Let me firstly get this out there - I LOVE Linux. If it wasn't for MS Office not being on Linux (Yes I do know about Wine), I would have ditched Windows long ago in favour of Linux. Back then, I had quite the issue with my old ultrabook which was the Fujistsu UH554. It was headaches after headaches. First, its ALPS touchpad was not working until a "dirty" fix, the keyboard functions were mostly broken, battery life went down from 12 hours to 3 (horrendous I know), and constant hanging.

Enough about that, I recently purchased a second hand ThinkPad T440p (after trading in my craptop ultrabook of course) and regrettably didn't purge its pour hard drive of Windows (since I was using it for work and they required Windows software). Today, I have finally decided to make the move and switch myself over to Ubuntu. My previous choice was Mint since I was familiar with Mintl; but I shortly changed my mind after the Wine compatibility of MS Office with Mint was only Gold while its compatibility with Ubuntu was Platinum.

 

Installing

BIOS Configuration

In the ThinkPad BIOS, UEFI/Legacy Boot was set to Both. CSM Support was set to Yes. Secure boot was also Disabled. I haven't tried with any other combination as the USB booted right away using this configuration (that my previous Windows installation also used) so I didn't bother making any changes. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" right?

If you don't know how to get into the BIOS, you can do so by mashing F10 during startup to get into the boot/options menu or mash enter to enter setup.

Creating USB

Since I was coming from Windows, I downloaded the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS image from their website and wrote it to my FAT32 formatted USB using UNetbootin (download here) and selecting the iso image I just downloaded. A really straightforward process. I would recommend backing up the contents of your USB before you use the tool just in case it formats your USB.

Booting From USB

To boot from the USB, mash F10 right after you turn on your computer and select your drive

Installing Ubuntu was pretty straightforward and the hardware worked sufficiently out of the box without me having to plug in a monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc. Granted, the drivers included worked; but they did not work well.

ubuntuAfter installing, everything works out of the box

Fixing Stuff

Trackpad Fix

Sure sure the trackpad works out of the box, but I miss my natural scrolling (two fingers pushing up to scroll down) and was not going to settle with having to reverse my scrolling compared to IOS, Android, Windows, etc. This was an easy fix though! Just head to Settings -> Mouse & Trackpad and check Natural Scrolling.

As for the middle trackpoint scrolling, it is going to be a lot harder as I heard that the trackpoint uses a different driver compared to the trackpad. Unfortunately, nobody has figured out how to coordinate those two in Ubuntu. I will update this post when I find out!

natural

Turning on natural scrolling is very easy

Battery Life Boost

This one is not really a fix; but more of a tweak to boost my battery life (refer to my thoughts section for comparison). To do that, I installed TLP.

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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-dkms
sudo tlp start

After you are done, its set to go! No GUI to use or anything. It just runs in the background and starts witht the computer.resulttlp

This is what it should look like at the end of the installation

Cosmetic Fixes

I personally like to make my installation look different than the stock settings. After all, its good to make you environment feel comfortable to you. Here are some of the things I did in no particular order

  1. Change the scale of the display. The Unity dock is already taking enough realestate as it is! I may be blind but I'm definitely not THAT blind that it need everything blown up in my face. I had the help of Unity Tweak Tool.
  2. Change the theme. I don't like to stay as mainstream as stock theme, but I really like numix (even though it seems like everybody these days uses that). In my defense, I was on the wagon before it even started rolling!

My Thoughts - Compared To Windows

Battery Life

The battery life seemed pretty decent compared to Windows. In Windows, I would score around 4-5 hours on Windows (keep in mind that my laptop came used) . On Ubuntu with TLP enabled, I would score around 4-6 hours (again, depending on what I am doing). Looking at this, it seems like the battery life actually increased by installing Ubuntu. That was definitely a welcome surprise for me considering my old laptop's battery dropped from 12 hours to 3 hours when I made the switch to Linux.

Compatibility

Surprisingly, MS Office (via Wine by itself- not PlayOnLinux as in the first screenshot) performs extremely well and opens the documents correctly compared to last year when I tried it on Linux Mint. Unfortunately, there is not wireless display support as of yet (Intel WiDi, Miracast, etc) so I will have to switch back to Windows when I need that (sadly it means keeping Windows on my drive).