[ubuntu-studio-users] Thinkpad X220t: extra-buttons underneath the display don't work in tablet mode

ds ds83 at gmx.net
Sat Mar 28 11:17:56 UTC 2020

FYI: I found a solution for my recent problem with the extra buttons of
a thinkpad tablet:

xinput set-int-prop 13 "Device Enabled" 8 0

13 in my case is the ID of the extra buttons.

If you have problems with a similar device, this webpage might help:
Unfortunately it's German.

Thanks & All best to you!

On 26.03.20 16:53, Erich Eickmeyer wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> On Thursday, March 26, 2020 3:45:07 AM PDT ds wrote:
>> Hallo ubuntu studio mail list members,
>> [snip]
>> The problem: Turned into tablet mode, the buttons stop working.
>> Remapping them then is not possible, and also xev doesn't report
>> anything. So I guess the device seems to not detect the buttons.
>> Further information: I read in a thinkpad forum, that there is a
>> magnetic sensor. If I hover the display in tablet mode a few
>> centimeters, the buttons work again like in laptop mode. In bios the
>> XF86PowerButton at the display also works in tablet mode, so it seems to
>> be no hardware problem (the other two buttons I can not test. They seem
>> to not be mapped during the startup process, neither in laptop nor
>> tablet mode). Before I had a Debian installed with gnome 3 desktop
>> environment and there the whole problem didn't occure: The remapping of
>> the buttons worked fine in laptop and in tablet mode.
>> What I tried so far:
>> With "xsetwacom get "Wacom ISDv4 90 Pen stylus" all" I get an overview
>> over parameters set with xsetwacom. There is an option: "TPCButton"
>> "on". "TPCButton" means "Tablet PC buttons", I guess these might be the
>> three buttons that I have issues with. But unfortunately if I switch
>> this option to "off" nothing changes.
>> By the way the output of "xsetwacom get "Wacom ISDv4 90 Pen stylus" all"
>> doesn't change from laptop to tablet mode (for tablet mode, since I
>> cannot reach the enter button, I tested it with "sleep 10 && xsetwacom
>> get "Wacom ISDv4 90 Pen stylus" all". The 10 seconds delay I used for
>> converting the device to tablet mode)
>> My conclusion: I guess in ubuntu studio there is a driver that detects
>> the signals from the sensor so the system "knows", that the display is
>> turned and folded. And (what doesn't make much sense to me)
>> unfortunately in tablet mode the three buttons are switched off.
> I also have a convertible laptop. In my case, the keyboard and touchpad simply 
> disable themselves from the hardware side. That said, if there is any thing 
> turning it off software-wise, it's in the kernel which is beyond our control 
> and is not an Ubuntu Studio issue. 
>> Suggestion: If it is like that, the maybe easiest way to solve the
>> problem, would be to switch off that detection or the service behind it.
>> Does any of you know how to do that? Or do you have another idea, how I
>> could get these buttons in tablet mode to work?
> Again, this is not something that is user-controllable. It's likely hardware 
> or at the kernel level. Linux doesn't have typical "drivers" like Windows; all 
> drivers are part of the kernel.
>> I hope I presented my problem understandable. If you need any further
>> information, let me know!
>> I would be really happy if you could help me! Even though the X220t is
>> old, it still has plenty of power to cover the needs of graphical design
>> with ubuntu studio. To make use of the full potential of the device's
>> properties and ubuntu studio, using this three buttons in tablet mode
>> would be awesome!
> One of the next things we intend to add to Ubuntu Studio Controls is proper 
> wacom table support, and since the Lenovo touchscreen is basically a Wacom 
> tablet, we could use some help testing from that end.
> Also, just note: Xfce (the desktop environment) not touchscreen friendly at 
> all, and the Xfce developers have no intention of working on touchscreen 
> support. Your best bet for touchscreen support at this point is a standard 
> Ubuntu install with ubuntustudio-installer used to add those items.
> I realize you are on 18.04, so make sure you have the Ubuntu Studio Backports 
> PPA added. Information about all of this can be found at https://
> help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuStudio
>> ps: What I just found out: It seems that the three buttons are
>> interpreted as regular part of the keyboard. If I convert the device to
>> tablet mode and stick a thin pen between the display and the keyboard,
>> to press some keys of the keyboard while the sensor detects "tablet
>> mode", also no input is detected. To me that means in tablet mode the
>> whole internal keyboard is switched off.
> That tells me it's definitely in the kernel. We have zero involvement with 
> kernel development.
> I hope that gives you a few pointers (pun slightly intended).
> Erich
> ----
> Erich Eickmeyer
> Project Leader
> Ubuntu Studio
> ubuntustudio.org
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