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Running Linux on my Thinkpad Z13

··616 words·3 mins

This is basically just a walk-through of my install script for the Lenovo Z13 Thinkpad. I’m using pop_os!, but the commands/ideas should work for any Debian based distro.

I’ll periodically come back to update this page with any new findings specific to running Linux on my Z13.

Basics #

On pop_os, the “Firmware” app automatically had Lenovo Z13 updates ready for me to install.

Of course, doing a sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade is always a good idea before doing anything else with apt on a clean install.

Then you’ll want to install the Z13 package included on Lenovo’s Ubuntu image1:

sudo apt install oem-sutton.newell-abe-meta

If you want to be able to adjust the force touchpad settings (you probably do) download Lenovo’s janky-but-functional tool here.

Sleep Issues #

2023-09-17 Update:

I didn’t change anything, but I’ve noticed that wake from sleep times have substantially improved (from a noticeable couple of seconds to near instant upon opening the lid).

I experimented further by removing the modprobe line from the following sleep script and I noticed that it’s no longer needed for my Wi-Fi to be performant after sleep. I assume this came for free with some kernel/system updates, but I’m leaving the section below in case it’s still helpful on some environments.

I had the same problems that others online experienced when it came to the Wi-Fi adapter being slow after waking up from sleep.

I tried a bunch of other methods (toggling the Wi-Fi off/on upon waking from sleep, changing the power-saving settings in NetworkManager, etc.) but this is what ultimately ended up working for me:

# save to /lib/systemd/system-sleep/


case "$1" in
	#code execution BEFORE sleeping/hibernating/suspending
		xinput set-prop "ELAN06A0:00 04F3:3231 Touchpad" "Device Enabled" 0
	#code execution AFTER resuming
		# Fix wifi speeds by reloading module
		sudo modprobe -r ath11k_pci && sudo modprobe ath11k_pci
		# Toggle touchpad to make two finger right clicks more reliable
		xinput set-prop "ELAN06A0:00 04F3:3231 Touchpad" "Device Enabled" 1

exit 0

I got the idea from this post that mentioned deleting and reinserting the ath11k_pci kernel module using systemd-suspend-modules on Arch. The above works fine for me on pop_os.

As you can see, I also found that restarting the touchpad made it a little bit more reliable when it came to palm rejection and tap-to-click (although this could be purely placebo).

Fingerprint Sensor #

sudo apt install fprintd libpam-fprintd
sudo pam-auth-update

You’ll see this screen:

pam-auth-update screen

You want to enable fingerprint authentication. After doing that I was able to set up my fingerprints in the settings app and use it to auth sudo and login.

The only problem I’ve noticed is that if I use my fingerprint for my first login after powering on my device, I have to type in my password anyways when I start my browser to login to my keyring.

One note: the fingerprint sensor on the Z13 is not as fast as the one you might have on your phone. You’ll want to hold your finger to the sensor a bit longer in order for it to successfully read your fingerprint consistently.

Helpful Resources #

Audio Problems #

Sometimes I found that no sound would come from my Z13’s speakers. The f1/2/3 audio buttons also wouldn’t work and the system behaved as if it had no speakers connected. This article by System76 was pretty helpful for troubleshooting. What I did to improve my issue was:

  • I reinstalled/restarted pipewire per the instructions in the article above.
  • I disabled hibernation/fast startup/secure boot on my Windows install and bios.

I’m not sure which solved the problem, but it’s not happening anymore so I’m happy.

  1. Learned this while reading Martin’s great review here ↩︎