Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 + older ThinkPad = black screen pain

I decided to do a clean install of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my ThinkPad X40 (still my favorite laptop, ever). For this release there seems to be even less testing than usual (9.10 was pretty painful as far as good old Intel 855 graphics were concerned) and this time there aren't even decent release notes.  Please be aware that when you install 10.04 on your laptop with older Intel graphics, you'll be treated to a black screen without any way to drop to a virtual console. To solve this:

  1. Power the machine off (hold down the power button until it shuts off).
  2. Boot and hold down Shift until you see the Grub bootloader screen.  On there, edit the entry for the default kernel and add "i915.modeset=1" to the list of options (ie: after "quiet splash") and then press control+x to boot
  3. The system should boot up with working graphics now.  With sudo, edit /etc/default/grub and change GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT to "quiet splash i915.modeset=1" to have modeset permanently enabled.
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