Installing Debian on an X230

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These notes refer to installation of Debian 7 (Wheezy) on an X230 system, model 2306-CTO.

Thinklight and backlit keyboard

Both of these features work as expected out of the box.


Brightness control works using the expected Fn + function keys, however only 6 levels are detected.

If you use Gnome 3, you can use the Brightness Control extension to control up to 16 levels of brightness.

Another way consists of adding the acpi_backlight=vendor kernel parameter to the boot options1 :

  1. Edit the /etc/default/grub file:
    $ gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub
  2. Append acpi_backlight=vendor to the default kernel parameters:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_backlight=vendor"
  3. Update GRUB:
    $ sudo update-grub

Reboot to make the changes effective.

Although more brightness levels will be supported, the Gnome indicator will not display the brightness level acurately. See the bug report link below.

Check these links for more information:

UltraNav scrolling

The UltraNav scrolling is not supported out of the box. Normally moving the Trackpoint while pressing the middle-button (identified by blue dots, just above the trackpad) should provide scrolling motions for applications that support it (the web browser for example).

Using a configuration file

This has been verified to work in Debian 7 (Wheezy):

  1. Edit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-thinkpad-trackpoint.conf
  2. Insert the following:
Section "InputClass"
   Identifier  "ThinkPad TrackPoint"
   MatchProduct    "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint"
   MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
   Option      "EmulateWheel"      "true"
   Option      "EmulateWheelButton"    "2"
   Option      "XAxisMapping"      "6 7"
   Option      "YAxisMapping"      "4 5"

The UltraNav button will work as expected after rebooting your system.

Credit: Sebastian

Using gpointing-devices-settings (broken)

This used to work - now it doesn't!

To enable this functionality, the gpointing-devices-settings is mentioned in several places as a way to configure it. Unfortunately it seems with Gnome 3 it doesn't anymore.

Once installed, look for the Pointing devices application, or launch gpointing-devices-settings from command line. Select the TrackPoint device, check the Use wheel emulation option and choose button #2.

GPointing Device Settings 002.png

Also make sure to check both options for vertical and horizontal scrolling if you will be using them.


Wireless does not work with 100% free drivers out of the box. The internal half mini PCIe card can't be replaced by a compatible card as this system uses BIOS whitelisting. There isn't a modified BIOS available yet (as of Jan 15 2013).

Debian Squeeze and Wheezy non-free component includes support for such non-free drivers installation.

As a workaround, an external USB adapter such as those sold by ThinkPenguin can be used. When using such external adapters, consult ThinkPenguin's support as even firmware published under free licenses is not installed by default and may require manual compilation or installation.

Fingerprint reader

The fingerprint reader does not work with 100% free drivers out of the box.


Several optimizations are needed to maximize battery time. Most apply to any GNU/Linux distributions, except for running Libre kernels. See Optimizing battery time on the Trisquel wiki.


  1. Ubuntu 12.04/Mint 13 and X60s - brightness controls issue