, on the Devuan distro, Esc returns keycode 1. The tablet button labeled Esc, which doesn't work, on my X60t is scancode 6b.

Using this knowledge I can run

Code: Select all

# setkeycodes 6b 1
and the button will now work as the Esc key. Unfortunately, at least in my distro, this is only fleeting - every time I restart it goes back to being a blank unassigned key. I suppose you could run a script to do this every time you log in, but there must be a more permanent solution. I will have to fix that some other time.

As for general slowness, unfortunately a 10+ year old single-core is getting pretty old. My X41t chugs on videos in a browser. I use youtube-dl + mpv to watch watch YouTube videos without the weight of the site and browser behind them, but 720p will stutter on an X41t if the video's bitrate is too high.

Also, with regards to Windows XP Tablet Edition, looks like there is a seller selling disks for it for cheap on eBay. https://www.ebay.com/itm/SEALED-Windows ... 515945631? You will need the COA code on your computer's bottom to activate it, of course.
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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#7 Post by retrofriends » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:56 pm

I bought an X41 online (ebay) recently for $50 and I'm very happy to have it. Porteus seems to be the most quick Linux Distro but I'm done playing with that and now I'm exploring a dual boot scenario. I also installed Linux Mint 19.1 w/ MATE. I've done all of this using Etcher and Easy2Boot via USB, or RUFUS (for WinXP)

You CAN install XP and bring back all of your functionality still!

I actually found Windows XP Tablet Edition for my X41 tablet online and ended up using Rufus 3.4 to create the USB disk from the ISO. Even though I have a serial stuck to the bottom of this X41, it was rejected as invalid thus I had to use the "provided" serial. After that, I used the official drivers from a Thinkpads site to download driver files until I could get the WLAN working, then I used windows Update, MiniTool Partition Wizard to resize, and now I'm installing dual boot Xubuntu / XP. Everything works again, though the pen is crazy on Linux.

Windows XP Sp3 Tablet Edition: https://osdirectdownload.blogspot.com/2 ... n-sp3.html (comes with Serial)

ThinkPad drivers: https://thinkpads.com/support/Thinkpad- ... m/X41.html

To avoid XP activation woes, I used the following tutorial involving a regedit hack: https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how- ... ithout-key

Eventually it updated with 136 patches and was able to get all of the drivers from either manually "Have disk.." type installation (once I ran all of the .exes from the above link) .. key is to get WLAN working and use Wifi to get unknown devices rectified. I can even use the fingerprint reader, though I didn't dare turn on "Power On Fingerprint" though it might work, I do use it to log into WinXP. At one point to get the USB to be recognized as a boot device before the internal HDD, I had to play with BIOS settings.

My theory on dual boot was to resize the partition, create an empty area (unallocated), then use Etcher to put Xubuntu (or other distros) on the USB. I was using Mint but it seemed slow. I'd prefer to use something more minimal but MacPUP and Puppy had issues during install due to media not being found. Xubuntu installed without issue "alongside XP professional" -- yay!

Of course all of this required a second, modern computer.

Check out my YouTube Channel: http://retrofriendz.tumblr.com

Peace!

Arc
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Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#8 Post by Arc » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:22 pm

Oh, nobody mentioned it already, but for writing (haha, using a tablet PC for writing) on GNU/Linux you can use CellWriter, and for screen rotation you can use Magick Rotation. They're a little clunky to set up I think but once you do it's just like it's supposed to be. The main issue on GNU/Linux with the X41t, which I mentioned on my post before, is the tablet buttons, which may not work on some distros. (Which is weird, because any other tablet PC I have used, the buttons work fine.) Sometimes things take a little elbow grease but they work out beautiful in the end.

As for the actual question in the OP, I would suggest just base Debian or Devuan. They are good for computers from around the X41's time. Not as pretty as a downstream distro like Ubuntu but a little more flexible with the cost of being a little more effort to set up, I would say.
retrofriends wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:56 pm
*snipped*
Was that ISO for sure XP Tablet Edition? I also did a similar process to get what I thought was XP Tablet Edition - essentially just an ISO from wherever claiming to be Tablet Edition, and using the registry edit to activate with the COA. But even though the ISO would be labeled XP Tablet Edition, it would just seemingly install regular XP with none of the tablet "goodies." Admittedly those tablet applications aren't really worth the effort but I could never find out what the deal was. Those features for sure aren't utilities that the laptop manufacturer expected you to download from their sites, they were built right in. Did you get the tablet applications?

Another thing is that there is Tablet Edition 2005 and Tablet Edition SP3, don't know if that would have anything to do with activation problems or maybe perhaps "activating" the tablet applications, but I wouldn't doubt it. Man, it's just a big mess. That's why I put GNU/Linux on there and just was done with it. (Even though XP is comfy.)
Lenovo "Classics" [ X41t | X60s | X60t SXGA+ | W500 | X301 | X200s WXGA+ | X201t ]
ThiccPads [ 600 | A21m | X22 | R52 ]
[ Lifebook U810 | P1620 | P1630 | T902 ] [ iBook G3 Snow ]
RIP [ A20m | T60 | T61 | Lifebook P1610 | Clevo W110ER ]

ThinkPads are nice yeah 👌

ijunsung
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Location: Seoul, Korea

Re: what is the best linux distro for thinkpad x41 tablet?

#9 Post by ijunsung » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:53 am

Arc wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:22 pm
Oh, nobody mentioned it already, but for writing (haha, using a tablet PC for writing) on GNU/Linux you can use CellWriter, and for screen rotation you can use Magick Rotation. They're a little clunky to set up I think but once you do it's just like it's supposed to be. The main issue on GNU/Linux with the X41t, which I mentioned on my post before, is the tablet buttons, which may not work on some distros. (Which is weird, because any other tablet PC I have used, the buttons work fine.) Sometimes things take a little elbow grease but they work out beautiful in the end.

As for the actual question in the OP, I would suggest just base Debian or Devuan. They are good for computers from around the X41's time. Not as pretty as a downstream distro like Ubuntu but a little more flexible with the cost of being a little more effort to set up, I would say.
retrofriends wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:56 pm
*snipped*
Was that ISO for sure XP Tablet Edition? I also did a similar process to get what I thought was XP Tablet Edition - essentially just an ISO from wherever claiming to be Tablet Edition, and using the registry edit to activate with the COA. But even though the ISO would be labeled XP Tablet Edition, it would just seemingly install regular XP with none of the tablet "goodies." Admittedly those tablet applications aren't really worth the effort but I could never find out what the deal was. Those features for sure aren't utilities that the laptop manufacturer expected you to download from their sites, they were built right in. Did you get the tablet applications?

Another thing is that there is Tablet Edition 2005 and Tablet Edition SP3, don't know if that would have anything to do with activation problems or maybe perhaps "activating" the tablet applications, but I wouldn't doubt it. Man, it's just a big mess. That's why I put GNU/Linux on there and just was done with it. (Even though XP is comfy.)

Thanks for your kind advice. AS you mentioned, it is very hard to get Windows XP tablet edition these days.
Can you please give me a link of instruction of how to install Magick Rotation on Xubuntu (based on Ubuntu)?

Thank you in advance

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